Compassion and Contradictions
Among the audiences and players, many don't support the goals of Occupy. I think it is tremendously useful to do two very separate exercises: to look for reasons why you should like some people who are today your opponents and find areas where you agree, and to look for contradictions within their movements.
For the first, finding areas of compassion and agreement, if you can say something nice, say it! For many of us it's both about being true, and in the future I want to help create people would be very slow to see political opponents as "the enemy," and at least go through the exercise of finding every way that they are not. But even if you're here to fight a political war, we sometimes declare people the enemy who aren't.
==> There are people who say there is no enemy and we should love everyone. I think this can sometimes confuse the hell out of us, and we need to realize this is a dangerous path, it can lead to acquiescence in the face of evil unless it is done with mindfulness, and this leads to a movement full of bickering about subtleties. But there is a milder step that is both very good for us, for participants -- because protests movements where you spend your time yelling at opponents can be dangerous to the mental health of participants -- and powerful rather than skirting on debilitating. That is to look for places where you do see decency in your political opponents, and take a few deep breaths and run through it as an exercise. Progressives all believe in doing this before we go to war.
For the second, there are certainly people looking for contradictions within Occupy and intending to rip us apart using them. Some of us want to love them all and not call anyone enemies. There certainly are some of these people are making a decision to leave families homeless in order to profit people who get rich with financial shenanigans, off the labors of others. Let's try to heal our divisions and find theirs.
If you can say something nice, say it! It's a great exercise.
What are the key contradictions?
I think a key point of compassion and humility, a truth that progressives need to meditate on rather than wish away, is that the demographics opposing us
Contradictions: there is a giant, three-way split between the folks who are fearful, angry, predisposed to listen to authority but give lots to charity and look out for their neighbors, the authoritarian-style leaders who run on charisma and manipulation, and the elites who follow the money.
Authoritarian-mindset folks tend to want to see themselves as normal. This is part of the danger of Fox, which makes fuming anger "normal." But it can be countered, and in fact often is. Step back and look at the issue from a scale of just a few years, and gay marriage is steamrolling Fox. When we make our case to the ordinary, tv-watching middle of America, Republicans included, we can move "normal" and transform society's attitudes and then laws.
Issue by issue. If we can find a way to start working with the Tea Party people, with the honest Tea Party factions, against key power points of the elites, like unlimited corporate funding. We should play up our ideas in their language, look for agreement. Two of our biggest problems are corporate funding of politicians, and "too big to fail" which replaces competition and consequences (conservative concepts).
Question: How would you feel if the Tea Party grassroots declared competition a major goal, said that all these companies should be competing instead of forming anti-competitive near-monopolies, and then with progressive help laws were passed encouraging competition? Do we need "Occupy" victories? (I think this is a complex question worth exploring from many angles, not a simple yes/no.)