The Occupy movement is busy. Far from being dormant for the winter, occupiers are finding themselves with all sorts of new actions, challenges and plans. Though most of the 24-hour encampments have ended, the movement is beginning to focus much more on actions directed toward concrete demands. Last night I attended Occupy Wall Street’s Spokes Council—now finally active after weeks of turmoil—and caught the above video of documentarian Michael Moore’s unplanned speech. In it, he reminded the 100 or so people present that the fight ahead is a long one, and that they’re only just getting started. Here’s a glimpse at how the fight will be unfolding in the coming months:
The defining challenge that the movement in the US will face in 2012 will almost certainly be the presidential election. With billions of dollars being poured into directing the whole country’s attention at the candidates nonstop, the Occupy movement has to find a way to make the issues that matter to it take precedence over the personalities and advertisements of presidential hopefuls. Occupiers in Iowa, who called on people to vote “uncommitted” in the caucuses, appear to have had little impact at the polls. (Occupy the New Hampshire Primary is now gearing up with somewhat different tactics.) It is already taken as a given in the movement that there will be massive protests at both Republican and Democratic conventions. But if these are to be constructive, rather than simply chaotic, the movement will need to be able to offer people something more hopeful, more compelling and more tangible than any presidential candidate can promise to deliver.
This is a tall order, but if people can remember that political power begins in themselves, perhaps it’s not as tall as it sounds.
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With support for Palestinian freedom hitting a new level, intentional strategies are needed to stop white nationalists looking to hijack the movement.
Without the friendships he forged in the antiwar movement, Daniel Ellsberg might not have found the courage and support he needed to help end the Vietnam War.