Andy Crouch on Occupying vs Marching

Occupying a park is very different from, say, marching down a street. A march has a destination and a goal, passing through space and time and then disbanding, leaving space before and after for others to flow into. And because marches flow through space and time, they can grow, including more and more people in their train; they can ebb and adjust to the shape and capacity of the spaces they pass through, and (unless marred by opportunistic or deliberate violence) they can coexist with other uses of space in ways that an “occupation” cannot. To “occupy” a space is to completely master and dominate its use, and to do so in a way that cannot easily scale or grow beyond that space’s fixed capacity… Such a context is zero-sum – two people, or two groups, cannot “occupy” the same space in the way that they can join together in one march. To march is to embody hope – hope that others will join, that a momentary demonstration can lead to enduring change, that there is a symbolic goal we are moving toward. To occupy is to take a much grimmer view, planting oneself in determined and static resistance to implacable forces on the other side, and to hope that one’s cause will triumph in a kind of metastasis, driving out the others.

-Andy Crouch, Playing God (2013). I’m just a few chapters in, but so far this book is proving insightful, readable, and very helpful.

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