You are hereMel King: You Have a Right to Revolution!

Mel King: You Have a Right to Revolution!


In this impromptu talk, veteran organizer and movement thinker, Mel King outlines his thoughts about the significance of the #Occupy movement, its potential for radical social change and its methods. Although an enthusiastic supporter of the movement, Mel suggests that in time the movement will have to choose targets (once it is ready) and also consider moments where the consensus process may be less effective. Mel goes on to applaud the movement for engaging in the battle of ideas, "You are occupying minds!"

You Have the Right to Revolution

A few things?! I've asked to say a few things? I first want to say that nobody does anything on their own. I may stand here as one but it is a one that is the compilation of hundreds and thousands of folks who have been involved in various... various struggles. In a way, that is some of the strength of what has been happening in the #Occupy movement.

I stand here as someone who is thrilled at what the movement is accomplishing! I have no questions or doubts about what the long-range impacts are going to be.

People talk about the tent city that we put together [in 1968]...[inaudible] it was about making that land [in the South End] directly available for housing and about the people who were making the decisions about the other land that was in that neighborhood...

This [#Occupy] movement is the best thing that has happened since the students [helped] stop the war in Vietnam. I think that it is important to put it in that perspective. When I see that [inaudible] [of] hundreds cities and towns are across this country are involved in some form of the #occupation movement, that huge. One of the things that I was just saying to my friend here was that you need to lift it up, you know, lift it up! You're in fact doing what I asked your next headline to say [holding Boston Occupier in hand]: occupy minds! Okay? You are occupying minds! You're stretching folks... And if you continue to do that, there's no telling how far you can go.

Yes, I am one from a school that says, "You've got to have a target!" If you're ready, you'll come up with one... 0r two, three, or four. I'm not one who believes that maintaining the land [the occupation sites] is the crucial aspect, okay? But you use it to begin to get into peoples' minds. One of the days that I was there [at Dewey Square, site of the Boston #Occupy movement], I heard this person really railing about campaign financing and wanted to make sure that it would be taken up... you know, the electoral process. And I have heard other issues that people have raised. And I believe that the time will come when you'll figure out the next steps are according to your process.

Now a couple mixed things that I hear about your process. I hear that it's a consensus process. Well... if you can make that work, you will have established a model that could work in many, many places. But there are some places where I am not sure that [you can have a] consensus [like] when you have to do something on the spur of a moment... so you have to be open to certain levels of expediency. Okay?

So let me close with this piece here. I was telling my friend here that... and I was telling this to a group the other night... that you, your work are a monument of the Declaration of Independence. You have the right to alter and to change. You are deserving! And no change comes to any individual or group until they accept themselves as deserving. What is beginning to happen is that your message is getting into peoples' minds. And you are saying, "We are deserving." I talk about Rosa Parks and she says, "I'm somebody and if I give up my seat, then I am less than I know who I am! And so she took whatever risk was involved because she knew she would feel sick in her inside because she knew that she would feel sick in her inside if she gave up her seat. You, I believe, and this movement are the essence of the Declaration of Independence. One of my favorite books, and I recommend it to you is Truman Nelson's "The Right of Revolution." You have that right, we have that right. You exercise it!

I'm not a big one on The Constitution. The Constitution is the reason you're in the room... because [it] says the property betters make the decisions and that is what is going on as we speak. And until that piece of it changes, then you might be back again. But you have to understand and lift up the fact that you have the right of revolution... the right to alter and to change. And that you are standing on [the shoulders] of the folks who fought the Revolutionary War. Okay? Remember that. You're acting like the forepeople-we brag about what they did. You're saying, "Wow, we learnt from them. They had a revolution... and we've got one as well." So I'm here and I'm excited principally because I believe very much in the fact that we all need to be part of a revolution... because we deserve the best of what this planet offers. [Sustained Applause]