I have been with Occupy Harrisburg from its first meeting, and I have been at the Capitol steps almost every day since October 15th, when we started our Occupation.
But I don’t carry a sign, and I’m not particularly interested in direct action; actually, I don’t even really think of this as a protest movement. A few years ago, I became fascinated with the idea of ”starving the Machine”. The concept is simple: by choosing to interact with individual people as much as possible, and treating those people like the people they are instead of seeing them as tools of the Machine, we would build on these human interactions and become a thriving, flourishing community. By not using the Machine, the Machine will quietly cease to exist, because if we don’t feed it, it can’t grow. I recognized very quickly that the Occupy movement had the same idea.
"By not using the Machine, the Machine will quietly cease to exist, because if we don’t feed it, it can’t grow."
If you pay attention to something, you give it importance. For me, Occupy Harrisburg is not so much about protesting the subjugation of the 99%; it is about ignoring it. That current system and the violence it perpetrates exist in an alternate reality that our community deems irrelevant. We are building a world where we rely on human interaction alone, and it’s pretty amazing.
Over the past weeks of our Occupation, I have slowly stopped paying attention to the mainstream media. It’s not part of my world any more — my world is the Occupy Harrisburg community. I go to the 7:00 p.m. General Assembly every day, and if I have to miss it, I can at least drop in later in the evening and know that there will be people from my community on the Capitol steps for me to connect with. We work together: as individuals, as working groups, and as a large group, using consensus to solve problems. It’s amazing.
As each city develops its own Occupation, each self-governed peacefully by consensus, each interacting with other Occupations, we are using this process to create the world we want to see in the future. We don’t need to knock down any existing structures: as more and more people become part of our world, those structures will become as irrelevant to everyone as they already are to us.
"We work together: as individuals, as working groups, and as a large group ..."
Occupy Harrisburg, like Occupy Wall Street, has no hierarchical structure. We are a group of individuals, and no one person speaks for Occupy Harrisburg. All our working groups are open to all our members. Every one of us has an opportunity to speak at every General Assembly. The common purpose that unites us is that we represent the 99% of the population that has no voice in the current system.
People ask what our ”demands” are, and I have no answer, because the question seems irrelevant. The current system demands things from all of us; as a member of Occupy Harrisburg, I have no demands.
People ask what our goals are. As a member of Occupy Harrisburg, my goal has already been achieved. I am a member of an intentional community of people. We are there because we want to be, because we believe that it’s important to be there. As individuals, each of us has a different idea of the world they’re working to create, and that’s beautiful, because we need lots of ideas. And the world we are creating is truly beautiful.
If you’re a cynic, you’re probably expecting me to break into “Kumbaya” next. I know what you’re thinking, because I have felt the same way from time to time. But ask yourself: are you happy with the way things are?
We are the 99%. Come down to the Capitol steps some evening for the 7:00 General Assembly (GA) and see for yourself how we are creating a better world, from the ground up. And be a part of it!
Author - Marie Baldys
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