Below is a proposal that (awesome activist and emeritus theology prof) Tom Keene of San Antonio has been circulating. I commented to him that it reminded me of the slogan, “See, Judge, Act,” and he explained that he first learned of the method on which this is based in 1950, as part of a Catholic Action group at a Catholic high school in Milwaukee, around the Worker Priest movement. This strikes me as a useful and interesting model for organizing. –JB
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OCCUPY WALL STREET FOLLOW-THROUGH GROUPS
We are on the move. Here is one way we all can follow through to make sure our movement continues. We can build small groups that sustain our energies and enable us to focus, strategize and multiply our actions. Here are four steps: See, Re-valuate, Act, Reflect.
One: See reality. We identify justice issues and concerns that need to be addressed here and now. We ask ourselves three questions about what we see: Who decides? Who benefits? Who pays?
Two: Re-valuate. We name the values we hold that are being violated by the injustices we see. These are the positive things we work for. What changes need to be made to see our values secured? What do we believe in that we are willing to live for, die for?
Three: Act. We do something that makes sense. We do something that gets people to think about the injustices they experience. We show people that we and they have the power to change things. We build for ourselves and others a new way of seeing reality and living it.
Four: Reflect. We consider what may have changed in ourselves and others by our action. How do our actions give us a taste of our power? How else can we help others to experience their power? In light of these changes we begin again to see, re-valuate, act and reflect.
Form a small group that meets regularly; weekly, or every two or four weeks. Let discussions be free enough to encourage spontaneity and creativity yet holding to the four steps to maintain focus and relevance. Small groups spread initiative and leadership widely within our movement.
Share the group’s ideas, plans and actions with the social network, with other groups and activists in the movement. Ask them to share with your group. Work for solidarity in the movement.
As members grow in experience and confidence we give some attention to the “spirit” in which we relate. A basketball team that has team spirit has something real that a demoralized team does not have. Sometimes this group spirit is positive, sometimes negative, constructive or destructive, usually a mix. We will want to find the right names for these forces as they become evident. Naming a force gives us some leverage in fixing or enhancing it.
Determine not just what we are against, but what we are for. We denounce what is unjust and promote what is just.
Each Follow-through group constitutes a leadership resource for our movement. Networks of these small, autonomous groups with their simultaneous, spontaneous and creative actions would be impervious to cooptation, infiltration, and distraction by corporations, as is the case with the Tea Party movement.
We are engaged in a revolution of consciousness. Together we can build a mosaic of alternative ways to structure a just society. What our movement wants is not blueprints but imagination and creativity. Given time to grow and daring to do, our revolution will realize our hope of becoming a people of liberty and justice for all.