Watercooler: Crossroads

6:00 pm in Watercooler by Kit OConnell

Hi, y’all.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a global movement, connected “cells” all over North America and the world, communicating using modern technologies like social media and livestreaming.

It seems that when Occupy struggles, its problems are just as global. In recent weeks I’ve seen articles that startled me with how well they spoke to the local situation at Occupy Austin, while describing the movement as a whole at the same time.

One of those was Arun Gupta’s What happened to the Occupy movement? So today I was pleasantly surprised to see it highlighted by Adbusters as half of a Point / Counterpoint on the State of the Revolution. I’ve seen some hesitation about Adbusters among occupiers, some of whom lump them in with groups like MoveOn who seek to influence the movement while remaining separate from it. In this instance, though, they seem to have touched on a common feeling.

While occupations like Chicago seem incredibly vital, and the growing spread of the Casseroles is injecting fresh energy into some city’s activists, here on the ground the conversation is very much as described by the Canadian magazine. Some are abandoning the Occupy banner and moving into other activist communities while others are still doing hard, effective work within this particular movement. Talk of a physical reoccupation comes and goes here in Austin, with many supporting it while others just as keen on talking us out of it. Meanwhile, I was recently told of a guerrilla Occupy-inspired encampment somewhere in the city, where some of those who used to sleep on city hall steps now keep tents and have political discussions.

I feel like whatever its future, Occupy has put a new shape of activism in the 21st-century, and also shown some of the flaws of that form. For myself, I plan to go where I can find action — because that’s what activists do, right?

This is tonight’s open thread. What’s on your mind?