A team of us from the Peace, Freedom and Prosperity Movement had a great opportunity last night to get out and talk to participants in the Occupy Raleigh movement.
Our goal was to educate while supporting the movement, discussing our beliefs as essential identical to theirs. However, as Voluntaryists, we hold one differing principle: No government involvement.
We spoke to a variety of participants from across the political spectrum. Most admitted that while the concepts of Voluntaryism and anarcho-capitalism were new to them, they agreed that people should be allowed to govern themselves and live without coercion. We also spoke to a few different types of anarchists, who were also supportive. Interestingly, this negates the assertion on OR’s Twitter that “this is not an anarchist movement”.
The Status of Occupy Raleigh
The movement was denied an extended permit and, from on-ground participant reports, is now allowed sidewalk space by the Capitol. It is not allowed to move past the sidewalk gates onto Capitol property (even though this property is public, and we witnessed a wedding photo shoot and a zombie flash mob. Apparently those are fine). Most of the participants we talked to had been in the space on a daily basis, with some staying nights. There are daily General Assembly meetings. Attendees have been assembling supplies into the space for increased safety, including food/water, sleeping bags and pillows.
Examples of Social Media’s Role in the Movement
I spoke with several participants who were actively involved. When I asked how they first got started or what the best mode of communication within the group is, they each pointed to Twitter as the primary source. The OR Twitter account includes three different posters, Tweeting multiple times per hour. OR also employs a Facebook page (about 15 posts within the last hour as I type this), blog, discussion page, and wiki in its efforts to connect interested volunteers with its cause. Overall, interaction of this type is expected and encouraged; participants even created hashtags and Twitter handles with sidewalk chalk in their space.
We look forward to joining OR as is feasible, and appreciate their support from last night. Some event suggestions have included teach-ins, already happening in the @OccupyColleges movement. Stay tuned for more.