Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. @BruceKGagnon

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Occupy Wall Street: The Need for Coalition Building

At the present time, the success of the occupation is contingent on holding a specific geographic point. Eventually, the formal occupation will wind down, either through a collective decision of the General Assembly, or through police action, or the coming cold weather, or the formulation of new strategies--or some combination of any of the above. The short article below notes the need for engaging with communities and building coalitions with communities; this is the single most important goal and strategy of the occupation if it is to transform from a political project into a social movement.

There are some solid signs that this change is underway, in an early stage. The occupation has certainly captured the public imagination and has garnered widespread sympathy and support. But this has to move beyond mere armchair support and into the realm of action. In New York City, most people are not going to get on the bus or subway and travel from their neighborhoods to Wall Street to engage with an anti-capitalist project, no matter how much sympathy--articulated or intuited--they feel for it.

So, the occupation *must* move into the communities and neighborhoods of New York, from Morrisania to Flatbush to Cambria Heights to Inwood to Brownsville to Parkchester to Corona to Stapleton to Bensonhurst to the Lower East Side to Tremont to Harlem to everywhere. People *will* engage with other people *where they live*. What form each local, autonomous project takes would be determined by each community; such local self-organizing would be the conjuncture of a vibrant, new and innovative movement which necessarily will mobilize a large and widespread social base.

Of course, the expansion of the occupation into neighborhoods will not look like the encampment in lower Manhattan; its form, activities and plans of action will differ from neighborhood to neighborhood, and the style of organizing and what collective work is undertaken will vary depending on the needs, unique circumstances and conditions and concerns of each individual community.

No matter what looks the movement assumes between now and later it is imperative that organizers start preparing right away to keep up and build the momentum that was begun by Occupy Wall Street on September 17. It's now time to look ahead, to the post-occupation future, and to the creation of a true movement for justice and radical social transformation.

--Bill Koehnlein


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