disheartenment, deferred delight, and perseverance?

20 Oct

I’m still recovering from a cold that I caught while staying in a tent at the Plaza, so I’m reticent about camping out right now in what’s allowed: a sleeping bag. I was down at Civic Center for about five hours today.

Overall impressions- first I need to qualify that I can be overly critical and get disheartened easily- I worry that Occupy San Diego is shrinking. There were only about 50 camped out there today. The food table was bare bones. And some of the key people really seemed stressed or getting to breaking point. I had been wondering for a while why one aspect of one key function handled by a committee wasn’t happening. And based on what I heard I pieced together that it was a combination of egos clashing, miscommunication, and police infiltrators. In another situation having to do with another core operating function one person has had a very difficult working relationship with another person and the former is really concerned about that conflict further escalating. I offered to help this person sort things out; we got sidetracked, but in the meantime a friend of mine from the San Diego Nonviolent Communication community stopped by and gave her a backrub…which seemed to help!

What was and is encouraging is that informal, adhoc working groups continue to form in circles. People listen rather patiently to people talking one at a time, facilitating taking place on the fly. It so warms the heart to see good listening; I don’t think I have seen any sarcasm or put-downs or irony yet in any of these circles.

In today’s circles I saw some significant movement on two issue areas: streamlining/clarifying process and procedure for the General Assembly and dealing with the use of alcohol, marijuana, and late night noise. With the latter, it seems like all of those who had been inclined to block disallowing these “vices” (or pleasures, as one person offered to reframe them a while back) now realize the importance of exercising personal and collective discipline. Now it’s a matter of this eventually getting to the GA. With the cumbersome committee structure and there being in at least one committee a person who obstructs significant agenda items from reaching the GA for consideration, I worry that this may take some time. We’ll see.

A number of Tea Party members came by today and one gave a talk. There had been some thinking that maybe the Tea Party and the Occupy folks could join forces. From my friend who heard the speech I understand that people listened largely respectfully. That said, it sounded like there were significant ways in which the Tea Party people differ. I don’t have more information than that right now.

On a related note, someone pointed me to a fascinating short piece, a cautionary open letter by a Tea Party member who sympathizes with the Occupy Movement (I’m reticent to call this a movement; puts this process in a box when I believe it’s a different animal from a movement). The author points to the multiple dangers of co-optation.

I spent a good chunk of time today trying for the first time to organize over Twitter. I’m new to Twitter…had been hoping to get the word to Occupy LA to perhaps send more people down to San Diego…

Tomorrow is apparently a big day what with Occupy solidarity actions planned for local college campuses…

No matter how things turn out here in San Diego or with the Occupy Process overall, I think this experience is something that we can build on for the future. This model of a “leaderless,” self-organizing, consensus-based/process-centric, decentralized community/organization/network can and will be built and improved upon. That’s what’s important.

Moment of Zen

a glimpse of one of the police officers on duty riding down the 3rd Ave. sidewalk on a skateboard. Our circle hooted in delight!

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