Occupy Wall Street protests: discussion and updates

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators march
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.

Submitted by CRUD on September 18, 2011

This was originally a forum topic which stated the following:

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

Comments

Mark.

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on September 18, 2011

AFP

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soyonstout on September 18, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Croy on September 18, 2011

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

bankrupt.left

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bankrupt.left on September 18, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bankrupt.left on September 18, 2011

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

RedEd

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by RedEd on September 19, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on September 19, 2011

RedEd

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on September 19, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by chokingvictim on September 19, 2011

http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution
epic fail..

jesuithitsquad

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on September 20, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soyonstout on September 20, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soyonstout on September 20, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on September 20, 2011

soyonstout

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.

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on September 20, 2011

jesuithitsquad

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on September 20, 2011

Someone else who thought it was useless:

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

Tim O'Reilly

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Jason Cortez on September 20, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soyonstout on September 23, 2011

Mark.

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

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: ), 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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by knotwho on September 20, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by knotwho on September 21, 2011

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

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

aloeveraone

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by aloeveraone on September 21, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on September 21, 2011

aloeveraone

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.

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on September 21, 2011

aloeveraone

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by liam sionnach on September 21, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on September 21, 2011

liam sionnach

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 :bb: 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 :lol:

Mike Harman

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on September 22, 2011

Jason Cortez

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Jason Cortez on September 22, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on September 22, 2011

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on September 22, 2011

Jason Cortez

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.

[youtube]cgYgBCibOM4[/youtube]

^ 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

[youtube]UQfRdl3GTw4[/youtube]

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? :) 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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Jason Cortez on September 22, 2011

mike harman

So I agree that the title of this thread isn't exactly good for this

LOL

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 :bb:
This quote is from the J14 thread, maybe it will me show what I am getting at

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

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by action_now on September 22, 2011

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

yourmum

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by yourmum on September 22, 2011

not as cringeworthy as posts like this:

Well it's not a secret anymore that beings from other galaxies and star systems have been waiting eagerly and lovingly to re-establish a connection with us. The Universal Law of Free Will that is present here on Earth says that our galactic brothers and sisters cannot just appear here out of nowhere if the intention of the majority of people on earth is not agreeing with open contact. All the leaders of the countries have known of the existence of "Star Seeds" since at least 1940. Announcing Disclosure from a country president would mean a "formal recognition" that star people exist. But they think that we are two scared for that, based on the countless "hollywoodlike fear based movies" regarding life on other planets that comes and takes over earth, bla bla. But if the "99 percent" starts asking for disclosure, it means that we are ready to welcome our star brothers and sisters with love, and not with fear. That would be the first step in making contact with them.

posted by "Alin Nuta" which randomly reminds me of Alien Nutter. first place to adress must OF COURSE be the prez.. especially if your an alien with good manners. and who wouldnt want to meet an alien? show me just 1!

Arbeiten

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Arbeiten on September 22, 2011

yourmum, that is the most random post in the world....I literally don't get what your talking about ? :oops:

i think Jason has a good point about the stay at home and sneer business. I sometimes catch myself doing it. Self confessed 'radicals' should be there to open up the debate and make it less of an anti-corp pat on the back. Did they have an open mic there?

Also I have said this before in another forum, but I think it is worth stating again. Protests like this will be a learning curve for many people new to protest/civil disobedience etc, etc. To play on the cave analogy (which does make you look like a Leninist CRUD yes, there again Plato wasn't exactly the bearer of 'good politics' either), nobody walks from the darkness of 'shit politics' into the light of 'good politics' without some/a lot of semi-shit politics in between. Especially given the historical situation of communist and anarchist politics (dwindling numbers etc, etc).

Just to clarify, I agree with action_now having 'proper politics' is a bit of a cringe, I was just trying to clarify a point, I don't think anyone ever reaches the realm of solid politics..

yourmum

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by yourmum on September 22, 2011

thats what i thought too when i saw it! was just an example of bullshit their forum is spammed with. some of the more creative, i might say. there are radicals there agitating for the working class revolution at least on their forum - we will see how they are received by the assembly and if any of the ground forces agree, so far the demands are the usual stuff - end war, poverty, abuse of nature and blabla.. but you cant say there are no radicals engageing them at this point, i read some good posts. most interesting seems whats coming out of the experience with police and the stance to take towards them, thats whats dicussed most imho.

Arbeiten

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Arbeiten on September 22, 2011

yeah the police experience is usually a good lesson, you can' teach that in 'radicals class'

Arbeiten

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Arbeiten on September 22, 2011

oh right ok I get what you did there. Sorry about that

Still, thats a bit of a crummy methodology for measuring 'consciousness'. I'm not a fan of the internet centric approach (twitter revolution, facebook revolution etc, etc). If you were just to dwell on the internet forums you would think that people like Charlie Veitch are at the front of UK resistance....

Joseph Kay

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on September 22, 2011

Mike Harmann

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.

This is of course 'correct', but pointing out something is mainstream and liberal is only a criticism if you already have a problem with the mainstream and liberalism. A critical engagement would surely have to show what's wrong with mainstream liberalism and the compatibility of this with it, otherwise it just seems like labelling. Now fwiw Mike you generally do this when debating people so I'm not singling you out, but i think Jason has a point about "self satisfied musing of folks attempting to reassure themselves that being 'right' is some sort substitute for not having any effect on the world." It's pretty easy for anyone on or around libcom to spot and label mainstream liberalism, it's a but trickier to engage with participants in such events who may well be open to such a critique (and have such reservations themselves).

Now I'm not saying drop everything and head down to your nearest liberal protest to evangelise the libcom gospel. I'm also not saying suppress criticism in order to win recruits. But look at something like UK Uncut. A lot of peoples initial reactions here were to dismiss it on the basis of its stated politics. That's very superficial - even uncritical - criticism. It's harder but far more worthwhile looking at how the stated aims of such movements conflict with the dominant liberal ideology, how their actual practice is already moving beyond that ideology and so on. Plenty of people get involved in these things not out of the liberal ideological convictions of the organisers like AdBusters, but a sense that things are fucked up and they should 'do something'. Plenty of those people will be open to a critique of liberalism; just look at how 'liberal' has become a term of abuse in sections of the student/anti-cuts milieu (even hilariously amongst liberals).

For example, you can dismiss summit protests on the grounds that they're just reflecting the ideology that the ills of capitalism are the result of bad men conspiring in conference halls. That's true enough. But a far weightier critique is to show how the ills of capitalism are in fact reproduced daily in our everyday lives so it's there we have the real power to challenge them. That also then carries some people along with you, because it's posed in terms of a practice more adequate to the goal than a dismissive labelling exercise. I use the example of summit protests because Occupy Wall Street seems to reproduce a lot of their failings (fetishising tactics without regard to context, symbolic targets, moral outrage over material interests, and so on). Liberalism is the ruling ideology, so it's inevitable that most people start there. The question is how to sow those critical seeds which lead to people breaking with it rather than being seen to dismiss things out of hand as not revolutionary enough.

Mike Harman

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on September 22, 2011

Jason Cortez

mike harman

So I agree that the title of this thread isn't exactly good for this

LOL

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 :bb:

This is what I actually wrote, in its entirety apart from the quote:

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).

There is no sneering, there is no 'shit'.

Mike Harman

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on September 22, 2011

Now fwiw Mike you generally do this when debating people so I'm not singling you out, but i think Jason has a point about "self satisfied musing of folks attempting to reassure themselves that being 'right' is some sort substitute for not having any effect on the world." It's pretty easy for anyone on or around libcom to spot and label mainstream liberalism, it's a but trickier to engage with participants in such events who may well be open to such a critique (and have such reservations themselves).

His point would be better made had he not misrepresented mine.

Now I'm not saying drop everything and head down to your nearest liberal protest to evangelise the libcom gospel. I'm also not saying suppress criticism in order to win recruits. But look at something like UK Uncut. A lot of peoples initial reactions here were to dismiss it on the basis of its stated politics. That's very superficial - even uncritical - criticism. It's harder but far more worthwhile looking at how the stated aims of such movements conflict with the dominant liberal ideology, how their actual practice is already moving beyond that ideology and so on.

Well, some people dismissed it outright (I'm not sure it was 'a lot'). Many people dismissed the politics of it but nonetheless thought it was interesting and worth keeping an eye on.

Plenty of people get involved in these things not out of the liberal ideological convictions of the organisers like AdBusters, but a sense that things are fucked up and they should 'do something'. Plenty of those people will be open to a critique of liberalism; just look at how 'liberal' has become a term of abuse in sections of the student/anti-cuts milieu (even hilariously amongst liberals).

Oh definitely. Part of that is due to liberal being a term of abuse already though, and it very slowly seeping in through repeated usage. Completely agree that just doing that is sad though.

yourmum

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by yourmum on September 22, 2011

Arbeiten

oh right ok I get what you did there. Sorry about that

Still, thats a bit of a crummy methodology for measuring 'consciousness'. I'm not a fan of the internet centric approach (twitter revolution, facebook revolution etc, etc). If you were just to dwell on the internet forums you would think that people like Charlie Veitch are at the front of UK resistance....

yeah well i didnt say it was representative for the demands that actually go out, i referred to those as the usual reformism.

Shorty

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Shorty on September 22, 2011

Joseph Kay

I use the example of summit protests because Occupy Wall Street seems to reproduce a lot of their failings (fetishising tactics without regard to context, symbolic targets, moral outrage over material interests, and so on). Liberalism is the ruling ideology, so it's inevitable that most people start there. The question is how to sow those critical seeds which lead to people breaking with it rather than being seen to dismiss things out of hand as not revolutionary enough.

When I read things like this about the square occupation and anarchist engagement, it's very critical of it and and self critical too but it seems to take a generally positive view of the anarchist involvement and engagement overall.

In terms of similarities with Spain and Israel. Israel started off with material demands over rent, housing and high prices (?). Spain while focusing on democracy did also have material demands/issues.

From an article in the commune
http://thecommune.co.uk/2011/08/04/unhappy-economies-greek-debt-piigs-and-the-eurozone-crisis/

There are two striking issues regarding the struggles against austerity. Firstly, there is the ‘indignant’ aspect to it. This is seen most clearly in the square occupations in Greece and Spain. But the political articulation of middle class proletarians demanding what they see as rightfully theirs, not in terms of income or wages, but in terms of democracy, is something that seems to be a property of many of these struggles. Of course articulating demands in terms of an entitlement is not new but is worth being conscious of especially in terms of understanding how the limits of these struggles develop.

This is interesting though I think there was an element of issues relating to unemployment, welfare cuts as well as home, work, culture, health and education beyond just the "democracy" demand.

I think this aspect of entitlement and a proletarianised middle class is highly important and something to be looked at.
Whereas a lot of people, particularly from the activist scene, usually lump in entitlement with privilege and thus dismiss and criticise it in others, it obviously can be a catalysing factor in struggle.

I'm not really seeing any of this or material issues and demands enunciated in #occupywallstreet. There is though a long standing ideological group 'Adbusters' articulating some liberal demands about "corruption".

So it's probably not even at the stage of the J14 or M15 protests or the criticisms leveled against them.

But hopefully, and to repeat what's being said, engagement does happen and maybe something will come of all this. Those demands can develop and move beyond what they currently are.

I suppose the point is that Barcelona seemed a little bit more successful and interesting because it was able to move beyond Democracia Real Ya and didn't sign up to or fully implement their manifesto, so maybe this can happen in New York too.

CRUD

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on September 22, 2011

Arbeiten

yourmum, that is the most random post in the world....I literally don't get what your talking about ? :oops:

i think Jason has a good point about the stay at home and sneer business. I sometimes catch myself doing it. Self confessed 'radicals' should be there to open up the debate and make it less of an anti-corp pat on the back. Did they have an open mic there?

Also I have said this before in another forum, but I think it is worth stating again. Protests like this will be a learning curve for many people new to protest/civil disobedience etc, etc. To play on the cave analogy (which does make you look like a Leninist CRUD yes, there again Plato wasn't exactly the bearer of 'good politics' either), nobody walks from the darkness of 'shit politics' into the light of 'good politics' without some/a lot of semi-shit politics in between. Especially given the historical situation of communist and anarchist politics (dwindling numbers etc, etc).

Just to clarify, I agree with action_now having 'proper politics' is a bit of a cringe, I was just trying to clarify a point, I don't think anyone ever reaches the realm of solid politics..

Solid politics ? Who mentioned that? The basic thing people need to understand is that workers need to control the means of production/distribution - that has nothing to do with politics. This is horribly lacking in America.

People like this call themselves socialists:

[youtube]gxKd5lpZwLY[/youtube]

Even this talking head doesn't understand the basis of socialism is worker control of industry - it has nothing to do with 'proper politics'. It's really not that hard to understand....I dont so much mind the young people showing up on Wall St not understanding this but groups like adbusters have no excuse as they've been around for some time.

Arbeiten

To play on the cave analogy (which does make you look like a Leninist CRUD

Arbeiten

Self confessed 'radicals' should be there to open up the debate and make it less of an anti-corp pat on the back. Did they have an open mic there?

^ Some would argue that's the role of a 'vanguard'. ;) To 'guide' people to socialism via dialogue and debate. Hence the reference to the 'cave'. It is tricky though, at what point does one come off as some intellectual snob who's trying to lead and control people? On the other hand how many useless protests will people endure before they just throw their hands in the air and quit? It's all tricky, I don't profess to have the answers, one thing I have been saying is perhaps Americans need to endure a sharp decline in material conditions before they take us seriously.

Chilli Sauce

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on September 22, 2011

Joseph Kay

Mike Harmann

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.

This is of course 'correct', but pointing out something is mainstream and liberal is only a criticism if you already have a problem with the mainstream and liberalism. A critical engagement would surely have to show what's wrong with mainstream liberalism and the compatibility of this with it, otherwise it just seems like labelling. Now fwiw Mike you generally do this when debating people so I'm not singling you out, but i think Jason has a point about "self satisfied musing of folks attempting to reassure themselves that being 'right' is some sort substitute for not having any effect on the world." It's pretty easy for anyone on or around libcom to spot and label mainstream liberalism, it's a but trickier to engage with participants in such events who may well be open to such a critique (and have such reservations themselves).

Now I'm not saying drop everything and head down to your nearest liberal protest to evangelise the libcom gospel. I'm also not saying suppress criticism in order to win recruits. But look at something like UK Uncut. A lot of peoples initial reactions here were to dismiss it on the basis of its stated politics. That's very superficial - even uncritical - criticism. It's harder but far more worthwhile looking at how the stated aims of such movements conflict with the dominant liberal ideology, how their actual practice is already moving beyond that ideology and so on. Plenty of people get involved in these things not out of the liberal ideological convictions of the organisers like AdBusters, but a sense that things are fucked up and they should 'do something'. Plenty of those people will be open to a critique of liberalism; just look at how 'liberal' has become a term of abuse in sections of the student/anti-cuts milieu (even hilariously amongst liberals).

For example, you can dismiss summit protests on the grounds that they're just reflecting the ideology that the ills of capitalism are the result of bad men conspiring in conference halls. That's true enough. But a far weightier critique is to show how the ills of capitalism are in fact reproduced daily in our everyday lives so it's there we have the real power to challenge them. That also then carries some people along with you, because it's posed in terms of a practice more adequate to the goal than a dismissive labelling exercise. I use the example of summit protests because Occupy Wall Street seems to reproduce a lot of their failings (fetishising tactics without regard to context, symbolic targets, moral outrage over material interests, and so on). Liberalism is the ruling ideology, so it's inevitable that most people start there. The question is how to sow those critical seeds which lead to people breaking with it rather than being seen to dismiss things out of hand as not revolutionary enough.

JK, that sounds like the start of a pamphlet to me....

An Affirming Flame

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by An Affirming Flame on September 22, 2011

CRUD, I'm on the Adbusters email list and their message (with my bolding) from August 11th may shed some light on their "not understanding:"

We are living through a rare crisis and moment of opportunity. Western industrialized nations are now being masticated by the financial monster they themselves created. This is triggering a mood that alternates between angry denial and sudden panic. It looks like something is about to break, opening the space for a necessary transformation and a total rethink of global economic affairs. Events are playing perfectly into our September 17 occupation of Wall Street.

So … can we on the left learn some new tricks? Can we head off to lower Manhattan with a fresh mindset and a powerful new demand?

Strategically speaking, there is a very real danger that if we naively put our cards on the table and rally around the "overthrow of capitalism" or some equally outworn utopian slogan, then our Tahrir moment will quickly fizzle into another inconsequential ultra-lefty spectacle soon forgotten. But if we have the cunning to come up with a deceptively simple Trojan Horse demand … something profound, yet so specific and doable that it is impossible for President Obama to ignore … something that spotlights Wall Street's financial capture of the US political system and confronts it with a pragmatic solution … like the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act … or a 1% tax on financial transactions … or an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the corporate corruption of our representatives in Washington … or another equally creative but downright practical demand that will emerge from the people's assemblies held during the occupation … and if we then put our asses on the line, screw up our courage and hang in there day after day, week after week, until a large swath of Americans start rooting for us and President Obama is forced to respond … then we just might have a crack at creating a decisive moment of truth for America, a first concrete step towards achieving the radical changes we all dream about unencumbered by commitments to existing power structures.

So, let's learn the strategic lessons of Tahrir (nonviolence), Syntagma (tenacity), Puerta del Sol (people's assemblies) and lay aside adherence to political parties and worn-out lefty dogmas. On September 17, let's sow the seeds of a new culture of resistance in America that fires up a permanent democratic awakening.

See you on Wall St. Sept 17. Bring Tent.

Certainly looks confused. Seems like they can't decide whether anti-capitalism is a "worn-out lefty dogma" or the ultimate object of their "Trojan Horse" demands. Or they're sure in their own minds which it is, but they muddled the message when propagandizing the rubes.

My take is that they think they had/have to play up the mainstream acceptability of the occupation (remember, they were hoping to get 20,000 people to show up to this), even though they do have some vague anti-capitalist notions about where this thing should go. Vague is the key word here though. Their magazine/organization places a lot of emphasis on appearing stylistically avant-garde; they probably really have internalized the idea that being overtly anti-capitalist is gauche, cliche and unsubtle.

That said, whatever role they had in kicking this off, they don't own it now. You're certainly right about most Americans not knowing shit about the basis of socialism (or, for that matter, the basis of capitalism), but struggle is a great teacher, especially when there are anarchists there to help with the process. Is that vanguardism? I don't think so. If it's done in the spirit of mutual learning and advice from a more experienced comrade a la Pedagogy of the Oppressed, then no. I'd say it becomes vanguardism when you start telling people that they're wrong and what they have to change to be correct, whether through overt dictating (which usually turns people off anyway) or through manipulation (which can work, unfortunately).

Joseph Kay

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on September 22, 2011

Chilli Sauce

JK, that sounds like the start of a pamphlet to me....

let me finish the one(s) i'm already committed to working on first eh? then COMBAT LIBERALISM: a pocket guide.

bootsy

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on September 22, 2011

I think this aspect of entitlement and a proletarianised middle class is highly important and something to be looked at.

I totally agree with this and have been thinking about it a bit lately since a struggle has taken off at my uni around cuts to courses and staff redundancies. From some the people involved I think there is this kind of middle class sense of entitlement. For example at one meeting I recall someone said "I might as well have learned a trade!" As in we're slipping down to the level of those dirty proles, so what's the point going to uni?

I think this is also part of the non-violent approach which is very typical amongst students and middle class people. Its an attitude not so much of 'maintaining moral highground', rather its like many of those involved feel that violence is beneath them. That's something the rabble do, we're better than that. We matter to the state, the state does the violent stuff for us, we don't do it ourselves.

Arbeiten

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Arbeiten on September 23, 2011

Some would argue that's the role of a 'vanguard'. wink To 'guide' people to socialism via dialogue and debate

Some people might call it a 'vanguard', but I'm not sure about that one. I would be happy to say it sounds a bit like bourgeois liberal democratic 'everyone has an equal worthy opinion' however....

The Adbusters Trojan Horse is a bit more vanguard-ish.

Also love the standard iteration of the 'we need to get out of leftist dogma'. This has been said for about 50 years by everyone from Cohn-Bendit, Marcuse to Tony Blair....

tastybrain

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on September 23, 2011

Hey everyone. So apparently there is some sort of occupy-ish thing happening tomorrow in Chicago where I'm at right now. Any suggestions on how I might best evangelize? :lol:

yourmum

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by yourmum on September 23, 2011

by taking the peoples wishes and explain the impossibility of them under current conditions lol. stomp idealism.

on another note in case you missed it there was something interesting happening on the occupywallst forum: some pretty official looking statement of anonymous (call for days of revenge) announcing hacking attacks against wall street and police raised a lot of concerns along the protestors about being criminalized - as far as people threatening to go home. today when i checked back the announcement was removed.

Intifada1988

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Intifada1988 on September 25, 2011

Looking beyond the fact that it was mostly privileged, stat-quo youth who showed up to this event

Why did all other groups distance themselves from this? Beyond all the shit talking in this thread I see agreement about the creative potential of this idea.

None of us are on the same fucking page. It's quite obvious. You know whats more obvious? These widening contradictions

Intifada1988

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Intifada1988 on September 25, 2011

Also, if you ask my opinion.. theres plenty of kids without jobs and without school and without steady income at the moment. Just need to figure out how you're gonna get them there. This is America... peoples parents don't let them out protesting and occupying and shit

Egyptian youth unemployment: 25%
American: 21%

soyonstout

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soyonstout on September 25, 2011

Watching that video actually made me curious how much the discourse of these protests is dominated by the familiar US anti-financial-capital-but-not-anti-capitalist producerism. The anti-finance-capital sentiment is often difficult to argue against and usually gets perniciously pushed by the leftists who justify it as a transitional demand. It seems that when the discussion focuses on what the banks did or what the banks do, most of the immediate connections to people's lives and places they could actually begin struggling/discussing/doing-something are lost, at least as regards the labor vs. capital struggle. I fear the content of the protests being grounded too much in abstractions, I guess, and I think the more the discussions focus on the protestors' actual needs and hardships, rather than outrage at financial capital's past crimes or exorbitant wealth & moral axioms directed at the democratic state, the better a class feeling can develop.

no1

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by no1 on September 25, 2011

(I find this guy fascinating)
[youtube]m1QFrWrzSIk[/youtube]

tastybrain

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on September 25, 2011

Lol his shock over the police brutality seems a little disingenuous when he says afterward that "their violent traitors to the working class and to the people...always have been."

Some of the reactions from American liberals have been ridiculous. "Oh I'm so shocked". Really? You're shocked? Have you been asleep your whole life? How can people be shocked when cops use violence against protesters, it's an extremely common phenomenon.

tastybrain

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on September 25, 2011

Double post

no1

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by no1 on September 25, 2011

tastybrain

Lol his shock over the police brutality seems a little disingenuous when he says afterward that "their violent traitors to the working class and to the people...always have been."

Yeah, sorry I should have said, he's a performance artist. I think he hits the nail on the head with this one, it's got the contradictions many people feel currently. I like his joy at the ruling class running scared (towards the end).

tastybrain

Some of the reactions from American liberals have been ridiculous. "Oh I'm so shocked". Really? You're shocked? Have you been asleep your whole life? How can people be shocked when cops use violence against protesters, it's an extremely common phenomenon.

Yes, that combined with the 'shock' that there is a 'media blackout'. The police use worse violence all the time in poor areas, and it doesn't get reported. Why expect police violence to get reported, they are just doing their job.

radicalgraffiti

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on September 25, 2011

of cause liberals are shocked by police violence and media black out, being a liberal requires not being aware of that kind of thing

EGADS

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by EGADS on September 26, 2011

radicalgraffiti

of cause liberals are shocked by police violence and media black out, being a liberal requires not being aware of that kind of thing

How else would they still support capitalism? ;)

Also, where is this "corporatism" they're harping on about? The last person I heard saying that the current American system was "corporatist"(well, he actually said "fascist" but he described the corporatist economic model) was Gerald Celente, who thinks Liberty Lobby were pretty cool guys. :roll:

CRUD

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on September 27, 2011

An Affirming Flame

CRUD, I'm on the Adbusters email list and their message (with my bolding) from August 11th may shed some light on their "not understanding:"

We are living through a rare crisis and moment of opportunity. Western industrialized nations are now being masticated by the financial monster they themselves created. This is triggering a mood that alternates between angry denial and sudden panic. It looks like something is about to break, opening the space for a necessary transformation and a total rethink of global economic affairs. Events are playing perfectly into our September 17 occupation of Wall Street.

So … can we on the left learn some new tricks? Can we head off to lower Manhattan with a fresh mindset and a powerful new demand?

Strategically speaking, there is a very real danger that if we naively put our cards on the table and rally around the "overthrow of capitalism" or some equally outworn utopian slogan, then our Tahrir moment will quickly fizzle into another inconsequential ultra-lefty spectacle soon forgotten. But if we have the cunning to come up with a deceptively simple Trojan Horse demand … something profound, yet so specific and doable that it is impossible for President Obama to ignore … something that spotlights Wall Street's financial capture of the US political system and confronts it with a pragmatic solution … like the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act … or a 1% tax on financial transactions … or an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the corporate corruption of our representatives in Washington … or another equally creative but downright practical demand that will emerge from the people's assemblies held during the occupation … and if we then put our asses on the line, screw up our courage and hang in there day after day, week after week, until a large swath of Americans start rooting for us and President Obama is forced to respond … then we just might have a crack at creating a decisive moment of truth for America, a first concrete step towards achieving the radical changes we all dream about unencumbered by commitments to existing power structures.

So, let's learn the strategic lessons of Tahrir (nonviolence), Syntagma (tenacity), Puerta del Sol (people's assemblies) and lay aside adherence to political parties and worn-out lefty dogmas. On September 17, let's sow the seeds of a new culture of resistance in America that fires up a permanent democratic awakening.

See you on Wall St. Sept 17. Bring Tent.

Certainly looks confused. Seems like they can't decide whether anti-capitalism is a "worn-out lefty dogma" or the ultimate object of their "Trojan Horse" demands. Or they're sure in their own minds which it is, but they muddled the message when propagandizing the rubes.

My take is that they think they had/have to play up the mainstream acceptability of the occupation (remember, they were hoping to get 20,000 people to show up to this), even though they do have some vague anti-capitalist notions about where this thing should go. Vague is the key word here though. Their magazine/organization places a lot of emphasis on appearing stylistically avant-garde; they probably really have internalized the idea that being overtly anti-capitalist is gauche, cliche and unsubtle.

That said, whatever role they had in kicking this off, they don't own it now. You're certainly right about most Americans not knowing shit about the basis of socialism (or, for that matter, the basis of capitalism), but struggle is a great teacher, especially when there are anarchists there to help with the process. Is that vanguardism? I don't think so. If it's done in the spirit of mutual learning and advice from a more experienced comrade a la Pedagogy of the Oppressed, then no. I'd say it becomes vanguardism when you start telling people that they're wrong and what they have to change to be correct, whether through overt dictating (which usually turns people off anyway) or through manipulation (which can work, unfortunately).

Well, top blame the crisis on "greedy banks" and not the structural system itself is, well (I'll be nice here) silly. Periods of crisis are due to the way the market system works - the "anarchy" of the market if you will ;) If the global market system makes it through this one the next will be worse as the system has just (in our lifetime) truly begun to be global.

I've been saying this since 2008- Americans are going to have to endure some major 'shock therapy' before the word socialism begins to be accepted as an alternative. This is why I originally titled the thread USELESS PROTESTS ON WALL ST . With what you quoted in bold above I have no inclination to have anything to do with adbusters or any liberal confusion fest. If they have some event here in the Bay Area I'll be there but not to tote their liberal line (which to me sounds a lot like a bourgeois trojan horse to funnel any meaningful anger/resistance into useless sludge).

I mean seriously? Pressure Obama to do something? Those tiered ass fools at adbusters need to go away. Where do I begin? Let me also clarify I'm not shit talking all the protesters just those who are seeking to goad anger during this current crisis into some useless liberal wank fest. This is exactly what happened with our anger at the end of Bush's term when the capitalists put Obama in to shut us up. It worked and some stupid bid to 'pressure Obama' should be laughed out of town at this point.

I've spend years since late 2008 arguing with liberals and it just never sinks in. I'm tiered of it. "Reinstate the Glass Steagall Act!"....."a democratic awakening" implies we have an actual democracy in America and yes it would be silly at this point to run around in the streets screaming revolution but to ignore the realities of the capitalist system isn't the answer. No, now isn't the time to scream revolution now is the time to explain (to our fellow workers) how capitalism and socialism actually work - fuck letting Democrats and Obama co-op the struggle again. I say fuck adbusters.

Soapy

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on September 27, 2011

Word has it that over 100 police are refusing to show up to work after the recent brutality. Also, very interesting coverage in the corporate media [youtube]Zgr3DiqWYCI[/youtube]

Baronarchist

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Baronarchist on September 27, 2011

That's incredible, since when did the media act like that to the ruling classes enforcers? It usually takes a murder of an unarmed man to provoke any media outrage over here, and even then half of the media jumps on the degenerate liberals trying to stop the repressed police do their jobs.

tastybrain

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on September 27, 2011

CRUD

An Affirming Flame

CRUD, I'm on the Adbusters email list and their message (with my bolding) from August 11th may shed some light on their "not understanding:"

We are living through a rare crisis and moment of opportunity. Western industrialized nations are now being masticated by the financial monster they themselves created. This is triggering a mood that alternates between angry denial and sudden panic. It looks like something is about to break, opening the space for a necessary transformation and a total rethink of global economic affairs. Events are playing perfectly into our September 17 occupation of Wall Street.

So … can we on the left learn some new tricks? Can we head off to lower Manhattan with a fresh mindset and a powerful new demand?

Strategically speaking, there is a very real danger that if we naively put our cards on the table and rally around the "overthrow of capitalism" or some equally outworn utopian slogan, then our Tahrir moment will quickly fizzle into another inconsequential ultra-lefty spectacle soon forgotten. But if we have the cunning to come up with a deceptively simple Trojan Horse demand … something profound, yet so specific and doable that it is impossible for President Obama to ignore … something that spotlights Wall Street's financial capture of the US political system and confronts it with a pragmatic solution … like the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act … or a 1% tax on financial transactions … or an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the corporate corruption of our representatives in Washington … or another equally creative but downright practical demand that will emerge from the people's assemblies held during the occupation … and if we then put our asses on the line, screw up our courage and hang in there day after day, week after week, until a large swath of Americans start rooting for us and President Obama is forced to respond … then we just might have a crack at creating a decisive moment of truth for America, a first concrete step towards achieving the radical changes we all dream about unencumbered by commitments to existing power structures.

So, let's learn the strategic lessons of Tahrir (nonviolence), Syntagma (tenacity), Puerta del Sol (people's assemblies) and lay aside adherence to political parties and worn-out lefty dogmas. On September 17, let's sow the seeds of a new culture of resistance in America that fires up a permanent democratic awakening.

See you on Wall St. Sept 17. Bring Tent.

Certainly looks confused. Seems like they can't decide whether anti-capitalism is a "worn-out lefty dogma" or the ultimate object of their "Trojan Horse" demands. Or they're sure in their own minds which it is, but they muddled the message when propagandizing the rubes.

My take is that they think they had/have to play up the mainstream acceptability of the occupation (remember, they were hoping to get 20,000 people to show up to this), even though they do have some vague anti-capitalist notions about where this thing should go. Vague is the key word here though. Their magazine/organization places a lot of emphasis on appearing stylistically avant-garde; they probably really have internalized the idea that being overtly anti-capitalist is gauche, cliche and unsubtle.

That said, whatever role they had in kicking this off, they don't own it now. You're certainly right about most Americans not knowing shit about the basis of socialism (or, for that matter, the basis of capitalism), but struggle is a great teacher, especially when there are anarchists there to help with the process. Is that vanguardism? I don't think so. If it's done in the spirit of mutual learning and advice from a more experienced comrade a la Pedagogy of the Oppressed, then no. I'd say it becomes vanguardism when you start telling people that they're wrong and what they have to change to be correct, whether through overt dictating (which usually turns people off anyway) or through manipulation (which can work, unfortunately).

Well, top blame the crisis on "greedy banks" and not the structural system itself is, well (I'll be nice here) silly. Periods of crisis are due to the way the market system works - the "anarchy" of the market if you will ;) If the global market system makes it through this one the next will be worse as the system has just (in our lifetime) truly begun to be global.

Everyone agrees with you. Of course the Occupy Wall St. people have a terrible analysis of the crisis and of capitalism.

CRUD

I've been saying this since 2008- Americans are going to have to endure some major 'shock therapy' before the word socialism begins to be accepted as an alternative. This is why I originally titled the thread USELESS PROTESTS ON WALL ST . With what you quoted in bold above I have no inclination to have anything to do with adbusters or any liberal confusion fest. If they have some event here in the Bay Area I'll be there but not to tote their liberal line (which to me sounds a lot like a bourgeois trojan horse to funnel any meaningful anger/resistance into useless sludge).

CRUD, no one is saying just go there and "tote their liberal line". We are saying simply writing them off and disparaging them while not doing anything else does not get us anywhere. I'm glad you are saying you would engage with it if something similar happened in your area, although I worry about your ability to sway the liberals due to your rather, shall we say, vehement debating style.

CRUD

I mean seriously? Pressure Obama to do something? Those tiered ass fools at adbusters need to go away. Where do I begin? Let me also clarify I'm not shit talking all the protesters just those who are seeking to goad anger during this current crisis into some useless liberal wank fest. This is exactly what happened with our anger at the end of Bush's term when the capitalists put Obama in to shut us up. It worked and some stupid bid to 'pressure Obama' should be laughed out of town at this point.

Seems to me that almost every instance of class struggle at least begins as an attempt to pressure the ruling class, even militant strike action. Would you laugh that out of town? And I think comparisons of this protest with voting for Obama are a bit unfair. I mean, as naive and confused as the protests are, at least they are recognizing that action needs to be taken and simply voting is not enough.

CRUD

I've spend years since late 2008 arguing with liberals and it just never sinks in. I'm tiered of it. "Reinstate the Glass Steagall Act!"....."a democratic awakening" implies we have an actual democracy in America and yes it would be silly at this point to run around in the streets screaming revolution but to ignore the realities of the capitalist system isn't the answer. No, now isn't the time to scream revolution now is the time to explain (to our fellow workers) how capitalism and socialism actually work - fuck letting Democrats and Obama co-op the struggle again. I say fuck adbusters.

Yeah, I agree, fuck Adbusters, fuck Obama, fuck the Democrats. But the best way to explain how capitalism and socialism actually work to these fellow workers would be to engage with them, not take a sneering, superior attitude as the title of the thread suggests.

jesuithitsquad

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on September 27, 2011

Baronarchist

That's incredible, since when did the media act like that to the ruling classes enforcers? It usually takes a murder of an unarmed man to provoke any media outrage over here, and even then half of the media jumps on the degenerate liberals trying to stop the repressed police do their jobs.

yeah, but you've got to remember that msnbc's target audience is young "progressives." so they are just playing to their audience, and i wouldn't read much more into it than that.

Intifada1988

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Intifada1988 on September 28, 2011

Who ever is writing off these protests is off their fucking nut.

Go to one of the many public discussion forums that have been established as a result of the OWS protesters actions.

Next, reflect on the estimated 14 million people who have been talking about this in the US the past 11 days. Im sure a large part of those people ARE NOT THE BOURGEOISIE

simple concept: WIDENING CRISES, GROWING CLASS

Soapy

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on September 28, 2011

An occupation has begun in the city of Boston numbering around 150 people. On October 6th there is scheduled to be quite a big occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington DC, I plan on being at that one.

tastybrain

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on September 28, 2011

Ahh wish I could go to the Boston one...the one here in Chicago seems fairly marginal, small, and liberal.

CRUD

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on September 28, 2011

tastybrain

Everyone agrees with you. Of course the Occupy Wall St. people have a terrible analysis of the crisis and of capitalism.

So should American working class align with Tea Party people? They too have a terrible analysis of capitalism :)

CRUD

I've been saying this since 2008- Americans are going to have to endure some major 'shock therapy' before the word socialism begins to be accepted as an alternative. This is why I originally titled the thread USELESS PROTESTS ON WALL ST . With what you quoted in bold above I have no inclination to have anything to do with adbusters or any liberal confusion fest. If they have some event here in the Bay Area I'll be there but not to tote their liberal line (which to me sounds a lot like a bourgeois trojan horse to funnel any meaningful anger/resistance into useless sludge).

tastybrain

I worry about your ability to sway the liberals due to your rather, shall we say, vehement debating style.

When in Rome :) (as far as LibCom goes ;)

CRUD

I mean seriously? Pressure Obama to do something? Those tiered ass fools at adbusters need to go away. Where do I begin? Let me also clarify I'm not shit talking all the protesters just those who are seeking to goad anger during this current crisis into some useless liberal wank fest. This is exactly what happened with our anger at the end of Bush's term when the capitalists put Obama in to shut us up. It worked and some stupid bid to 'pressure Obama' should be laughed out of town at this point.

tastybrain

Seems to me that almost every instance of class struggle at least begins as an attempt to pressure the ruling class, even militant strike action. Would you laugh that out of town?

No because it (militant strike action) would be focused on the conflict between labor and capital :) I dont think that's adbusters goal or priority or even 'dream/vision'.

tastybrain

And I think comparisons of this protest with voting for Obama are a bit unfair. I mean, as naive and confused as the protests are, at least they are recognizing that action needs to be taken and simply voting is not enough.

What does "pressure Obama" mean? It means use the false pseudo "democracy" the capitalists have put in place. It wont work. Sorry :)

CRUD

I've spend years since late 2008 arguing with liberals and it just never sinks in. I'm tiered of it. "Reinstate the Glass Steagall Act!"....."a democratic awakening" implies we have an actual democracy in America and yes it would be silly at this point to run around in the streets screaming revolution but to ignore the realities of the capitalist system isn't the answer. No, now isn't the time to scream revolution now is the time to explain (to our fellow workers) how capitalism and socialism actually work - fuck letting Democrats and Obama co-op the struggle again. I say fuck adbusters.

tastybrain

Yeah, I agree, fuck Adbusters, fuck Obama, fuck the Democrats. But the best way to explain how capitalism and socialism actually work to these fellow workers would be to engage with them

There is something to be said of "struggle", but, to just let people be silly and declare the earth to be flat would be in opposition of progress would it be not? At a certain point we need to just say fuck you to liberals and quit aligning ourselves with them, in my opinion that's been the bourgeoisie's best weapon against us. This is an old story as we all should know (after reading various historical socialist literature).

I don't want to argue with you by the way I'm simply voicing my frustration after seeing certain things replay like a broken record in the USA.

rooieravotr

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on September 28, 2011

New people, new generations, have to re-learn old lessons. That is unfortunate, frustrating, but it cannot be avoided. Nobody is born an anarachist/ communist; some of us will remember the day we ware liberals beginning to move in an anarchist direction. Ofcourse, lost of new people start limited protests with lots of the ruling ideologies in their heads - just like some of us did... People think in a liberal way, with all its limitations. Still, they begin to struggle, in a limited way but they actually move. And these acts - with a nice dose of direct action/ horizontal decision-making - express something inarticulate, unclear maybe. It often has no clear name. But it is something more than just liberalism. And it should be encouraged.

These people on Wall Street express liberalism with their mouths. But with their feet and bodies they are beginning to express something that goes beyond liberalism. People risk their skulls smashed, faces peppersprayed and bodies arrested not because they are so liberal, but DESPITE them still being liberal. And the repression helpsclarify the minds. It is a learning process... a process that should be helped along by pro-revolutionaries, not dismissed out of hand. Shouting to these people "you are liberals, and that is baaaaadddd", does not seem te me very pedagogic.

ofcourse, with experienced organizers of these protest it is a different matter. THeir policies have to be ruthlessly criticized - but with the purpose of strengthening the protests an helping participants towards better ideas/ practices. If we do not take this attitude of support and criticism, we leave those new people to the liberal groups, and thereby help them to maintain their stranglehold. If I were in New york, i would be with the protesters. As I am in the Netherlands, I will be with a similar protest planned in The Hague on 15 October (with politics as least as bad as the original Wall Street one...)

An Affirming Flame

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by An Affirming Flame on September 28, 2011

Liberals are learning from this. These pepper-spraying incidents where that asshole cop "Tony Baloney" just randomly maced some women standing in a kettle have certainly shattered some liberals' illusions about the police "just doing their jobs" etc.

Here's an exchange in the comments of this post on a liberal site where some people, in typical wide-eyed liberal fashion, were going, "I can't believe he didn't even call a medic over after he assaulted them!"

For example:

-I don't blame the blue rank and file for not stopping the attack.

-I don't blame the blue for failing to arrest Bologna afterwards.

-I am distressed about their inability to help the victim (and then themselves)

* Did they think someone else had called the medics? (As Bologna should have done)

*What orders were they under when they moved along and left the victims? (and was this after the protester medics were on scene?)

But then another liberal poster, someone who has obviously been effected by what has been happening and thinking, replied:

i DO blame them for failing to arrest him.

whenever someone on dkos [Daily Kos, the site] makes some ugly generalization about the boys in blue, folks like to come down real hard, "Oh, i know eleventy-seven cops, they're mostly good guys blah blah"

well, every good guy in blue on the street who didn't arrest tony baloney is a fucking antisocial son of a bitch, a fascistic motherfucking asshole and is my fucking enemy. i don't care how much time he puts in down at the PAL, or how many DARE sessions he leads, or how many fucked-up teens he's looking out for, or whether he's a great dad and he's taking care of his cancer-stricken wife in the fucking evenings: he's my fucking enemy, because he uniquely possesses a power to make a fucking point about the universality of the law in this country, and he prefers to side with unrestrained fucking evil, and every fucking one of them ought to turn in their fucking badges today, and if they really are so fucking wonderful deep down inside, they can all switch to social work, which will give them just as many opportunities to do good, without the responsibility -- a responsibility up to which they evidently cannot live -- of protecting the public from the marauding savages in their own ranks.

NO FUCKING SYMPATHY. NONE.

That, my fellow workers, is the sound of a liberal being transformed by struggle. It's just one example, but it's indicative of what can happen. Too many are still buying the line of "police are just workers, too!", but that can evaporate as time goes on if the struggle continues and deepens.

RossWolfe

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by RossWolfe on September 28, 2011

Certainly the OccupyWallStreet demonstrations have created a lot of buzz and enlisted a lot of leftish celebrities like Chomsky, Michael Moore, Cornell West, and others to support their cause, but I believe that the rather inchoate, generalized discontent expressed by the protestors needs to be given adequate theoretical clarification in order that the participants in this phenomenon might dedicate themselves to a longer-term program of reconstituting the Left. Michael Moore quite transparently wants a return to neo-Fordist Rooseveltian capitalism, Chomsky is a self-proclaimed "anarchist" who voted for John Kerry in 2004, and so on down the line. I therefore offer the following (Marxist) critique of the protests to this point.

Of course, I realize that it is not enough to relentlessly criticize from the sidelines, but it is essential that these protestors be engaged so that their understanding of global capitalism is deepened and their politics radicalized. This means more than waving a few placards with populist slogans and other such theatrics.

Regressive "Resistance" on Wall Street: Notes on the Occupation

tastybrain

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on September 28, 2011

CRUD

So should American working class align with Tea Party people? They too have a terrible analysis of capitalism :)

You seriously don't see a difference? While I agree the "Occupy" tendency right now has some shit politics I see them as having more potential for coming to a decent understanding of
capitalism and the state than the Teabaggers.

CRUD

I mean seriously? Pressure Obama to do something? Those tiered ass fools at adbusters need to go away. Where do I begin? Let me also clarify I'm not shit talking all the protesters just those who are seeking to goad anger during this current crisis into some useless liberal wank fest. This is exactly what happened with our anger at the end of Bush's term when the capitalists put Obama in to shut us up. It worked and some stupid bid to 'pressure Obama' should be laughed out of town at this point.

CRUD

No because it (militant strike action) would be focused on the conflict between labor and capital :) I dont think that's adbusters goal or priority or even 'dream/vision'.

I would be very surprised if adbusters still maintains control of the political content of this protest. Yeah strikes are more focused on labor vs. capital, but they still are trying to pressure the bosses into doing something! Otherwise the only successful strikes would be insurrections.

CRUD

What does "pressure Obama" mean? It means use the false pseudo "democracy" the capitalists have put in place. It wont work. Sorry :)

It manifestly is not limiting itself to strict electoral democracy. If it was, they wouldn't be out in the streets they would be gearing up to support some bourgeois faction in 2012.

CRUD

There is something to be said of "struggle", but, to just let people be silly and declare the earth to be flat would be in opposition of progress would it not? At a certain point we need to just say fuck you to liberals and quit aligning ourselves with them, in my opinion that's been the bourgeoisie's best weapon against us...I don't want to argue with you by the way I'm simply voicing my frustration after seeing certain things replay like a broken record in the USA.

Not trying to argue with you either. And I agree 110% that the politics of the protest is straight liberal bullshit...I'm not asking you to support adbusters or any other left-ish organization seeking to integrate people more effectively into capitalism. I would say that since the wall st. occupation is a quasi-spontaneous mass demonstration (it was called by adbusters but I highly doubt they have any real control over it at this point) there is at least some potential for rupture with the logic of capital, in contrast to an electoral campaign or similar liberal idiocy. Don't 'align yourself' with the liberals. Offer a ruthless criticism of them to the average people that showed up, but do it in a friendly, reasonable way instead of saying "your protest is fucking bullshit, man". I assume you would support the rank and file workers in a strike even as you criticized the pro-capitalist AFL-CIO leadership, yeah? Isn't the same approach possible in this situation?

CRUD

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on September 29, 2011

rooieravotr

ofcourse, with experienced organizers of these protest it is a different matter. THeir policies have to be ruthlessly criticized- but with the purpose of strengthening the protests an helping participants towards better ideas

Yes and and more yes but 'helping' liberals toward better ideas is a tad complicated. Why don't some of us pick a website here online - one that has posters who are liberal participants of the Wall St protests and we can see what happens (although face to face people are nicer than online it's the actual acceptance or non acceptance of ideas that matters). I gained my views through my experience as a production carpenter not so much debate - it was my misery working until I couldn't walk everyday that led me to accept actual socialism as a viable alternative. Most liberals in America don't live under those material conditions so they think only reforms are necessary. I think the system may have to get near to total collapse before people start taking us seriously en mass. I think we should be out there and loud right now during this current crisis but I've found it to be complicated when we have to battle the "gate keepers" of the mainstream left who have so much sway when it come to framing the debate/issue and or setting the goals.

I think people are as ready as they've ever been (in my lifetime) to accept socialism as an alternative but maybe things need to get worse? How do you make the switch from demanding reforms to demanding an end to capitalism? How does that social shift in consciousness take place en mass? If I knew I suppose I'd tell everyone so we could get rid of capitalism :)

My opinion is it will take time....decades of struggle under exponentially worsening material conditions. I'm curious to see what the capitalists do when this crisis worsens and lingers.....I'm also curious to see what we'll do (which thus far hasn't been vary impressive here in America).

Soapy

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on September 29, 2011

Wall Street saw yet another surge in protesters today - as hundreds of Continental and United Airlines pilots demonstrated in New York City's financial district.

Over 700 hundred activists, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) carriers, took their grievances to the streets as they protested for wages and benefits in light of a stalled merger between the airlines.

The demonstration coincided with the 11th straight day the Occupy Wall Street encampment, which has seen thousands of demonstrators descend onto downtown Manhattan - and hundreds arrested.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2042680/Wall-Street-Protests-Continental-United-Airlines-pilots-fed-bosses.html#ixzz1ZMEjMqZw

Soapy

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on September 29, 2011

The Daily Kos now reports that the New York Transit Workers Union has voted to support the protests

yourmum

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by yourmum on September 29, 2011

well i was dead fucking wrong about the corruption thing having worn itself away after decades and decades of voicing it. corruption is the last stand against reason. it is not bound by unlawfull behaviours, its morality itself. it is the straw you can ever hold when you want to think the system is good while having bad effects at the same time. only by overcoming this sentiment this movement can make a step towards revolution, it is the notion to be overcome without losing support, the very border that marks the battle between revolution and reformism.

Schwarz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Schwarz on September 30, 2011

My union just emailed me this article:

Veteran agitators flock to Occupy Wall Street

City's biggest unions, community groups queue up to join the fight as young amateurs using Facebook and Twitter make more waves than the pros.

By Daniel Massey

The city's most experienced agitators—the labor and community groups that typically organize local marches, rallies and sit-ins—have been largely missing from the Occupy Wall Street protest that is in its 13th day at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan.

But that's about to change.

A loose coalition of labor and community groups said Thursday that they would join the protest next week. They are organizing a solidarity march scheduled for Wednesday that is expected to start at City Hall and finish a few blocks south at Zuccotti Park.

“It's a responsibility for the progressive organizations in town to show their support and connect Occupy Wall Street to some of the struggles that are real in the city today,” said Jon Kest, executive director of New York Communities for Change, which is helping to organize the march. “They're speaking about issues we're trying to speak about.”

Despite the common cause, the city's established left did not initially embrace the protest, which began Sept. 17 and has been made up mostly of young people angry about the widening income chasm in the country, the growing influence of money on politics and police brutality, among other issues.

But as the action nears the start of its third week, unions and community groups are eager to jump on board. They are motivated perhaps by a sense of solidarity and a desire to tap into its growing success, but undoubtedly by something else too—embarrassment that a group of young people using Twitter and Facebook have been able to draw attention to progressive causes in a way they haven't been able to in years.

The protestors have transformed the park into a village of sorts, complete with a community kitchen, a library, a concert stage, an arts and crafts center and a media hub. All of that has enabled them not just to sustain the action but to build momentum. And as celebrities like Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Russell Simmons and Cornel West have joined in, the city's traditional activists have been forced to jump into the fray.

“It's become too big to ignore,” said one political consultant.

Some of the biggest players in organized labor are actively involved in planning for Wednesday's demonstration, either directly or through coalitions that they are a part of. The United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United and Transport Workers Union Local 100 are all expected to participate. The Working Families Party is helping to organize the protest and MoveOn.org is expected to mobilize its extensive online regional networks to drum up support for the effort.

“We're getting involved because the crisis was caused by the excesses of Wall Street and the consequences have fallen hardest on workers,” a spokesman for TWU Local 100 said.

Community groups like Make the Road New York, the Coalition for the Homeless, the Alliance for Quality Education and Community Voices Heard are also organizing for Wednesday's action, and the labor/community coalitions United New York and Strong Economy For All are pitching in as well.

Signs and chants will likely call for an extension of the so-called millionaires' tax and a roll-back of state budget cuts. They will also likely show support for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's position that a proposed settlement between banks and attorneys general over troubled mortgage pools is too lenient.

Organizers of the march said they aren't looking to take control of the Occupy Wall Street protest, which has captured headlines since it began nearly two weeks ago, but add to it.

“We're not trying to grab the steering wheel or to control it,” said Michael Kink, executive director of the Strong Economy For All coalition. “We're looking to find common cause and support the effort. It's the right fight at the right time and we want to be part of it.”

knotwho

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by knotwho on September 30, 2011

I will be attending an Occupy event tomorrow. Any recommendations for a pamphlet to hand out that pushes the class struggle angle?

knotwho

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by knotwho on September 30, 2011

Also, I'm trying to figure out how to counter all of the 'be nice to the cops' arguments going on. What I've seen is that cops are usually the ones who start shit.

People are also encouraging folks to wear polo and khaki so they will look more professional on the media. Gross.

soyonstout

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soyonstout on September 30, 2011

Schwarz

Organizers of the march said they aren't looking to take control of the Occupy Wall Street protest, which has captured headlines since it began nearly two weeks ago, but add to it.

“We're not trying to grab the steering wheel or to control it,” said Michael Kink, executive director of the Strong Economy For All coalition. “We're looking to find common cause and support the effort. It's the right fight at the right time and we want to be part of it.”

riiiiight. :roll:

that must be the meaning of the bourgeois media condemning the police's attacks too, to boost the movement? certainly it has nothing to do with maintaining the idea of an accountable state, at which the talking heads will be outraged whenever it "abuses" its power...

a couple days before the planning meeting for the similar event in my town a cop came by the place it was to be held and asked if his department could "assist in any way" with the planning meeting

honestly, I wonder what will happen with this--so many unions have had to call strikes this year to let people blow off steam, it makes sense that they many of them would have to make some kind of endorsement, bring the stewards down, etc.--but I wonder if the simple fact of all these diffuse social groups won't plant some kind of seed of a more classwide perspective--or the movement will transform into veteran activists and union activists writing up lists of demands that their new coalition group will fight for through local voting initiatives, consumer boycotts, and other such class-pacifist action. I suppose we'll see but there does seem to be some potential in all this...

proletarian.

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by proletarian. on September 30, 2011

Baronarchist

That's incredible, since when did the media act like that to the ruling classes enforcers? It usually takes a murder of an unarmed man to provoke any media outrage over here, and even then half of the media jumps on the degenerate liberals trying to stop the repressed police do their jobs.

re: MSNBC clip, I have to agree with the Baron. For quite a while I thought I was watching a spoof news clip from one of those American shows - you know the ones I mean. Was actually very surprised this was genuine. You would never get anything remotely like this on any news channel in Britain. No fucking chance.

Irish Rambler

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Irish Rambler on October 1, 2011

An article by the editor of Indymedia on this subject
[b]The Revolution Begins at Home
By Arun Gupta[/b]

What is occurring on Wall Street right now is truly remarkable. For over 10 days, in the sanctum of the great cathedral of global capitalism, the dispossessed have liberated territory from the financial overlords and their police army.

They have created a unique opportunity to shift the tides of history in the tradition of other great peaceful occupations from the sit-down strikes of the 1930s to the lunch-counter sit-ins of the 1960s to the democratic uprisings across the Arab world and Europe today.

While the Wall Street occupation is growing, it needs an all-out commitment from everyone who cheered the Egyptians in Tahrir Square, said "We are all Wisconsin," and stood in solidarity with the Greeks and Spaniards. This is a movement for anyone who lacks a job, housing or healthcare, or thinks they have no future.

Our system is broken at every level. More than 25 million Americans are unemployed. More than 50 million live without health insurance. And perhaps 100 million Americans are mired in poverty, using realistic measures. Yet the fat cats continue to get tax breaks and reap billions while politicians compete to turn the austerity screws on all of us.

At some point the number of people occupying Wall Street -- whether that's five thousand, ten thousand or fifty thousand -- will force the powers that be to offer concessions. No one can say how many people it will take or even how things will change exactly, but there is a real potential for bypassing a corrupt political process and to begin realizing a society based on human needs not hedge fund profits.

After all, who would have imagined a year ago that Tunisians and Egyptians would oust their dictators?

At Liberty Park, the nerve center of the occupation, more than a thousand people gather every day to debate, discuss and organize what to do about our failed system that has allowed the 400 richest Americans at the top to amass more wealth than the 180 million Americans at the bottom.

It's astonishing that this self-organized festival of democracy has sprouted on the turf of the masters of the universe, the men who play the tune that both political parties and the media dance to. The New York Police Department, which has deployed hundreds of officers at a time to surround and intimidate protesters, is capable of arresting everyone and clearing Liberty Plaza in minutes. But they haven't, which is also astonishing.

That's because assaulting peaceful crowds in a public square demanding real democracy -- economic and not just political -- would remind the world of the brittle autocrats who brutalized their people demanding justice before they were swept away by the Arab Spring. And the state violence has already backfired. After police attacked a Saturday afternoon march that started from Liberty Plaza the crowds only got bigger and media interest grew.

The Wall Street occupation has already succeeded in revealing the bankruptcy of the dominant powers -- the economic, the political, media and security forces. They have nothing positive to offer humanity, not that they ever did for the Global South, but now their quest for endless profits means deepening the misery with a thousand austerity cuts.

Even their solutions are cruel jokes. They tell us that the "Buffett Rule" would spread the pain by asking the penthouse set to sacrifice a tin of caviar, which is what the proposed tax increase would amount to. Meanwhile, the rest of us will have to sacrifice healthcare, food, education, housing, jobs and perhaps our lives to sate the ferocious appetite of capital.

That's why more and more people are joining the Wall Street occupation. They can tell you about their homes being foreclosed upon, months of grinding unemployment or minimum-wage dead-end jobs, staggering student debt loads, or trying to live without decent healthcare. It's a whole generation of Americans with no prospects, but who are told to believe in a system that can only offer them Dancing With The Stars and pepper spray to the face.

Yet against every description of a generation derided as narcissistic, apathetic and hopeless they are staking a claim to a better future for all of us.

That's why we all need to join in. Not just by liking it on Facebook, signing a petition at change.org or retweeting protest photos, but by going down to the occupation itself.

There is great potential here. Sure, it's a far cry from Tahrir Square or even Wisconsin. But there is the nucleus of a revolt that could shake America's power structure as much as the Arab world has been upended.

Instead of one to two thousand people a day joining in the occupation there needs to be tens of thousands of people protesting the fat cats driving Bentleys and drinking thousand-dollar bottles of champagne with money they looted from the financial crisis and then from the bailouts while Americans literally die on the streets.

To be fair, the scene in Liberty Plaza seems messy and chaotic. But it's also a laboratory of possibility, and that's the beauty of democracy. As opposed to our monoculture world, where political life is flipping a lever every four years, social life is being a consumer and economic life is being a timid cog, the Wall Street occupation is creating a polyculture of ideas, expression and art.

Yet while many people support the occupation, they hesitate to fully join in and are quick to offer criticism. It's clear that the biggest obstacles to building a powerful movement are not the police or capital -- it's our own cynicism and despair.

Perhaps their views were colored by the New York Times article deriding protesters for wishing to "pantomime progressivism" and "Gunning for Wall Street with faulty aim." Many of the criticisms boil down to "a lack of clear messaging."

But what's wrong with that? A fully formed movement is not going to spring from the ground. It has to be created. And who can say what exactly needs to be done? We are not talking about ousting a dictator; though some say we want to oust the dictatorship of capital.

There are plenty of sophisticated ideas out there: end corporate personhood; institute a "Tobin Tax" on stock purchases and currency trading; nationalize banks; socialize medicine; fully fund government jobs and genuine Keynesian stimulus; lift restrictions on labor organizing; allow cities to turn foreclosed homes into public housing; build a green energy infrastructure.

But how can we get broad agreement on any of these? If the protesters came into the square with a pre-determined set of demands it would have only limited their potential. They would have either been dismissed as pie in the sky -- such as socialized medicine or nationalize banks -- or if they went for weak demands such as the Buffett Rule their efforts would immediately be absorbed by a failed political system, thus undermining the movement.

That's why the building of the movement has to go hand in hand with common struggle, debate and radical democracy. It's how we will create genuine solutions that have legitimacy. And that is what is occurring down at Wall Street.

Now, there are endless objections one can make. But if we focus on the possibilities, and shed our despair, our hesitancy and our cynicism, and collectively come to Wall Street with critical thinking, ideas and solidarity we can change the world.

How many times in your life do you get a chance to watch history unfold, to actively participate in building a better society, to come together with thousands of people where genuine democracy is the reality and not a fantasy?

For too long our minds have been chained by fear, by division, by impotence. The one thing the elite fear most is a great awakening. That day is here. Together we can seize it.

--------------------------------------------
Arun Gupta is the editor of The Indypendent.

Khawaga

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on October 1, 2011

Protests are spreading; San Fransico had some today. Maybe Detroit will kick off as well. That can only be good regardless of the protesters not conforming to the ideal movement.

Hieronymous

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 1, 2011

Khawaga

Protests are spreading; San Fransico had some today.

Are you sure? I think you might be conflating it with yesterday's liberal (ACCE, which was formerly ACORN, SEIU, SF Labor Council, etc.) anti-bank demo, march through the Financial District, and civil disobedience arrest of 6 people inside a bank. It was pretty pathetic.

I passed the Occupy SF encampment late last night (Thursday) and there were no more than 25 people, with awful signs saying things like "We're here to save our country," on the sidewalk in front of the SF branch of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Don't get me wrong; there's a lot of anger out there, but it hasn't catalyzed into anything substantial here -- yet.

I thought last week's -- brief -- building occupation at UC Berkeley, in Tolman Hall which is closed for earthquake retrofit, was more interesting.

CRUD

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 1, 2011

All of this should have started when Bush was leaving office as Obama was entering. I think the capitalists first priority with Obama was to defuse leftist anger that built up with Bush and the bailouts. They succeeded. I have a sick feeling that somehow peoples frustration will once again be guided into support for Obama. Strange this is happening right at election time and with the stated goal to "pressure Obama". I'll be attending the San Fransisco events with two major themes (if there are any substantial events) - first being, Obama and democrats aren't the answer, the second, worker control of industry/distribution under direct democracy is (wont use the term anarchism).

I suppose I'll talk to liberals concerning the main role of the capitalist state, that being to represent/enforce the interests of capital not to facilitate democracy. This is the basic reality most Americans refuse to accept:

[youtube]RAgJs9anhw8[/youtube]

I won't be waving signs or pounding drums but will be speaking with the people doing so who aren't socialists. As far as I heard there was only about 150 people at the SF event so, well, megh? That wouldn't be so hard.

I think fliers with quotes showing the 'founding fathers' statements (above video) with a quick message basically telling people - WE DONT HAVE A DEMOCRACY- YOU CANT PRESSURE OBAMA- might snap a few people out of it? Passing out fliers is fucking annoying- I should probably pass out joints or beer. Maybe just smoke some joints, drink some beer and pass out?

Khawaga

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on October 1, 2011

Are you sure? I think you might be conflating it with yesterday's liberal (ACCE, which was formerly ACORN, SEIU, SF Labor Council, etc.) anti-bank demo, march through the Financial District, and civil disobedience arrest of 6 people inside a bank. It was pretty pathetic.

I passed the Occupy SF encampment late last night (Thursday) and there were no more than 25 people, with awful signs saying things like "We're here to save our country," on the sidewalk in front of the SF branch of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Don't get me wrong; there's a lot of anger out there, but it hasn't catalyzed into anything substantial here -- yet.

I thought last week's -- brief -- building occupation at UC Berkeley, in Tolman Hall which is closed for earthquake retrofit, was more interesting.

That's probably it. I just went by some newspaper reports and blogs. But I'll take your word over the internets... I was under the impression that the protests were a bit bigger than that. Likely the bloggers and journalist got a bit excited or that the internet is not immune to Chinese whisper games...

Although the protests are liberal or at best provide only a partial critique of capitalism, the whole Wall Street thing has gotten a lot of people talking, optimistic... at least by peeps in Canada. Seems to have evoked more than the whole Wisconsin debacle. If the protest keeps growing, spread to other cities and show that it's ok to protest capitalism (even if it's in partial form) I think it will have a positive impact, may galvanize more and more people. It will also lower the bar for future protests (at least that's what I hope).

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 1, 2011

Honestly, I haven't been paying much attention to this because as a movement so closely tied to social networking, it has overflown my Facebook and Twitter accounts to the point where I just unfollow or block updates about the subject. But there's been a couple things I've found worrisome about the whole thing.

1)I guess, first of all, unless I'm missing something, the stuff in New York has only got as big as 5,000 people out of a metro area of 18 million people. That's not a very big protest. And when you remember that Madison (with a metro area of 560,000) had 5,000 in February and March on some weekdays and towards 100,000 on weekends, the whole thing seems blown out of proportion on the social media sites.

2)Which leads me to another thing. Much of this seems tied to social media and less tied to anything tangible. It's like these vague, populist calls for something are circulated and because of who's backing it (Adbusters and Anonymous) some people are showing up.

3)On the vague populist stuff...in some aspects, its hard to distinguish these protests from Tea Party-esque stuff. The one here in Minneapolis was at the federal reserve. I've heard the one in Atlanta passed some sort of flat tax thing as a demand. Combining that with the concentration on financial capital in New York, it just seems like a light right wing thing. Or maybe just what passes as political outlook in the era where Zeitgeist, Alex Jones and Ron Paul play the part that Abbie Hoffman, Huey Newton and Society of the Spectacle did in the 60s.

As a side point, the one in Chicago and the one in Denver have had some bullshit surrounding them.

In Chicago, some IWWers I know were snitchjacketed by, apparantly, someof the organizers of #occupychicago, although it seems unclear who or why, although it seems to have something to do with someone being assaulted, possibly by suspected police, and then talking about it, which the organizers said not to, because "it might scare people".

In Denver, anarchists were threatened with violence and rumors spread on Twitter over them trying to push the 'St. Paul Principles'. If you don't know they are, they are best described as the truce of the squabbles between different groups during the anti-globalization era. They came out of the Republican National Convention protests in 2008. They are very 'pro-anarchist' and I think the only reason they came through at the RNC is that there were a lot of anarchists doing infastructure in a way that they couldn't be avoided or outmanuevered. The various socialist groups and pacifists usually despise these principles and will try to block them from becoming a precedent.

St. Paul Principles

1. our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics and the
plans of other groups.

2. the actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of
time or space.

3. any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any
public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.

4. we oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance,
infiltration, disruption and violence. we agree not to assist law enforcement
actions against activists and others.

Gerostock

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Gerostock on October 1, 2011

The protests are tiny. The annual futilities at G20 meetings bring tens of thousands of protesters. These protesters look and sound disappointingly similar to those at the G20 and WTO demos ("This is what democracy looks like"): elderly ex-60s radicals, and students who will probably leave their activism in university when they enter the workplace.

I'd like to think that this is the beginning of something, even if it's a liberal something, but I have no reason to. It's similar to the Greek anti-austerity protests. They have identified something that they don't like, but they're a long way from agreeing on a solution.

It's very disappointing that they couldn't get tens of thousands of people in Manhattan. There are a few large universities nearby and a lot of urban slums.

I don't want to demean the people who are braving intimidation and assault from the police to do this, but the fact is that this is a small and extremely confused protest from the same old people.

Khawaga

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on October 1, 2011

I do share posters pessimism about this, but I've been surprised at the level of support (admittedly in sentiment only) that this occupation has received. Folks I know that don't always want to talk about 'the system' are now willing to. So at least the whole debacle, however faulty is on the ground, seems to have opened up for some discussion and debate at least. So I choose to be hopeful that it can lead to perhaps a future round of unrest that is more based in the carbon rather than silicon-based world.

jesuithitsquad

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on October 1, 2011

Just to echo Juan Conatz about the element in anon that are publicly releasing personal info on protesters who do not subscribe to pacifism. Beyond the obvious lack of solidarity the most disturbing part of this development is they aren't doing this to people engaging in violence, but to people who argue against non-violence as a strategy instead of a tactic.

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 1, 2011

Just to be clear, I have no idea if Anonymous has anything to do with the releasing of personal info, but I do know that in Denver, there was a real concern that personal info would be put out there.

EGADS

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by EGADS on October 18, 2011

jesuithitsquad

Just to echo Juan Conatz about the element in anon that are publicly releasing personal info on protesters who do not subscribe to pacifism. Beyond the obvious lack of solidarity the most disturbing part of this development is they aren't doing this to people engaging in violence, but to people who argue against non-violence as a strategy instead of a tactic.

Releasing people's personal details over that? Christ, that's low.

jesuithitsquad

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on October 1, 2011

@YourAnonNews: #OccupyDenver Needs help. Anarchist are threatening to turn it violent. Watch the #OccupyDenver feed. (cc: #CabinCr3w Dox away)

For one example

Mark.

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on October 1, 2011

[youtube]f17oa7zSR-I[/youtube]

[youtube]IDnFbIwZUWQ[/youtube]

petey

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by petey on October 1, 2011

soyonstout

a couple days before the planning meeting for the similar event in my town a cop came by the place it was to be held and asked if his department could "assist in any way" with the planning meeting

*choke*

ps - i love RT, they're so predictable, but in the process manage to get some worthwhile stuff out

Mouzone

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mouzone on October 2, 2011

So Anonymous selling Anarchist's out and encouraging people to grass up Anarchists?

So much for the leaderless assembly...

Respect to @DenverPolice for how they've handled #OccupyDenver. We could only dream that @NYPD_News would take a page from your book.

https://twitter.com/youranonnews/status/120298146302672897

jesuithitsquad

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on October 2, 2011

now that i'm finally in front of a proper computer, here's a little more info on the denver thing. the link to this page was retweeted by a couple of anons:

Advocates of Violence Threaten Occupy Denver

UPDATE: @OccupyDenver reports:

This is only slightly accurate to be honest. The anarchists never said they were promoting violence, they said they would be willing to resort to violence if need be. This is still not non violent and not in Solidarity with the movement.

However, once we exposed their infiltration of the General Assembly we did begin to receive intimidations of violence and Indigo’s life WAS threatened directly for doxing someone in camp.

The original reports are below:

There are several reports of anarchists flooding the Denver General Assembly and promoting violence. This apparently began last night. GA coordinators are being threatened with violence. The solution is to dox them and tell the story:

@eadvocate “@cjohanns There was a majority flood of Anarchist at @OccupyDenver last night. They passed the St. Paul Principles. Now they are intimidating.”

@eadvocate “@cjohanns Denver needs help. The Anarchists are threatening violence to intimidate coordinators. Coordinators are standing up for peace!”

@eadvocate “@DoxIMPI They are being threatened with violence by an anarchist group for it: @DonRhetorick @occupydenver @jeannie_hartley @indigojourney”

@Jeannie_Hartley ”That is absurd. I am currently having a really ridiculous conversation about violence and being attacked for being anti-violence.”

@Jeannie_Hartley “whats hilarious to me is they accused me of DOX I didnt even know what the term meant till today!!!”

Smile, hand the Violent Anarchists flowers, dox them. They hate that! Please report or link to details in the comments here so that I can publish if they continue their attempted subversion of the Occupy Movement.

Thanks!

there's a planning meeting here tomorrow, and i'm really questioning whether or not to get involved at this point.

knotwho

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by knotwho on October 2, 2011

So, I made it to the OccupyBurque (Albuquerque) event. The biggest formal presence was from the PSL (Party for Socialist Liberation), but there was a pretty diverse makeup including anarchists/communists, Ron Paul people, Anonymous, primitivists, insurrectionists and plenty of liberals and hippy-types. There were about 200 people total.

I didn't bring any literature, except for some flyers promoting our Solidarity Network. (There was an anarchist cat who had some pamphlets by Fredy Perlman, Hungary 1956, Italian 60s-70s, etc.) Upon receiving the SolNet flyers (which focus on workplace issues), a lot of folks replied that they're unemployed. Incidentally, I think organizing the unemployed is a direction that's pretty much unexplored in the radical community, so far.

Interestingly, the cops recognized a city statute that says they have to accompany any organized march by shutting down traffic. The group marched in a real disorganized fashion up and down Central Ave. (old Route 66) with the cops shutting the street down the whole time. My read on this is that the police didn't want to crack down at all since they're trying to live down killing a number of unarmed young men this year, and avoiding a Department of Justice investigation. A lot of the time we had the streets to ourselves, many of the protesters wanted to stay on the sidewalk. That was weird.

It all ended with an 'assembly', where it was decided to occupy something. I had to leave at that point to take care of my kid. Right now they're camping out at the University.

Definitely lots to critique about this 'movement' but, shit, at least people are out in the streets claiming them.

Joseph Kay

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on October 2, 2011

There's also a lot of paranoid nonsense about 'infiltrators' in NY. E.g. complaints that people blocked a road without authorisation from the 'action team' (elected? self-appointed?) and so must be cops, and shit like this "Any random unplanned movement leaves prime ground for infiltrators to work in the oppressors' favor = worst PR". Utterly disempowering conspiracy theory. Yes, provocateurs exist, but seeing the hidden hand of the state behind every action not authorised in advance by the self-selecting activist clique is the same kind of fetishised thinking that sees wall street 'deliberately crashing the economy' as the cause of capital's ills. Oh.

jesuithitsquad

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on October 2, 2011

...and Facebook glitches are the result of government censorship, don't ya know?

Alf

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Alf on October 2, 2011

An eyewitness account by a comrade in New York (kollwitz), put up on our web forum:

I got there at around noon and there were probably about 300 people. at first it looked like people were just milling about and it was difficult to sort out what exactly was going on. i guess i was looking for centers where one could get information, and i finally spotted two tables that had posted the agenda for the day. there was a workshop on civil disobedience and how a group of protesters being attacked by the cops could defend themselves non-violently. there was a collective table with food available to anybody who was hungry. there were also people going arouns with a newspaper which i was told was the first paper put out by the protesters (more about this paper in a moment). in another part of the plaza there was a group engaged in meditation. more or less in the middle of the plaza there were people sitting at their laptops engaged with social networking. everywhere there were people talking, greeting, discussing. the civil disobedience and meditation workshops were listed on separate billboard as part of the day's agenda. on the billboard appeared also the time for the General Assemblies: the first at 2pm and the second at 7pm. at 3pm the billboard listed: march. marches have been held to union square last weekend, and there was one that went to 1police plaza last night, apparently to 'send a message' to the cops that they can't just indiscriminately pepper spray people. as i was walking around waiting for the 2pm general assembly, a young person approached me and asked me what i though tof what i was looking at. i told her that it looked very lose and aimless on the surface, a hodge-podge of different influences and ideologies, that the one unifying thing seemed to be a general dissatisfaction with and deep questioning of the future under capitalism. it did seem like about everybody had something to say about how capitalism is at the root of the social, economic, environmental disintegration being lamented. i said it was noticeable to read on some of the signs laid on the floor, the caption "the revolution has started". and asked her what she thought. she said she thought it was completely disorganized and aimless. she was from great britain, so i asked whether she was in london a couple of months ago, when there was a similar development, and she said she was, and had the impression that it was better organized overthere. then came the time of the general assemly. and here something very interesting happened about the newpaper that was being distributed. the person that apparently edited and printed it was virtually denounced for not having responded to the collectivity. a lot of people expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the paper was put out without consultation with the general assembly and that this violated the spirit and the organizational heart of the protest. i listened to this very attentively. it turns out that the group of people that made the decision about this paper in fact were pressed by some major media to come out with articles which expressed the demands of the movement. a girl who was part of this group said that they had addressed the media because there was not a coverage of the movement which really reflected its nature in the major media outlets, and she was told the reason was because of the lack of specific demands. feeling that pressure, a few decided to come out with this paper (i have not read the articles, but people at the assembly said it was not reflective of the opinions of the assembly). when i returned home, several hours later, i went on the internet and saw that the new york times published a late edition article about......the paper put out today by occupy wall street, praising the movement for its ability to come out with a press. at the assembly the issue of transparency was also raised, as people started to question where the money for publishing came for. this incident leads me to think that there are 'organizers' of this movement with their own agenda, and some may even try to make a name for themselves as a reporter for a job for when the movement will be over.....it also made me think that the media themselves are trying to get a foothold in the movement to 'direct' the demands it may come up with. so, there was a discussion about the general assembly itself. i said that i agreed that the action carried out by this 'press committee' was in violation with the nature of the general assembly, that it was important not to fall for this kind of outside pressure, and that it is better instead to widen the discussion, to make the general assembly really live through open debate and mandates given to committees who are then responsible to the assembly for carrying them out. the the girl who told me about the media's pressure said this would not happen again, and the committee would be changed. three people agreed, but by then a lot of people had dispersed, and some loud chanting started to happen as most of the people gather in the plaza were readying to start a march. we continued discussing for a little longer, where i posed the question of next wednesday, when the transit union and the union that organize the doorman, security guards, and maintaince peope will participate in the movement (how exactly they plan to do this, i don't know, but they have expressed 'solidarity' with occupy wall street). i said that this is an issue that should definetley be discussed at one of the general assemblies. i asked, what is the consensus and understanding about the participation of the unions? what does everybody think? has there been a discussion? an agreement? what is the significance of this? what can the movement do to engage the workers? so, this girl explained to me how the working groups work: they are basically committees that propose items for discussion, and i understand they are well prepared, with specific points for discussion. she told me that people go to these working roups and pose the topic of interest. the topic may be accepted or not. it is not clear to me on what basis, and she could not explain. she said that the 7pm meetings are really the meetings where the most interesting discussions happen, and that the 2pm GA will probably be phased ou because of the overwhelming job of organizing all the rest. she also said that the issue of the presence of the unions has been raised, and that i should defienetely contact one of the working groups to see if it can be put on the agenda. but i do not not when i can go back to zuccotti square. the protesters then held a march across the brooklyn bridge. by then there must have been about 2,000 people who jooined. at the foot of the bridge, on the manhattan side, some people took to the paved part of the bridge, where cars go by. the cops intentionally let them pass and then, about 1/3 across the bridge, police vans coming from the brooklyn side blocked them. they stretched a net from one side of th ebridge to the other and arrested a whole bunch, probably 200 or so. letting the protesters go in that direction was totally intentional. one marcher said he went in that direction thinking the cops were escorting them to keep them safe!! it looks like the city administration has about had enough of the disturbance, and is looking for ways to provoke a confrontation and then unleash repression. this was the case already last night, when the march went, of all places, to 1 police plaza.

now, as to the general impression, and the comments made by proper_propaganda. a part from the leftists and the ones who go to zuccotti square with signs that read "vote for ron paul", the bulk of the protesters seem to be very skeptical and distrusting of everything 'organized'. there's a lot of talk like 'the GA? you'll see it happen when it happens'. "the march? i'll go wherever they go". this attitutde is not necessarily just the result of some libertarian-anarchic influence, it also results from a lack of experience. but it also reflects a genuine search for a way to take things into their own hand, to reject the habit of submission to what others decide, to give a conscious direction to decisions that are made collectively, to fight the fear of making decisions, and the fear instilled by the oppression of a ruling class over the ruled. in that sense, i think i disagree with proper_propaganda stance that seems to be, if you try to help give a direction to this energy, then you are suffocating it. helping this great energy find a sense of direction, encouraging everybody to really speak up, participate in the discussions with the time keeper, the elected agenda, and the note keeper is very good. but there must be a discussion, a debate of the issues, and a conclusion. this does not mean that everybody must agree on the same thing. there can be disagreements, but the debates must aid the clarification. sometimes it will not be possible to make a decision, but it is important to make conclusions, to say what the agreements are, what the disagreements are, and set the stage for the next discussion, to deepen. this is not stifling the debate and the GA with ideological constraints. this is a vital process for the life of the GA. similarly, the working groups should not be these bodies that are somewhat independent of the GA, that don't respond to the GA, and instead respond to ....to what?? i think that as revolutionaries, when we intervene in these events, we can help draw out the maximum potential from them, and i think that if we find the organic way of doing it, a way that really corresponds to the needs of the movement, we can aid it greatly as it strives to develop a consciousness of itself.
http://en.internationalism.org/forum/1056/beltov/4515/occupy-wall-street-protests

yoda's walking stick

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by yoda's walking stick on October 2, 2011

Wow. 700 people were arrested. This is going to bring media attention and grow the movement I think.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/police-arresting-protesters-on-brooklyn-bridge/?hp

EGADS

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by EGADS on October 2, 2011

yoda's walking stick

Wow. 700 people were arrested. This is going to bring media attention and grow the movement I think.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/police-arresting-protesters-on-brooklyn-bridge/?hp

Prepare for the conspiracy-minded protestors to get even more paranoid about "agents provocateurs". :roll:

Xavierrenegade

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Xavierrenegade on October 2, 2011

I was at a general assembly in my city, it was going to be held at some local anarchist space but around 400 people showed up, which the space couldn't hold. So everyone decided to essentially march to the "back-up" space which was a church that unions would sometimes use to hold discussions. One of the things got me excited was not only seeing the people from 'activist circles' and old faces, but unexpectedly seeing people I knew from around the city (old high-school friends,my fucking uncle..). It seems this has the potential to gain momentum.

You can critique all you want, which is constructive in it's own way, but it wont shape movement building much unless applied to action. This seems to be picking up fast, many people seem to be compelled to support it or even join it when they hear of it. I have many critiques myself don't get me wrong. If there's not 'much theory' in the 'actions' when it comes to the economic structures power over our lives, then get together, with the anarchist movement and play a role in driving this forward - this doesn't mean just have a presence with a red & black flag in your hand.. it means be an organizer, think of actions, and start them, don't be afraid to address crowds & discuss things with people, don't be afraid to hold discussions. What I'm getting it is IMPROVE THROUGH PARTICIPATION.

tastybrain

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 2, 2011

Juan Conatz

In Chicago, some IWWers I know were snitchjacketed by, apparantly, someof the organizers of #occupychicago, although it seems unclear who or why, although it seems to have something to do with someone being assaulted, possibly by suspected police, and then talking about it, which the organizers said not to, because "it might scare people".

That's messed up. I went to Occupy Chicago the other day and I got the impression it might have a little bit of potential...lots of pissed off people and some anarchists/communists/leftists in attendance, confrontational chanting and marching, etc. But damn, I'm glad I didn't have the violence/non-violence debate with anyone while I was there. At the general assembly one of the guys there (who seemed like an "organizer") said "this is a non-violent movement, we have decided that through consensus" but also said that they would respect differing opinions (altho probably not violence itself). I guess that was bullshit?

The protest was pretty small for a city the size of Chicago and there were a few depressing things about it, such as some people holding up goofy anti "illuminati" signs with something about the Rothschilds on them. There did seem to be a surprising amount of support from people driving by; I would say most of the cabbies honked in support and a ton of bus drivers, as well as some random motorists. The vibe was not very conciliatory. I didn't hear anyone talking about voting for Obama or pressuring politicians through electoral politics, petitions, etc.

On the other hand, the majority of the protesters did not have a sophisticated understanding or even an unsophisticated understanding of capitalism, but then again I didn't expect them to. I guess the most depressing thing about the protests was the lack of a clear understanding of what they were meant to achieve and an elevation of form over content/means as ends, so the most pressing concern seemed to be to "grow the movement". I am hoping this will serve as some kind of catalyst for a broader movement or at least get people thinking. Even the movement's total failure could have some positive side effects in terms of highlighting the inadequacy of peaceful protest and spectacular activism and perhaps pushing people towards more radical strategies?

Juan Conatz

In Denver, anarchists were threatened with violence and rumors spread on Twitter over them trying to push the 'St. Paul Principles'. If you don't know they are, they are best described as the truce of the squabbles between different groups during the anti-globalization era. They came out of the Republican National Convention protests in 2008. They are very 'pro-anarchist' and I think the only reason they came through at the RNC is that there were a lot of anarchists doing infastructure in a way that they couldn't be avoided or outmanuevered. The various socialist groups and pacifists usually despise these principles and will try to block them from becoming a precedent.

St. Paul Principles

1. our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics and the
plans of other groups.

2. the actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of
time or space.

3. any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any
public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.

4. we oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance,
infiltration, disruption and violence. we agree not to assist law enforcement
actions against activists and others.

That's insanely wack. Whoever is doing that are a bunch of scumbags.

MJ

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by MJ on October 2, 2011

Haven't made it to an occupation yet (due to my location) but I am excited at some of what I see/hear.

That said, I suspect these two premises are going to severely shape (limit) the outcome:

* "the 99%"
* choice of sites associated with finance capital as the strategic target

Everything else follows from that: support for private property (landlords, most bosses); support for the state ("blue collar police," internal policing of the worst sort of nonviolence); and a welcome mat for the right wing (what some term structurally antisemetic nationalists, anarcho capitalists) to push their narrative.

Since a lot of people I know who don't have a lot of specialist political experience seem to be attracted to what's happening -- which is great -- I'm left scratching my head over how best to talk about these reservations, and whether to. I don't think a head-on argument about diversity-of-tactics etc is really the ticket, because no direct action of any sort is necessary or even conducive to the terrible goal of building a movement of the 99% against finance capital.

EGADS

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by EGADS on October 2, 2011

MJ

Everything else follows from that: support for private property (landlords, most bosses); support for the state ("blue collar police," internal policing of the worst sort of nonviolence); and a welcome mat for the right wing (what some term structurally antisemetic nationalists, anarcho capitalists) to push their narrative.

By that, are you talking about Alex Jones' and Lyndon LaRouche's ragtag bands of lunatics? Because I actually think that's already happening with the protests. If the Tea Party are joining in, then...

And yes, I think "structurally anti-Semitic" is a fitting term for those sorts, considering they're basically regurgitating the old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Rothchilds and their banker servants trying to take over the world throught the banking system.

Either way, I'm feeling quite pessimistic about the results of these protests. It was shoddily planned from the start, what with being plagued by liberal nonsense about "corporatism" and "bringing back democracy" and is now being hijacked by right-wingers and people who clearly have a copy of Militant Labour's Handbook on how to Grass up your Fellow Protestors

tastybrain

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 2, 2011

I would say its an exaggeration to say right-wingers are "hijacking" the protests. I did see one sign referencing "Rothchilds" but I would say such nutjobs comprise only 1-2% of the protesters. We were marching through the street chanting "how do you fix the deficit? Tax tax tax the rich!" --- not really a right-wing sentiment, although it has its own problems to be sure.

That said it's depressed to see these type of Alex Jones-loving weirdos showing up. I think it would be a good idea to confront them but the vibe of the protests are so hippie-ish that I think others would accuse us of dividing the movement or something.

Harabd

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Harabd on October 2, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protests

Despite all the criticism, skepticism and indifference to the actions of the libcom commentators, there is an protest going, that for US is unique.
US have not a long history of protests, occupations as in Europe
And it is also different than the uprisings in the Middle East.
It is a necessary step to start discussions about the society and also a start for more and constructive organisation to get more positive result.
Learn from the Greece anarchists. They were and are active in any protest against the financial and industry power,against the governement, despite of the protests are realy get results.
In a book, written by anarchist Alfredo M. Bonanno( he is in Greece jail for protesting) The choice for revolting, you can read why it is important to support such protests.
And it is no the end, protests must going on and take over the system and change it.
But it start small and it is maybe not your idea, but for the next steps are necessary

And every little earthquake in the financial center is welcome: make them afraid , make them angry. they will make mistakes. And use their mistaks for the benefit of the protesters and uprisings.

petey

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by petey on October 2, 2011

re: the "99%": i had never heard this as a catchphrase, but it reminded me of the "99ers", people who have run out of unemployment insurance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99ers) and who already have gotten some attention. a few have faced disaster after their checks expired and have taken their own lives.

Surtrsflame

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Surtrsflame on October 2, 2011

There were 2 or 3 conspiranuts, but there also was a few who were open to such talk. Some dude was talking about the need to invest in silver because it's going to be worth a lot "when the shit hits the fan". On the other hand, there were maybe 10 Marxists and Anarchists. The rest of the 150-200 in Chicago seemed to be lefty-liberal types.

petey

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by petey on October 2, 2011

the daily news seems to like this "ultra-democratic clamor for social change"

Twice a day, the Occupy Wall Street movement gets mail - so much the protesters had to designate an official "mailman."

Well-wishers and kindred spirits from across the country have been sending cardboard boxes bearing food, medical supplies, clothes and blankets to the masses who have camped out near Ground Zero since Sept. 14.

"I want to thank you for the many sacrifices you are making to better this nation," read a note that Janet Bauer of Elk Grove Village, Ill., wrote to accompany her care package. She also threw in $30 in cash. "I'm a 51-year-old permanently disabled person who is unable to join you - but know my heart and hopes are with you."

What started as a loosely organized sit-in to protest the practices of Wall Street has grown into something much larger and harder to define - an ever-changing, ultra-democratic clamor for social change.

...

The encampment now feeds and shelters hundreds of people each day and has a kitchen, a library, zones for first aid and sleeping - not to mention a committee to put out the trash.

NYDN

Arbeiten

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Arbeiten on October 2, 2011

camped out near Ground Zero

Nice way to remind the reader of the location ;)

petey

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by petey on October 3, 2011

Arbeiten

camped out near Ground Zero

Nice way to remind the reader of the location ;)

tabloids will get a ground zero reference in for any reason, but here it may be part of a theme: law-abiding types (no seattle, this), clean and organized, angry with wall street and who isn't? basically patriotic youth being supported by middle america. there has been a deal of sympathy about the pepper spray thing too. no inclusion in the article of any anticapitalist or proletarian tendency.

proletarian.

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by proletarian. on October 3, 2011

Sorry for the stupid question but why is 'ground zero' called such?

Tojiah

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tojiah on October 3, 2011

petey

Twice a day, the Occupy Wall Street movement gets mail - so much the protesters had to designate an official "mailman."

Is he union? :groucho:

bastarx

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bastarx on October 3, 2011

I thought this article from occupy.ca was pretty good

Occupied Wall Street: Some Tactical Thoughts
By *
from Jacobin:

I’ve been to the encampment at Zuccotti Park a few times since the 17th, but I have never stayed that lonrg. It’s not just cause I’d rather sleep in my room in Brooklyn on which I spend the vast majority of my income, but because I’m just not that into it. Yet I’ve met some great folks and I really do believe in the intentions of the vast majority of non-undercover non-Party attendees, so these notes are to them in hopes that we might advance the struggle together. When I was leaving the Park a few days ago, I heard someone in an assembly tell the audience: “We’ve won just by being here!” and she was met with uncontested applause. Sleeping on the sidewalk is not a victory unless you’re first in line for concert tickets. Sleeping on the ground of a small decorative park owned by a commercial real estate firm is not a victory unless you are attempting to protect an endangered squirrel or a really old tree, and probably not even then.

Meanwhile, the ring of police officers surrounding the park earn time-and-a-half, stroking their batons, waiting. I’ve seen far fewer cops disperse much larger groups of better trained and prepared demonstrators in a matter of minutes, as has almost anyone who protested against the Iraq War; the notion that we have won control of the park through the strength numbers is absurd. Meanwhile the police go on with the farce of instructions from “the space’s owner” as if there were a guy standing in an officer tower watching the park and changing his mind back and forth. It’s a tactic, and one we ought generally ignore. Look around. See the group with guns and sticks? They’re calling the shots. A friend remarked that if aliens showed up on the scene, they would think they had stumbled onto a police holding pen.

It seems to me that the tactic of an occupation has two main goals, neither of which the Zuccotti Park encampment is achieving. The first would be some sort of sabotage or interference that halts business as usual. When you hear “occupy Wall Street,” you don’t think Soviet tanks rolling into Prague, but there’s a suggestion of interruption. We want to occupy Wall Street because we want to make them stop what they’re doing. Camping in a park outside their office isn’t how you make them stop, it’s how you ask them to prom if you’re creepy about it*. It’s not like we’re even costing any CEO his beauty sleep “HeyHeyLBJ”-style. They all go home at night. When you walk to the encampment, it’s hard to realize anything’s happening until you get up and inside. It is painfully clear that the people who work there could not give a fuck. Wall Street’s crisis-business goes on as usual, under “occupation” or not.

The second function of an occupation would be a kind of collective enjoyment or gain at your enemy’s expense. His stuff becomes your stuff, which you get to play with and put to use. A park could be useful in this way as a staging ground for other actions and a liberated space participants can enjoy. As the snake-march to Union Square (with an arrest rate between 10 and 30 percent) demonstrated, a spot that’s surrounded by cops is probably not the best place to plan the specifics of your next action. I’m not being paranoid or even controversial in pointing out that police officers are working inside and outside the bounds of the occupation. Sorry, but that buff 30-something guy with sunglasses, three Blackberries, and no friends isn’t there because he saw the Olbermann feature on Current. There’s no security and no attempt to keep anyone out of the park, which I understand, but people should be aware that plans made in this supposedly occupied place go straight to the police, if they weren’t suggested in general assemblies by cops in the first place. So it’s not a very good staging ground for a next wave of actions, it does not perform that function as a strategic resource.

As for the enjoyment, I guess that’s a subjective question, but it was hardly a raucous party. Mostly people didn’t want to “give the cops a reason” by enjoying themselves too publicly. If you thought passing around a bottle of whiskey was tough in your parents’ basement in high school, try doing it under the watchful eye of dozens of New York’s finest. I mean, we did, and it was kind of fun, but not like temporary autonomous zone fun. As I’m writing this, I’m seeing reports on Twitter of a cop-enforced quiet time after 10. It makes me wonder if they haven’t let the whole thing go on this long as a way to get some austerity-hit officers overtime pay.

The fuzzy ultra-left ideal about forging new kinds of relationships through struggle and finding each other and such can’t just be about meeting in space and time, otherwise we could start a bowling league and be done with it. If we’re trying to learn how to have each other’s backs, how to trust and depend on each other moving forward, then we need to put ourselves in situations that demand that kind of strength and solidarity**. And I don’t mean taking people’s sides in arguments over assembly process. That shit is dumb.

I don’t want to quibble about whether or not the encampment counts as a “real occupation” — you can occupy a bathroom, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing shit. It seems clear to me that the encampment at Zuccotti Park isn’t providing the benefits a successful tactical occupation could and should. That said, there are definitely some bright spots. First of all, the occupation has accumulated (last time I heard) $24,000 in a war chest, along with literally tons of donated food. It looks like the national climate is such that an action of this ideological orientation can attract financial support, which is going to be huge, especially considering the costs associated with the criminalization of protest. When a brutal cop maced a couple women just for kicks, some anonymous*** internet folks posted a good bit of his personal information online. If there are direct personal consequences for particular aggressive cops, that can only be a good thing. For the first time it looks like people on the interwebs can help protect people on the ground. It seems to me they could do more. For example: I, for one, if the webs are listening, am interested in learning more about the owners of Zuccotti Park. These are elements of an emergent potential, the question remains what we can do with it.

Here are some ideas:

- The GA/consensus model doesn’t exactly encourage creativity and is particularly susceptible to police co-optation. In one of the most heavily policed places in the world, where the NYPD is bragging about its ability to shoot down planes, we should assume they have a Che t-shirt and a Chrome messenger bag in a prop room somewhere. If anyone can lead the group, that means anyone can lead the group. A switch to a model based on smaller bands of people (5-10) who know and trust each other and have found common ground and operate in (naturally) overlapping ways would have the dual benefits of enabling creative rather than agreeable actions and reducing the risk of police infiltration, without forfeiting the benefits of a large group. The technical term for these crews is “affinity groups,” but I prefer “friends.”

- If the population of the park can grow past its boundaries and start threatening the normal functioning of Wall Street, then it could open up space for smaller groups to operate without too much police attention and change the balance of power in the park. I heard unconfirmed reports that Radiohead is planning a concert at the occupation this week, which if true could make it uncontrollable and attract more folks to a relatively uninhabited part of the city. I’m disinclined to believe the rumors, but you never know, and it’s not like they can’t afford to bail themselves out of jail. Maybe they could be cajoled over Twitter to show up and play a few acoustic songs. Either way, it doesn’t make sense to me to try and protect the occupation from this kind of influx of people, even if that would make it untenable in its current form.

- This is a marathon, not a sprint or a hamster wheel. The next year is going to be explosive: the two Parties will spend a billion each reminding Americans how terrible everything is, and hoping they can get away with blaming each other for a permanent unemployment crisis. The social ills that brought people out aren’t getting better any time soon. Occupy Wall Street is part of a sequence, not the sequence itself, and we should be thinking about its role in a revolutionary campaign of a longer but bound duration.

- If corporations are people, what would it mean to wrap our hands around one’s neck and choke it to death?

These are admittedly preliminary thoughts, and I want to discuss what to do with other folks, but I don’t want to address an assembly, and not just for security reasons. When I’ve found people and groups of people at the occupation who are ready to move beyond its current bounds, it’s on the edges of the large circles. Maybe it’s time the whole thing got edgier. That is, sharper.

See you in the streets.

*I swear this is a plot point in a movie or tv show, but I can’t remember which one. Remind me in comments and get your name here!

**This also means doing it the smart way. When I expressed surprise to a longtime New Yorker that the Union Square march resulted in so many arrests, he told me everyone knows the NYPD doesn’t play above 14th Street while the UN is in session. I did not know that, and I would wager some of those arrested didn’t either.

***It’s an adjective, not a Party.

petey

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by petey on October 3, 2011

the news continues the regular-guy, wall-street-are-crooks angle

Here is a big guy out of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, named Brendan Burke. He has a shaved head and tattoos on both arms and drives a truck for a living and plays in a punk band, he says, on the side. Burke is behind a rope in the middle of this plaza, with police on the perimeter and a satellite truck set up at the corner of Liberty St. and the smell of pot at least strong enough to make you think you really have been transported somehow to some anti-war rally in 1968.

Burke, who is 41, was asked what the end game is for Occupy Wall Street.

He smiled. "I'm not sure."

...

"What's the one big thing here?" he was asked.

"I'll answer that with some questions of my own," he said. "Who ever paid on Wall Street for the calamity they created in business in this country? What response was there, really, from the government against the ones who had the most to do with this? Show me where somebody did time."

Brendan Burke, not some spoiled kid, not somebody trying to get face time on television, said, "I can't speak for everybody down here. But I want to see somebody atone for what was done to us and is still being done. I want to see somebody pay. Because people who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened continue to atone every single day."

link

Soapy

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on October 3, 2011

@Peter

I think one of the strengths of this protest has been its refusal to engage in property destruction. You talk about how the protest is not in actuality economically hurting anyone, but I think if this protest took the insurrectionary anarchist line and started smashing windows it'd have been dispersed overnight and we'd have forgotten about it a long time ago. It's family-friendly nature is what is making it such a phenomenon now.

Of course, most of your criticisms sound right on, and there's no telling if this will turn into anything more positive.

tastybrain

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 3, 2011

Soapy

@Peter

I think one of the strengths of this protest has been its refusal to engage in property destruction. You talk about how the protest is not in actuality economically hurting anyone, but I think if this protest took the insurrectionary anarchist line and started smashing windows it'd have been dispersed overnight and we'd have forgotten about it a long time ago. It's family-friendly nature is what is making it such a phenomenon now.

Of course, most of your criticisms sound right on, and there's no telling if this will turn into anything more positive.

Agreed, smashing up stuff really won't do anything for the movement (and will cause a huge rift within it due to the mega-pacifist ideology). I would say non-violent direct action like occupations of businesses or institutions which have done something specific would be a better idea. I would love to see more actions like this one; doing strike support and the like could really build up the class consciousness of the movement.

Caiman del Barrio

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on October 3, 2011

tastybrain

At the general assembly one of the guys there (who seemed like an "organizer") said "this is a non-violent movement, we have decided that through consensus" but also said that they would respect differing opinions (altho probably not violence itself).

Eh? How can there be a 'consensus' if the issue's still beign discussed, or indeed, if there are dissenting voices? That's a complete paradox! :|

Otherwise, thanks for all the reports and analysis, and I would urge everyone to maintain focused, coordinated interventions at their local camps. Folk are right to point to the small numbers in attendance but postmodern cultural imperialism is such that a even a handful of folk in the US will get huge amounts of attention.

klas batalo

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on October 3, 2011

I posted this a day ago to comrades...reposting it here:

I have been at the Occupation in Boston with anarchist comrades from Providence and lots of Wobblies and friends for the last day and a half or so. One thing we kept on wishing was that we had a refreshed look at the analysis of what has been happening elsewhere and anarchist/communist responses to it, as well as possibly taking a look back at the anti-globalization movement because the occupation at least in Boston seemed to take on a lot of the compositional character I have always read and seen about that movement (basically espousing a more radical version of democracy but sorely lacking ideological or political content). One thing I'd like to state is unlike elsewhere the movement seems very pro-union compared to elsewhere. The number one thing noticed so far is there does still need to be more rotation of facilitation. My friend and I were mostly part of the outreach committee and made clear that we need to reach out not only to the unions but to the workers in the unions, precarious workers, and unemployed as well as future workers (students). We said the best way to do this is to canvas one on one and go door to door in the community. People were very receptive. We also probably got rid of near 300 copies of an anarchist agitational out and they let us plop a stack down at the welcome/info booth.

Since then Boston has had an anarchist caucus of 50 folks within the occupation to battle issues of hiearchy and the 99% stuff leading to a weird class analysis. Overall the Boston occupation seems to be more structured. This seems to be from having more experienced liberal to radical left organizers as part of it to the fact that they are following the "Seattle Occupation Model" from occupytogether.org. They also have tents up instead of just tarps. There is still a huge way to go, but possibly taking a cue from Spain and setting up a general anti-authoritarian anti-capitalist tent for counter information would be good. There was a march the first night of the occupation and a break off of that went to the fed. Supposedly someone wanted to up the ante and suggested smashy smashy. I assume this was just some young kid, but a contact I have that I trust said people thought it could be a provacateur.

In my city I was at the planning meeting yesterday. #1 most annoying thing is the self-appointed people who are new to activism who have already been to a few of the occupations that are trying to lead things and very suspicious of help from outside organizations. We already have them supporting a march against privitzation of education though. We are pushing pretty hard to be a sort of broad solidarity network for lack of better words that promotes and participates in pre-existing/other struggles instead of being jingoistic and saying all struggle must be solidified into the central GA/occupation. We haven't occupied yet tho.

There are also some Drudge Report/End the Fed types, they are also sorta in with the other self-appointed people who are pro-medical marijuana types. It is sort of odd. But one of them is an old friend who was in a band of mine back in 06, and the other came to our anarchist socialist center and took part in a reading group conversation on May 1968 and Worker-Student Action Committees. He's what they call a 99er (been unemployed for a shit load of time) seems also to be a vet. No outright tea party or ron paul people yet. Just sorta internet anti-government types. Also the ISO and the anarchists were actually fairly united in challenging some of these weirder tendencies, even though anarchists and ISO have been not getting along much lately. Overall lots of new faces and old faces from my past who I wouldn't expect to come out usually so it is an interesting chance to at very least enter dialogue and try to get people involved more with struggle in our city.

tastybrain

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 3, 2011

Caiman del Barrio

tastybrain

At the general assembly one of the guys there (who seemed like an "organizer") said "this is a non-violent movement, we have decided that through consensus" but also said that they would respect differing opinions (altho probably not violence itself).

Eh? How can there be a 'consensus' if the issue's still beign discussed, or indeed, if there are dissenting voices? That's a complete paradox! :|

Otherwise, thanks for all the reports and analysis, and I would urge everyone to maintain focused, coordinated interventions at their local camps. Folk are right to point to the small numbers in attendance but postmodern cultural imperialism is such that a even a handful of folk in the US will get huge amounts of attention.

He said consensus but he meant a vote, I think. Or maybe it was just a non-negotiable "consensus" from the outset. I wouldn't be surprised if he or one of the other "facilitators" was the one who snitchjacketed the wobs. No one was arguing for violence or even for diversity of tactics at the GA I went to (that might have come up later), I think he said it because there was an influx of new people.

Anarchists and other radicals should not be focusing on some abstract pacifism vs diversity of tactics debate. As I said, it wouldn't be productive to get smashy right now. If the movement gets larger and there is police repression its possible that attitude might change. Its also a possibility that a large influx of new protesters could change the politics of the group (for better or for worse) and it could get away from the liberals and grow. Anarchists should be trying to argue for a more radical understanding (a broadening) of the problem...

It is pretty small and marginal. Juan is right, the Madison protests seemed to be a lot bigger and a lot more significant, but as far as I know that is not going on anymore, and in case they would be inaccessible to most people because of location. Unfortunately not much else is really going on (I would do workplace organizing but my work situation is kinda unique).

yoda's walking stick

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by yoda's walking stick on October 3, 2011

http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/encounters-with-occupy-wall-street/

Proyect:

These are some very provisional thoughts on Occupy Wall Street, which is showing signs already of having a rippling effect across America. With recognition by both the protesters and commentators sympathetic and hostile that the Arab Spring has inspired the movement, we are dealing once again with the phenomenon of movements that cross borders, and that can even become global. This is not just something that the Internet has spawned. Back in 1968, when I was about the age of the people occupying Liberty Park, the May-June events in France were midwifed by the American antiwar movement and eventually served as a model for the movement for a “red university” in Yugoslavia.
The most notable aspect of this movement is that is the first to confront the new realities of the economic crisis and to articulate the grievances of the American people without being subject to the constraints of a reformist leadership. Obviously Wisconsin erupted over the same sense of economic resentment but the movement suffered from being under the control largely of the trade union bureaucracy and local Democratic Party officials. Instead of taking on the system full-bore, activists were diverted into a sterile recall campaign. As the activist I interviewed in the video that accompanies this article stated, he is not that interested in “politics”. I had asked him what his political experience amounted to before coming down to Wall Street, assuming that he would talk about Amnesty International or Greenpeace. It turned out that he understood “politics” to refer to ringing doorbells for candidates and he was not having any of that.
The intuition that the activists of Liberty Park had that they were speaking for the “99 percent” of Americans has resonated with the working class in a way that the organized left has never achieved. Starting with the traditionally left-of-center TWU leadership, the OSW activists are on the verge of winning over the heavy battalions of organized labor to their side. This is not because they have any special skills at winning over workers to their side. Rather it is because their action has resonated with deep grievances among working people.
It is also significant that the movement has developed just at the moment that Obama has launched his faux left turn clearly intended to persuade the “professional liberals” that he derided only a year or so ago that they still had reason to “hope”. The young people (and not so young) at Liberty Park appear to have given up on men on horseback.
Much of the left, both of the organized variety and nonaffiliated variety, has voiced qualms of one sort or another about OWS. Mostly they are based on the protesters’ failure to articulate any kind of program or set of demands. To some extent, this is based on their own misgivings about traditional political approaches. You can find the best example of this “reviewer” approach from the ISO’s Lee Sustar who seems to regard the occupation in Liberty Park the way that a professor grades a term paper. To his credit, he gives them what appears to be a B+ but one can’t shake the feeling that he is a bit disappointed:
Nevertheless, there is a question that must be tackled by all participants in the movement: Can the “no demands” approach sustain and develop a movement that’s rapidly spreading across the U.S.?
There are, of course, crucial differences between the global justice movement and the today’s occupations. The late 1990s were years of an economic boom, and those drawn to activism were often students and youth who focused on the environment and the struggles in developing countries against the WTO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Unions, focused on trade issues, were also involved. But the alliance of “turtles and Teamsters” didn’t withstand the political pressures of 9/11.
Today, young activists and veteran union members alike confront the prospect of a pathetic economic recovery lapsing back into full-blown recession. Today’s activists aren’t struggling on behalf of their brothers in sisters in Africa or Latin America, the chief focus of the global justice struggle. They’re fighting alongside them against the ravages of a crisis-wracked international capitalist system.
Left-wing writers are therefore right to link Occupy Wall Street with the mass struggles taking place on the streets of Athens, Cairo and Madrid. But it is important to remember that those movements took off as the result of years of smaller struggles–from militant walkouts and workers’ demonstrations in Egypt to the series of general strikes in Greece to the general strike in Spain.
In the U.S., by contrast, the weakness of the labor movement–and the ties of union leaders and liberal groups to the Democratic Party–have led to a low level of struggle in recent years. Demonstrative action by a minority, no matter how committed, can’t substitute for mass action.
So while the creativity, flair and visibility of the occupation movement has been crucial to spreading the struggle, a lot of patient and systematic organizing is necessary, too–as any Egyptian or Greek activist will tell you.

All of Sustar’s points are correct but somewhat beside the point. In all of the struggles he alludes to above, including the ones going back to Seattle, there is a real disconnect between young activists who are seeking fundamental social change and groups like the ISO that see themselves as somehow better qualified to lead such struggles because they have achieved some kind of superior understanding of Marxism or because they are consciously following the example of Lenin or Trotsky rather than the stumbling and tentative experiments of the young people in Liberty Park.
There is a very strong possibility that over the next five years or so the mass movement that is taking shape today might take on epic proportions and mount a serious challenge to the powers-that-be. It will be absolutely incumbent upon Marxists to figure out a way to relate to that movement not as learned professors chiding it from above but as dedicated participants whose loyalties are to the movement rather than their own group. If they can meet that challenge, the movement will be all the more powerful as a result. If they function in a narrow and self-interested manner, they will have nothing to offer. As someone who has been impressed with the relative open-mindedness and transparency of the ISO, I wish them well.

bootsy

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on October 3, 2011

Thanks American people for sharing your experiences. There is talk over here of people wanting to do something similar, my feeling is that the idea is not totally outlandish especially given the modest upsurge in student struggles lately. Simply judging from facebook I would say there are a decent number of people becoming politicized by this stuff and who want to take action.

I recently reread the latest TPTG article and will drop this paragraph as a potentially positive root for anarchist participation in such an occupation:

Some of us have been involved in a thematic assembly that has been formed by the general assembly around the issues of labour and unemployment called Group of Workers and Unemployed. In cooperation with other comrades, this assembly has tried to promote the self-organized practice of the proletarian “suspension of payments” from below for the direct satisfaction of our needs. Of course, the latter is completely at odds with the left political proposals for the “suspension of payments of the sovereign debt”. Towards this aim some interventions in unemployment offices have been organized calling the unemployed workers to join the group in Syntagma square and attempting to initiate discussions aiming at the organization of local assemblies of unemployed workers (the latter aim was unfortunately not successful). Also 3 direct actions in the metro station of Syntagma square have been organized where, in cooperation with a collective that is already active on this issue, the so-called “I don’t pay” coalition of committees, the ticket validating machines were blocked. The leftists who participate in this assembly have tried to confine its activities to left political demands of “the right to work”, “full, decent and stable work for all”, etc. without any real interest to communicate their struggle experiences (if they had any) and engage in collective direct action. The results of this confrontation are depicted in the communiqué which was produced and is available in http://real-democracy.gr/en/node/159. But, the main problem is that apart from us, some anti-authoritarians/anarchists and the leftists, the participation of other people both in the discussions and the actions is almost non-existent, although the actions which were organized have been agreed upon by the general assembly.

CRUD

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 3, 2011

Tommy Ascaso

tastybrain

I would say its an exaggeration to say right-wingers are "hijacking" the protests. I did see one sign referencing "Rothchilds" but I would say such nutjobs comprise only 1-2% of the protesters.

That reminds me of the top comment on this youtube video. It's a great film explaining what the immediate causes of the financial crisis are and they think it's disinformation! People that mental make me want to cry.

I love this comment

What rubbish this is. It is due to government intervention in markets that we had this collapse, just like all other economic recessions/panics etc. 

I'd laugh if it weren't so pathetic.

CRUD

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 3, 2011

jesuithitsquad

now that i'm finally in front of a proper computer, here's a little more info on the denver thing. the link to this page was retweeted by a couple of anons:

Advocates of Violence Threaten Occupy Denver

UPDATE: @OccupyDenver reports:

This is only slightly accurate to be honest. The anarchists never said they were promoting violence, they said they would be willing to resort to violence if need be. This is still not non violent and not in Solidarity with the movement.

However, once we exposed their infiltration of the General Assembly we did begin to receive intimidations of violence and Indigo’s life WAS threatened directly for doxing someone in camp.

The original reports are below:

There are several reports of anarchists flooding the Denver General Assembly and promoting violence. This apparently began last night. GA coordinators are being threatened with violence. The solution is to dox them and tell the story:

@eadvocate “@cjohanns There was a majority flood of Anarchist at @OccupyDenver last night. They passed the St. Paul Principles. Now they are intimidating.”

@eadvocate “@cjohanns Denver needs help. The Anarchists are threatening violence to intimidate coordinators. Coordinators are standing up for peace!”

@eadvocate “@DoxIMPI They are being threatened with violence by an anarchist group for it: @DonRhetorick @occupydenver @jeannie_hartley @indigojourney”

@Jeannie_Hartley ”That is absurd. I am currently having a really ridiculous conversation about violence and being attacked for being anti-violence.”

@Jeannie_Hartley “whats hilarious to me is they accused me of DOX I didnt even know what the term meant till today!!!”

Smile, hand the Violent Anarchists flowers, dox them. They hate that! Please report or link to details in the comments here so that I can publish if they continue their attempted subversion of the Occupy Movement.

Thanks!

there's a planning meeting here tomorrow, and i'm really questioning whether or not to get involved at this point.

Someone should tell the Anonymous people in Denver that Alan Moore is a supporter of anarchism....you know, the maker of that little movie they like so much.

[youtube]fKfF-nxjDi0[/youtube]

[youtube]OPivIQbDM0o[/youtube]

It's not violence that anarchists will bring to any protest it's a proper understanding of the system itself- I'm not sure why that bothers "Anonymous". Maybe they should wear a bust of Gandhi in lieu of a man who tried to kill people (Guy Fawkes).

No anarchists I know advocate violence as a propaganda tactic anymore- propaganda of the deed has been shown to be a useless tactic, even property damage (which I don't consider violence) is quite useless unless there's scores of thousands of really pissed off people who support it. Whats needed is actual information, a proper class analysis not some middle class white kids dressed in black (blac bloc) setting garbage cans of fire or hackers wearing Guy Fawkes masks talking about corporations....get real man.

What does dox mean by the way? And whats up with the fucking paranoia?

soyonstout

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soyonstout on October 4, 2011

I have a question, specifically for anarchists on here--are y'all familiar with "facilitators"? The planning for the occupation in my town has facilitators for every meeting--I suppose this is just like a chair or whatever. I don't know if they are elected or delegated at the beginning or not, but I personally have been in meetings with the less class-struggle-minded anarchists around here and the model is to have these facilitators (who are usually given the role because they have experience in it) kind of direct the discussion, which has sometimes in my opinion inhibited discussion. Around here anyway, when I've seen facilitators in the consensus model, I've generally seen veteran activists dominating the discourse little time given to critical voices or people who are unsure of the majority course of action--in other words the consensus has supressed disagreements, rather than allowed them to be debated and discussed.

My question is: does anyone else have any experience with this facilitator/consensus model that can contradict this? Have others seen this work better or be more open to direct democracy that allows disagreements to really exist and enter the conversation? I mostly ask in light of the Denver movement that excluded anarchists, and the fears I have that there will be a quick push toward concrete reforms and influential reformist allies that could stifle what is (for me anyway) the most important part of the movement--this general questioning and discussion.

Xavierrenegade

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Xavierrenegade on October 4, 2011

Attempting to occupy wallstreet or any space to 'stop business as usual' (which is what an occupation implies) is just as likely to get you removed, dispersed, & arrested as one person deciding to break something.

CRUD

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 4, 2011

soyonstout

Well, at least here in America, there does need to be consensus on one main issue- worker control of industry/distribution. We can debate tactics and or theory after each American actually understands what socialism is. This isn't going to happen overnight and it won't arise from one single protest, especially one called for and organized by liberals where only a couple thousand people are showing up. I'm starting to think we should ignore the liberal platform rather than engage it head on in the real world. It might be fruitful, seeing most of the "activists" are online, to have some discussions with the people involved online, especially those in Denver but if names/addresses of anarchists are being posted online that doesn't sound like such a great idea either.

I think priority number one should be facilitating proper class awareness, a proper understanding of the system we live in. Until people have a proper understanding of capitalism/socialism we can't expect anything but naive protests centered around reform. After reading some of the stuff out of Denver I'm thinking of staying out of this mess to let them figure it out for themselves....let them figure out their cries for reforms will go unanswered (if not by a police baton to the head).

The same naive view of the system is why the left was so quite for most of Obama's term. I'm still thinking that this may be some sort of tactic to rally the left behind Obama in 2012. Fuck that noise. A proper understanding not only of the conflict between labor and capital is key but also a critique of the state and why it exists. We need the majority of Americans to understand that we don't actually have democracy - one of the main complaints from the liberal protesters is "They're tiered of politicians representing Wall St". Well, that's how the system was built to work.

Too many people are operating under the false pretense that we have a democracy in America.

[youtube]oU5P5noXZQA[/youtube]

[youtube]QT0OJEFlq7A[/youtube]

Xavierrenegade

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Xavierrenegade on October 4, 2011

CRUD

soyonstout

Well, at least here in America, there does need to be consensus on one main issue- worker control of industry/distribution. We can debate tactics and or theory after each American actually understands what socialism is. This isn't going to happen overnight and it won't arise from one single protest, especially one called for and organized by liberals where only a couple thousand people are showing up. I'm starting to think we should ignore the liberal platform rather than engage it head on in the real world. It might be fruitful, seeing most of the "activists" are online, to have some discussions with the people involved online, especially those in Denver but if names/addresses of anarchists are being posted online that doesn't sound like such a great idea either.

I think priority number one should be facilitating proper class awareness, a proper understanding of the system we live in. Until people have a proper understanding of capitalism/socialism we can't expect anything but naive protests centered around reform. After reading some of the stuff out of Denver I'm thinking of staying out of this mess to let them figure it out for themselves....let them figure out their cries for reforms will go unanswered (if not by a police baton to the head).

The same naive view of the system is why the left was so quite for most of Obama's term. I'm still thinking that this may be some sort of tactic to rally the left behind Obama in 2012. Fuck that noise. A proper understanding not only of the conflict between labor and capital is key but also a critique of the state and why it exists. We need the majority of Americans to understand that we don't actually have democracy - one of the main complaints from the liberal protesters is "They're tiered of politicians representing Wall St". Well, that's how the system was built to work.

Too many people are operating under the false pretense that we have a democracy in America.

[youtube]oU5P5noXZQA[/youtube]

[youtube]QT0OJEFlq7A[/youtube]

Why choose to stay out of a movement angry about economic situations opposed to shaping it through participation? We can talk about the need to "educate a majority of Americans on theory of economic systems" or we can actively participate in a movement that is upset at economic institutions, and play a role in the development of movements around that anger in order to get more theory & understanding of the system behind the actions & rhetoric of the said movement. The people are not going to suddenly outburst in 'anger' with some Anarcho-syndicalist analyzing on their situations, first their needs to be movements with THEORY that have the potential to rally the anger and thirst for freedom within people who are tired of their living situations.

proletarian.

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by proletarian. on October 4, 2011

'Real Democracy' from a real Stalinist, whatever next?

CRUD

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 4, 2011

proletarian.

'Real Democracy' from a real Stalinist, whatever next?

Sectarian jive turkey? Ya I've read some rather precarious comments from Parenti surrounding a hierarchical state structure (amongst other things) but I didn't post the video as an endorsement of Marxism.

Blah blah. Here, this will make you happy:

[youtube]GBdk5n68gdM[/youtube]

Not sure why I'm posting this on libcom as I'm sure most of us here are already aware of ^ that fact.

Blah blah again.

CRUD

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 4, 2011

And this is the way the world ends...this is the way the world ends...not with a bang but a whimper.

[youtube]XCZLhEOJ8XA[/youtube]

The guardians of the left showing up to rally the people behind Obama for "victory" in 2012. Long live Micheal Moore! Why does that video bother me so much?

jesuithitsquad

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on October 4, 2011

All the talk above about Madison reminded me of a conversation I had over the weekend in which we were lamenting the lost opportunity of what could have been had this 'movement' occurred simultaneously with the Wisconsin and wider Great Lakes protests. And I can't help but wonder why this is the case as really nothing material has changed since then. I mean there is all of the talk about attempting a Tahrir moment, but that was in full swing at that point in time.

You could make the argument that the--by and large total--control by AFL-CIO/Democrats of the Great Lakes protests could have been a turn-off. But a so-called leaderless (more on that later) movement could have been a nice counter-weight to the establishment. It's quite possible that no one considered it, but that seems unlikely to me.

The cynic in me (as well as the friends discusing it with me) can't help but imagine it's something of a vanity issue amongst adbusters and anonymous, that this is THEIR protest. I hope I'm wrong, but there's probably no way to know one way or the other.

On the 'leaderless' aspect, the planning meeting here scheduled for Sunday was at the last moment, suddenly and more or less inexplicably changed from an open, public meeting to a closed, private one. The only reson given was that their legal advisors thought it was best.

CRUD, dox as in documents as in revealing someone's identity.

acal

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by acal on October 4, 2011

dear me, it's even popping up here, in tallinn, estonia.

got an invite on facebook this morning to occupy tallinn on the 15th, which is some action-day against global elite or whatnot. the page has 25 likes, which will probably be the ammount of people who are going to attend the event. here you need to, if you wish to do it legally, register a demo 2 to 14 days beforehand so they're basically now asking for a permission from the city council to stop the elite (who?), to demand their rights (which?) and to create global change (what?).

i wouldn't be bothered or as cynical as i am now, if it was just a bunch of guys wearing guy fawkes masks behind this, but no - they're a bit on the looney-side - zeigeist, freemasonist, 9/11 conspiracy theorists also flirting with nationalist movements and one of the 25 people who 'like' is craigh cobb - an american neo-nazi who used to live in estonia...so yeah, estonian revolution, you heard it here first!

bastarx

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bastarx on October 4, 2011

Soapy

@Peter

I think one of the strengths of this protest has been its refusal to engage in property destruction. You talk about how the protest is not in actuality economically hurting anyone, but I think if this protest took the insurrectionary anarchist line and started smashing windows it'd have been dispersed overnight and we'd have forgotten about it a long time ago. It's family-friendly nature is what is making it such a phenomenon now.

Of course, most of your criticisms sound right on, and there's no telling if this will turn into anything more positive.

I realise I should have put the whole thing in a quote box but I thought it was pretty obvious I didn't write that thing.

The article that I didn't write nowhere directly advocates property destruction. It maybe alludes to it but the other actions they talk about could be anything. A mass blockade of the NYSE would be far more interesting than a few smashed windows anyway.

yoda's walking stick

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by yoda's walking stick on October 4, 2011

I actually found the Michael Moore video really moving. I find the leftier-than-thou tone of the comments in this thread pretty tiring. This movement is one of the most promising things that have happened in this country in a while, IMHO.

Shorty

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Shorty on October 5, 2011

soyonstout

I have a question, specifically for anarchists on here--are y'all familiar with "facilitators"? The planning for the occupation in my town has facilitators for every meeting--I suppose this is just like a chair or whatever. I don't know if they are elected or delegated at the beginning or not, but I personally have been in meetings with the less class-struggle-minded anarchists around here and the model is to have these facilitators (who are usually given the role because they have experience in it) kind of direct the discussion, which has sometimes in my opinion inhibited discussion. Around here anyway, when I've seen facilitators in the consensus model, I've generally seen veteran activists dominating the discourse little time given to critical voices or people who are unsure of the majority course of action--in other words the consensus has supressed disagreements, rather than allowed them to be debated and discussed.

My question is: does anyone else have any experience with this facilitator/consensus model that can contradict this? Have others seen this work better or be more open to direct democracy that allows disagreements to really exist and enter the conversation? I mostly ask in light of the Denver movement that excluded anarchists, and the fears I have that there will be a quick push toward concrete reforms and influential reformist allies that could stifle what is (for me anyway) the most important part of the movement--this general questioning and discussion.

Unfortunately too familiar. :( I don't have any positive experiences that contradict, just lots of experiences of, as you say, facilitators and veteran activists talking amongst themselves except for when it is time to hand out tasks.

I think this is what you're looking for: http://libcom.org/library/consensus-its-discontents

And as for alternatives, this (though a little longer): http://libcom.org/organise/general/articles/decision-making-and-organisational-form.php

CRUD

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 4, 2011

yoda's walking stick

I actually found the Michael Moore video really moving. I find the leftier-than-thou tone of the comments in this thread pretty tiring. This movement is one of the most promising things that have happened in this country in a while, IMHO.

Not really no. The Verizon strike, the public workers in Minnesota etc. I trash talk Micheal Moore and other mainstream "leftists" because I've been around long enough to remember the role they've played over the last 20 years or so (which is to guide popular anger into the democrat party). It'll happen, you wait and see.

EDIT:

Here he is on national TV confusing the public on behalf of Obama- the healthcare bill was, plain and simple, a move to completely privatize healthcare in America. That asshole Micheal Moore knew this but still went around being the bullhorn for Obama and democrats.

[youtube]QKciAl1-rQ8[/youtube]

Look at this asshole (video below)....he's a snake in the grass- a trojan horse...a pied piper. Thats exactly why I didn't like that video of him on Wall St- because all I see is a pied piper leading naive youth into his dark cave of ineffectiveness (if not downright support for capitalism). Goodman and company with Democracy Now do the same shit.

[youtube]61y9G1uowhY[/youtube]

Those are just two examples of hundreds. We need to say enough is enough when it comes to the old guardians of the left (in America).

Arbeiten

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Arbeiten on October 4, 2011

I agree with CRUD somewhat on the Michael Moore thing. He is renowned for jumping into bed with the Democrats at the drop of a hat....

proletarian.

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by proletarian. on October 4, 2011

I think CRUD is right however I would not write off these protests and actions completely, that would be absurd. No matter how much I dislike cretins like the Stalinist Parenti (and don't understand posting videos about his view of democracy and so on) - who thinks schools are socialist and other such fucking nonsense have to agree with CRUD and his conclusions.

Simply can't understand this: "I actually found the Michael Moore video really moving."
And this is frankly absurd: "I find the leftier-than-thou tone of the comments in this thread pretty tiring."

Arbeiten

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Arbeiten on October 4, 2011

yes, not nearly as tiring as the 'give michael moore a chance' :lol:

CRUD

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 4, 2011

proletarian.

Parenti

Bad choice of video. Especially for an anarchist site.

bootsy

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on October 4, 2011

There are occupations planned for October 15 in NZ. I'm a bit unsure of what to make of it but with summer coming up I'm certainly partial to the idea of chilling out in a downtown tent city even if it is a political dead end.

rooieravotr

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on October 5, 2011

There should probably be a forum thread on Occupy-actions outside the US. Things are picking up very quickly in the Netherlands, with both Occupy Amsterdam and Occupy Den Haag on 15 October attracting attention in FB, but also in mainstream media. Myself, doing what I can to contribute where possible and criticize where necessary.
There is a long list of Occupy-initiatives, with actions in many countries, a lots of them in Spain and Brazil (fascinating, that last fact).

Again, the subject should get a separate thread. I get the feeling that Libcommers are massively underestmating what is about the explode. The thing is not the, ofter but not always lousy, politics of initial organizers. The thing is the mood that they are, sometimes almost despite themselves, tapping into. That left gatekeepers are so busy is a sign that there are indeed , gates to keep for them. Up to us to help crash these gates, throwing urselves into these things and making the most of the opportunities that arise. If the whole thing fails, at least we will have tried.

Khawaga

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on October 5, 2011

rooie

The thing is not the, ofter but not always lousy, politics of initial organizers. The thing is the mood that they are, sometimes almost despite themselves, tapping into.

I think this is the key thing about what's going on. Still need to critique it, however, but more importantly actually participate, make connections talk to folks and argue the class perspective.

piter

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by piter on October 5, 2011

Still need to critique it, however, but more importantly actually participate, make connections talk to folks and argue the class perspective.

yes. we have to do with how people are and what they do. (and ourselves are also not perfect, far from that...). have to start with that whether we like it or not...
trying to make sense of it is more a perspective than expressing regrets about how things are going ...

but once you have said than you are left with some questions :
-critique and participate, in which way?
-what is the best way to connect to the people involved (by being yourself involved first comes to mind of course...).
-and maybe even more importantly, which class perspectives?

bootsy

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on October 5, 2011

An important thing to keep in mind is that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. These protests seem very similar to the indignados movement in Spain and the protests in Greece so maybe it is worth looking at some of the commentary on what happened there in order to get an idea of what can be done with these occupy protests. I posted a paragraph earlier from the latest TPTG article on their experiences in the Syntagma assembly which is worth thinking about.

I don't know what to think. The Wellington fb page has been posting links to same utterly insane conspiracy theory stuff. I think it may well get coopted by some of the parliamentary parties here such as the Greens and the Mana Party. The main political expression will probably be highly confused where not plain liberal and/or utterly ridiculous conspiracy shit.

I'm not sure how to engage with it exactly but I'm going to try and will keep posting here with my experiences as things progress.

Mark.

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on October 5, 2011

[youtube]IEBBC25kvAw[/youtube]

Shorty

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Shorty on October 5, 2011

rooieravotr

There should probably be a forum thread on Occupy-actions outside the US. Things are picking up very quickly in the Netherlands, with both Occupy Amsterdam and Occupy Den Haag on 15 October attracting attention in FB, but also in mainstream media. Myself, doing what I can to contribute where possible and criticize where necessary.
There is a long list of Occupy-initiatives, with actions in many countries, a lots of them in Spain and Brazil (fascinating, that last fact).

Again, the subject should get a separate thread. I get the feeling that Libcommers are massively underestmating what is about the explode. The thing is not the, ofter but not always lousy, politics of initial organizers. The thing is the mood that they are, sometimes almost despite themselves, tapping into. That left gatekeepers are so busy is a sign that there are indeed , gates to keep for them. Up to us to help crash these gates, throwing urselves into these things and making the most of the opportunities that arise. If the whole thing fails, at least we will have tried.

I think I've spent too much time and energy in the Amsterdam squat/activist scene and it's had an embittering and negative effect on me, but since this doesn't seem to be the usual suspects and they're actually using facebook and twitter (and not denouncing it as the evilz) maybe something might come of it. But I think it's already been going on for a while so far?

Shorty

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Shorty on October 5, 2011

bootsy

An important thing to keep in mind is that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. These protests seem very similar to the indignados movement in Spain and the protests in Greece so maybe it is worth looking at some of the commentary on what happened there in order to get an idea of what can be done with these occupy protests. I posted a paragraph earlier from the latest TPTG article on their experiences in the Syntagma assembly which is worth thinking about.

I really like the blaumachen update, though I have trouble getting some of the economic parts in the main article, but I'm not sure if some of these occupations are even at the level of political development that they're critiquing, radical democratism. It seems some of the occupy wall street stuff is still at the lobby Obama to change things stage, but is moving in the direction of radical democratism and "full depreciation of political parties".

I think the material conditions/demands are starting to take off with the 99% thing, despite the warped class analysis.
http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

Samotnaf

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on October 5, 2011

bootsy:

An important thing to keep in mind is that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. These protests seem very similar to the indignados movement in Spain and the protests in Greece so maybe it is worth looking at some of the commentary on what happened there in order to get an idea of what can be done with these occupy protests.

I found this about Spain, written towards the end of May and so limited by that period, to be a very good examination of the contradictions of these types of movement and of involvement in them:
http://libcom.org/news/spain-anarchists-may-15-movement-reflections-proposals-02062011

Also this on the situation in New York , previously linked to by Peter, is generally excellent:
http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/occupied-wall-street-some-tactical-thoughts/

However, the 99% ideology has to be critiqued as a way for the middle class to say to the working class, - "we're in the same shit as you"; maybe that's partly true, but usually it means a middle class leadership and ideology. Also - we all know that after the crisis in Argentina in 2000 the middle class were proletarianised very quickly; yet I heard fairly recently that some significant sections of the proletarianised Middle class there (eg teachers) have now been offered, and bought off by, low interest credit courtesy of the new developments in the Argentinian state. Which is not to say that this situation will last, given the fairly good chance of a Great Depression, but it's certainly something the various states will be looking into, and could leave some of those currently involved in the production of the dominant 99% ideology eventually saying - "it's all over - they've backed down...we won.", just as in a different way various leaders in the 1960s were easily recuperated into the system. Only this time the stakes are far far higher.

bootsy

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on October 5, 2011

Samotnaf you are dead right. I have been thinking the same thing about this little student group I have become involved in at my uni lately, there seems a sense in which what people are annoyed about is that they can see their social status slipping. In one of the early meetings one person said 'I might as well have learnt a trade'. May as well have said 'I'm just another dirty prole now'. Its hard to explain exactly but its there.

Shorty

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Shorty on October 5, 2011

Yeah, I think this "proletarianised middle class" element is interesting and it's development is part of the evolution of these struggles. I think it's at this point things begin to get interesting.

To quote that blaumachen article

As this cycle of struggle evolves, the proletariat struggles, in the context of the rift between practices within struggles of particular fractions of proletarians, for its reproduction as a class and at the same time is confronted with its own reproduction (the class belonging) externalized as a constraint in capital, i.e. it struggles at the same time for and against its own reproduction (this is the rift as an internal relation between practices within the same struggle and between practices of different struggles). The crystallization of this contradiction/identity in particular practices and activities becomes increasingly apparent and it seems that it is going to produce violent conflicts inside the struggles.

piter

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by piter on October 5, 2011

Shorty wrote :
Yeah, I think this "proletarianised middle class" element is interesting and it's development is part of the evolution of these struggles. I think it's at this point things begin to get interesting.

To quote that blaumachen article
Quote:

As this cycle of struggle evolves, the proletariat struggles, in the context of the rift between practices within struggles of particular fractions of proletarians, for its reproduction as a class and at the same time is confronted with its own reproduction (the class belonging) externalized as a constraint in capital, i.e. it struggles at the same time for and against its own reproduction (this is the rift as an internal relation between practices within the same struggle and between practices of different struggles). The crystallization of this contradiction/identity in particular practices and activities becomes increasingly apparent and it seems that it is going to produce violent conflicts inside the struggles.

I’m not sure it is really related to proletarianisation of middle class (which is not really ne even if the crisis fasten it), I would say it’s two different thing.

I think they take those ideas from Théorie Communiste/Roland Simon.
It is more or less saying in complicated way that destroying capital implies destroying classes, so the working class has to destroy itself in the struggle for communism, it’s not really new (you can trace it back to Marx or even before, and it has been braught back during the 60’/70’). But yes of course it is an important issue that needs to be adressed.

What Théorie Communiste and Blaumachen add to this is saying that today’s struggle, or the actual cycle of struggles as they say, are characterized by the fact that class belonging tend to appear as an external constraint. So in the struggles of today (since unemployed struggle in France in 1995 for Théorie Communiste) the need the go beyond class belonging and destroy human relations reproducing the existence of class is becoming more apparent, more people are getting aware of it, and it shapes some currents and contradictions in the struggles.

If so it would be very good, but I doubt it a little.

and to me it looks like the different “occupations” movements are far from it…

But what is sure is that if some people within it push forward theses issues (which is basic communist issue) or get aware of it, it would be all good.

Khawaga

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on October 5, 2011

piter

-critique and participate, in which way?
-what is the best way to connect to the people involved (by being yourself involved first comes to mind of course...).
-and maybe even more importantly, which class perspectives?

To be honest, I don't know yet. Occupy Toronto is the one I will go to, but that starts in a week and a half. Before experiencing that directly it would be hard to tell. I could come in with a set of preconceived ideas based on others' critiques, but I want to wait and see. The critiques may be spot on, but I don't want it to colour my judgement.

But the class perspective is the most important one. It cannot just be about financial capital. It has to be a critique of capital as such, link up with labour struggles etc. (there have been lots and lots of labour struggles in Southern Ontario lately and some connections have already been made between various groups, so we'll find out). I am extremely critical of the 99% discourse; I've already seen it parroted among Canadian friends. Sure, it's sexier than droning on about the working class, but it completely fails to understand the class dimension of the current crisis and maybe because of that the "movement" will be locked into a liberal critique of finance only.

I guess I will be more able to answer your questions in a few weeks...

Soapy

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on October 5, 2011

From what I understand there is to be a rather large occupation in DC beginning tomorrow. I might get over there with a tent myself.

soyonstout

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soyonstout on October 5, 2011

Shorty

I don't have any positive experiences that contradict, just lots of experiences of, as you say, facilitators and veteran activists talking amongst themselves except for when it is time to hand out tasks.

I think this is what you're looking for: http://libcom.org/library/consensus-its-discontents

And as for alternatives, this (though a little longer): http://libcom.org/organise/general/articles/decision-making-and-organisational-form.php

Thanks for that. At the planning meetings they've been having here it's unclear so far how the facilitators are chosen, but surely once the thing gets going, someone could propose a different structure (which the facilitators did emphasize, to their credit) or electing a chair / rotating tasks. Committees are also kinda just done by volunteers at this point (which makes some sense) but it would be good to see them given a mandate by the group, who at this point has not really had a general assembly about the more pertinent issues--this could be brought up too. At this point it may just be a hangover from the summit-hopping culture which may not be impossible to dispense with. We'll see.

piter

Shorty wrote :
Yeah, I think this "proletarianised middle class" element is interesting and it's development is part of the evolution of these struggles. I think it's at this point things begin to get interesting.

To quote that blaumachen article
Quote:

As this cycle of struggle evolves, the proletariat struggles, in the context of the rift between practices within struggles of particular fractions of proletarians, for its reproduction as a class and at the same time is confronted with its own reproduction (the class belonging) externalized as a constraint in capital, i.e. it struggles at the same time for and against its own reproduction (this is the rift as an internal relation between practices within the same struggle and between practices of different struggles). The crystallization of this contradiction/identity in particular practices and activities becomes increasingly apparent and it seems that it is going to produce violent conflicts inside the struggles.

I’m not sure it is really related to proletarianisation of middle class (which is not really ne even if the crisis fasten it), I would say it’s two different thing.

I think they take those ideas from Théorie Communiste/Roland Simon.
It is more or less saying in complicated way that destroying capital implies destroying classes, so the working class has to destroy itself in the struggle for communism, it’s not really new (you can trace it back to Marx or even before, and it has been braught back during the 60’/70’). But yes of course it is an important issue that needs to be adressed.

What Théorie Communiste and Blaumachen add to this is saying that today’s struggle, or the actual cycle of struggles as they say, are characterized by the fact that class belonging tend to appear as an external constraint. So in the struggles of today (since unemployed struggle in France in 1995 for Théorie Communiste) the need the go beyond class belonging and destroy human relations reproducing the existence of class is becoming more apparent, more people are getting aware of it, and it shapes some currents and contradictions in the struggles.

If so it would be very good, but I doubt it a little.

and to me it looks like the different “occupations” movements are far from it…

But what is sure is that if some people within it push forward theses issues (which is basic communist issue) or get aware of it, it would be all good.

I agree with Piter that this is about at least two different things, but disagree that it is a good idea for this movement. The above theses seem to confuse 1) the idea that the working class will no longer exist as a class if we've abolished class society, wage labour, etc. and so there's nothing glorious or "salt of the earth" about being working class and having a kind of workerist sense about it because the class-conscious working class desires the abolition of the conditions that make it the working class 2) the idea, which to me, smacks of Camatte, of a general human rebellion against capitalism and the fear that as the production process is broken up / outsourced / etc. and the working class becomes more diffuse in the older capitalist countries, there will be many who are rebelling against capitalism while not identifying as working class, or even being working class although the content of their demands may begin with a common greivance with the working class (the petit-bourgeoisie, for example, are interested in high wages for the creation of a larger domestic market so they can keep being petit-bourgeois).

This is where I disagree, especially in the context of this occupy movement. To me, the only way to uproot these relationships of exploitation is for the people whose labour is actually exploited by them run society (monopolize guns & jails, and be more organized than all other sectors of the population), and a big point where past struggles have been co-opted, as Samotnaf said, has been when the class lines in the movement weren't clear enough, and a middle-class professional who always dreamed of a career in politics is given the task of negotiating the class truce so he can be hailed as a hero and get a nice job and maybe a trophy and sleep soundly knowing he changed the world for the better (as far as the middle class is concerned). This is especially problematic in this occupy movement because NOWHERE do any of the assemblies identify themselves as a solely working class movement, or a movement which is about this capital / labour contradiction--this is a line that will have to be drawn by the working class and its revolutionaries if this movement is to have any lasting positive effect. At one of the planning meetings in my town, this was expressed great when someone said (privately, to a facilitator, not in the assembly), "we can't just dress like hippies and people society doesn't care about--we have to show ourselves regular middle-class people, as worthwhile members of society or the media will just write us off--we should wear business attire to these protests." This guy showed in one sentence his desire to make the whole movement about trying to align it with the sectors of society about which the government still cares (as if they care) in order to have the government take the movement seriously--turning it into a moralistic, middle-class farce. Luckily, he was talking to a mechanic, who said: "I'm gonna be coming from work so the 'realest' outfit I have is this mechanic uniform, but I get your point about dressing like a hippy." Maybe this has more to do with the state than with capital per se, but the point is that the middle class rarely has occasion to get directly screwed by the system while being called greedy the entire time in the newspaper--lots of workers (current, future, and past) experience this everyday in times of austerity, and if this element of entitled middle class people (who may in some senses be more shocked about everything) is given the leadership of the fight against austerity, it will in no way affect the capitalist system--it will come from some utopian idea of what the world was like back before they can remember feeling the pressures of proletarianization (the 60s, the 90s, the 1830s, etc.). This same middle class perspective will reach out to neighborhood association spokespeople (rather than actual residents), union leaders (rather than union members), and present its message to state officials, rather than to the rest of the working class with the perspective of dual power.

It needs to be said that this movement is still totally mired in interclassism which may not be possible to overcome, but I think the point of communists' involvement should be just that--slogans that explicitly disregard the health of the system and focus on the health of our class, workshops during the occupation on the history of capitalism and it's crises and movements that have confronted it in some way or another, asking good questions at meetings of reformist caucuses who are dreaming up ways to "fix" the economy about how these proposals would work and how long they would work for (this requires a lot of tact and knowledge) to win over the workers that are drawn to them, etc.--all the while maintaining a critical attitude about the thing's evolution.

piter

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by piter on October 5, 2011

Khawanga wrote :
To be honest, I don't know yet.

I don't really know neither...
in Montpellier (France) where I live, it was very small and it seemed really "democratic" that is not radical. I stood on the sideline, but maybe I should have tried to took part in it in some way...(or maybe it would have been a waste of time, as I supposed at the time, maybe not, I don't know...).

Khawanga wrote :
I could come in with a set of preconceived ideas based on others' critiques, but I want to wait and see. The critiques may be spot on, but I don't want it to colour my judgement.

and even if the critiques are spot on, maybe it will be different in Toronto, the only way to know it is to go and check by yourself...

Khawanga wrote :
But the class perspective is the most important one. It cannot just be about financial capital. It has to be a critique of capital as such, link up with labour struggles etc. (there have been lots and lots of labour struggles in Southern Ontario lately and some connections have already been made between various groups, so we'll find out). I am extremely critical of the 99% discourse; I've already seen it parroted among Canadian friends. Sure, it's sexier than droning on about the working class, but it completely fails to understand the class dimension of the current crisis and maybe because of that the "movement" will be locked into a liberal critique of finance only.

yes of course we have to show, and help people realise, that the issue is not just finance capital but capital as a whole, as a (nearly) all embracing ensemble of social relations.

piter

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by piter on October 5, 2011

Soyonstout, I agree with you that we should contest interclassism from a working class point of view (from a working class and communist point of view to be more precise).

Théorie Communiste/Blaumachen (if I understood them well) are advocating that we must orient towards the abolition of classes, but it don't means we should not struggle as a class, it means that we must find a way, being a class acting as a class, to destroy classes (and ourself as a class).
that's what they see as the main contradiction, that is pushing forward, in the actual cycle of struggle.

I doubt it really fits what's going on, seems a bit optimistic to me but I hope to be wrong...we'll see...

Shorty

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Shorty on October 5, 2011

piter

I’m not sure it is really related to proletarianisation of middle class (which is not really ne even if the crisis fasten it), I would say it’s two different thing.

Oh sorry, yeah, I know it's not related, but I think this proletariansised middle class thing is a positive contradictory development (if that makes sense) that is now beginning to develop or evolve in these more recent occupations whereas they were a bit more evident from early on in the israeli, spanish and greek occupations. It is from these that now some of the contradictions in the struggles that blaumachen point it will begin to develop. Does that make sense? I was saying I don't think the problems or critiques of the earlier occupations were yet relevant, only now is the radical democratism starting to develop. I think the contradictions are interesting and should be explored, maybe even pushed further (?).

Maybe I'm being pessimistic or fatalist, but I think these new occupations will probably share a lot of the same problems and contradictions of the earlier ones, but anarchists/libcoms should engage and push them and we'll see if they follow a similar path and see where we are when they dissipate, moving on from there. I think the occupations will overall be a good thing.

Also, thanks for that explanation, I'm still trying to get my head round that article at the moment and think it's a relevant and important one.

piter

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by piter on October 5, 2011

Shorty, as I understood it in Théorie Communiste, and I think Blaumachen also took it from them, radical democratism is not only middle class, some working class organisation are also part of it, some unions for exemple, or leftist parties, or "alternativist movement " (don't know how it is translated in english...), in fact for them nearly everything in the left that is post classical "programatism" and is not propely communist (as the movement destroying capital and replacing it with a non-alienated, etc,. interpersonal community) is radical democratism.
(so maybe it is not really a very useful concept...maybe it's too broad to really fit).

Shorty

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Shorty on October 5, 2011

I get that and think it is pretty well explained in the article. I just got the impression that the initial annunciations of Adbusters didn't even fall under that, now things are moving along. Thanks again.

petey

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by petey on October 5, 2011

soyonstout

the point is that the middle class rarely has occasion to get directly screwed by the system while being called greedy the entire time in the newspaper--lots of workers (current, future, and past) experience this everyday in times of austerity, and if this element of entitled middle class people (who may in some senses be more shocked about everything) is given the leadership of the fight against austerity, it will in no way affect the capitalist system

i've been following somewhat the nyc press coverage, and have been surprised at the relatively sympathetic reports in the NYDN (as posted above) and some other places - but they make this out to be middle-class-against-the-bankers. the liberal thinkprogress site would like to point out that "The purpose is not to attack capitalism but rather an industry whose wealth was guarded to the hilt by government intervention" (http://thinkprogress.org/media/2011/10/04/335360/not-anti-capitalist-to-protest-wall-street/)

tastybrain

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 5, 2011

Samotnaf

However, the 99% ideology has to be critiqued as a way for the middle class to say to the working class, - "we're in the same shit as you"; maybe that's partly true, but usually it means a middle class leadership and ideology. Also - we all know that after the crisis in Argentina in 2000 the middle class were proletarianised very quickly; yet I heard fairly recently that some significant sections of the proletarianised Middle class there (eg teachers) have now been offered, and bought off by, low interest credit courtesy of the new developments in the Argentinian state. Which is not to say that this situation will last, given the fairly good chance of a Great Depression, but it's certainly something the various states will be looking into, and could leave some of those currently involved in the production of the dominant 99% ideology eventually saying - "it's all over - they've backed down...we won.", just as in a different way various leaders in the 1960s were easily recuperated into the system. Only this time the stakes are far far higher.

Very true. This is not unique to the "middle class" however (I though the middle class didn't exist ;) ) it's common in history that groups of workers will strike and will go back to work after winning their demands even if the bosses still won't concede to other groups of workers. But I agree completely that the demands need to be broadened or else it will be easy to say "we won" when in fact only a small segment is restored to its former position.

bootsy

Samotnaf you are dead right. I have been thinking the same thing about this little student group I have become involved in at my uni lately, there seems a sense in which what people are annoyed about is that they can see their social status slipping. In one of the early meetings one person said 'I might as well have learnt a trade'. May as well have said 'I'm just another dirty prole now'. Its hard to explain exactly but its there.

Yeah, I agree this attitude is disgusting as it betrays a respect for the class system as long as you get the privileges of your status, but I think there could be something positive that comes out of it. The crucial thing is to make sure people realize that this means we are all in the same boat and that the only solutions which will work are solutions that benefit the class as a whole, not just privileged sectors. I tried to address that in my blog post here; that reconstituting the middle class is not a real solution and that you ARE now at the level of the other dirty proles so you have to fight alongside them in solidarity. There have also been various people showing up to the protests who are former (or even current) small business owners, saying "I used to own my own business, then everything went to shit" blah blah blah. I don't know how these people can be incorporated into our politics but they will probably just add a large amount of petty-bourgeois ideology.

tastybrain

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 5, 2011

[youtube]JEWS7R1A124[/youtube]

There is a germ of understanding here but as people have been pointing out the understanding is an incomplete and confused one. People understand that the injustice of society has something to do with bourgeois domination (they are starting to look beyond the symptoms and discover the disease...) but analysis is still totally facile. As if 1% of the population could control the other 99% by itself! The 1/99% thing obscures the fact that whole swaths of society (the petty-bourgeois, privileged "middle class" workers, those working in the media and ideological systems, and obviously police/the armed forces) play an extremely important role in reinforcing the power of the "1%". Also, the woman at the beginning is talking about this sudden feeling of loss of control...most likely poorer people never felt any control to begin with and never felt anyone in the political sphere "represented" them...but I hope some of these illusions will start shattering and falling by the wayside...

CRUD

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 5, 2011

Khawaga

rooie

The thing is not the, ofter but not always lousy, politics of initial organizers. The thing is the mood that they are, sometimes almost despite themselves, tapping into.

I think this is the key thing about what's going on. Still need to critique it, however, but more importantly actually participate, make connections talk to folks and argue the class perspective.

That and (at least in America) to not let the protests (once the unions join) be hijacked by the democrat party as that's what I see happening. " Vote Obama 2012".

More calls for 'pragmatism' from the left gatekeepers...'just hold your nose and vote Obama' just like they did with the privatization of healthcare.

I think fairly soon anarchists and Marxists need to put some serious energy into giving a proper class analysis of the situation on a wide scale. Organizers, activists and simple online posters. I should probably stop posting on here when I'm online and go onto the adbusters liberal type forums. I'll be in SF and Oakland for the upcoming protests.

Caiman del Barrio

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on October 5, 2011

What are the demands of these Occupy people? Can they agree on anything? That woman in Tastybrains' video seems to indicate the possibility of these occupations - just like in Trafalgar Square, Plaza del Sol, Sytagma, etc - becoming an end in themselves, rather than a means to create an end.

I mean, the way she's talking about it, it could be anything: a religious event, a hippy music festival, AA, etc...

Juan Conatz

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 5, 2011

Hey ya'll, like a lot of you, I'm trying to process this #occupy stuff. I've talked to a fair number of people whose opinions I really respect, as well as thought about all this stuff a lot on my own. In any case, here are some underdeveloped, thesis like rough things I've come up with and I was wondering what ya'll thought of them?

1)Involves a large number of new, inexperienced people. Many of these people are part of the leadership or main/principal organizers.

2)Seems to also be a significant amount of, for lack of a better term, Huffington Post liberals with at least some amount of experience with the radical left (probably bad experiences).

3)On the fringes there are right wing "libertarians" (mostly the young set) and some conspiracy loons.

4)Much of the radical left or activist left feel outflanked, as if people have encroached on their turf. This has lead to non-participation or participation based on critiques alone, justified by questionable decision making structures and/or responded to by inflammatory blogposts because of a lack of race, gender, anti-authoritarian, anti-electoral stances and/or an insistence on pacifism.

5)There is an almost across the board insistence on pacifism and some anarchists/socialists are concentrating on breaking this as an important strategic move to concentrate on. I'm not convinced and find this very questionable as a primary target.

6)It has much in common with portions of the spirit of Madison, in that a self-perceived (white) middle class is feeling angry at not getting what they feel they were promised or entitled to. This sentiment is generalized to the extent that it limits the appeal of participation to demographics who never had that promise, or whose small feeling of entitlement ended decades ago during the 1970s/1980s assault on the working class.

7)Social media is playing an enormously important part, but there are elements of "paper tiger" syndrome because of it heavy reliance on it.

8)Who controls these media outlets or who and to what degree they are accountable, whether they be social or traditional, seems of vital importance when advancing issues that will be potentially controversial with possible problematic leadership/main organizers.

9)That has played out in Chicago and Denver by those who control said social media, making public accusations of anarchists/radicals being provocateurs through these channels.

10)That in LA, public identifying and redbaiting individuals who are advancing a less conciliatory outlook has also happened. If this kind of conduct represents a continuing trend, how are we going to deal with it without tit for tat condemnations and accusations that equal a scorched earth policy that is ultimatly destructive?

11)This movement has less in common with anything in the Arab World, but much more in common with the assembly movements in Greece and Spain a few months back, with many of the same issues.

tastybrain

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 5, 2011

Caiman del Barrio

What are the demands of these Occupy people? Can they agree on anything? That woman in Tastybrains' video seems to indicate the possibility of these occupations - just like in Trafalgar Square, Plaza del Sol, Sytagma, etc - becoming an end in themselves, rather than a means to create an end.

I mean, the way she's talking about it, it could be anything: a religious event, a hippy music festival, AA, etc...

No, they can't really agree on anything. In NY I believe they passed some sort of demand letter w/ 4 demands, the first being campaign finance reform. I agree that the movement being seen as an end in and of itself is a bad thing but for me the lack of demands is sort of a good thing...it gives us more room to push for a deeper analysis and more radical actions. Demands passed at this point will be reformist, as the movement is reformist, and will either cause the protesters to demobilize (if they are granted --- very unlikely unless these things get huge) or will alienate people with more radical/just different ideas).

@Juan:

1) Yes, it seems to involve a lot of new people --- could be a good thing as their liberal ideology is probably not too deeply ingrained.

2) Yes, definitely. These people see a lot of the symptoms but have a mystified understanding of the causes and solutions.

3)Yep. I don't see these people as having much pull though - people are more concerned about economic stuff than "government tyranny" which is what the right wingers emphasize. That and hatred of "fiat money" and the Fed.

4) Yep. I wrote what I hope is a more positive critique; not because I think the OWS people are so great and I don't want to hurt their feelings, but because I think a less inflammatory approach might be more effective.

5) Absolutely. It's very strong. When I went to Occupy Chicago a few days ago one guy was saying "pacifism is not just about not kicking people and not punching people" That is to say, not only is any sort of violence unacceptable, but confrontation and negative/angry rhetoric is bad too! Absolute garbage :roll: I think you are right that anarchists/communists should NOT be having that debate at the moment (if the movement is successful enough, the cops will change people's minds for them) Instead, we should be pushing for a more radical/deeper critique of the current system.

6)Yup. Either people will come to an understanding that it is useless (and unjust) to try to reconstitute their privileges and try to reach out to those that never had privileges in the first place or they will settle on a limited set of demands tailored to the problems of white/(formerly) upwardly mobile/middle-class-in-the-process-of-being-totally-proletarianized people. If they choose the latter I doubt they will achieve any of these demands.

7) I think so. It does seem like the biggest (or maybe just the most overt) struggle going on in America right now tho I could be mistaken.

8) Yup.

9) Yup. I read something from occupy Washington (state) where they were like "violent anarchists trying to infiltrate11!!1" so its still happening. I guess since it's the Northwest they actually could just be obnoxious people trying to turn it into a pointless riot ;)

10) We should call them out on it and point out how it puts the lie to "openness" and "direct democracy" this movement purports to be about. We should also emphasize most anarchists/communists don't support (pointless) violence and also bring up the fact that anyone who voted for Obama supported violence (I bet they all did) and (if they are "anonymous" peeps) the Arab Spring movements used violence, proving its not bad in ALL circumstances and letting us get a foot in the door rhetorically.

11) Definitely.

Here is something from the Tumblr account that posts all these pictures of people with their stories. I think it is interesting because it seems like lots of these people are deep in debt and are part of a group of young, post-college middle class kids who are now finding the 'murican dream aint all its cracked up to be. There are also a good deal of straight up proles and a few petty bourgeois thrown in there as well. I wish I could get in touch with that girl in that picture and tell her about SolNets!

This is kinda funny...the cops tell them to move and they try to put a positive spin on it by calling it "Phase 2: mobilization", as if they planned it out from the start...

jesuithitsquad

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on October 5, 2011

Strangely enough, out of all of the misgivings I have about the occupy movement the 99% aspect has been the least of my concerns. I will reflect on the comments above and evaluate my position on it, but my gut reaction is that as far as the US is concerned, where public conversations about class are so rare, I actually see the 99% as a positive development, contradictions and all . . .

I'm not one to say there is no class consciousness in the US (far from it), but I do think it's somewhat buried and one has to really dig and ask probing questions for an average non-politico type to realize they are actually aware of their class position. So, despite the fact that the 99% blurs and muddies the issue of "middle class" and small business owners, etc., I feel that it is the most blatant, widespread conversation about class we've had in the US that I recall in my lifetime. I feel it should be used as a type of departure point/common ground that we build off of rather than something to be denounced. (Not that anyone was advocating that . . .)

From my end, what we've decided to do at the occupy event here this weekend is we're working on an abbreviated version of work.community.politics to hand out. It really is the best intro to a communist perspective I'm aware of. We are abbreviating it so the length isn't a deterrent to people who might be getting handed dozens of leaflets on the day, and we're also looking at editing out a bit in the section I've always felt kind of glorifies street violence. While that's always been my only issue with the text, I think in this pacifist environment, the images of the prole crushing the head of the boss would not engage people on the use of political violence, but instead, only feed into preconceived notions of "violent anarchists," etc.

Juan, I think your list is pretty spot on. The one thing I keep coming back to each time I find yet another reason to disengage is that the majority of people attending these things are people who understand that something is wrong and are putting themselves on the line to do something about it. It occurs to me, these are the people we've been looking to engage for years, but haven't had something like this that would allow us the opportunity to put our ideas out there. I have a very deep-seated fear that when all is said and done, and the movement either peters out, is crushed, or lead into a dead-end that these folks who went out trying, maybe for the 1st time, to actually do something feel that this was their one chance, and then become permanently unreachable for any kind of radical, direct action politics because this ended by voting for Obama, or whatever. I'm rambling a bit, but my thoughts on the whole thing are far from sorted and I feel about as confused about the whole thing as the movement is itself confused.

Khawaga

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on October 5, 2011

jesuithitsquad

From my end, what we've decided to do at the occupy event here this weekend is we're working on an abbreviated version of work.community.politics to hand out. It really is the best intro to a communist perspective I'm aware of. We are abbreviating it so the length isn't a deterrent to people who might be getting handed dozens of leaflets on the day, and we're also looking at editing out a bit in the section I've always felt kind of glorifies street violence. While that's always been my only issue with the text, I think in this pacifist environment, the images of the prole crushing the head of the boss would not engage people on the use of political violence, but instead, only feed into preconceived notions of "violent anarchists," etc.

Please post up the version when you're done. I would like to make some copies and distribute when I head to Toronto next week.

CRUD

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 5, 2011

Does anyone know the main online forums the huffington post/adbusters type people are congregating?

bootsy

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on October 5, 2011

reddit is probably a safe starting point.

CRUD

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 5, 2011

bootsy

reddit is probably a safe starting point.

Just created an account with the user name Amphictyonis. CRUD usually isn't taken that seriously. That site seems like a cluster fudge of opinions, I was more so looking for a site where I can focus on some opinion makers (every forum has them). I guess I'll stop posting on socialist forums and mostly focus on liberal forums when I'm online. Facebook? I've stayed away from facebook but I guess I should make an account.

I never go to liberal forums so I'd appreciate it if someone can make a list of the moist popular (in America). Thanks in advance.

An Affirming Flame

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by An Affirming Flame on October 5, 2011

CRUD, I'd recommend Daily Kos (http://www.dailykos.com). There are several of us anarchists on there engaging (including David Graeber), but there are thousands of people active on the site on an average day. Many of them are "radical" liberals and democratic socialists that could possibly be persuaded away from a reformist agenda. There are many mainstream liberals too though, so be ready for some bullshit. The more anarchists on there, the better.

Some advice to get started with participating in the discussion there: focus on the right side of the site under the "Recommended" and "Recent Diaries" sections, rather than the left (aka The Front Page). More and better discussion happens on the amateur posts than the professional ones. And just as a heads up if you want to get involved in critiquing their pacifism, direct calls for violence are instantly bannable by the admins over there, but philosophically discussing violence/non-violence as a tactic is not. And I'd also go easy on the rhetoric if you want to persuade, as new users with an abrasive, unpopular message are usually ignored. That said, I think there's a lot of potential for productive engagement with people on there.

Alf

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Alf on October 5, 2011

Tastybrain wrote:
No, they can't really agree on anything. In NY I believe they passed some sort of demand letter w/ 4 demands, the first being campaign finance reform. I agree that the movement being seen as an end in and of itself is a bad thing but for me the lack of demands is sort of a good thing...it gives us more room to push for a deeper analysis and more radical actions. Demands passed at this point will be reformist, as the movement is reformist, and will either cause the protesters to demobilize (if they are granted --- very unlikely unless these things get huge) or will alienate people with more radical/just different ideas).

I think this is very true. In Spain it was precisely the 'Real Democracy Now' people who always insisted on drawing up lists of 'concrete demands' which aimed at 'democratising' the existing state, while much more important debates were going on about the impossibility of reforming capitalism and the idea of 'all power to the assemblies'. This doesn't mean that there can't be any authentically proletarian demands coming out of movements like this but their absence doesn't signify the absence of a proletarian current within the movement.

bootsy

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on October 5, 2011

reddit is a bastion of middle class idiocy CRUD so you are bound to find what you're looking for there. Just find a liberal sub or something and there will be links to the forums you're looking for. I don't really venture outside of r/breakingbad so I can't really help you much more than that.

Cooked

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Cooked on October 5, 2011

(just home from work)
With the risk of sounding like the resident liberal... Why take issue with the non-violence stance? It would be a ridiculous and huge mistake to believe that kicking off will result in *any* gain. It seems to me like the correct stance for the protest to have zero tolerance towards violence.

Forget the philosophical argument. In short term practical terms hoodies with molotovs would almost certainly alienate a majority of people and stop the movement dead. Why even attempt to discuss something controversial and of little to no immediate relevance? The longer a space and discussion can be held and include as many as possible the better, don't lock everyone who don't like to fight out. And it's not violence moving the occupation to a more strategic place is it ;) Perhaps at a later stage the circumstances will require the issue to be brought up but then it's likely that the state has already made some "arguments" in your favor.

Thinking short term seems like the best solution ;)

I'm not very well informed and the above is based on the idea that the movement might be growing and that there is some hope of actually engaging quite a few people.

I'd also like to point out that the class concept has again been pretty muddied in the comments above. I wouldn't go about immediately raising class war to people self-identifying as middle class unless you feel confident they will stay on and listen through your 30min explanation that you have a different definition to everyone else. Particularly when that definition includes the possibility of a majority of these protesters being "middle class".

The above has nothing to do with adapting the political content to suit liberals, just avoid using language that no one understands and very likely mis-understands in av very problematic way. In other words don't be a fucking politico out to convert everyone with off-putting jargon.

It's annoying, talking to people who more or less put forward libertarian socialist ideas, sometimes as if new, but refuse to listen when labels like anarchist and communist comes up. Pointing out the long and rich history of useful ideas without being to specific about labels seems to help though.

Arbeiten

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Arbeiten on October 5, 2011

I didn't think anyone on here was condoning violence as a tactic, what people are complaining about is people shopping Anarchists for being Anarchists (on the proviso that Anarchism is already always violence) ?

I feel sorry for American radicals on the left. As Cooked said (and I'm not taking the piss), DON'T USE THE TERM CLASS! Everyone [sic] in America is middle class. If the crisis proved anything, it was that this is bollocks, that the middle class is a myth. I don't think that takes 30minutes to explain. People on the streets are there because their asses are getting burnt....

888

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by 888 on October 5, 2011

Cops just evicted the tents at the Seattle protest with not much resistance. Quite a few anarchists present though

Tojiah

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tojiah on October 6, 2011

So far the expansion to the SUNY system isn't all that exciting:

ALBANY, N.Y. — Hundreds of students at State University of New York campuses from New York City to Buffalo walked out of classes and held rallies Wednesday to protest program cuts, demand a rollback of tuition hikes, and show solidarity with Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.

"I'm here because the state Legislature cut SUNY's budget by more than $300 million this year, and then over the summer they passed a plan to raise tuition by $300 a year every year for the next five years," said Jackie Hayes, a graduate student in Latin American studies at SUNY Albany. "On our campus, the state budget cuts translated into the elimination of five departments — French, Russian, Theater, Italian, and Classics — and we're concerned about how the next round of cuts will affect academic programs."

Students at the Albany rally marched to the administration building and chanted "Let us in." After some negotiation, campus security let 230 students in to talk with President George Philip, but media were barred.

"It was a fruitful and productive discussion and we will be scheduling meetings in the future to continue the dialogue," campus spokesman Carl Luntta said after the 90 minute meeting that covered concerns from tuition and budget to administrative issues.

In New Paltz, New York Students Rising member Eirik Bjorkman said about 85 students walked out of classes about noon then sat in the shade listening to speakers and attending workshops on education and other statewide issues. Besides organizing through modern tools including social media, they used old fashioned methods such as brightly colored, foot-high chalk messages scrawled on sidewalks that said: "national walk out 10/5 noon."

While some students said they were aware of the Wall Street demonstrations, the New Paltz walkout was more connected to issues impacting students such as state budget cuts, rising tuition, increased class sizes and fewer course offerings.

"Personally, I don't have any idea what's going on with Wall Street. My main concern is the education system. These people will be leading the country someday and I would like a well-educated populace voting," said Brad Gorfein, a 24-year-old sociology and psychology major from Kings Park, N.Y.

Danielle Kingsbury, a 21-year-old senior from New Paltz, said she walked out of an American literature class to show support for some of her professors who she said have had their workloads increased because of budget cuts.

"The state of education in our country is ridiculous," said Kingsbury, who plans to teach. "The state doesn't care about it and we need to fight back about that."

Morgan Hook, spokesman for the 64-campus SUNY system, said the university has seen $1.4 billion in state budget cuts over the past four years. "What rational tuition does is stop the bleeding and make it so we don't have to shut down any more programs."

Annual tuition at four-year SUNY schools could rise to $6,500 under the plan, from less than $5,000 now.

Protest leaders in Albany passed out papers listing the six-figure salaries of top SUNY administrators. They called for cutting salaries and putting the money into academic programs.

"SUNY administrators are amassing millions of dollars in personal wealth while students are drowning in debt," said Kyla Philbrook, a senior psychology major. The crowd responded with a chant of "Chop from the top!"

Stephen Pampinella, a doctoral student in political science, gave out Gov. Andrew Cuomo's phone number and urged students to call and demand a repeal of tuition hikes, higher taxes on the wealthy, and a line-item SUNY budget provided to students on demand so they can see where their tuition money is going.

"Students across the state will mobilize and vote these guys out," Pampinella called through a megaphone.

Ralliers responded with the chant, "Rock the vote!"

___

Associated Press writer Chris Carola contributed to this report from New Paltz.

—Copyright 2011 Associated Press

(SUNY students protest tuition hikes, budget cuts, WSJ website, my bold)

Mouzone

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mouzone on October 6, 2011

Fox news crew clobbered by the police made me smile at least.

Fox 5 photographer Roy Isen was hit in the eyes by mace, and Fox 5 reporter Dick Brennan was hit by what he believes was an officer's baton.

http://www.myfoxny.com//dpp/news/occupy-wall-street-protest-broadens-scope-20111005

Sander

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Sander on October 6, 2011

The following leaflet was handed out at the Occupy Wall Street demo today:

THEY DON’T GET IT….

When the media talk about Occupy Wall Street, they often do so with disdain: a movement that has no leaders, no set of demands, can’t be taken seriously. In a typical article, the New York Times quoted an ‘expert’ saying, “if the movement is to have lasting impact, it will have to develop leaders and clear demands”, and another one who stated that the passions have to be “channeled into institutions”. (NYT, 10/4) Their message to you is clear: ‘Go back to ‘politics as usual’, follow leaders, work within institutions, become foot-soldiers for the Democratic party and the unions in elections and other campaigns that change nothing at all, that don’t question the power structures that prop up this insane money-system.

They don’t get it that the absence of leaders in this movement is not a weakness but a strength, testifying to our collective determination, to our refusal to remain followers. They don’t get it that the absence of a narrow set of demands that can be recuperated by this or that institution, results from our understanding that the problem lies much deeper. That there are no quick fixes for a system that produces growing inequality, mass unemployment and misery, wars and ecological disasters.

If these problems could be solved by electing wiser politicians, adopting better laws etc, ‘politics as usual’ might be the way to go. But they can’t be solved that way. Politicians everywhere are bound by higher laws, the laws of capital. That’s why governments everywhere, regardless of their political color, are imposing austerity, forcing the working population to sacrifice so that more can be paid to the owners of capital. In fact the harshest cuts of wages and pensions and jobs are implemented by a ‘socialist’ government (in Greece). Politicians on the left may clamor for massive public spending but that would only mean that we would made poorer in a different way, through inflation.
There are no quick fixes because the system itself is obsolete. Pain and suffering are sometimes unavoidable but capitalism creates ever more pain that is easily avoidable, that only exists because in this society, profit trumps human needs. Two billion people on this planet are unemployed because capitalism has no need for them. Hundreds of millions live in slums, because building decent houses for them is not profitable. Millions die of hunger because it’s not profitable to feed them. Everyone knows our planet is in danger and yet capitalism is continuing to destroy it in its desperate hunt for profit. Productivity never was higher, yet poverty increases. The know-how and resources are there for every inhabitant of this planet to live a decent life but that would not be profitable. Abundance has become possible but capitalism can’t handle abundance. It needs scarcity. Abundance in capitalism means overproduction, crisis, misery. This is insane. It must stop.

WE HAVE TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

Capitalism is not “the end of history” but just a transient phase. It has changed the world but now no longer fits into it. We have to accept the fact that capitalism offers no perspective, no future. We have to prepare for a post-capitalist world, in which human relations are no longer commercial transactions, in which goods no longer represent a quantity of money but a concrete means to satisfy real human needs. A world in which competing corporations and warring nations are replaced by a human community that uses the resources of all for the benefit of all. We call that communism but it has nothing in common with the state-capitalist regimes that exist or existed in Russia, China and Cuba. Nothing is changed fundamentally if capitalists are replaced with bureaucrats with supposedly better intentions. Those regimes were not only thoroughly undemocratic, they also perpetuated wage-labor, exploitation and oppression of the vast majority of the population. The change must go deeper and must emancipate the oppressed, make them part of a real democracy instead of the sham that exist today.

In 2011, ten years after the attacks on New York that launched a decade of fear and demoralization, a breach has been opened. From Tunis to Cairo to Athens to Madrid to Santiago to New York, a fever is spreading. After taking it on the chin for so long, the working class, employed or unemployed, is beginning to rise up. We’re not gonna take it anymore! Something has changed. True, the Occupy Wall Street movement will not last forever. At some point, it will end, without any clear victory. But it’s just the beginning. This dynamic will continue and will gather strength. Be a part of it!

INTERNATIONALIST PERSPECTIVE
http://internationalist-perspective.org

rooieravotr

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on October 6, 2011

Check this... A rather big one, 20.000 participants if not more. Again, police violence when things progressed, with reports of arrest and pepperspray.

tastybrain

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 6, 2011

Fucking twitter

Occupy Chicago
the window that was broken on the march just now was done by a someone not at all affiliated with our movement.

....

Occupy Chicago
We remind everyone that #OccupyChicago is a nonviolent movement, and anyone who incites violence is not welcome.

divebunny13
@OccupyChicago Think people who oppose the movement are trying to cause problems?
5 hours ago

VoiceOfThe99:
@OccupyChicago ALL #OccupyWallStreet movements are non-violent. Anyone who commits an act of violence during this time is at the wrong rally

Idk what's worse, some idiot who randomly breaks a window for no reason (or undercover) or the liberal hand-wringing over some broken glass.

[youtube]-YXuvhg8Ahw[/youtube]

They should de-arrest some people, they had the numbers :bb: The dude's speech at the end is kinda ridiculous.

Soapy

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on October 6, 2011

tastybrain

Fucking twitter

Occupy Chicago
the window that was broken on the march just now was done by a someone not at all affiliated with our movement.

....

Occupy Chicago
We remind everyone that #OccupyChicago is a nonviolent movement, and anyone who incites violence is not welcome.

divebunny13
@OccupyChicago Think people who oppose the movement are trying to cause problems?
5 hours ago

VoiceOfThe99:
@OccupyChicago ALL #OccupyWallStreet movements are non-violent. Anyone who commits an act of violence during this time is at the wrong rally

Idk what's worse, some idiot who randomly breaks a window for no reason (or undercover) or the liberal hand-wringing over some broken glass.

[youtube]-YXuvhg8Ahw[/youtube]

They should de-arrest some people, they had the numbers :bb: The dude's speech at the end is kinda ridiculous.

This post on chicago.indymedia claims to be written by the guy who broke the window. No wonder people hate anarchists http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/94985/index.php

jonthom

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on October 6, 2011

Cooked

With the risk of sounding like the resident liberal... Why take issue with the non-violence stance? It would be a ridiculous and huge mistake to believe that kicking off will result in *any* gain. It seems to me like the correct stance for the protest to have zero tolerance towards violence.

Forget the philosophical argument. In short term practical terms hoodies with molotovs would almost certainly alienate a majority of people and stop the movement dead. Why even attempt to discuss something controversial and of little to no immediate relevance? The longer a space and discussion can be held and include as many as possible the better, don't lock everyone who don't like to fight out. And it's not violence moving the occupation to a more strategic place is it ;) Perhaps at a later stage the circumstances will require the issue to be brought up but then it's likely that the state has already made some "arguments" in your favor.

Thinking short term seems like the best solution ;)

IMO the problem with the non-violence stance isn't really about violence from protestors, but about protestor reactions to violence from police.

I'd completely agree that "hoodies with molotovs" would be massively counterproductive at this stage, and that the window smashing in Chicago wasn't the best tactical move to put it mildly. However, as shown several times just in this thread, the police have been violently attacking these demonstrations, engaging in mass arrests, etc. It seems pretty much inevitable to me that at some point, someone within the demonstration - perhaps even one of the people currently arguing for the non-violence policy - is going to get pissed off enough to fight back, and likely be arrested for doing so.

The current attitude to violence - both the non-violence policy and, more worryingly, the willingness to shop people who even question it, let alone engage in violence themselves - to my mind presents a massive obstacle to any sort of solidarity, and will likely result in those who do get arrested being not only isolated, but denounced as provocateurs, not really part of the demonstration, etc.

That's the issue IMO; not black blocers going out for a bit of smashy-smashy, but people within the protest reacting to police violence and being attacked, condemned and isolated by others for doing so.

Of course, the downside to this is that since the non-violence thing seems to be taken not as a political decision but as something so obvious it doesn't even need to be discussed, any questioning of it will be seen as immediately suspicious. Combine that with the existing association of anarchism = violence and challenging it becomes doubly problematic. But ignoring the issue doesn't make it go away, and the more entrenched this dogmatic pacifism becomes, the harder it will be to challenge when it becomes a real issue.

jonthom

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on October 6, 2011

Soapy

This post on chicago.indymedia claims to be written by the guy who broke the window. No wonder people hate anarchists http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/94985/index.php

One thing I'm curious about:

It should be clear that the police, the boot boys for the 1%, who constantly enforce with brutality the racist laws and who are constantly engaging in violence for the purpose of protection of property and social control, are NOT part of the "99%" (and neither are the fascists.. Kansas City IWW).

:confused: eh?

Soapy

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on October 6, 2011

[youtube]Pnyup4QrSbs[/youtube] try (and fail) to charge police lines

Schwarz

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Schwarz on October 6, 2011

Soapy

[youtube]Pnyup4QrSbs[/youtube] try (and fail) to charge police lines

Just for context, the street you see the protesters charging towards was Wall Street itself. When the big march from City Hall got to Zuccotti Park a large contingent (a couple thousand it looked like) went off on a breakaway march to try to occupy Wall Street itself. As you can imagine, the area around the Stock Exchange has been heavily policed for two and a half weeks. I wasn't up at the front when the decision was made, but it seems like some folks were taking the Occupy Wall Street label seriously. (Which makes sense since the protest is not called Occupy a Private Park at the Behest of the Police Four Blocks Away from Wall Street.)

Anyways, the breakaway march left the sidewalks and took Broadway for a while, apparently the second time that day that protesters shut it down. We were then met by a huge force of police. After a bunch of scuffles they tried and succeeded to separate the people in the video (who were on the corner of Wall St and Broadway) from the much larger group across the street. After the run at the police line seen above a handful of folks were arrested, the orange nets and metal barricades were implemented, and the tensions rose. It looked like a typical kettle situation.

Eventually, though, there was an interesting and tense "Mic-Check" meeting, with protesters yelling across the police lines and across Broadway and with people debating whether to sit down and get arrested or to leave back to the square or elsewhere. They decided to march to Bowling Green up the street and I guess there were some more arrests there, but I had gone back to the park by then and didn't see it.

I'm going to write up my impressions of the OWS and post it. In the meantime, there is this hilarious ABC News video report.

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_york&id=8379663

Check out around 1:10. Apparently there are no punk or hardcore kids working as interns at ABC :p

Juan Conatz

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 6, 2011

tastybrain

4) Yep. I wrote what I hope is a more positive critique; not because I think the OWS people are so great and I don't want to hurt their feelings, but because I think a less inflammatory approach might be more effective.

Can you throw that in the library please?

tastybrain

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 6, 2011

check this out

Get this message to ALL Occupiers throughout the Nation Immediately! Print this out and pass it around! Text it everywhere! Post this on all social networks, websites, etc! Do NOT Delay!

YOU HAVE RIGHTS - YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEFEND THEM! I am NOT advocating Violence - I am advocating Self-Defense!

When the cops are macing, hitting, pushing, pulling, and arresting someone when they haven't committed a crime: "An illegal arrest is an assault and battery. The person so attempted to be restrain of his Liberty has the same right to use force in defending himself as he would in repelling any other assault and battery." State v. Robinson, 145 ME. 77, 72 ATL. 260

When YOU witness this happening to someone else: "One may come to the aid of another being unlawfully arrested, just as he may where one is being assaulted, molested, raped or kidnapped. Thus it is not an offense to liberate one from the unlawful custody of an officer, even though he may have submitted to such custody, without resistance." Adams v. State, 121 Ga. 16, 48, S.E. 910

"Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer's life if necessary." Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306

These cops are in VIOLATION of the Law and of their Oath! Tell them "You are violating the Law. You are violating your Oath! YOU CAN STOP THEM! You CAN Hold them ACCOUNTABLE! YOU Pay their salary - they are there to Protect and Serve YOU!

OFFER PEACE FIRST - DEFEND YOURSELF ALWAYS!