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Occupy, Five Years On: What the Movement Demands From Each of Us

That we work to defeat and to overthrow the rule of the 1% (and the 0.1%) over our lives, our society, and our world;

That we devote our lives to ending the oppression, domination, and exploitation of people both near and far;

That we defend what remains of public space and the public sector against neoliberal attempts to privatize or destroy it;

That we stand up for the freedom of speech and assembly, of dissent and public protest, as rights which no law-maker can revoke;

That we work for social equality: the radical redistribution of wealth, the transformation and/or abolition of oppressive institutions, the dismantling of unaccountable hierarchies, and the thorough democratization of society;

That we aspire towards egalitarianism in our own movement and in our own lives, seeking to build others up as equals, not to subordinate them as tools or inferiors;

That we seek to unite the many against the few, behind an inspiring vision of global human emancipation;

That we work to expose, to challenge, and to shut down wars abroad and militarism at home, along with the imperial and fascistic apparatus that makes them possible;

That we devote ourselves to exposing, and to resisting the ravages of a toxic ecocidal  capitalism before it poisons the climate to the point of rendering wide swaths of our planet unlivable;

That we work to expose, oppose, and defeat racism, homophobia, sexism and other reactionary and oppressive ideologies and practices wherever they rear their ugly heads;

That we seek to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless across our world;

That we help to inspire courage, trust, and solidarity amongst those who have been beaten down by the current system, to turn our collective weakness into strength;

That we work to expose the farcical nature of our 1%-dominated, so-called “democracy,” even as we may utilize what is left of this state apparatus to tactically leverage the needs of our movement;

That we hold accountable those individuals and institutions that have produced and profited from the current crisis, at the expense of the people.

That we reject all 1%-er attempts to scapegoat the vulnerable and to blame the victims for their oppression;

That we approach with suspicion and skepticism those representatives of existing 1% power structures that seek to co-opt our movement, even as we are constantly on the lookout for friends and allies in unexpected places;

That we put the greater good of the people and the movement ahead of our personal interests, even as we recognize that only through such a movement can our individual talents be fully realized, and vice versa;

That we keep our commitments and promises to one another;

That we are honest and accountable in our interactions whenever we are representing the movement;

That we work each day to help raise consciousness (inside and outside the movement) about the world situation–for this is a global struggle;

That we inform ourselves about the current dangers and crises facing our society and our planet, and that we seek to understand not only the news and the facts, but the fundamental forces driving the situation forward, and the future trajectories these forces imply;

That we seek to cultivate a tactical flexibility and creativity that can adapt to the shifting situation;

That we develop a long-term, nationally coordinated strategy for actually building the movement that we want to create, for actually achieving the changes we want to see;

That we cultivate an honest and humble self-critical attitude in evaluating the successes and failures, the strengths and weaknesses of our movement, its theories and its practices; that we are willing to alter our theories and practices in light of evidence and reflections we gather;

That we seek to become citizens of the world, not just of any single city or nation;

That we sink roots in our local communities, in our workplaces, neighborhoods, schools, families, and other institutions, becoming attentive students of others’ lives, as well as supportive allies, and where appropriate, leaders of local struggles;

That we are kind and patient with one another in the movement, working to understand deeply even those with whom we disagree, knowing that those who may be wrong on nine issues may teach us something valuable concerning the tenth;

That we demonstrate courage as well as wisdom in the face of threats we face;

That we seek to cultivate the fullest humanity in ourselves and in others alike;

That we work creatively and tirelessly to bring into being a society that is worthy of human beings;

That we commit to the long haul, as the fight ahead is sure to be as extended as its outcome remains uncertain.

That we sustain one another in this great collective endeavor, cherishing each thinking, fighting spirit in these dark times.

This article originally appeared in CounterPunch in June 2012.

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Joseph G. Ramsey is an activist and writer living in Boston. He is a contributing editor at Red Wedge, a co-editor at Cultural Logic: an electronic journal of Marxist theory and practice, and a contributing board member at Socialism and Democracy.

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