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The topic of non-violence versus “diversity of tactics” has been at the forefront of concerns of Occupy movements since the Jan. 28 brutal crackdown on Occupy Oakland‘s attempt to establish a community center in the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. The issue was catapulted to front-and-center status by the publication of Chris Hedges’ “The Cancer in Occupy,” which immediately became the subject of fierce debate. The article generated many responses, including “What Progressive Criticisms of Anarchists in Occupy Don’t Understand: A Response to Chris Hedges.”
Occupy Littleton has also been discussing the issue, and many members feel that a strong policy of non-violence is important for our group. One member expressed his thoughts on the matter:
The use and effectiveness of non-violence in social movements throughout history is a complex and varied subject, and a wide range of opinions may exist as to how past experiences will affect our implementation of this policy. This is only my opinion now, but I feel that a commitment to a principle of non-violence must originate from within each one of us as individuals. It has to be more than just a policy of a group, it has to be a personal value of all of the groups members.
Participants in the discussion decided to form a working group. The first meeting of the newly-formed Non-Violence Working Group was held immediately after the Occupy Littleton GA on February 12, 2012. It began by identifying resource materials (books, DVD’s, web sources, etc.) that will be useful in forming the guidelines of Occupy Littleton’s non-violence policy. The group will develop strategies of pursuing non-violent tactics and will make specific proposals for consideration to the GA.
Note: There will be a panel discussion, Occupying Beyond Divisions: Anarchy, Black Bloc and Protests, with Chris Hedges, Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, Lucas Vazquez, Georgia Sagri, Cari Machet, and Tangerine Bolen, on Feb. 15 at 6PM EST/4PM MST.