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The Politics of Occupation: Anti-Authoritarianism and Direct Democracy
by members of Parasol Climate Collective and The Institute for Anarchist Studies
Article published on 26 December 2012

by r-c.
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Aerial shot of Occupy Portland rally with Pink Martini orchestra
28 October 2011

Photo: Ray Terrill


Walking through the camp of Occupy Portland, it is hard to believe it has only been a few weeks since it began. The transformation of the space is nothing short of miraculous: from a few scattered tents, some cardboard signs, and a tarp or two, a miniature city has arisen, crafted with the energy, creativity, and good intentions of us all. Together, we are learning first-hand the difficulties, frustrations, and joys of democracy and of the experience of power.

There are other things we need to be proud of, as well: we have held a space; we have negotiated ideas and conflicts as individuals, groups, and a mass; we have demonstrated flexibility and compassion; we have begun to question our assumptions. May this only be the beginning of all of these things.

As we move farther into the experience of wielding power for ourselves, it is good to remember the principle of rootedness, which comes to us from many different schools of martial arts. While we speak of being a “movement,” we are also a place of great stillness, a point which, in reality, refuses to be moved. This stillness will force others to move around us and to bend to our will - this should not be forgotten.

There are other principles, too, to keep in mind. May this text contribute to the discussion as we continue to help each other learn, grow, envision, create, and fight.

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