How Will the Walls Come Tumbling Down> Diversity of Tactics vs Nonviolence in the Occupy Movement.
Video> Dialogue> Occupy Oakland Nonviolence vs Diversity of Tactics
Editor’s Note: The video posted here is of the dialogue between the panelists after they have given their individual presentations. Links to the individual presentations—all are worth listening to—are included below, as well as a link to the full program.
Questions such as, What is violence? What does “diversity of tactics” mean? Why it is important to continue the discussion of strategies and tactics? Who is the enemy? People vs. systems. What is nonviolence? are discussed. Each panelist is an experienced activist who has participated in actions both in and outside the Occupy movement. Some, due to age, have more experience than others, but all have insightful things to say about the Occupy movement. Panelists include a minister who participated in the civil rights movement and continues his activism, Starhawk (global justice), a nonviolence trainer, a human rights advocate, anarchists, and Josh Shepherd from Iraq Veterans Against the War (friend of Scott Olsen).
[December 15th] in Oakland, the Decolonize/Occupy Oakland Events Committee held an event called “How Will the Walls Come Tumbling Down: Diversity of Tactics vs Nonviolence in the Occupy Movement.” I was humbled to have been on the panel along with people I have a great amount of respect for, some who I just met and some who I have looked up to for many years.
This event was organized so those who advocate for nonviolence and those who advocate for diversity of tactics can come together, learn more about each others perspectives, and try to figure out how we can continue to work with each other. Close to 400 people spent the night in respectful dialogue, trying to strengthen our movement by strengthening relationship with each other.
The evening started with each of the panelists spending a few minutes talking about nonviolence and diversity of tactics. The video above is of the two “sides” asking question of the “other side.” Below are links to each speaker’s opening statements (each about 7 minutes long). To view the entire event from start to finish, click HERE.
Josh Shepherd– Iraq Veterans Against War, Navy veteran and activist
Kazu Haga (me) – Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, Peace Development Fund & Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice
Matthew Edwards – Anarchist Organizer, Conscientious Objector, PhD student in the History of Consciousness
Melissa Merin – Flagrant supporter of Human Rights on the left, shameless anti-authoritarian, teacher and organizer
Paolo – Anarchist Organizer and Occupy Oakland participant
Rev. Phil Lawson – Methodist Minister, justice advocate & civil rights activist
Sean O’Brien – Anarchist Organizer, The Holdout, UA in the Bay, Environmental organizing and DASW
Starhawk – Global justice activist, global trainer, and organizer, and award winning author of 12 books.
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It was a good night with good dialogue, and one that is critical for this movement. We may have some disagreements, but we have so much more in common than we have in differences. We want the same things, we have the same goals. The struggle for our movement right now is not how to put pressure on the 1%, but how we unite the 99%. If we can continue to build despite our differences, if we can figure out how to work together, we will be that much closer to our goal.
This work is important. It is critical. Let’s not rush ourselves and make decisions in haste at the expense of process. Let’s not focus entirely on actions and ignore the hard work of making those actions successful. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that this will happen overnight, or that we can do it without real, genuine relationships – with the community at large and within the movement itself.