Letters to the Boston Phoenix editors, January 27, 2012
I'm writing in response to your article in last week's Phoenix ("Temperature Check," January 20), as there are a few serious errors in there I feel I should correct. I was one of the co-proposers for the final version of the sex-offender proposal the night it was blocked, and through my discussions with the community both beforehand and that night, it was made clear to me that the issue was not as one-sided as you suggest.
Many Occupiers who deeply want this movement to be a safe space for women had strong concerns about the idea of a blanket ban on sex offenders. As proposers, we were hoping that the limitation on level-three sex offenders would meet the consensus test — that is, that most people could live with it, despite its flaws. But you imply that a single advocate for sex-offender-law reform was one of eight people who stood up and thwarted the will of the vast majority. That is incorrect. When Paul Shannon offered up a block, 71 out of 86 (well over the 75-percent threshold) Occupiers agreed it was valid. Furthermore, 18 out of 86 people agreed that the proposal was so flawed it would damage the movement or its principles, more than double the 10-percent threshold required to pass the block.
In other words, Occupy Boston is dealing with a deep and contentious issue, with no clear mandate one way or the other. To suggest that our process is flawed because it has allowed to our movement to be "hijacked" by provocateurs is probably incorrect. No doubt there are problems with how our group makes decisions, especially around issues of safety and community wellness. But before you publish an article like this, I would suggest you speak with individuals who are still working to participate in and improve the movement.
Reading your blow-by-blow of a January Occupy Boston meeting, I wanted to yell, "Would you kids listen to yourselves?" Occupy's outing of the one-percent wolves-in-sheep's-clothing was brilliant. Its subversive exposé will continue to resonate. But Occupy itself won't, unless it shakes the counterculture-like ditziness and self-absorption.
, activism, News, Occupy Boston