Just Vs. Strategic

It is no surprise to most that right now Occupy Phoenix is experiencing more inner-turmoil then we have in the past. I feel that a number of people in this movement could describe this time in our organizing as us cannibalizing ourselves. I feel one major contributing factor is us being stir-crazy not having much worth-while to engage ourselves with.

One camp says we need to persevere and keep using the tactics we presently use, and they site the positive things that are changing to reflect the efficiency of our tactics. While an opposing camp feels we are not being proactive and radical enough, and we could quickly be abolished by the powers that be if the present legislation such as the NDAA and Anti-Demonstration Act gets passed into law.

What I also notice is the glaring difference in personal opinions when they relate to tactics and how we should move forward. I have sat (mostly) on the side-lines of the whole Diversity of Tactics Vs. Strict Non-violence debate, and in doing so I feel I have noticed a common theme between the dialogue on both sides. I fear my attempts at expressing the miscommunication has fallen short from clearing things up for those on either side of the debate.

One of the things I find most striking is how I feel others have dubbed me as a pacifist, and someone lacking a radical bone in my body. I find this to be very ironic, as if I were to truly express how far I would be willing to go for this movement and the future generations, those claiming to be the most “radical” would probably shutter.

I feel I do understand where the miscommunication regarding my preferred strategic techniques could easily dub me as a pacifist and at most a reformist. That is because I have more commonly encouraged us to follow a path of civil disobedience for OPHX to stay in line with the general flow of the OWS movement, because I do not feel it would be strategically sound for us to start throwing fists or molotovs at the present moment. Emphasis on “at the present moment”.

I wish to bring to light that I am a massive supporter of the Deep Green Resistance movement, and own and read materials by those that heavily advocate for such “radical” forms of resistance.


Here is one book I highly recommend each and every person concerned about the future should read:

Deep Green Resistance

One of the things emphasized in depth within the book sited above, is the concept of “Just Vs. Strategic”. Which in essence is the process of asking vital questions about tactics which truly should be considered before doing anything radical. Asking this question is far from a non-confrontational or pacifistic in nature. It is simply sound logic if you truly want to be effective with a tactic intended to bring about positive change for all living species.

In this book the example is given for assassination. Clearly this is not a tactic we are discussing at present, thus I will change the example to fit our present situation better.

Let’s say a proposal is put out for us to defend ourselves any time we are being wrongfully arrested. Yes it is true that police brutality and economic slavery is unjust, and it would be simple self-defense (just) to bite back. However the question needs to be asked of if it would be strategic or not to do so. This is not the end of the discussion however, as after asking the crucial question of Just vs. Strategic the group must then find a more fitting alternative.

Please take a moment and view the visual aid provided in this write-up for a clearer picture of who an answer to questions of tactics can be answered. Clearly the discussion should be held in a private venue with all members of the collective involved with a horizontal decision making process. (Visual aid duplicated from the one indicated on page 407 of Deep Green Resistance, Seven Stories Press).

Would punching a corporate lacky that is being unnecessarily rough with an unconstitutional arrest be just? You are damn right! However, when placed into the context of us being a mass-movement build on consensus decision making, it might not be the most strategic for the individual being arrested to strike a cop. Remember, “The whole world is watching!”Individuals that decide to strike a cop represent the whole movement, and making an action like that will set a president and image for all of us as a collective movement. Biting back most certainly has it’s place, but if we can not master our own emotions during pivotal moments how on earth are we to steer the world toward a more peaceful and mindful future?

However if the movement as a collective decides this is a good tactic for our movement to bring in new membership, then I would support their decision. I would hope a dialogue about Justice vs. Strategy can take place however, as I feel that violent tactics should almost always be last resorts. On the opposite hand, we must keep in mind that we are running out of time. Which again is why Just Vs. Strategic needs to be assessed carefully before attaching certain tactics to this movement when moving forward.

I stand my by assertion that multiple tactics are necessary, and more radical action is very much so needed. However I do not feel that right now would not be the time for us to start lashing out. If and only if we want to bring about a peaceful revolution, which I acknowledge is increasingly becoming an impossibility. However as things continue to change, we should all be flexible enough to consider different tactics.

Regardless we should all encourage individuals to create their own collective, and implement whatever strategies they feel are necessary. We do not always have to be waving the “OCCUPY” flag to work towards the same ends. Use a little creativity and form your own entity with your own views on Just vs. strategic to forge forward. If you make a compelling argument and your actions are well-received, you may find the OWS movement following suit.

Master yourself, set the example, and persevere.

To do anything less further distracts us from the work we have ahead of ourselves.


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