Two things happened tonight concerning the “Last Night Was Awesome” leaflet that both ended up being really affirming, and as I hear more and more stories about how badly things are going in some other cities it seems worth sharing.
The short of it is: some people at the General Assembly this morning were upset about certain things at the march last night (it’s unclear whether or not they were on it), particularly the “Burn the Banks!” chant. It’s okay they were upset with it and it’s fine they brought that up but what they tried to do next definitely wasn’t. They apparently tried to propose that there be a policy put in place to not allow certain kinds of phrases, expressions and ideas to be used in general. The group considered it censorship and didn’t go for it, but it seems like in other cities that groups are going for it or that conversation isn’t even being allowed to happen in the first place. People are just taking charge and presenting their own ideas as givens and not allowing them to be debated.
Fast forward to the evening when the leaflets are being distributed: to our face we only got positive feedback. Lots of “It was awesome!” but maybe a dozen times individuals sought us out to thank us for writing it and that they were really into it – how the hell often does that happen when you’re leafleting? If nothing else, this occupation will have helped us meet like twenty new comrades (if not much more!)
But then we heard that the leaflet was upsetting some of the same people that were upset earlier. It seems like they got even more defensive, were possibly trying to get another proposal put together with even more restrictive measures in, etc. But luckily the communication committee continued to stress the leaderless principle of the occupation, and instead of accepting the proposed additional power of being able to label things appropriate or not, they drafted a proposal that encourages anyone to make and distribute literature.
Occupy St. Louis is made up of many different people with many different beliefs. We support a free and open space that promotes dialogue. All flyers and language are welcome but do not represent any official language or statement from Occupy St. Louis.
Perhaps it could be helpful for comrades in other cities dealing with control and censorship issues to point to another occupation’s agreement.
In other news, 800 people visited the site today – it’s the second day of its existence. I don’t know much about blogs, but that seems pretty impressive. I mean, a little less than every two minutes someone new was checking this site out.
Also, come down tomorrow night to check out a screening of “V for Vendetta” at 9pm.