Sunday, November 13, 2011

Birth Pains

Apologies to readers not at hand or interested so deeply in Colorado Springs's silly affairs.

Last night , it appears more cops were called in to arrest or press charges against one of our own, Jack Semple, by one of our own, the identity of which latter individual seems muddled to some extent. It's simple enough to determine that Jason W.  and Kristie W. are the only individuals that have any sort of legitimacy, however dubious, for cop-calling, but we all know from experience that the cops possess a grasp of nuances like this one below a genuinely operable threshold. Some have been bandying about terms like "tyranny," "hater'" and other such inflammations. I'll note that, though Jack and Jason will serve as specific personifications for this piece, others have made alignments according to the differences described. More than one observer has noted the inanity of all this, both from here in Colorado Springs, and from afar.  Holy mackerel.

Our unique, permitted status has presented problems left to fate at other Occupy locations. Jack Semple has, no doubt, insisted on performing behaviors of at least somewhat scurrilous foundation. To the best of my knowledge, no "rules," or even "guidelines" have been adopted by the overall group "Occupy Colorado Springs," which i must insist on noting to be separate by definition if not in spirit from "Occupy Colorado Springs," the permitted entity. Last Thursday, (9 Nov), a rather large and representative group of us agreed to adjust wording in our set of rules to reflect their nature as guidelines. Neither rules nor guidelines have been accepted by any consensus, to my knowledge. Jason has proffered the notion that other groups are more stringent in enforcement actions than ours has been, though no set of guidelines for either enforcement or encouragement have been adopted. Most of the sets of guidelines i have been able to dredge up from other sites online have been heavy on terms like"respect," and "mindfulness." Jason's assertions that "the group" reached a consensus on the permit are unfounded, which i know because i myself with others in agreement objected to the permit on the grounds that the law it was meant to skirt is bad in the first place. There was and remains a group of like opinion in opposition to supporters of the permit--a predictable scenario, in light of the hasty disregard for consensus building at the start.

Jack has, in fact, "pushed the envelope" in his approaches both in GAs and in independent action, as have other group members, including at times, me. Jason has also pushed envelopes, and though his responsibility is unclear at certain points, he has it seems signed tickets and pressed charges in the two incidents involving mavericks in "his" tents. No small number of OCS participants have observed the detrimental effect of the behavior of both Jack and Jason. Jack has stubbornly insisted on proceeding without consensus, and given the leaderless, undefined nature of Occupy! worldwide and here, no real authority exists to prevent his behavior. Jason has stubbornly insisted on proceeding without consensus, and given the leaderless, undefined nature of Occupy! worldwide and here, no real authority exists to prevent his behavior. Hmm.

Jack has proceeded from his insistence on peace and love to his own occupation of places and resources to which his claim is at best undecided. There exist legitimate questions concerning what belongs to whom on our street corner, and it seems to me Jack's self-installation as the Robin Hood of Acacia Park has been a detriment to his own stated motivation. At the same time, Jason's insistence on a rather dictatorial approach based on his status as permitted signatory is at odds with the consensus model in general, and the overall spirit of Occupy!

Other than vituperative ad hominem attacks between both parties and their adherents, hardly communicative of either loving or peaceful sentiment, very few of the actual issues have been addressed. It must be granted that Raven, yet another aggressively expressive player in this little conflict, has the backing of fact in that those few consensus agreements to have been adopted have been soundly ignored by Jason, who must be named personally in this given that his name at the top of the permit and that he has apparently issued questionable edicts and instructions to "security" people. Some bits of definition have remained untouched to our detriment, for example, the fact that the tents in question were demonstrably in place well prior to the magical creation of the permitted entity, "Occupy Colorado Springs" by the City's placing that name on the permit. Another example is Jason's admonition to some complaining against his actions to come participate in the securing of the site. I can speak only for myself on this, but even though i have regularly helped build, supply, secure, clean, etc, i have not signed a waiver, so my welcome is in some ways disingenuous, leaving me to believe "permission" to enter tents is a matter of fiat. I'd love to spend regular nights at the Park, but as much as i've promised to do so, i've been stymied by the fact that it becomes necessary to abandon sleep entirely and pace the sidewalk all night, with no option for relief. I've found the prospect more detrimental to motivation than i'd initially imagined.

With or without this foundational uncertainty, it's clear that the permit, or at least its handling in our group, has been the focus of a great deal of friction, as may well have been anticipated. The permit can be a good thing if utilized correctly. It allows us, for the time being, to Occupy the corner without fear of pepper gas wielding police bulldozing the site with their spiffy new urban assault vehicles we all know they simply must find some justification for owning. It's also been the source of an authoritarianism bearing an awfully clear resemblance to at least one strong aspect of the problems that brought Occupiers to the streets in the first place. It's also clear that the one truly solid consensus--to avoid calling cops in non-violent scenarios--has been ignored. There seems to be a lack of awareness of the fact that chair-swinging wrasslin' moves and police action are no more prone to building consensus than impulsive disruption of group thought processes. The permit itself may well be a casualty of insistence on bad behavior from each quarter.

I simply can't believe we in CSprings are the only Occupy outpost wrestling with these very fundamental matters, even if we have an unusual factor in the mix, especially with the introduction of a "security" guy from out of town crowing about his own tent-slashing escapades.

None of this will kill the Occupy Movement. We all seem to be in agreement that our time for ignoring the issues that brought us together has come to an end. The abrupt gathering of millions--no shit--of disgruntled citizens across the entire planet is an expression of the expiration of patience over an unjust, unkind,  and self-servingly dictatorial status quo. A renewal of perseverance and, yes, patience while we learn to manage some very intractable problems with our common natures is necessary if we are to avoid actual bloodshed in this existentially unavoidable conflict. We'll learn this, or we'll die.

Practically speaking, no amount of voting or  "telling" will solve the problems at hand. To an extent, events are proceeding in a predictable fashion. I suggest we consider with grave lucidity what a consensus process really is, and learn to abide by those few clear points of consensus at which we've come to agreement. Some discussion of broadening the list of permit-holders took place at the Thursday GA. If the permit holders in place are too burdened by liability to allow themselves to be governed by consensus, this question should be examined in detail, with consideration for alternatives. If the permit represents its own final word, then it seems unlikely consensus is attainable, and it will likely become a moot issue when it disappears, which will occur on our present course. If permit holders insist on arbitrary decision-making based on the dictates of the permit, we must recognize the equally sovereign nature of  OCS (Permitted) in juxtaposition with OCS the leaderless movement gathered in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. That is to say, if consensus is ignored, it is done so on an individual basis, and the permitted OCS separates itself from the Movement to the extent to which it is able. We're still forced by the fact that we have no choice but to learn to cooperate. In the meantime, let us not neglect the many deeply compelling reasons for being together, or the various projects our self-identified membership have undertaken, particularly internal educational projects which appear especially crucial.

Nothing about this is going to be simple. We will not be solving the problems of the World in a couple of weeks from our Acacia Park vantage. These issues represent the selfsame internally conflicted bits of human nature that have caused us to develop the drastically and fatally flawed social constructs we have come together to oppose. Breathe deep, kids. Learn to love Jack Temple and his half-cocked impulses while he learns how to manifest peace and love without starting a fight. Learn to love Jason Warf, C.J., and Rick the Tent-Slasher as they learn whatever it is they're learning. Learn to love even me as i continually throw thought-wrenches in the cogs. Turn your most critical eye inward, because as i well know of myself, the only way to change the world is to enlighten ourselves to our own flaws and start right there.

Or stock up on bullets. You can find me standing in the Light without any if they start to fly.

A start at the notion of consensus-building:
A couple sets of Occupy guidelines:

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