Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Mixed Bag

Members of Occupy Nashville once again demonstrate their resilience in the face of outside attempts to make their occupation difficult if not impossible.  As of Friday, they are now self sufficient for their energy needs on Legislative Plaza.  After having their sole electrical outlet padlocked earlier this week by inspectors, they have purchased more deep cycle marine batteries and replaced an inverter box so they can generate their own power.  Facilities are set up both on plaza and off site for recharging and a donated solar panel is being utilized as well.  There is still a need for more deep cycle marine batteries, solar panels, or anything else that can be used to produce power.  If you're able to help, donations can be dropped off at the plaza, or you can donate through the Occupy Nashville site. 

Friday evening on the plaza also brought some much needed relief from the stress of daily occupation with a visit and short concert from entertainer Blair Bodine.  Her performance was streamed and enjoyed by those online as well as those on plaza.  Bodine not only shared her musical gifts with us, she was warm and personable in her support for the movement and the people who are part of it.  She's promised to be back again to visit Occupy Nashville and to also be a part at a later date of the This Occupied Life weekly radio show that's an adjunct of Occupy Nashville on 107.1 WRFN.

It was immediately after Bodine's visit that GA began and that was streamed too.  Or, it was until the stream team person who was manning the equipment jumped up to cut the feed when somebody started to speak about something that he apparently didn't want broadcast to an audience, never mind that it was happening in a public meeting in a public place as part of what's supposed to be an open and transparent democratic process.  There followed a period of time in which there was no explanation from the ground about why the feed was cut and some speculation in chat about it.  Unfortunately, discussion of that was squelched and the chat room was later informed by the streamer who had yanked the feed that "we have folks internally that want to cause strife."  That may or may not be the case.  However, as long as every time there's an opinion expressed that's counter to the prevailing one or to the one being pushed by whoever's "in charge" at the moment in this leaderless movement, it's shut down and labeled as "drama" or "strife" or in some other way automatically dismissed as out of hand, Occupy Nashville will continue to have to defend itself from charges that it operates from a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do place.  When something like this can still happen in the midst of all the criticism about heavy handedness on the part of the stream team, it really does give one pause to wonder about what's next for this movement.

What's next for this movement is exactly what will be on the agenda for discussion at the plaza this morning at 10 a.m.  As Occupy locations across the country have been evicted and had to regroup in response to that and to harsh winter weather, there is much to be discussed about the value of encampment and the other ways in which the over all movement can potentially operate.  If you want to be a part of the solution, please make plans to get to this meeting.  The plan is for there to be time for a break before the General Assembly convenes at 1 pm.

(Photo taken at an Occupy Nashville rally in October.)