After a whole weekend spent "strategizing" with Occupy Missoula, we not only couldn't begin turning the ship, we couldn't even agree on how to re-arrange the deck chairs.
Those in this town with a sincere, compassionate desire to "fix the world" too often turn out to be those with the least developed knowledge or understanding of political-economy. And then there's the just plain crazies. Reaching consensus on anything meaningful with liberals, conservatives, radicals, undecideds and mystics is actually impossible.
So I'm not sure the whole Occupy/consensus/ anarchist model is the right one for our current historical moment. It may have too much anti-globalization-World social Forum nostalgia and a certain sixties sentimentality. Those progressives who participated in the Community Bill of Rights workshop a couple weeks ago were a much more sophisticated, educated bunch and there is little cross- over. There were one or two from the Transition Town study groups but it is difficult to discern any real movement in either of those two efforts either. Meanwhile, Nike will come out with it's new Occupy Runner in time for Chicago's festivities.
The problem of course, is confusion about capitalism. Those still hoping to reform it are virtually paralyzed, neutered and out-maneuvered at every juncture. Obama's latest pipeline jujitsu is the perfect case in point. NGO's sprout like crocuses in spring (let a thousand NGO's blossom!) but by the time they have finished their first fund-raising drive, capital has already developed a new way to co-opt them.The educated liberal"green" academics packing the Barry Lopez reading were a perfect example.
The only serious proposal was one by a young climate change activist and it never got discussed or acted on but I think I will hitch my wagon to that cause. I doubt that he or his student colleagues have a radical critique but maybe after they get bashed around a bit they will come to understand the Real issue behind the real one. Coal is just a symbol of capitalism's imperative to poison it's host for profit. Our attempt to question it's logic will not be tolerated by liberals, conservatives, democrats or republicans. We will be hated by workers and bosses, the Chamber of Commerce and unions. It'll be perfect.