The greatest challenge to the 99% movement is not the disproportionate power of the 1%, rather it’s the power of a self-indulgent minority within our own ranks. A ‘fuck-it-all-where-can-I-throw-this-rock?’ element plagues Occupy sites from Oakland to Chapel Hill. The unfortunate and stupid chant of “Kill the cops, Burn the prisons” recorded yesterday in Chapel Hill, NC will be attributed to the peaceful Occupy Chapel Hill rather than a splinter group leaving the Carrboro Anarchist Bookfair on Sunday.
Activist friends from across the country have expressed frustration with the chaos of Occupy sites. As I reported from Boston, it was witnessing the empathy of Occupy Boston for the plight of the lost and dysfunctional that sparked my appreciation. The homeless and mentally ill are a challenge but those who promote violent confrontation are a threat. How the Occupy movement deals with those who promote chaos may determine the limits of their success.
UPDATE: After much discussion, Monday night’s Occupy Chapel Hill General Assembly generated a press release clarifying this event including this statement:
Seeing police pointing machine guns at unarmed protestors, next to a public bus ready to carry them away, and plastered with a Wells Fargo billboard was really ironic. It really makes you think about the kind of democracy we have,” said Carrboro Alderman Sammy Slade.
The General Assembly thanks the occupants of the Yates building for their clear statements explaining that this was not an action of the Occupy Chapel Hill General Assembly at Peace and Justice Plaza. We also want to express appreciation to the various local media for their accuracy in reporting this important fact.
Frankly, I was very impressed with the way participants worked their way through this minefield of emotions and were able to achieve consensus on key points despite dramatically different perspectives on the prior day’s events. Occupy Chapel Hill has handled this quite well while providing a counterexample to this post’s title.
Read the entire press release here.
– Iron Filing