Tom Atlee: Sources of the Occupy Movement Part II

Tom Atlee

Sources of the Occupy Movement: Part Two


Let's take a look at the influence of activist arts and video game culture – and the novel idea that fun and social change are a marriage made in heaven.

One of the trademark characteristics of Occupy is an out-of-the-box, creatively courageous exuberance. The 60s had some of that and there have been flashes of it since, but the Occupy has stood high on the shoulders of its predecessors and taken exuberance and courageous creativity a giant next step, making it a life-affirming leaven for their outrage and a key element in their broad appeal. How can we be light-hearted and serious at the same time? Just look at their signs! Here are three collections (with some obviously popular overlaps)….

These folks are ALIVE!

Check out the articles below…




Occupy LAAAAAA: Artists in SolidarityInterview with Elana Mann


[Much] criticism of the Occupy movement comes from the clashing of staid historical scripts of protest and the current improvisation that is happening on the ground right now. Folks seem to be looking toward each other rather than the political agendas of those already in power. …. The Occupy movement is improvising new relationships to uncertainty and power… The scripts of how past protests operated (particularly protests from the 60s/70s) are clouding people’s minds for how protest should function and operate now…. I am so glad that the members of the Occupy movement try to listen to the people next to them instead of the demands of the media or the politicians…. I see the current improvisational thrust of Occupy to be moving around consciousness-raising on a national and international level, an attempt at deeply listen to the concerns of people who have been silenced for a long time.

My desire is that the improvisational practice of freedom within the Occupy movement continues to grow and expand beyond the confines of the protest. This improvisational way of living creates further flexibilities and responsibilities to change rather than fixed states driven by fear. Echoing this sentiment, artist and mediator Dorit Cypis wrote so beautifully in a recent Facebook post: “So right. Occupy has no one site. Occupy has become a state of mind that we each must take on and spread through individual and collective daily actions. Protest the ‘empire’ while self-witnessing how we each may be colluding in small ways. Live reciprocity and generosity. Listen empathically and choose when to take decisive action to enliven ‘a brave new world’.” Through improvisation, maybe we will discover a way toward a more equal, functional, and just future.

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