My name is Sage. I am camped at Dewey Square. After serious thought, and countless conversations with many very thoughtful people, I am making the following proposal:
"Occupy Boston declares that we will decamp from Dewey Square on the Spring Equinox, the 20th of March 2012."
I expect that this will generate a lot of discussion. I have many reasons for proposing this:
- Politically, I think that it is necessary to show in good faith that the encampment on Dewey Square is indeed temporary, and not a permanent settlement extending into the future.
- We have many people with no other place to stay, and stability of place is very important for them through the Winter. By declaring a residential end date on the first day of Spring, we can negotiate a stability to our camp while we are here.
- We need to last until the Equinox, to usher in the American Spring!
- March 20th coincides with the proposed Convergence on Washington.
- We can negotiate bringing in Winter tents as a condition for declaring a residential end date.
- We are not "ceding" the ground, but "seeding" the ground -- we will go off in 1,000 directions, like dandelion seeds on the wind.
- This is not giving up. Change is part of life. This is moving on to Occupy Everywhere!
- We need a new creative protest means, and we have the Winter to think of it, to excite and get into the public consciousness with our memes of social justice!
- Spring is a great time to grow the grass!
- This may help our court case, if we have another hearing. Part of the City argument against us was that we are a potentially permanent encampment.
There are many possible amendments that could be made:
- We could tie decamping to a condition, such as the City granting us an unused space where we could create a homeless shelter by a new model, where it is run mainly by homeless and formerly homeless people, so that it has a different feeling than the standard shelters.
- We could state another condition, that we work with the Greenway on creating a sculpture park in the theme of tents, that provide a lean-to shelter where people can get out of the rain when needed, and a gazebo-type forum where people can hold public meetings on civil topics.
Schedule of meetings for this proposal
- Tuesday, 6 December 7:00 PM -- I announced this proposal on the priority proposal process at the General Assembly. I announced the meeting schedule as well.
- Wednesday, 7 December 11:00 AM -- Camp General Assembly will have a discussion section on this topic.
- Wednesday, 7 December 6:00 PM -- Meet at Gandhi statue for an hour-long open discussion meeting.
- Thursday, 8 December 7:00 PM -- I will announce this again at the General Assembly.
- Friday, 9 December 7:00 PM -- Consensus building meeting on the proposal. Meet at Gandhi statue once again.
- Sunday, 11 December 5:00 PM -- The actual proposal will be brought to General Assembly.
I hope this will be enough time and forums for the proposal to be discussed, with input from all.
- Sage (cell: 617.406.8842)
Discussion on Wiki Page
Please add discussion and comments on this proposal here, if you wish.
I didn't expect to like this, but I do. Suggestion: I know we were planning on re-planting the greenway on Earth day next year. That's over a month after we would decamp if this passes. I would like us to re-plant the greenway closer to our decampment date, and make that part of this proposal so it shows that we are truly going to put it back to how it was before we used it, if not better. Since the 20th is a Friday, we could make the next two days be days devoted to improving/re-planting the space.
- Katie S
Opponents of the encampment could bring up the argument, "Why wait until March 20th, what is the purpose of letting the encampment stay between now and then?". Since most of our opponents see no reason for the encampment as it is, and then having us announce that we are willing to leave March 20th, they will see no reason for us to stay even that long. We have declared that the purpose of our encampment is to be a symbol of protest, and that that protest would continue until sufficient change has taken place such that the protest was no longer needed. If we announce a plan to de-camp on a certain date, without having fulfilled our original stated purpose of having the camp, it really will appear that we are simply giving in to pressure - and if we are giving in, why until March 20th to give in. In short, by announcing a departure date that is unrelated to changes in government and society having taken place to the satisfaction of the 99%, we are in essence "changing our minds" about why the encampment was created in the first place - and this will give our opponents a fair argument to make when they say "If you are no longer staying 'as long as it takes to accomplish change', why stay any longer at all?".
- Roger D
^ Roger: this proposal doesn't mean we don't set up camp else where, just that we decamp at Dewey. I get what you're saying and this will certainly be brought up by someone at the discussion (I'm going to the discussion today, and will bring up these concerns). But, part of our goal of encampment has been realized: getting the conversation started is a huge f***** deal. Now we could use that and move on from there." - Katie S
^Katie: Agreed, 100%! I just wanted to bring up the point I made because I know how our opponents will view this, they WILL try to use our own words and intentions against us - guaranteed. I strongly believe that we need to "beef up" this proposal with the statement that we do not intend to "un-Occupy", but simply move elsewhere from Dewey Square (and make it very clear where it is we are moving to). Having that "elsewhere" defined before we move forward with this proposal is very important - IMHO the two must be "bundled" together as a single intention.
^If we had a solid plan as to where to go (whether DC or within the city limits of Boston) after the equinox, and indication from authorities that passing this would win us concessions, I would support this measure. However, we really do have to consider the wishes of the homeless community, especially as they may lack funds to "converge on DC"
I agree with Katie, I was really skeptical about a proposal to decamp at Dewey. However, there were a lot of great points made in the proposal which I really appreciate. I am a little concerned about the winter, however. It will be a rough winter, for sure, and although the city negotiating with us to bring in military tents is a possibility, it is not certain. They could, after all, continue preventing us from winterizing and freeze us out, endangering the health and safety of many of the people who are actually occupying. Maybe it might be worth looking into if we try and get the city to grant us that unused space to use as both a shelter and meeting space over the winter. Then, we can plan for a strong comeback in the spring when people are more likely to be outside than in the winter which would help our visibility and prove that although our camp isn’t permanent, this movement and its messages are. Needless to say if we do start up again in the spring some of our plans could revolve around community building in Boston, and more specifically plans to reconstruct and improve the Greenway, as stated above. The March equinox is a symbolic time and OB can take advantage of it by proposing some kind of huge day of action to reclaim the earth and possibly work with other environmental organizations in a tag team effort. I’m spewing out a lot of ideas and I apologize but it all comes back to my concern that trying to tough out the winter is dangerous and no one really knows how harsh the weather will be. Plus, one of our main arguments for sustaining camp was to have a space where we could be accessible and teach visitors and passerby about our messages. I doubt we will have as many people visiting camp for those reasons in the winter than we had in the fall. But when spring rolls around we will have ample opportunity to resurface and gain visibility on the streets or in a physical space if that is what is decided on. Like Roger said, it is very important to make sure we are clear about the fact that we are not “un-occupying” and grow even stronger and prove it when we re-emerge (not really because we will still be working through winter) in the spring. -Kat C.
The only sensible way to occupy anything indefinitely is to make your acts intricately woven into the fabric of its nature, so that they may be tended to over time in thoughtfully wise and enduring ways. March Fourth is a Sunday two weeks and two days before the Spring Equinox, should weather and planting conditions permit, this duration of time can be a celebration for sowing seeds of grass, tending to the Greenway, and crafting peaceful sanctuary structures, culminating in a march forth from the thoughtfully rejuvenated space on the 20th.
I applaud your initiative Sage! I have been supporting the movement in the ways within my means since its inception and evolution. To me, as a non-camper, but a weekend regular, the Spring Equinox proposal represents an actionable plan, which addresses immediate and longer-term concerns and indicates movement's progression. I have reasons to believe that the physical, logistical struggles of maintaining safe & sane encampment conditions for an "indefinite" term may dilute and weaken the strategic momentum. I believe that the initial monumental effort of a physical occupation has made an enormous impact on creating awareness and mobilizing the public, and I cannot thank the camping occupiers enough for their commitment and dedication. By definition, the movement isn't static and has room to evolve and, if necessary, move on, take on shapes and progress. I love the vision of the American Spring!
Peace to all, Vita