Tips for Socialists for Engaging with Your Local Occupy

Here are some great suggestions for ways to directly engage with your local Occupy movement from a comrade who has been participating with Occupy Las Vegas, which is currently a permitted encampment protest with about 20 tents and 40-100 participants at any given time. He’s
been a part of the group, participating in general assembly meetings and
sleeping in a tent, but still going to work during the day.

Here are his ideas for socialist participation:

  1. Make LEFT signs: We used dumpstered cardboard and cheap paint to
    make about 50 signs for the last march with slogans like “class war/
    end capitalism before it ends las vegas”, “Occupy Wall St not Palestine”,
    “We can’t afford billionaires”, “They took our houses, let’s take their
    power”, etc. Our signs were the only ones that were explicitly
    anti-capitalist and they were well received. Many people took them
    and used them in the march. This is a quick and easy way to shift
    messaging to the left.

  2. Stock the people’s libraries: A common feature of the camps are
    library booths or tents. We printed off some classics — The Communist
    Manifesto, The Mass Strike by Rosa Luxemberg, etc.; some resources on
    anti-oppression strategies, some random radical stuff like the
    Zapatista declarations and Left Turn articles. The local news
    reported on the alarming presence of the Communist Manifesto at the
    camp!

  3. Bridge occupations and organizations for joint protests: This one
    is harder and takes organizing on both sides, but it looks like many
    cities have had successful joint actions with unions and community
    organizations. We are working on that here as well. There are some people
    pushing back against the idea of “unions co-opting the movement,” but most are open
    to collaboration.

  4. One-on-one political conversations: The occupy protests here have
    drawn in youth looking for new political ideas. Its a great chance to
    be out in FRSO/OSCL T shirts making friends and talking politics.

Importantly, he highlights that because of the presence and occassional Occupy participation of
with the Ron Paul/libertarian types, among other problematic elements, it is particularly critical
for us to be engaging in this emerging political space, and well worth our time to struggle within Occupy spaces
with these elements to push them out and win people over.

The threats these backward elements comprise include:

  • Putting 9/11 conspiracy theory messaging into actions;
  • Drawing white youth into right-wing politics;
  • Working against alliance with unions and left orgs;
  • Working against anti-oppression analysis and practice.

We would be interested to hear thoughts about how to counter their
influence and deal with the fact that they are participating in these
meetings and actions. Have successes, tips or stories to share? Please send them to frsooscl@gmail.com!

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