This is the personal account of a participant in Occupy For All’s Action Assembly on December 17th:
The Assembly never officially began and I couldn’t be happier about it.
We arrived at the Unite Detroit building at about 6:57pm and found only a few people lingering within the building. We had seen them before on our previous visit following the Summit in Detroit and it was obvious they were residents. Right away, we found a group of tables and made ourselves at home immediately. Without a doubt, the people at 5900 Michigan Ave are very welcoming and do not hover or cause any kind of problems. They are open to the use of the space and encourage Occupy-related activity within. While we were sitting and talking, we were approached by a young couple and began talking about the Occupy Movement. Her name is Sirii (sp?) and she is an Assistant Professor in Berlin, but originally comes from Iran. His name is Seth and while originally from the suburbs of Detroit, he hadn’t been home in ten years and was back visiting family for the holidays. He is going for his doctorate in Geography. They both have a keen interest in Social Movements and Socialogy and are in the midsts of researching and writing a report on the Occupy Movement. Needless to say, the conversation was riveting, and I mean that with all sincerity. Sirii had participated in the Solidarity Protest in Berlin and now was making a few stops in the United States to interview people in New York, as well as other Occupy hotspots. They were extremely nice and interested in our views and opinions in relation to their own experiences.
As the conversation became more and more engaging, the crowd continued to grow. Eventually, there were over a dozen of us sitting and talking, including several members of Unite Detroit and Occupy Detroit, respectively. Though many of us had gathered for the purposes of an Assembly, it was almost completely unnecessary and I was awestruck in the fact that we still observed the methods of process despite the fact that there was no real need for facilitation. We spoke about issues both local and abroad and I got the very real sense that we were all on the same page in regards to our views of how the global movement has gotten us to act locally, which in turn will effect the global movement respectively. We talked about the formations of community and how we needed to practice what we preach and show a new way of living.
One particular individual I found most fascinating was James, a lifelong member of the Detroit community and a veteran of the Military. It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that people younger than myself can be considered veterans. Though soft spoken through most of the meeting, his views on the treatment of veterans and money in politics were extremely insightful and gave a perspective that I had never considered myself, having had different experiences and having never served in the Armed Forces. It is the gathering together of a variety of views, just like James’, that make me so thankful for the Occupy Movement.
So after a long discussion about the importance of Occupy, the question was posed, “So now what?” With all of the information we have and the “awakening” we’ve all experienced, where do we go from here?
That’s when the wheels really started to turn. We had to start taking action. We had to start spreading this knowledge to others. Just like we had experiencing our own awakening and some of us had “radicalized” because of it, we couldn’t stop there. A very interesting metaphor was made because of this.
When we talk among fellow Occupiers, we are gaining validation and that gives us the charge to move onward. Conversations such as these allow us to recharge and invigorate ourselves. We need to send that charge out in to the unknown in hopes of connecting with other people and getting the charge working for them. After “depleting” our own charge, we come back to the group and charge up again, preparing to send it out. Throughout this conversation, we made the challenge to ourselves to do something with this energy we were creating.
An idea about conversations on the bus was posed and development began. Much like Town Criers and Bards, we could use our information and knowledge to awaken others in the most simple of places. By talking about these things, people were bound to listen to us. But also by listening and gaining insights from others, we could find out what had been troubling them and move to work on those things to show that change was coming.
By the end of the evening, I was so invigorated that I knew I needed to act and start making things happen. I needed to start talking, not just to fellow Occupiers, but those that had not joined the Occupy movement as well. Truly, it was an unforgettable experience and I look forward to meeting with my Detroit family again in the near future.
All For One…