Sunday, October 23, 2011

Last Night At The Revolution...

Oh man.

Well. It got kinda intense. Again. When the GA was hijacked. Again. Internal dissension this time, not a featured speaker, over something that was never entirely clear, though I get a real strong sense of what the issue was.

It has to do, mostly, with the way things have been run at OccupySacramento, not organized, run. The general idea of autonomous self organization by committee/working group has been mostly doing well with a glitch here and there primarily due to lack of or mis- communication, the kind of thing that is typical for most newly hatched Revolutions.

But these autonomous self-organized committees/working groups can become outposts of ego, and when ego trumps everything else, watch out.

One explosion after another has been the result, as various interests collide, go into furious battle with one another, and their battles royal hijack everything else.

Last night, those facilitating the GA knew something was up, but not what form it would take. Soon enough, we all found out. The GA was hijacked right at the outset by four or five members of a committee who were fricking furious, their anger -- we found out later -- having marinated overnight after their plea to... those who run this show... fell on deaf ears. They took their issue to the GA, demanding what exactly nobody quite knew, but they wanted to be heard and for their anger to be validated. Anger at the "lack of transparency." At being brushed aside. At being... forgotten?

It was quite something. As more and more interests joined the fray, the lead facilitator for the General Assembly tried his best to broker a deal between the warring factions -- he tried everything he could think of -- and then, when nothing worked, he tried to call for a 5 minute break to let the temperature cool down a bit and maybe let people discuss the issue on the side. "No break! We want action NOW!" But on what? Another half-hour was spent negotiating a 5 minute break, and then everybody broke into affinity groups or listened to more of the complaints or defenses, insults, screaming, and on and on, while the rest of us discussed how, really, it is better this is happening now rather than three weeks from now, and you know, this is what happens when so many conflicted people get together, but don't quite gel.

In fact, during the next couple of hours (the GA never resumed), whole new alignments of people emerged, and there was a good deal of "jelling" of common interest and affinity. It was remarkable. People who had only nodded to one another if that got to know each other and found, if not life-friends, at least others with whom they could associate proudly. Ad hoc spontaneous work groups were formed to pursue all kinds of previously neglected aspects of the Occupation. Love was in the air, as one of the fellows who comes to the Revolution in his tie dye went around the tumult with his sign reading "Love here. Hugs free!" On the other side: "Free Therapy, Inquire within." A fellow who had been watching the scene on the Livestream raced down to the Plaza from his home to see how he could help get things back on track.

Dinner was served.

I have no idea whether those screaming the loudest last night got what they wanted, but those of us who saw the other side of this coin were just amazed. There is a really deep, fairly broad level of not simply interest but outright skill available from people who say they can let go enough to just "let it happen" and let it grow "organically," and not let incidents like last night's or the previous several nights derail the whole thing.

I was laughing ruefully at one point. There were several mediators on hand, professionals in the field, and not one intervened. And it's good they didn't. It's too soon to get over the pain, the anger, the betrayal so many people feel so deep in their souls they don't even know where it's located any more.

No, that anger is from the Heavens.

As soon as it is directed at the right targets... I don't think you want to be in the way!

Staying sane in the midst of it isn't easy. But neither is Revolution. I've mentioned similar scenes in Austin, and I saw something not unlike last night's events taking place in Richmond on their first day of Occupation. Then I was reminded of David Graeber's observations about what it was like at the very beginning for Occupy Wall Street.

We're doin' good. And we're right on schedule.

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