Occupy Santa Fe Woes

After my attendance of our most recent GA, I kinda realized I was having trouble. In two full months now of involvement with the Occupy movement, I have not yet been able to express my concerns and contribute positively to the shaping of a still amorphous agglomeration of individuals in to an effective group of activists.

Yes, about 8 weeks ago I was able to influence the route of Occupy Santa Fe's march away from a narrow downtown street where it likely would have obstructed local business and created ill will, to a more visible path along a major flow of traffic through town. But as regards such obvious things of prime importance such as a good working, practical on-line presence, nope, no can do. No matter my posts on our various sites, no matter my mention to individual folks, no go. The Media working group concerned itself with big plans for video and radio transmissions, but seems to neglect the actual trouble with a smattering of sites: Facebook group and - page and - working group sites, plus additional two (no, not one, but two) sites for campers (with barely a post related to camp.) Then there is a rarely used website in existence that features working group sites not updated most in over a month, e-mail lists with their round robin plethora of e-mails ad absurdum and most recently a new yahoo group. These are only the sites I know of, there likely are more. All this makes efforts of organization cumbersome and dysfunctional and leaves newcomers at a loss of where to go for  their information and contributions. Why a central site is not a priority is beyond me. Why an updated agenda is not a priority is beyond me too. Why easy access to sites with capability of interaction is not encouraged, so as to create notices of events and to make efforts to let people know about plans and to inform about the progress of working groups is way beyond me.

Is it burn out already? My god-dess, we got a long road ahead of us if we are committed to the work of real change, rather then small change. I have been suckered in to what is called a Facilitation Work Group. The idea is to create templates to serve as basis for efficient facilitation of General Assemblies (GA) as well as training manuals for facilitators. The desire was to follow, but not imitate Occupy Wall Street procedures so as to serve our much smaller community. The benefit of trained facilitation has been obvious at every GA where such were amiss. Trouble is we got bogged down in minutia that I am afraid will stifle, rather then further the process of decision making in General Assemblies.

Odd that while I am normally shy and avoid the lime light, I have felt inspired, involved and committed with Occupy Santa Fe from the get-go. So facilitation seemed like  an arena I might be of use. I can be impartial, I have professional training to stay in an observer role and I have skills to follow process. I wish though I had better leading skills. I seem unable to really get my ideas across effectively and that is very frustrating to me. I guess it is my learning edge. I hope over time I will do better.

To my mind regular marches, preferably after lunch when families would be free to join in, would have kept us visible in the public eye. Instead we got buried in a part of our public park frequented mainly by transients and homeless folks. Others drive by, maybe notice the camp and at best wonder why. The Native American transient populace seemed to have laid claim to the real estate now occupied. They would get drunk and then belligerent and in this way would exhaust the campers in a seeming endless struggle to preserve their safe boundaries, their peace of mind and their sleep.

Of course my Cancer nature would find other means, more immediate ones, of being of service. I scored a whole chicken at the Farmers Market and made it in to chicken soup, my first one from scratch from a whole bird. (Reaching in to that bird to retrieve the innards was not as scary as I had imagined.) I  brought the steaming hot pot over to camp by 9 p.m. for something warm to eat during the cold night. I did got rave reviews and that felt very rewarding. But I also have brought over a pot of rice and lentils that then I had to discover hidden away, uneaten by the next day, what a turn off. Someone had made the decision that pancakes did not go well with brown rice. The whole pot with warm ready to eat food, made in part with vegetables from the adjacent community garden gone to waste, not to talk of the energy it had taken to make it.
 While these and similar struggles have been going on at Occupation sites across the globe and while many sites have been forcefully terminated, the spirit of resistance only will grow stronger forced underground. While for now less in the public eye, much does happen in working groups and there is no doubt a deep commitment for real change (rather then small change) by many fed up individuals.
An idea whose time has come can not be ignored. 
But the growing pains are many.

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