The Time Has Come for Occupy Dallas to Get Organized ... and Maybe Some Plumbing
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.
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.
Photo by Chris Howell
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.