Response to Bernie Glassman's Huffington Post Article
- I read Bernie Glassman's piece with interest -- thanks for sharing, Will. I do feel the teaching of not creating an "other" is very needed and important. I feel that by participating in Occupy Wall Street I facilitate efforts to not create an "other." In "other" words, not participating in OWS is actually the passive acceptance of the creation of an "other" in our society -- a marginalized underclass which is disenfranchised and abused. The interesting heart of the matter is how to engage with rigid and lifeless corporatist mindsets, counteracting those mindsets and opening minds, without creating an "other." As Blake wrote in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, "Opposition is true Friendship."
Roshi Glassman's other point concerning the very heavy historical (and current) overtones of the word "occupy" is well taken. However, if we consign the word "occupy" to the oblivion of non-usage, if we ban it from the "progressive" lexicon because of its colonialist and imperialist colorations, how can we redeem this word? If we do not redeem this word "occupy" by reinvigorating it through a grass roots democratic, community based movement, we create of it an "other." Repurposing a word that has such a troubled political and military history into the name of a movement that has awakened so many is the perfect antidote to that word's history. It is no different than how we, with all our historical dark matter, so heavily laden from beginningless time, repurpose ourselves through this practice.
And by engaging actively with those people in the OWS movement who do want to see an "other," we can bring our practice to bear on this problematic separation which is, if you think about it, a quite paradoxical response to society's creation of an "other" which led to OWS being started. We can help OWS not to follow the path that caused OWS to create itself in the first place. So let's all occupy!