The Time Has Come for Occupy Dallas to Get Organized ... and Maybe Some Plumbing

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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OK. Uncle. I give. And it wasn't the public urination. I do that all the time.

Three things made me decide it's probably time for Occupy Dallas to de-occupy. First: allegations that a minor was sexually assaulted in one of the tents the Occupiers have pitched according to their agreement with City Hall.

Second: the story about the homeless couple raising their child in one of the tents the occupiers have erected as per their deal with City Hall.

Third: the fact that they even have a deal with City Hall.

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Photo by Chris Howell
None of this is good. There may even be a strange kind of sheltered middle class naïveté in it. Downtown Dallas, like urban centers everywhere in America, is occupied by people barely surviving in life and death battles with mental and physical illness, addiction, hunger and over-exposure. You probably can't wade into that environment, set up a bunch of REI camping equipment, stock yourself with sandwiches and fruit smoothies and not expect a certain chaos.

And having the mayor, city council and city manager as your joint landlord is even worse. It's why some of those homeless people have decided they'd rather live in a box.
It's time for Occupy to grow up and organize. It came to me Monday when I was talking to Peter Lesser, a lawyer, about the arrests over the weekend at an Occupy demonstration downtown. He mentioned that he represents labor unions, and they always call him before they do a demonstration. If anybody gets busted, they want to make sure they have a lawyer on call to go get them out.

It's called organization.

I think the Occupy movement across the country has fallen into a kind of co-existence with more formally organized entities such as Move On and other liberal public policy groups. I'm sure someone in his or her wisdom has decided it's better to allow Occupy to kind of float out there on the periphery of the zeitgeist in a semi-disassociated form, rather than rein it in and try to teach it to march. I assume the hope is that it will ignite larger forces and energies within the body politic. I know that has been my hope for it.

But there comes a time when a lack of focus and organization can devolve into entropy, and I think what's going on here is a decent example. Especially in a place like downtown, where there's no such thing as free floating. Mere physical presence is friction.

Occupy Dallas is going to incur as many consequences from sitting around eating peanut-butter sandwiches as they would doing a sit-in at a bank.

It's time to pick and choose battles. Get a hierarchy. Rent an office. Recruit some people, kick some people out. Only do things that further the cause.

This was all about awakening, and it was absolutely wonderful. Now it's time to go to work. Don't go to war for your campsite. Go to war for your country.

What else? What other brilliant advice do I have? Oh, yeah. Get a toilet. They're amazing. Go for basic white.



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23 comments
TracyClinton
TracyClinton

In the face of all the often cheap, lazy criticism from commenters, the OD people are racking up wins every day. You're talking about what the institutional problems are and thinking about constructive action, even if it's couched in criticism of the OD protests. If it was a discrete group of 30 ken and barbies with polite signs that marched between noon and 1:00pm, chances are most people would be completely ignoring them and spending more of their day discussing the Rangers or celebrity divorces.

The Occupy movement isn't as pretty as we'd like, but neither is the business of governance, or capitalism, or married life (or single life), or maintaining law & order. Demonstrations are supposed to engender anger, pity, and joy from the observers. Duh.

BTS
BTS

In this day of social media I don't see the need to campout and all the problems that brings.The protesters could just a easy plan protests online at home then meet at the planned protest site. This seemed to work for the Arab Spring. I will give the protesters their due, they have brought plenty of attention to corruption in our capitalist system.

Albert
Albert

At least the Dallas occupiers aren't the subject of the constant stream of videos coming oiut of Oakland, Boston, DC and NYC that make this movement look like a bunch of complete assholes.

BTW, as it stands now, your odds of surviving a night in an occupy tent are lower than if you were you a soldier in Iraq.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Yes!!Fold up the tents. Send the kids and the dogs home. Get rid of the masks. This is too serious to fritter away in a hippie camporee.    

Occupyyourdreams
Occupyyourdreams

Occupy (insert) is a lot like the basement in That 70s Show.  It's funny, and smells a little funny.  You can smoke some pot and free think there once in awhile when the master isn't looking.  It's a place most people grow out of.  It's a place that is, ultimately, firmly under the control of your betters, who may turn a loving, knowing blind eye.  It's designed for dreams and memories you'll have a few years later.  It's a recipe for its own defeat, although defeat is too strong a word.

NealK
NealK

I expect that within the week, we will see a cholera outbreak in at least one of the Occupy tent cities, possibly in Dallas.  It's just something that happens when people sleep where they shit.

DBCOOPA
DBCOOPA

Also, I am a proponent of demanding a behavior norm. If one more person misquotes the first amendment to me I'm going to hulk.

DBCOOPA
DBCOOPA

We have an off-site office and kitchen. If you think you can write 1,500 words in a tent near city hall in an appropriate amount of time, forget it. The quality of food has signifiantly increased as well... sometimes we even eat it.

V from deepellumonair.com recenlty joined the protest group as an organizer. I heard they led a very peaceful demonstration last night. Everyone was wearing shirts and shoes and no one was yelling. Their signs were apparently on point with the anti-bail-out bank message and engagements with the locals went well.

And now to plug my own blog: http://occupydallas.org/financ... 

Max from the Sandspit
Max from the Sandspit

Hi Jim- Just learned a wonderful new word, Ineptocracy. Look it up in the Urban Dictionary, you'll love it.

ThaDude
ThaDude

Ummm...Occupy Dallas has had lawyers representing them from the start, Jimbo. The arrestees from last weekend were detained because DPD was conducting "an investigation into whether or not those arrested had incited a riot" or some nonsense like that. I believe that was reported in Ye Olde Dallas Observer, as well.

Phelps
Phelps

I should have known Jim has a problem with missing the toilets.

(rimshot)

Replay
Replay

Boy, Max Yasgur is probably rolling in his grave.

Cheshyre
Cheshyre

Time to grow up? How so? So the tail can wag the dog? So the protesters can fix the country for us? So a tiny percentage can instill integrity into the great masses? Now that's a joke - and the viewpoint of someone who needs growing up.

There's no law that says you have to be an asshole or to sit on your couch and accept every lie  told to you or to wallow in fear of change. The protesters are already doing their part. If they are ignored or marginalized that's on the greater whole of society, just as the liberal democrats of 1917 Russia were ignored. They did their part and are on the right side of history.

If we as a country want to keep our eyes shut as to what is happening and why, that's not because the Occupy movement is not getting organized enough - or doesn't have a fucking toilet. It's because that is our choice. Don't put your responsibilty off on others. It's each person's job not to be part of the problem, but the idea that someone can do that for you is sheer folly.

JS
JS

Calling the ODers a "little social experiment" gives them too much credit.

Phelps
Phelps

Blog commenters are not normal people.  (Sorry, but it's true.)  Most people are completely ignoring them.

Paul
Paul

If some group misinterprets the 1st amendment again, I definitely will hurl as my own expression of free speech ...

Crap Detector
Crap Detector

You're going to turn green and become several sizes larger with an anger management problem? Or did you mean "I'm going to hurl."

Paul
Paul

Would this be related to an idiocracy?

NextYearInAl-Quds
NextYearInAl-Quds

"They did their part and are on the right side of history."You mean the side of history that murdered 50 million human beings? The side of history that deliberately starved an entire geographic region, murdering millions of men, women, and children in the name of political orthodoxy? The side of history that sent millions more to their deaths in labor camps in Siberia? That right side of history? 

That's like an anti-Semite, anti-Wall Street protestor claiming that the Nazi's were right after all because the Zionists control the Fed and all the big investment banks and Israel deserves to be eras..oh, wait that's you guys too. 

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I wonder (honestly) how many of the protestors/campers/occupiers voted in the last school board election.

It seems to me there is no point protesting or occupying if you aren't going to make the most minimum effort to effect the governing systems in our society by voting in the most local of all elections--the school board.

How many school board meetings have they occupied?How many run-down, thug-ridden campuses have they protested?

Many of us are NOT keeping our eyes shut as to what is happening. We just can't vote out the corrupt by ourselves.

DBCOOPA
DBCOOPA

If you are interested in doing a teach-in to educate people on some of these issues or organizing one of our protest teams to go to one of these areas, we would without a doubt be more than happy to accomidate you. If you want help canvasing neighborhoods, we can help. Please email me at occupyops@gmail.com.

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