By Guest Contributor Yvonne Yen Liu, cross-posted from Mobilizing Ideas
Marshall Ganz calls Occupy a moment, but we have a history and a future. My generation, in North America, was birthed over 12 years ago, in the streets of Seattle, when trade unionists joined with anarchists to disrupt the workings of global capital, well, in this case, the meeting of a major player, the World Trade Organization. We refused to accept capitalism as a natural way of ordering our social world; “Another World is Possible” was a popular slogan. We manifested alternatives in organizing our collective refusal. Instead of relying on institutions created under capitalism, we created our own clinics, schools, decision-making bodies, and media outlets. Some of which have formalized into counter-institutions that exist today. The global network of independent media centers and community health centers, like the Common Ground clinic in New Orleans, started after Hurricane Katrina, are our legacy.
The Millennials may find inspiration when their peer, 26-year old Mohamed Bouazizi, educated yet unable to find a good job, self-immolated himself on the steps of the Tunisian governor’s office, sparking the uprisings of the Arab Spring. Or, when 24-year old Bradley Manning, in a fit of frustration with military bureaucracy and the war abroad, uploaded confidential documents onto the Wikileaks website. What is the future of the Occupy movement? Approximately a half-year in and many camps have been violently evicted from the land on which they pitched their tents. Many of us spent this late fall awake in an overnight vigil to defend a camp or recovering from being pepper sprayed by cops when trying to setup a new one. At the time of writing this, only Occupy D.C. remains intact. But, that is not the end of Occupy.