Posted 5 years ago on Nov. 4, 2011, 1:04 p.m. EST by JonoLith
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
The Occupy Movement has stated that it is Non-Violent. While this has remained overwhelmingly true, there is, undeniably, a violent element that is using OWS as a place to hide. Smashed windows, paint on buildings, and even horrifically violent stories of rape are coming out of the encampments.
The truth of it is that once any kind of violent element emerges from the movement, the movement ceases to be about stopping corruption and greed and becomes a movement about stopping violence. This simply must be the case. People will look at the violence within our movement and point to it in order to damn us. Therefore, when violence happens from the movement, we must pause and deal with it before we do anything else.
What this means is that there must be an expectation of self enforcement. We have little difficulty standing in front of a police barricade and shouting “Shame Shame Shame” to Police officers who overstep their bounds, and abuse their power. What we haven’t come to realize is that we too have power that we can abuse, and some of us do abuse that power.
The moment a person engages in a violent act, they are no longer part of the movement. They are part of the problem. Even more then that, they are the most important problem. If you have gathered in order to protest a banking institution, or a government official, that protest ceases and you should begin protesting against their violent act, instantly. You should be accepting that the protest is capable of changing in this regard, as internal violence is even more dangerous then external violence.
If you see someone spraying paint on the side of a building, you should stop and begin crying “Shame Shame Shame” at them. Whip out those video cameras. Condemn their Violence. Do not allow them to hide in our numbers.
Go even farther. Give the videos of the individuals who do violence to the Police. Report the violence to the media outlets directly. Show those institutions how hard we are working to destroy violence internally. Build a trust between yourselves and those who enforce and report on these things.
Go even farther. Publicly condemn all violence done by your movement, and by others to your movement. This should be topic one in all General Assemblies; to create a statement that you can give to all media outlets condemning the violence done. This should be done every single time a violent act happens that is even remotely connected to the movement. We must show the world that we are entirely intolerant of violence, in all forms. We must show the world that we are more then willing to work with them in order to shine a light on our own internal violence.
Go Even Farther. Set up a working group to educate people about what Non-Violence is. Create a Library filled with works that show Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Make us the primary source of Non-Violent Education.
This movement cannot become perceived as a violent movement. That should be the number one goal, before anything else. Violence is catalyzing and shocking. We need to respond to it with equal fervour, while remaining entirely Non-Violent. We must be able to stand our ground and say to those who detract “We have worked hard with Police Officials and Media outlets to destroy our own violence. We have released statement after statement condemning each individual act of violence. We have turned violent offenders over to Police Officials, and made those people known to all. What more would you like?”
If we are to say we are Non-Violent, we must fight to prove it.