Occupy Movement: How to Win in the Spring of 2012 Without Using Strategy!

We may still chant "This is what Democracy looks like." But Occupy Philly is looking less and less like a democracy.

Slightly over a month into the Occupy Philly movement, we are losing momentum. Students (and this is a heavily youth movement) are focusing on their studies as the semester ends. The unemployed are probably looking for work. The employed are burning out from working full-time and trying to attend daily General Assemblies.

What Occupy Philly looks like is what happens to democracy when you don't have the necessary people, power, strategy, and a good system of relationships (both personal and organizational). At first, we inspired a ton of people (and that is a great thing), however now the weather is turning cold and we don't have a strategy to achieve any concrete goals. We've spent maybe half of our General Assembly time talking about our relationship with the city and whether we want to move our occupation.

However, fortunately for us we don't need no stinking strategy!

Instead, by the grace of the internet, we can rely upon better organized Occupy movements to succeed where we have failed.

Occupy Philly needs to hold out for the winter. We either need to hole-up somewhere warm and nice (perhaps with a small group of occupiers and weekly potluck dinners), or have a hibernation plan where we go on holiday for most of the winter and agree to make a big comeback in the spring.

So long as we keep it together (make it through the winter, and generally avoid burn out) - Occupy Philly (and the other occupy movements) will be able to take advantage of successes from other Occupations which will be shared in a way that bypasses the mainstream media (using blogs, Democracy Now, video, LIVE video, social networking sites, and photos).

So far we've seen how eruptions of dissent in NYC, Oakland, and currently in Berkeley have inspired activists around the country. Earlier in the spring of 2011, we saw how protest spread from Tunisia across North Africa and the Middle East.

Hopefully one of these Occupation Movements will come up with a strategy that works!

I'm calling this Tactical Diffusion on Steroids.

We could see a surge in social movements in the US in the spring of 2012 due to warmer weather, a lack of a competitive Democratic primary (which would distract liberals), and the possibility of a double-dip recession (currently 38% on Intrade). Economic growth, outside a small number of countries (China, India, Vietnam, Russia, Canada, etc) is very sluggish. And those countries that have strong growth are experiencing slow downs in it. It looks like the EU monetary union might break up and the US is trying to cut federal spending. The US will be in a tough spot if the European crisis causes US treasury yields to dramatically increase. Currently the US is getting off very easy on the state's debt - paying a mere 2% for the 10 year bond.

According to OccupyArrests - as of today, 3500 people have been arrested in this movement on a global basis. It is likely to hit 5000 by the end of the year (and perhaps more as police and city government tactics are likely to escalate). There were 1250 people who got arrested for the Tar Sands Action in DC (August-September 2011). If 2/3 of those global arrests are in the US, I think it is highly possible that in 2011 more US people have been arrested for civil disobedience than in any year since the seventies, or possibly ever.

I think things are most likely to start heating up in April 2012. By heating up, I'm hoping for millions of people protesting in the streets (in the US alone) and mass defections from capitalism.
Note: this is a total guess.

Arab Revolutions 2011-2012

An upsurge of social movements in North Africa and the Middle East from now through the Spring of 2012 could happen as a result of ideal weather (protesting in the summer in 100F is hard) and injustices. For instance, Egypt might rise up against the military. Kuwait just had its largest protest of the year with thousands of people storming the parliament.

My guess is that a surge would have only a marginal direct impact on the United States Occupy Movements, however it could have a stronger influence on Occupy Movements in Europe or other countries.

Occupy Philly Votes to Stay

Turns out that Occupy Philly voted overwhelmingly to stay at Dilworth Plaza on Friday November 11. Vote was around 100 in favor, to 3 against and happened after 5 days of discussion and at the end of a four hour meeting that was well attended. I was very surprised by the margin of the vote.

It remains to be seen whether the City will try to evacuate Occupy Philadelphia in the near future or whether it could be a couple months away. The City has put out a notice saying we should leave, however they haven't given us a firm date. They'll probably give us 48 hours notice.

In other news, there is a bit of a split going on with people in the Reasonable Solutions working group breaking off from the General Assembly. The Reasonable Solutions group wants to negotiate an accommodation with the City and has decided not to follow the decisions of the General Assembly. The City has said it would not give out two permits for occupations, so it remains to be seen whether Reasonable Solutions could get a permit.