Occupy LSX: not an anticapitalist protest, more like a murmuration

As long as we are a protest, we are defined by what we protest against.  We need not limit our imagination and boundaries in that way.  We need not let our anger sap our energy and cloud our judgment.  The General Assembly has agreed we are a movement, not a protest.  Yes, of course, anger at injustice brought us to the camp.  Watching the livestream of the students and the intimidation by the police, believe me, I felt it too.  But rage is not enough.  Rage cannot sustain us.  Rage might be in the DNA of this movement, but it is just that, DNA, the motivating blueprint, but not the plan.  The embodiment, the literal making a body from this DNA requires love and patience, love and patience to the person sitting next to you, to your co-worker, to your mailman, to yourself.

We are more like a murmuration of starlings, sweeping through the sky in arcs of unimaginable beauty, not planned by any one person, but acting and reacting not to any leader or any direction, but simply flying with the starlings around us. 


Starlings move based on what the starling next to them is doing, and humans do the same thing. We must be moved by one another for something good to happen.  We cannot keep doing what we have always been doing and expect these other people at the camp to fix things.  We must be moved. 

We are not anticapitalist, we are pro justice.  We are pro earth.  We are pro human.  We are asking questions and looking for answers.  We know where we see injustice and we know where we see suffering, but we do not know everything.  Nor need we know everything to stand up for goodness. We do not have to understand derivative transactions to count ourselves in the Occupation.   We are transparent, accountable and democratic and we believe the system we have is broken.  How on earth could anyone disagree with that?  The majority of criticism I read in the press simply ignores these fundamental tenets and instead chooses ad hominem attacks really so infantile that they do not merit a response. 

How I see it, no one is in or out of the Occupy movement because they buy a latte from Starbucks, or because they have a job, or because they don't have a job.  They are not in or out because they sleep in a tent in London, or they don't sleep in a tent.    We are radically inclusive.  I am sitting downstairs in my pyjamas while my two kids sleep in their rooms.  Yes, middle class.  And in Cambridge.  Smug central!  Yet I am in. 

And all are welcome, all people.  No institution is trustworthy, no way of thinking is sacrosanct, no person should be excluded  We want everyone - landowners, conservatives, stakeholders in the financial system, shareholders, directors.  At least, I want everyone and I think we should want everyone.   We want ideas and we don't really care where they come from.  An idea, as Anonymous shows us, should be judged on its merit, not on the speaker. 

We need everyone because we need all ideas.  We don't know exactly what this is yet and what it is becoming and what will happen next.  People ask me every day how it is going and I have to say that this is not a product launch.  It is not a jury trial.  It is not a movie premiere or an IPO.  It is not something that has happened before, there is not really a metric for phenomenal social change in the technology age. So I don't know how it's going.  We probably won't have a clear answer on that for twenty years.   Yes, the women of Greenham common, the indignatos, the anti-nuke protesters, these are in our DNA too, but make no mistake,  they don't have all the answers either, and they/we don't have a plan.  I am not saying that these people are not brave and heroic.  I am saying that this is bigger than Greenham common.  It's bigger than Windscale.  It's bigger than Selma, already, and we have just begun.  It is history being made. 

And you are my nearby starlings.


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