#GrowOccupy – Why Occupy Will Never Be Co-opted

New York Subway

There has been a great deal of talk in the Occupy movement around the fear of co-optation. The latest round of debate has been around the 99% Spring movement. Adbusters has sounded the alarm with the cry “#DefendOccupy.” The basic premise of the current debate is whether MoveOn.org is a bogeyman that is stealing the ideas of Occupy for its own ends, which some claim are as a “front group” for the democratic party.

In reality, the 99% Spring movement is a coalition of 60 different grass roots groups, one of which was Move On, none of whom are claiming leadership. The impetus, which aims at training 100,000 people in direct action techniques, certainly draws inspiration from Occupy, and explicitly uses the 99% terminology that Occupy popularized.

For me fear mongering on the part of Adbusters and others is simply that – fear. Division. Separation. And harkens back to very old fashioned elitist energy that I have encountered in movements throughout my experience as an activist.

It makes me a little sad. We need to grow the spirit of Occupy, not divide it into ideological factions. It’s a meme, and to try to “protect it” is hypocritical – one of the ideas behind Occupy is the spirit of open source.

No one owns Occupy. So everyone owns it. You can’t have it both ways – either it is an organization, which needs to copyright itself, or it is true to it’s principle. Open, shared, available to all. Or at least, the 99%. Which we at Occupy Love expand to the 100%.

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