Slogans are important. They capture the imagination of the public and make the message of a movement easily transmittable. This is why I’ve adopted Struggle Forever! as the key idea and slogan for my philosophical/theoretical/practical approach to my practice in anthropology and more.
“Occupy” as a slogan was powerful. It caught attention rapidly and motivated people to do something. It’s as if people were asking “What can we do?” and, out of the mist, the answer came “Occupy!” Occupy parks, buildings, and other public spaces. Let them know that we’re here and we want to make a difference! Don’t leave until they listen. And listen they did, in some sense – occupy got the attention of the decision makers. Their response was predictable and brutal – kick them out! The problem with “Occupy!” is what do you do when the occupation is over? What do you do when the camps are established? What do you do when they come to kick you out? What do you do when the camps are torn down and security is increased around the public spaces that might attract occupiers? Of course, the “Occupy!” can continue as a metaphor – we occupy their minds in the way that we occupied their spaces. But as a metaphor, it loses some of its potency. Practically speaking, how does one occupy someone’s mind without also occupying some kind of space through which they move? So “Occupy!” ran its course – producing both positive and negative effects in its wake (as any movement would do).
What next? I like “Idle No More!” It resonates with Struggle Forever! in a way that “Occupy!” couldn’t quite achieve. ”Occupy!” is an end – a goal to be achieved. ”Idle No More!” is a process. The indigenous people who have taken it as their banner are effectively telling the world that they want to be part of the discussion, part of the work to make the world better. They’ve been idle – or at least they’ve been perceived as such – but they will be Idle No More! Struggle Forever! has the same basic principle. Utopia is not the goal, it’s the process of making the world better for everyone – a never ending process, a continual and continuous struggle. I’m not saying that Struggle Forever! is or should become the slogan for a movement – to me it is more of a philosophical and practical approach to social action than a movement. I’m saying that it has a natural affinity with movements like Idle No More! that seek to start a process.