So when Occupy started, he says, "I really felt like I couldn't not be involved in it." He attended a General Assembly, connected with the "Education and Empowerment" group, which was "very diverse and eclectic," he recalls, "and lots of things came out of that intersection."
One of them was the concept that became Occupy Theory. "The idea was basically that a lot of people are writing about the movement but we needed to have a place where we ourselves could have that discussion."
The group's primary project is the free magazine Tidal (www.tidalmag.org), which is collectively edited, produced and, often, written. "There is no radical action without radical thought," Mirzoeff emphasizes, and Tidal is meant as a space for discussing movement-generated theory and practice. "Tidal understands that we are engaged in the early stages of an anti-capitalist struggle," declares the magazine's website. "Our immediately role is to"transform existing power structures."
The first issue was distributed just after Occupy's eviction from Zuccotti, and there have been three issues since. Themes have included the role and future of Occupy, the big 2012 New York May Day event, the Strike Debt campaign, and cities--"what we call learning from Detroit, both what happened to it and the visionary organizing that emerged because of all that." In addition to the online edition, hard copies are distributed at bookstores throughout New York City, in several other U.S. cities, and in Tunis.
Next step for Occupy Theory: extending their educational outreach by creating "living/learning/organizing centers" worldwide. The centers will offer free classes and serve as places where people can come together to reflect on their political work. If they succeed, the centers should also strengthen the sense of connection that Mirzoeff believes the magazine has created. "It's all about exploring what a different kind of democracy might be like. But mainly writing the Tidal is about trust, and the word used a lot around Occupy is love--not romantic love, not religious love, but a sort of bonding. And that continues."
And the young man on the subway that cold January night? Has he found another way to carry the OWS energy forward? If he reports in, we'll let you know.
Ann Kathleen Bradley wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. Ann is a Manhattan-based freelance writer and graduate of Union Theological Seminary who is interested in the intersection of spirituality with social and economic issues. Her articles have appeared in Spirituality & Health, Chrysalis, and Science of Mind
Reprinted from yesmagazine.org