Going For it All: The Everything for Everyone Festival

by Doug Enaa Greene on May 22, 2012

First published by the Boston Occupier.

As Bob Dylan said, “The times, they are a-changing” – a statement true now more than ever. Since last fall, the rise of the Occupy Movement in the United States has been creating new openings for radical ideas about revolution, different forms of democracy, and alternative societies. As Occupy moves forward, questions are arising of how to build, or even imagine, a world that prioritizes the needs of all. To this end, West Coast organizers are planning a summer event for the discussion of radical ideas, strategy, and culture – the “Everything for Everyone” Festival.

The Everything for Everyone Festival (#e4e) is anticipated to take place in Seattle on August 11-12, 2012. Organizing began in late February and has picked up steam in the last several weeks. Endorsements for #e4e have come from Occupy groups such as Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Portland, and Occupy Seattle. Local and national antic-capitalist organizations such as Kali Akuno-Malcom X Grassroots Movement, Black Orchid Collective, Student Anarchist Study Group, Red Spark (Kasama Project), and Rising Tide have also endorsed #e4e.

The origin of the name “Everything for Everyone” is a popular Seattle protest chant, which goes “the revolution has begun, everything for everyone” (although the order of phrases is sometimes reversed). The phrase embodies a radical ethos according to which all needs will be provided for, in direct opposition to the current capitalist system. According to the #e4e website, the demand for change that began with the Arab Spring and spread to Occupy is not “seeking just to ‘fix’ the old oppressive order to make it seem ‘fairer’ to the relative few on the planet. The desire is for a new form of popular struggle, and a new content of the way we relate to each other as people and to our planet — our common home.”

Resistance Festival plenary in Greece, 2011. (Photo: Jim Weill)

Like the Resistance Festival, #e4e is not just about politics. Festival organizer and Occupy Seattle activist Liam Wright, 25, says the Occupy Movement has brought about “a cascade of different, historic actions. But movements are much more than just actions, calls, leaflets, and militancy. They are break with the whole culture, the ideas, the ethos of the old society. And we need to provide a space for that to take root in it’s own right. The Festival aims to encourage a new culture, for a music, art, politics, and philosophy that are challenging, and changing, everything.”

Currently the plan of events is a work in progress. Natalio Perez, an organizer from Sacramento, says, “It is important to include the artistic and political expressions that exist among particular oppressed nationalities, which can connect both with Occupy and the communities in which we live.”

To build #e4e, people from different political tendencies, from anarchist to communist, have come together. Occupy Seattle activist Blake says this is a good thing because “we need open, thoughtful interaction amongst different political tendencies to help clarify, debate, and advance our collective understanding of the big political and strategic questions of our time.”

There are many challenges ahead in order to pull off the #e4e Festival. For one, deciding on the festival’s content. According to Wright, “this festival will be what people make it. If they would like to see a workshop, speaker, panel, debate, musician, or artist, they should let us know and we can help make it happen!”

However, the most pressing issue is that of funding. A Kickstarter campaign was launched recently and has already received $725 in pledges. Yet the organizers have until May 12th to reach a goal of $11,000 in pledges which will offset principal costs of putting on a festival of this size. The organizers expect that the festival will cost about $24,000-$25,000.

To learn more about #e4e go to www.everythingforeveryone.org.

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