By Brian Douglas
The second General Assembly at The LOOM gallery had about 14-16 participants throughout the evening. Each week, a different member volunteers to lead a teach-in or skillshare on a topic they have studied. This week’s was led by Nicole , and built upon last week’s discussion of Gentrification. She brought in the book “Urban Fortunes” by John R. Logan and Harvey L. Molotch and we each took a turn reading a paragraph and then discussing what was read with the group. Click here to view the livestream archive of that discussion.
Following that discussion, I proposed that we go around the room and each talk about our individual reasons for supporting OWS, and what we hope our local group will become. As I’m on vacation most of this week, I don’t have time to recap the whole thing, but the livestream has been archived for review here.
There is one takeaway from the discussion that I’d like to write about briefly, and it came from a friendly interchange between two very different occupiers. The woman who spoke after me in the circle said that she was concerned that OWS wasn’t aligning itself strongly enough on specific issues and wanted to see more tangible accomplishments. There was a lot of agreement in the room to that statement, including from myself. Later in the circle, we came to David, a self-described longtime activist and anarchist, who addressed this concern directly by reminding all of us that 14-20 total strangers getting together on a regular basis in their community to talk about all the troubling issues facing our country is a tangible accomplishment in and of itself. I couldn’t agree more.
Granted, it’s going to take a lot more than just talking to bring about real change, but we’re still less than 6 months into this movement’s inception. There’s an awful lot of talking that still has to occur before we can hope to act in the interests of the 99%. Local, ongoing General Assemblies like Bushwick’s will be an essential element to any major actions aimed at reforming or reimagining our system.
The next Bushwick General Assembly will be at 7pm at Brooklyn Fireproof. We will have another book-driven discussion, this time led by Alex. We will be reading from the book “Direct Action: An Ethnography” by David Graeber. You can download an excerpt of the book here if you’d like to come to the meeting primed to discuss and debate.