Creating new autonomous community zones is necessary for the survival of the movement. We must project our vision of a just world onto the blank paving stones of public parks and into the silent hallways of abandoned schools. Our priorities have shifted; now it is time to shift our communities—to turn our collective imaginary into a collective reality. We must occupy, regardless of the mass of unknowns and fears that might be tied into the act of liberation.

Interviews or articles about Occupy Wall Street eventually lead to one question: “What does a just world look like?” We need only to look at Liberty Square, or at any people’s occupation from around the world, for an answer. Although these sites are microcosms, they are nevertheless worlds where we aspire to achieve mutual aid and solidarity, autonomy and horizontality.

The overarching belief seems to be, however, that a just world is a world without conflict, and that the occupations are too chaotic to embody the world we work towards. This stumbling block is a dehumanizing sentiment that stunts our ongoing critique of how we interact with one another and confront the baggage carried over from generations of oppression. We are not as concerned with utopia as we are with justice, meaning that we as occupiers do not avoid confrontation. On the contrary, the greatest distinction between our community and the society around us is that we approach conflict with revolutionary priorities.

A world is built and propelled by aspiration and priority—the universals that define who we are as a collective and what values shape our lives and communities. We at the square have adopted priorities of community, empathy, reconciliation, and empowerment, intent on keeping the collective ability in balance with individual need. This does not mean that the world we are creating is perfect, or that perfection is something we aspire to. A world without centralized rule does not mean a world without conflict; a world without hierarchy does not mean a world without power. It means a world where we all become powerful, as individuals and as a collective.

Occupiers are faced with the call to champion individual empowerment as necessary for collective functioning. There are no police. There is no state, no law, and no jail to turn to within the occupy community. There is only individual responsibility and accountability, with a counterweight of faith in the process of mutual aid. The empowering sense that we are all connected though commonality of work and all forms of survival—be they physical, mental, or spiritual—is embedded in our processes and our search for alternatives. We both illuminate and embody the obsolescence of the police and the state when we harness our skills to solve community issues and needs.

The state and the police have been presented to us as necessary, bolstered by the absurd idea that people themselves are not equipped to solve their own problems.Through authority we have been cast into perpetual dependence and infantile immobilization. Eventually, we are forced to accept violent repression of mind and body for a false sense of order. We occupy because we refuse to conflate stability with subjugation and oppression. A stable world is not necessarily a just world. The 1% warns against criticism and interference with a free market, promising that de-regulation will give us a stable economy. Tyranny is stable. Dictators rise on the promise of constancy and the security of permanence.

At the square, everyone is empowered to become mediators, to ask about each others’ needs and boundaries, to communicate honestly, and to learn to accept conflict as possible points of community construction. Some may perceive this as chaos. But they should look closer, for we are rebuilding ourselves by building a community based on liberty. Real liberty—which means trust in the individual in direct contact with the unknown—is a liberty that gives us a chance to define ourselves in conjunction with those around us rather than in opposition to others. As a great anarchist thinker, Voltairine de Cleyre, once wrote, “Liberty and experiment alone can determine the best forms of society.”

The chaos of experimentation breeds new possibilities. Occupiers must allow themselves the possibility of positive internal conflict in order for the experiment to grow. To deny this struggle is to deny ourselves the ability to directly construct a just world; it is to flatten our complex humanity. The Occupy Movement is an experiment, but the worst possible mistake would be to let that word detract from our legitimacy and validity as a revolutionary moment.

Creating new autonomous community zones is necessary for the survival of the movement. We must project our vision of a just world onto the blank paving stones of public parks and into the silent hallways of abandoned schools. Our priorities have shifted; now it is time to shift our communities—to turn our collective imaginary into a collective reality. We must occupy, regardless of the mass of unknowns and fears that might be tied into the act of liberation.

And if liberation scares you, if you are a member of the 1% or a representative of the state, then you are right to fear us. Our collective liberation rejects the authority you have stolen from the people. We reject your oppressive stability in favor of our chaotic liberty fueled by self-empowerment and self-determination. We will be solving our own problems while you, who have solved none of them, become obsolete. Now it is about human creativity and the power of action.

All power to the imagination. Occupy Everywhere.

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