On October 26th, we suggested Occupy Wall Street needed some reinvention. The Occupy Oakland camp shutdown is forcing the evolution and it can and should be viewed as a good thing.
Several weeks ago I argued in “Occupy Wall Street: Could It Use Some Reinvention?” that the tactical efficacy of Occupy Wall Street’s park occupation had become futile and counter-productive, stating that the parks had become the movement’s vestigial organ. Admittedly, occupation had its purpose and its symbolic value was clearly effective, but the evictions and clashes with police were distorting the message as it was being transmitted to the middle and lower classes—those most likely to be sympathetic.
It was, in fact, the October 25th events at Occupy Oakland involving the police in riot gear, the gas canisters, the alleged concussion devices, Scott Olsen’s cracked skull and bloodied face, all precipitated by a battle cry from protesters to the effect of, “We’re going to retake the camp!”
It was a lack of imagination. It was an act that was bound to trigger a forceful police response (not to excuse the police for one second, however).
This sort of conflict only serves to highlight the legality issues of occupying the park and really does not effectively communicate demands. Indeed, it only serves power. The discussion becomes, “They really can’t be here” or “It’s time to go” when it should be all about issues all the time.
The Occupy movement is open-source, amorphous, boundless and thus it is against its nature to remain confined to a given geographical space, such as a park. It has moved quite beyond those confines into the mass consciousness. It is aetheric. Why not disperse, create messages from anywhere at any time, then spontaneously re-group in the streets, or at the City Hall with velocity and critical mass? Keep the authorities on their toes, wondering where the supporters are located—everywhere and nowhere.
Occupy Oakland was at its best when it took to the streets and traveled to the Port of Oakland, the nation’s fifth busiest port, with the intention of occupying the area. There needs to be more temporary, spontaneous occupation. An open-source movement can, like the internet that engendered it, appear and disappear at will. It is the feedback loop lying between digital and biological.
As I noted in my previous article on Occupy’s need for reinvention, “Instead of seeing the park as the battlefield, do battle for the minds of Americans.”