Occupy Wall Street protests: discussion and updates

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators march

Thread for discussion and updates on the occupation of Wall Street and the related occupations in other towns and cities across the US.

This was originally a forum topic which stated the following:

Quote:
There was suppose to be up to 10,000 people there to spark weeks long protest but....does anyone see it happening?

http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/who-will-occupy-wall-street-september-17.html

I'm not a big fan of the term "corporatism" or blaming the current problems on corporations buying off politicians....thats just capitalism.

Some even more pathetic news below ....

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2011/09/ron-paul-rick-wins-perry-mitt-romney-california-straw-poll-bachmann-.html

admin: thread title changed due to popular demand and typo

Posted By

CRUD
Sep 18 2011 06:09

Share

Attached files

Comments

Mark.
Sep 18 2011 10:28

AFP

Quote:
Hundreds of people marched near Wall Street in New York in a failed attempt to occupy the heart of global finance to protest greed, corruption and budget cuts.

Plans by protesters to turn Lower Manhattan into an "American Tahrir Square" was thwarted when police on Saturday blocked all the streets near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan.
[…]
By noon, about 700 people, many carrying backpacks and sleeping bags, had gathered near Wall Street to search for a place to camp amid a heavy police presence.

That was far less than the 20,000 people that the online magazine Adbusters, which launched the movement in July, had hoped to see "flood" the neighborhood for a months-long occupation.
[…]
The protesters gathered in Trinity Place, some some 1,000 feet (300 meters) from Wall Street, which they hope to turn into the US version of the famous square in Cairo that became the focal point of protests that led to the ouster of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in February…

Photos

soyonstout
Sep 18 2011 11:54

I don't think it's necessarily useless. It may be over (does anyone in NYC know / did anyone drop by?). I was under the impression that the idea was to try to clarify the demands there--obviously there will be 10-20 front groups trying to direct it, and it seems like it was far fewer people than expected and the pigs surrounded it (the demonstration) almost completely. Has anyone from NYC gone by there or have any impressions of it from yesterday?

Croy
Sep 18 2011 16:16

From what I have heard so far, good idea, bad execution

bankrupt.left
Sep 18 2011 17:35

Agreed. Adbusters is a little disorganized considering its main aim seems to be organizing. The date should have been set further back, and should have been made clearer as there was confusion with two other protests. There should have been more preparation in general. The "guide" wasnt even posted till a few days before the 17th.

bankrupt.left
Sep 18 2011 17:40

But no, not useless. Anything that plants the seed, or begins the ripple is a good thing. Its a start!

RedEd
Sep 19 2011 01:29

I've not really followed this but from what I saw the spin was "We are going to go and shut down the most important financial centre in the world as a protest". Did no one see that that was an idiotic idea? First it was stupid because only an idiot thinks you can start shutting down the financial system seriously and not get met with more force than you could possibly muster and second because if they had been actually able to achieve their aim of 'peacefully blockading' wall street (whatever that might mean) they would have been able to hold the US and half the rest of the world to ransom, not just make a protest. Directly taking control of the main centre of international capital flow is not the job of some well meaning activists, its the job of a global revolution. If these people had had a chance of winning, they would have been shot.

CRUD
Sep 19 2011 06:22
RedEd wrote:
I've not really followed this but from what I saw the spin was "We are going to go and shut down the most important financial centre in the world as a protest". Did no one see that that was an idiotic idea? First it was stupid because only an idiot thinks you can start shutting down the financial system seriously and not get met with more force than you could possibly muster and second because if they had been actually able to achieve their aim of 'peacefully blockading' wall street (whatever that might mean) they would have been able to hold the US and half the rest of the world to ransom, not just make a protest. Directly taking control of the main centre of international capital flow is not the job of some well meaning activists, its the job of a global revolution. If these people had had a chance of winning, they would have been shot.

Agreed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_Who_Cried_Wolf

The larger protests in America, such as Seattle, were decentralized and somewhat spontaneous with all manner of workers, activists, anarchists, Marxists and plain old hooligans taking part.

Adbusters just basically called for a "peaceful" revolution against "corporatism"without popular support....good intentions yes but ineffective as hell. The first thing that bothers me is the therm corporatism as if the name of the capitalist game isn't wealth accumulation/concentration. All anti capitalists should shy away from using the term 'corporatism' and just say plain old capitalism. Nothing is going to happen if a whole bunch of people are opposing 'corporatism'. It might make some so called 'free' market capitalists happy.

S. Artesian
Sep 19 2011 14:38

The real problem with this "demonstration" is the politics of it, or lack thereof-- it's supposedly a protest against corporate greed and political corruption, which is advertised as things "all Americans can agree on" are bad for "democracy" or some such nonsense.

So it's not really a good idea with poor execution. It's a poor idea getting the execution it deserves.

chokingvictim
Sep 19 2011 16:42
jesuithitsquad
Sep 20 2011 01:32

yeah, there seems to be a mix of totally naive ideas and wishy washy liberal ideas. "teh revolutionz starts today!!" vs. "ask obama for a committee to look into corruption." i've also seen some crazy comments about turning in people who engage in 'violence' as well as "buying food for protesters is good for the local economy." by and large, i offer solidarity to folks giving it a go, but the whole thing is confused at best.

soyonstout
Sep 20 2011 03:32

Agree completely with every criticism of Adbusters' and various front groups' avowed aims, however, I do think events like this, if they allow for any kind of real discussion between slightly politicized people, could have the potential for building something resembling class consciousness or what have you. Seen as an attempt to disrupt Wall St, it was totally Quixotic. Seen as an attempt to change the situation before going back home, it was totally naive. But if the effect / idea was to build a discussion chamber in the park to clarify what's wrong with "the system" then I think something like that could be pretty positive, despite all the democracy-restorationist rhetoric and illusions of many involved.

All in all, I don't know how many more illusions something like this has (at the start) than lots of AFL-CIO strikes, for example, EXCEPT that the strike is at least materially about a (usually tiny) group of people who are all losing pay together and all happen to be proletarians (and the last point is something the union tops generally try to prevent people from realizing / discussing / etc.). I think there are of course, things that come out in a strike that highlight the class struggle and where the lines are drawn, since usually a majority of the participants begin with the goal the defence of their living conditions (in addition to whatever other goals, proletarian or not, are put on it by the folks running the show / front groups, etc.). I'm not saying anyone was, but I guess given the number of leftists, swindlers, phony-oppositions, and plain nutcases people encounter in the "politicization process," the presence of such stuff doesn't necessarily preclude any kind of positive development for everyone, and was wary of writing it off completely.

soyonstout
Sep 20 2011 03:34

It does seem though, that very quickly it became mostly leftists & lifestylists & folks who go to these things all the time. For what that's worth.

CRUD
Sep 20 2011 07:54
soyonstout wrote:
It does seem though, that very quickly it became mostly leftists & lifestylists & folks who go to these things all the time. For what that's worth.

How do we turn "leftists" and or "lifestylists" into actual anarchists (socialists)?

In my opinion, at least in America, we need to PUSH the existing left which means no more supporting democrats and or the existing bourgeois political system in general. If anything (in the US) Obama should have shown most liberals (leftists and or quasi socialists) that the face of capitalism has nothing to do with color or silly wedge "moral" issues. The main thing US workers don't get in the 21 century is the conflict between labor and capital.

Fuck it....blah blah

Mark.
Sep 20 2011 09:26
jesuithitsquad wrote:
yeah, there seems to be a mix of totally naive ideas and wishy washy liberal ideas. "teh revolutionz starts today!!" vs. "ask obama for a committee to look into corruption." i've also seen some crazy comments about turning in people who engage in 'violence' as well as "buying food for protesters is good for the local economy." by and large, i offer solidarity to folks giving it a go, but the whole thing is confused at best.

I agree with all this but very similar criticisms could have been made at the start of 15M in Spain or J14 in Israel. I've no idea whether protests in the US could develop in the same way, but maybe that's the question to ask.

Mike Harman
Sep 20 2011 09:36

Someone else who thought it was useless:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/107033731246200681024/posts/Sy8Z2uWy655

Tim O'Reilly wrote:
I just went down to check out the scene at the https://occupywallst.org/ rally. It was a bit of a disappointment, for a number of reasons. First, there were only a few hundred people there (one of the organizers told me they peaked out at around a thousand on the weekend). Second, the people who were there were the wrong people.

What do I mean by that? The attendees were mainly scruffily dressed young people, whose attire and approach was too easily dismissed by those in authority. The smirk on the face of the Fox News reporter who was interviewing various participants said it all. "These people are easy to dismiss."

I couldn't bear to see him goading these idealistic young people into making bombastic statements (the reporter is a tool of AIG was one comment I overheard), so I stepped over and asked if I could speak to him.

I told him that I run a company with about $100 million in revenue, and that it isn't just kids who think that Wall Street bankers got away with a crime. There are a set of people who constructed a set of financial products with intent to defraud. They took our country to the brink of ruin, then got off scott free, even with multi-million dollar bonuses. I'll be interested to see if Fox runs my comments anywhere.

While I obviously disagree with the conclusions, he's not actually saying that much different from here in terms of the protest itself (i.e. that it's a safe liberal topic that lots of people including owners of publishing houses can support).

Jason Cortez
Sep 20 2011 11:06

But funny enough it is often these "that it's a safe liberal topic that lots of people including owners of publishing houses can support" issues that attract widespread support and occasionally blossom into social movements whose politics evolve in the struggle. Frankly whilst I agree with the criticism of the political content, like Soyonstout, I don't think that folks would just dismiss this if it was happening in the economic sphere. This I would humbly suggest is an example of the',workerist' and anti 'lifestlyist' bias, many posters on here share. This blinkered approach prevents clear understanding and meaningful engagement in favour of the safety of the surperior 'political analysis'. Where we condesend to intervene in the struggles of others, we do it certain of complete correctness of our ideas, no matter how humble our interactions and so often, we learn little.

soyonstout
Sep 23 2011 01:25
Mark. wrote:
very similar criticisms could have been made at the start of 15M in Spain or J14 in Israel. I've no idea whether protests in the US could develop in the same way, but maybe that's the question to ask.

I suppose this is a bit what I was getting at. Although they seem basically almost over now (unless something changes on the weekend to come). It's funny--I've read Europeans lament movements not being as "proletarian" as Wisconsin, and Americans lament Wisconsin for not being M15 or whathaveyou (obviously I'm not equating them, but I do think sometimes, usually to avoid activist-style burn-out, we don't really expect enough real potential where we are)

CRUD wrote:
no more supporting democrats and or the existing bourgeois political system in general. If anything (in the US) Obama should have shown most liberals (leftists and or quasi socialists) that the face of capitalism has nothing to do with color or silly wedge "moral" issues. The main thing US workers don't get in the 21 century is the conflict between labor and capital.

to me a giant part of the activity of communists (including anarchist ones) should be the pushing of this message, against the multitude of liberals, cooperativists (if you watch this live feed thing there are a number of folks talking about how we don't need to overthrow anything or take power, we just need to start our own farms in abandoned buildings because workers with 5 kids have loads of time for that and could eventually replace the whole economy with that without ever having to confront the state or the bosses roll eyes ), trot/maoist front groups, union chiefs, politicians, etc. who despite their [usually] good intentions, abort class consciousness by avoiding this very issue.

Obviously, if you bring 2 anti-state communists to something like this and everyone there is a politico who's already convinced of or campaigning for one of these petit-bourgeois utopias, it might not be worth hanging around very long. But I do think more people are asking questions these days and clearly pointing out the contradictions in these utopian solutions and attempting to make a case for the idea that the state works for capital not the other way around could have an affect and might even find an echo, especially amongst those with nothing to lose by rejecting utopian ideas (i.e., they haven't spent many years of their lives having these utopian schemes at the center of their lives)

knotwho
Sep 20 2011 15:58

On the live feed, I saw a bunch of young dudes with Guy Fawkes masks. No doubt these guys are part of the Anonymous wave, which doesn't seem to have a real strong political analysis. But maybe while there they talk to people like David Graeber who actually has an anti-capitalist bent, and then read up when they go home. (David Graeber made it into the North Korea Times..) Plus, seeing cops knock out your fellow protesters' teeth is good challenge to the 'lets-all-be-friends' position.

I don't know if it's just an American thing, but we're often like, "Fuck it. I'll go camp at Wall Street to protest the corporations." Political consciousness can be built off that, me thinks.

knotwho
Sep 21 2011 15:41

Looks like IWW and Teamsters are getting involved in the Wall St occupation today.

https://occupywallst.org/article/sept-21-agenda/

aloeveraone
Sep 21 2011 17:06

I'm a cynical bastard, but even I don't understand the cynicism in this movement sometimes. Are the Occupy Wall Street ideas muddled? Sure. Is it dominated by 'wishy-washy lefty liberal' types? Probably. Are they small and disorganized and ineffective right now? Absolutely. And my question is: So what?

I constantly hear criticism that nobody in America ever tries to change anything or stand up for themselves. Yet examples of attempts at just that are pointed out within the movement, and they are just dismissed in the least constructive way possible. Just like when I discuss IWW organizing or infoshops or summit-hopping or whatever with people outside the anarchist scene. Nobody wants to give any credit whatsoever to anything done by anyone outside their exact ideological framework. That's not a path forward. People don't become anarchists by having existing anarchists cynically mock them from the sidelines instead of actively engaging them.

From what I could tell, this same attitude was prevalent among much of the anarchist movement in Greece with regard to the popular assembly movement there. Despite this, the anarchists who did get involved (and I suppose the wider effect that the movement there has on the culture) helped push the popular assemblies toward demanding direct democracy. That's not exactly anarchism, but it's a hell of a lot closer than voting for the Socialist Party. And this came in the midst of the most confrontational movement since the December 2008 uprising, and it's quite a bit more generalized than that one was.

At the very least, this brings new, antagonistic tactics to bear which have shown success in other countries this year. And the forms are relatively anarchist in nature with consensus-based general assemblies. So if you have criticism, great. Go down there and get on the bullhorn and voice them.

Fortunately, this may just be a symptom of the online persona of the anarchist movement, because just today I read that the IWW is going to join the occupation at Liberty Plaza.

Having the word useless in the title of the only thread regarding this protest on one of the largest anarchist websites sets a very negative tone for the entire discussion and is counterproductive.

tastybrain
Sep 21 2011 18:56
aloeveraone wrote:
People don't become anarchists by having existing anarchists cynically mock them from the sidelines instead of actively engaging them.

Yeah I agree. There are certainly a lot of shitty politics involved in this, but let's engage rather than just write them off. I think a good model for this is the way some UK anarchists have been trying to engage with UK Uncut.

Mark.
Sep 21 2011 19:55
aloeveraone wrote:
Having the word useless in the title of the only thread regarding this protest on one of the largest anarchist websites sets a very negative tone for the entire discussion and is counterproductive.

The alasbarricadas thread on 15M in Spain started off with a similar title. They got round to changing it a week or two after the square occupations had obviously taken off.

liam sionnach
Sep 21 2011 22:09

I don't know what to make of this, which is exciting on the one hand, because no one I know is there, and, on the other hand, when one reads a lot of the tweets about citizens, democracy, and middle class it's very disappointing. Exactly what we could expect has happened: A small summit oriented group and a lot of sort of random people with skills and an "anti-corporation" position helped set up the local frame work, but virtually no contribution has come from the summit-oriented anarchists, so-called progressive organizations, or even leftists. So its new-garde figure heads like David Graeber and Lisa Fithian, bless their hearts, with a thousand or so anons and proly a few weird 9-11 and crypto-right wing people. Hell yeah, America! but as can also be expected, you put a bunch a people in public, and sooner or later cops are gonna have do they thing. So maybe, some sort of strange anti-police tone will take hold, and something like a struggle with rear its beautiful antagonistic head.

I think it might be worth while for those in and near NYC to get organized with their friends and see whats up. A couple hundred skinny (and not so skinny)-riot-thugs who can get over some ideological nonsense might just have something important to contribute. Might could be that come Saturday, NYC will want to fight the cops, and you know wieners talk a big game about peace, but its not that difficult to understand that if you have an occupation , you gotta keep the cops out, you need to build barricades, and you need to get resources...blablabla

Yall read communisation theory...

tastybrain
Sep 21 2011 22:30
liam sionnach wrote:
I think it might be worth while for those in and near NYC to get organized with their friends and see whats up. A couple hundred skinny (and not so skinny)-riot-thugs who can get over some ideological nonsense might just have something important to contribute. Might could be that come Saturday, NYC will want to fight the cops, and you know wieners talk a big game about peace, but its not that difficult to understand that if you have an occupation , you gotta keep the cops out, you need to build barricades, and you need to get resources...blablabla

Yall read communisation theory...

Sounds awesome black bloc If i was anywhere near there I might consider going. I think the reason for the absence of the more radical elements is the attitude exemplified by the OP, i.e. "if they don't have perfect anarcho-communist politics then fuck em". Such a stance can be a great way to justify passivity. That said I agree with your (and others on this thread's) assessment of the dismal politics involved. Engaging rather than standing aloof is the best way to do that then. I almost wanna say people should go there Trot style and leaflet the fuck out of the place laugh out loud

Mike Harman
Sep 22 2011 02:18
Jason Cortez wrote:
But funny enough it is often these "that it's a safe liberal topic that lots of people including owners of publishing houses can support" issues that attract widespread support and occasionally blossom into social movements whose politics evolve in the struggle.

Well the other thing that he's saying is that it's very ghettoised in terms of the way it's being carried out/presented. I think it's a bit much painting this as cynical sneering - you realise Adbusters is older than some posters on this site right? That's not to say individual people going on this protest are as stuck in their ways as adbusters, but no-one has said this afaik so I'm not sure what you're responding to.

Jason Cortez
Sep 22 2011 07:05

I didn't accuse you of sneering. It is simple really, social movements don't appear with ready formed communist politics, these grow through struggle. A broadly popular issue as the focus at the beginning is in a situation like this, is probably the most likely way of gaining popular support and with it enough numbers for something to take off. Whilst this hasn't happened here, I can see why the organisers hope it would by aping 15M movement. This is of course problematic but standing aloft from something like this and commenting on it lack of communist politics is also. We need to be engaging with these folks, attempting to create a dialogue. Now for most of us, that will little more discussing than the event here, but being mindful that, if we are lucky some folks may be directed here ( a leaflet handed out there with libcom as a resource). A dialogue is very unlikely to occur if the regular posters just write off the protest out of hand as activist and liberal. Now it maybe that most posters don't think it worth the energy in engaging with the folks involve, that's cool but take the whinging to Libcommunity. This thread and others often read like self satisfied musing of folks attempting to reassure themselves that being 'right' is some sort substitute for not having any effect on the world.

Mike Harman
Sep 22 2011 07:25
Quote:
Now for most of us, that will little more discussing than the event here, but being mindful that, if we are lucky some folks may be directed here ( a leaflet handed out there with libcom as a resource).

So I agree that the title of this thread isn't exactly good for this. However if someone involved in the protest did show up on here then pointing out that it's consistent with mainstream liberalism, is focusing on individual corruption/criminality etc. would be part of engaging with them.

CRUD
Sep 22 2011 08:11
Jason Cortez wrote:
A dialogue is very unlikely to occur if the regular posters just write off the protest out of hand as activist and liberal.

There is no reforming capitalism, there is no "ending corruption on Wall St". There is no "just vote for the right person and everything will be OK". After a while, for me at least, it becomes a tad redundant. Our efforts seem to get co-opted into some mass hysteria bullshit that ends up in support of capitalism as was the case with the Obama situation - so many millions of people, socialists included, were literally dancing in the streets when he was elected.

^ The same type of people (I'm willing to bet) were at the Wall St protest. It's hard getting them to "snap out of it".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave

I suppose I sound like a Leninist advocating a 'vanguard' when referencing The Allegory of the Cave. I'm not sure what the hell to do with liberals. Cannibalism? smile But seriously, I'd love it if the socialist sites I post on were invaded by a wave of liberals but the first thing they would think is "anarchism, pfft...what a bunch of silly kids". Once you can get around that discussions can be quite fruitful.

Jason Cortez
Sep 22 2011 08:32
mike harman wrote:
So I agree that the title of this thread isn't exactly good for this

LOL

Quote:
However if someone involved in the protest did show up on here then pointing out that it's consistent with mainstream liberalism, is focusing on individual corruption/criminality etc. would be part of engaging with them.

So you point out that they had shit liberal politics black bloc
This quote is from the J14 thread, maybe it will me show what I am getting at

Quote:
What is most disappointing is statements such as: “there was little evidence that the July 14 movement’s rank and file had any interest in overthrowing the “system,” or that they would ever be willing to acknowledge, let alone engage, the occupation.” DUH. Since when did a social movement or burgeoning revolution begin with acceptance by “rank and file” of all the principles of equality that the most radical sought in the outcome. This gap is the ENTIRE POINT OF BEING AN ACTIVIST!!! Absent a diachronic view of movements and social change (which anyone who is an activist or student of social movements/revolutions would take), this article at best simply describes the state of affairs 2 months into this, but it fails to provide anything else.



I agree with Richard (someone kill me), but it’s true – “a social movement encouraged, not complained about, will succeed”. What we have here is two observers, Max and Joseph, who for some reason or another (it’s not stated what strategic goal their view/take on the movement achieves – other than they might be “right” if it fails) merely describe the present state of affairs in a negative way, rather than becoming engaged in trying to pursue a change in Israeli society.



action_now
Sep 22 2011 09:36

am i the only one who finds peoples claims of having proper 'politics' horribly cringeworthy?