Monday, November 7, 2011

Winter Carnival

So I have been thinking about the next steps for the movement, how to envision change and development beyond New Year's, beyond the camp.  And I keep coming back to the practical need to play to our strengths.  And strange as the situation is, in the UK we find a great strength of our movement is the fact that the Church of England is on our side.  I also come back to Vinay Guptha's (@leashless) analysis of the movement, and that the camp should disband and regroup in Spring.  I also come back to George Lakoff's idea from the US that this movement is poweful not for the individual items on an agenda of reform, but as a moral movement, as a movement that recognizes that what is moral in the markets is a question that sorely deserves our time and our attention.  And I come back to St. Paul's mandate to Ken Costa and the public interest on the financial excesses of our time.  And coming back to all of these things talking to my parents today brought about this idea;

What if some proportion of people at the camp left the camp on New Year's Day to march forward in victory to all the parts of the UK?  What if they did that in connection with and conjunction with the church?  My idea is that the Cathedrals of Britain would open their doors to a Winter Carnival, where people from the Occupation and people from the churches and synagogues and temples could meet with the local people, could get to know each other, to start to build bridges between them.  We have the same problem to solve  - economic injustice - and Ken Costa same as the Occupation essentially has a mandate to figure it out.  Why not have a tour - the people of the camp can go from place to place, or local supporters can gather, and meet with Church officials and other interested parties - not to merge the churches and the movements, but to understand an alliance.  To the Occupation ,I say that these are the people organized for social justice outside of London and are such a valuable ally. 

It could be a totally fun one day party or overnight festival at the Cathedrals - our beautiful commonwealth, our Cathedrals - in the UK.  People could make a pilgrimage, on behalf of their beliefs in the OCcupation or in the church or in whatever they believe in - it would be a chance to explore our commonality.

Let us spend the winter in a joyous festival, a party in support of what we have done, a calling out to people all over Britain.  We don't want Ed Milliband and Ken Costa and Richard Chartes to do this work in a vacuum without the input of the people, and we don't want the Occupation to stutter or slow because the old paradigms prevent its growth.

If this is a moral movement, then this movement has a place for religious people, and the social justice that religious people yearn for is something that we too should support.  We can lend our voices to each other.  I am not saying invite only the churches and imams and Occupation, I am saying invite all who will come, like the parable of the Wedding guests.  Invite everyone and see who comes.  If UK Uncut or Anonymous want to come to the carnival, give them a place, let us have a public place full of expression and discussion and new connections.  Let us spend the long dark winter learning to love the people we share this island with, and let us come back in the Spring renewed and with hope. 

This could be one part of the Finsbury Square and St Paul's Occupations going on tour this winter - January and February, perhaps, around all the Cathedrals of Britain, with their new strange bedfellows the Christians, holding parties and speaking at churches or wherever they are asked and going forth, going forth, not retreating, but making the connections that will make the 99% possible and make this change real, lasting change.    I am thinking candlelight and parties, mulled wine and vaulted ceilings, new friends and new hope.  I am thinking something that is organized by the Occupation and funded by the Church (and maybe the Universities?).  A camp out inside each of Britain's remarkable Cathedrals could be a wonderful way to spend the winter.

We have hope, we need to spread that hope, and we will have more hope the more we can bring the glad tidings to the farthest reaches of this tiny island.  Look, if I thought there was a better strategic option than asking a number of hard-bitten secularists to befriend Christians, I would be pimping that one on this insignificant blog.  But oddly enough, I don't think there is. 

There could be music and dancing.  This could be a winter where we keep hope warm and we learn of the possibility of a better world from each other.  This carnival could celebrate our sameness and respect our differences.  We could reach out to the people and see what happens.  We could stand apart and together with our allies and bring about a shockingly better world. 

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