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Toxic Activism

Yesterday, I went down to Mission Bay to participate in Occupy Mission Bay, a group of locals from a San Diego community who wish to establish a cell in Mission Bay to provide support and a gathering place for the beach community.

I think local support cells is a great idea. It provides people with a place nearby to discuss mutual interests and issues. It provides the community with a core group
to participate with in bigger activism projects, rather than going alone.

This is a fledgling cell that will get some more attention today as we Occupy the bridge over the freeway near the Mission Bay Information Center on Clairemont Drive.

The Occupy Mission Bay movement has a lot of enthusiasm behind it. However, there are always assclowns in every group who find it necessary to mindlessly pick everything apart and tell us what’s wrong with it.

These people are toxic, and should be ignored and avoided when they’re not offering positive support and suggestions.

Here is the Occupy Mission Bay mission statement:
Occupy Mission Bay stands in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and all other satellite Occupations around the world. Its main goal is to work in conjunction, and provide support to Occupy San Diego by extending its reach to a more central location.

OMB believes that occupations do not have to be around the clock, and wishes to increase its chances of success and longevity by working within the confines of city laws and ordinances.

Any individuals wishing to push the limits of civil disobedience in order to make a statement about social and economic injustice will be honored and accepted by OMB, but not protected. Risking arrest is after all an individual’s choice.

OMB wishes to create an atmosphere of orderly, respectful, and peaceful opposition to the status quo, and find a working solution with the city without provoking the authorities. A setting that allows people of all ages, genders, races and social background to feel safe and welcomed, to learn and be involved in this great cause.”

Pretty clear, isn’t it? And yet, somebody has missed the point, but not the opportunity to toss a wet blanket over the whole thing. Toddynho_squiggle responds:

Hmmm… To me it seems to reject (or come very close to rejecting) some of the core tenets and features of the movement. The “more central location” part seems upside-down. As was written in an editorial I read in The Nation, I think we have succeeded in transforming the political landscape in just a few weeks precisely BECAUSE we refused to abide by their UNCONSTITUTIONAL restriction on CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS and their selectively-enforced and arbitrarily construed interpretations of city codes and ordinances. We have hardly “pushed the limits of civil disobedience” – we have barely begun to explore them. It sounds like what’s being advocated here is civil OBEDIENCE. This movement was founded taking specific cues from Egypt and elsewhere, and from the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s. I think that a Mission statement worded in this way structurally and implicitly undermines #OSD. And it falsely represents us as provoking the authorities rather than the authorities trying to provoke us and committing criminal assaults. It also implies that individuals who have in fact COMPLIED with laws and ordinances have committed disobedience when in fact THEY WERE FALSELY ARRESTED. And the location is exclusionary with respect to disability and social class.

Let’s look at the Mission Statement and compare it to its interpretation by ‘Toddynho,’ shall we?

“To me it seems to reject (or come very close to rejecting) some of the core tenets and features of the movement. ”
Negative

“The “more central location” part seems upside-down. ”
Negative, ignores this point: “Its main goal is to work in conjunction, and provide support to Occupy San Diego by extending its reach to a more central location.” Perhaps this could have been worded more clearly, but the point
is this: we extend the influence of OSD by establishing peripheral cells consisting of neighborhoods who wish
to support the Occupation. We’re not trying to relocate the movement, but provide peripheral support and influence
and inform the neighborhoods.

“…think that a Mission statement worded in this way structurally and implicitly undermines #OSD.”
Negative. Writer clearly doesn’t understand the purpose behind neighborhood Occupation cells, and seems too
eager to impose his negative influence on our fledgling cell. Mission Bay Park is not downtown. It has a
different community, different cops, and is not going to wind up full of dome tents. THAT would undermine
the central movement. Establishing a group for additional support undermines nothing. Nitpicking and bawwing
like a Negative Nelly undermines morale.

“And it falsely represents us as provoking the authorities rather than the authorities trying to provoke us and committing criminal assaults. It also implies that individuals who have in fact COMPLIED with laws and ordinances have committed disobedience when in fact THEY WERE FALSELY ARRESTED.”

I’m sorry, but exactly where in the mission statement does it say that? Here’s what it DOES say, “Any individuals wishing to push the limits of civil disobedience in order to make a statement about social and economic injustice will be honored and accepted by OMB, but not protected. Risking arrest is after all an individual’s choice. OMB wishes to create an atmosphere of orderly, respectful, and peaceful opposition to the status quo, and find a working solution with the city without provoking the authorities.”

Whoever you are, there’s a great career waiting for you over at Fox News, where you can apply your skills at ignoring fact and interpreting reality to further the cause of the 1%.

Because I am here to tell you, BUDdy. You are negative. You tear down our statement and offer NOTHING positive.
I’ve seen your kind in action before.
At club meetings, you’re the jerk who won’t shut up until he bullies people into agreeing.
At policy meetings, you’re the one who insists that your way is the only way, and you will waste everybody’s time
arguing for hours about stuff that is really pretty meaningless.

Forty years of dealing with humans in groups have taught me a lot about human nature. You are one of the insistant,
persistent nay-sayers that plague such groups. You are inflexible, trying to force chaos into a framework of the
familiar.

The new activism owes a lot to Anonymous for its tactics. We are fast, fluid and quick to adapt. We use social
media, forums, IRC and Usenet to maintain communications. (something the Occupy movement could benefit from)
This isn’t the sixties, and I am not your ‘comrade in arms.’ Anonymous spawns groups to handle issues by simply
attracting people who wish to focus on them.

Anonymous would call shenanigans on you, call you a leaderfag and a bawwbaby. Instead of whining about what you
thing is wrong with this thing the 92110 is doing (because we’re not doing it YOUR WAY) and work to offer something positive.

We don’t need your negativity. If you don’t want to help, get the hell out of our way.

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About xenubarb

Barbara Graham has been a falconer, karate instructor and a Vietnamese liguist in the Army. She is a hang glider pilot and instructor, has worked as a video game animator, motorcycle messenger and sportfishing boat cook; getting in hours of quality big-game fishing in between hamburgers. Following surgery for a torn rotator cuff, due in part to repetitive casting and hauling in big fish, she has turned to writing to pass the time until it heals well enough to take up and master paragliding. Her hobbies include motorcycling, deep sea fishing, and exposing the lies and fraud of the "church" of Scientology. She won the San Diego Book Award for 'best unpublished short story'in 2006.

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