by Cilla Sluga
Spring brings forth buds; the rebirth of mother earth lifts our spirits. Summer celebrates the sun, showing off the full flowering of beautiful blossoms. But growth, real natural growth, happens now, under gray skies, bare trees, brown grasses and shriveled shrubbery.
It is happening hidden from view, under the earth. In the Fall, sap retreats from the branches. It heads down deep into the earth to the roots and goes to work growing the tree. Right now, fed by the sap, the roots are pushing outward and downward creating a more firm foundation for the tree. Without this process, the tree would be uprooted in the Spring with top heavy growth.
I have used this metaphor before to describe the ebb and flow that organizations go through and personal growth as one grows older. It is apt in so many instances. Most recently, I have been thinking of the issue of Winter and the Occupy Movement.
The bureaucrats and police may be doing us a favor by breaking up camps, denying permits, and forcing the movement to “Winter” our discontent. We should not squander the opportunity.
At Occupy Springfield, IL.(OSI), we are offering Teach-ins through our so-called “OSI University.” They are not for us alone but are open to the community. So far we have had Teach-ins on Conviction of the Innocent and How the Legal System Perpetuates Inequality. Future Teach-ins include topics that include Revolution and Insurrection, Conflict Resolution, Radical Therapy, Revolt and Occupy, Women and Genders Studies, the Israel-Palestine conflict, Illinois Election Process and Law, and more.
We have moved outside the confines of our small encampment. We discovered “freedom chalk”; an outrageously fun water-soluble sidewalk chalk; and we learned how to make it rather than buy it. It is the medium and public sidewalks our free speech canvas to carry the message of the 99%.
Our movement is connecting with activists and activist organizations. We are home-schooling ourselves about how to get an ID card if you are homeless, and other ways to help the homeless in our community (a topic for another blog, later), researching city ordinances, finding free, accessible, and Occupy-friendly businesses to meet inside. We are “occupying” our City Council meetings and OUR house, the Illinois State Capitol, in incredibly creative ways.
The OSI People’s Library is growing, and people are using it for their personal growth and education. Knowledge is power, and we are becoming very powerful. Our root system is moving the earth under our feet to create a firmer foundation. It is impressive growth for a three month old movement. We are a sapling on steroids, and we encourage all other movements to take up the same line of growth.
And, winter has yet to officially arrive!