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

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 7, 2011

Juan Conatz

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?

here ya go :D

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 7, 2011

Went to my first general assembly (GA) today for OccupyMN. When i got there I expected a little less of the usual crowd, actually, but there were a lot more people there that "looked the part". Supposedly the long meetings (this one went for 3.5 hours) has led to the number of people going to them to decline a bit. That said, a number of curious people came by for a minute or a half hour before leaving and there were mos def a bunch of folks who probably have never been involved in anything like this before.

The first hour of the meeting consisted of explaining the decision making process. Very painful, with an incredibly large, confusing flow chart and a drawn model of where people who are running the decision making process are supposed to stand, etc. There is an emerging leadership (or has been) of people who have been coordinating all of this, and they seem very much out of the co-op type left milieu, and some of them probably have gone to anti-oppression trainings and all that. Some of those folks are also older or middle aged antiwar folks too. That's probably where this atrocious decision making process came out of, I assume. Hopefully, if this grows, this nonsense is pushed to the side. If you need to make a flow chart with 20-25 different boxes and take an hour to explain the process, you're doing it wrong!

I walked to a corner store to get something to drink so I missed the start, but when I got back there was a bunch of debate on whether to become a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit.

After that there was mostly reportbacks from the various committees. During the outreach reportback, there was a lot of conversation about the lack of outreach to marginalized peoples. I stepped to the side and was talking to someone, so I missed the end of that.

A fellow IWWer came up and talked about security, which he had got involved with just earlier that day, I think. There's a real vaccuum in this movement, and if you go in, do some work, are confident, that goes a long way. I ended up joining up with the 'public safety committee', too. At the very least, we can make sure there isn't some form of draconian marshalling, as is typical of a lot of leftist stuff.

Most of the rest of the GA was mostly around various logistical details. At the end though, it was notable that the group of people that I'm assuming started this, or at the very least have become a sort of steering committee came up. I was actually really confused about this part, but it seemed they were asking for the right to be the decision making committee in between GA's. But they said it in a very passive, vague and unclear Midwestern way, so it was a bit confusing. A number of people asked why or what kind of decisions were they going to be making and the framework they put everything in was 'safety'. It was interesting that one of them did state something on how they would be the ones to get police intervention if needed. A IWWer proposed a continuation committee for in between GA's that would be recallable delegates. But I'm not sure where that went. I'm still not sure how decisions are actually made at all, honestly.

At some point the inevitable 'diversity of tactics VS pacifism' discussion came about. While the steering committee talks about how all of this was organized ultra-democratically and leaderless. I think most of us who have been involved in movements know there really is no such thing as a 'leaderless' anything and I doubt the issue of pacifism or civil disobedience was ever seriously discussed in a GA. Maybe it was, but in others, I've heard about, this was something predetermined. In any case, I'm not all that interested in this argument. I hope that no folks come by and try to kick shit off when the majority of people are not prepared for street warrior stuff. And I also hope this steering committee and others aren't going to be strong armed controllers or public denouncers everytime someone lights a cigarrette in the plaza.

I talked to one guy briefly who had been trying to contact the Twin Cities IWW for a year about organizing and even wanted to join, but no one ever got back to him. But I didn't get his contact info! Shame on me. In any case, I'll probably talk with more folks tomorrow, and I imagine that will be one of the more beneficial aspects of this whole thing. There's another Wob on the media committee, which I think is also a very important committee, and hopefully the combination of him on that and us 2 in public safety can give a bit of breathing room from people in the steering committee who I see as possibly very problematic.

Anyone else who heads down and isn't doing some task, I think should make it a point of talking to folks. As was mentioned, there's no way of knowing how many people will show up, but its pretty certain that there will be curious folks coming down. People who just lost their job, people underemployed, people pissed off about their situation and looking for others to vent with. Being that person and making contacts is super important, I think. If there's some type of speakers time as well, it would probably worth trying to get on that. Also, I'm not sure about tabling and all that, but it would also be beneficial to try and get someone down there with what in madison I started calling the patented Quick Response Table, which is basically a card table, some buttons, a few books, a few pamphlets, and a contact sheet.

Samotnaf

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on October 7, 2011

"AX THE RICH" -
slighltly altered sign seen in St.Louis.

sabot

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by sabot on October 7, 2011

Juan Conatz

I ended up joining up with the 'public safety committee', too.

Say it ain’t so Juan!?? Maybe it was different over there but here they were extremely cultish, and aggressive. Called us wobs the usual names. "Provocateurs!!" etc…

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 7, 2011

Nah, there was no snitchjacketing that I heard. Some pretty naive attitudes on the police from steering committee people though. One woman in particular was saying on how if we listen to the rules to a T, we'll get more 'privileges'. Nah that's not how it works.

Interesting though, as soon as you throw on an orange vest, people start asking you to police others. One person got asked to tell someone on the fringes of the assembly to put out a joint. The objection is understandable....anyone who brings illegal drugs to a political function is an idiot. Anyone who uses them while at it is a bigger idiot, but that's not something you could go up to them and ask them?

Mark.

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on October 8, 2011

Democracy Now! and Naomi Klein, I know, but I found these videos interesting.

[youtube]tT9Gp5Bbu6Y[/youtube]

[youtube]FlI6HdX-hnU[/youtube]

Sticking with the liberal perspectives here's a view from Israel and J14.

Edit: also from the +972 site #OccupyYomKippur

husunzi

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by husunzi on October 7, 2011

Small collection of critical analysis of the movement growing here: http://globaloccupation.wordpress.com/

Soapy

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on October 7, 2011

Despite coming down with a slight fever I attended the Occupy DC general assembly yesterday.

I was pretty impressed by the number of people who did not "look the part". There were folks there in suits who had clearly just come from work. There were a lot of otherwise apolitical kids who had come from my university. There were young black folks and older white folks who looked like they were attending their first protest.

For some reason I was not expecting the general assembly to operate on a consensus model. To me the idea of consensus still seems a little nutters. What happens when the cops decide to send in three people to simply block every resolution?

Also, one of the general assembly "guidelines" was a pledge to not do anything illegal. Since sleeping in the park that is being occupied is considered illegal, this means that people have been sleeping on the sidewalks around the park. However, from what I've heard this guideline will be modified soon and tonight there is a vote on whether or not to begin occupying the park indefinitely.

Here's a video I made of what I saw yesterday [youtube]zSqcWnplcP0[/youtube]

Hieronymous

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 7, 2011

I spent a couple hours at the Occupy San Francisco last night (p.m. Thursday into a.m. Friday, October 6 & 7). It's been going on for about 3 weeks and there were about 75 people there, most of whom planned to spend the night. It's located in front of the San Francisco Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank on Market Street, in the heart of the Financial District, and just 3 blocks from the waterfront. On Wednesday, October 5, there was a march from the occupation site with over 500 people.

Here are some quick impressions (the positive ones):

--It was moving to see how generous and friendly almost everyone was. I had only been there 10 minutes, just after someone in a car had dropped off some pizzas. I was hungry and when the guy distributing the pizza saw that I was interested, he eagerly urged me over and handed me a slice. The only exception to the friendliness observation was seeing some of the local Insurrectionary Anarchists; since I've talked to most of them before, I found it strange how cliquish they were compared to everyone else. Next time I guess I'll have to arrive by a fixie to fit in.

--San Francisco has one of the most visible homeless populations in the U.S., due to a few factors. The climate is mild, the homeless services infrastructure is fairly extensive and is in the heart of the city, and there is also a fairly tolerant attitude about the homeless. Not that the pigs and politicians don't make them scapegoats for every social ill, but massive sweeps and repression are usually met with resistance. That all said, it was inspiring to see how well accepted homeless participants were in the Occupy encampment. There were some obviously mentally ill people around, but rather than being marginalized -- which might force them to "act out" -- they were accepted and were full participants in the events. This gives me hope that the fight against the miserable conditions of the long-term homeless are just as important as those of the newly evicted.

--People went out of their way to make it inclusive; I was asked if I needed anything, whether I needed to store my stuff in a rental truck they had parked nearby, and if I wanted to participate in activities. Once I was there a little longer, people told me of the standoff with the police the night before (in the a.m. hours of October 6) and corrected the spectacular media's misrepresentation and clarified that people openly struggled with the cops trying to clear them out (see photos below).

Department of Public Works crew removing tent with contents in it1st DPW truck with confiscated supplies
Pigs guarding DPW truck
Barricade created in front of DPW confiscation convoy
Skirmish with pigs (photos below as well)

Now some of the drawbacks:

--In describing the skirmishes with the pigs, one occupier complained that the DPW work crews and the cops took their American flag. He and his friends were more like crusty traveler kids, so I was surprised to hear mildly dismissive comments about the "Anarchists." There's something of an apolitical vibe to the whole thing, but I did see completely lame pre-printed ISO placards with slogans like "U.S. Out of the Middle East." Talk about a non sequitor! Fortunately, no Trotskyites were around any more when I was there. But in videos of the battles with the cops the night before, Stalinists from ANSWER had clearly glommed onto the occupation.

--I could sense that a clearly divisive element is the debate around violence/non-violence, with the pacifists holding the upper hand. So despite the resistance, I could easily see the potential for snitchjacketing should the need arise for more active resistance to the cops.

--The location sucks. And there's the almost libertarian focus on banks, and more specifically the Fed; built into this is the appeal to the slightly-beneath-the-surface anti-Semitic impulses of conspiracy nuts. And next to the U.S. Mint further uptown, this is probably the most highly secured and fortified building in town. It's so deeply in the Financial District that there are no free public services readily available during business hours. A much better location would be in U.N. Plaza next to the Main Branch of the SF Public Library, 1 1/2 miles up Market Street. The area is more wide open, with more escape routes, with the added advantage of public restrooms in the library, as well as the many activist groups' who have offices a few blocks away.

Despite all these limitations, it's refreshing in such an atomized, individualistic culture to simply see people outside discussing things together. When the new depression fully hits, this might be seen as a test run for the Obamavilles and other encampments where the unemployed and homeless can find mutual aid and support, and which could also serve as bases for class-based solidarity actions in the (yet to be realized) fight back.

rooieravotr

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on October 7, 2011

When I open the Forum News page, this whole thread on Occupy Wall Street is invisible. There is something weird here.. The only way to reach it is through a Comment on an thread on a Pittsburg assembly on the news forum. http://libcom.org/forums/news/outsider-report-oct52011-occupy-pittsburgh-general-assembly-06102011#comment-448147 But that makes it impossible to see immediately whether there are any new comments. Puzzling. Anybody any ideawhere the problem lies?

Mark.

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on October 8, 2011

[youtube]F5zCqHnd_pY[/youtube]

[youtube]5wtHTh6NZXc[/youtube]

Mark.

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on October 8, 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.

New thread for Occupy actions outside the US here

yoda's walking stick

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by yoda's walking stick on October 9, 2011

So I'm hoping to go to Occupy Wall Street in NYC. What would be a suggested packing list for someone who lives six hours away, hopes to stay indefinitely, and is vegan? Thanks for your answers!

Khawaga

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on October 9, 2011

There will likely be no shortage of vegan food...

Schwarz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Schwarz on October 9, 2011

So I went down the to demo for the third time tonight. Soon after I got there a feeder march arrived from a new General Assembly at Washington Square Park (a couple of miles north) that packed the Zuccotti Park. The numbers were high; so high that the park was overflowing onto the sidewalks. There seems to be a general feeling that the occupation of Zuccotti is becoming insufficient for the needs of the movement. It's getting too big! Plus the position there is precarious, with the park owner and surrounding businesses wanting the occupation there to end coupled with recent public hostility from our full oligarch mayor. The Washington Square Park assembly seems like an attempt to branch out into new space and bring new folks in. After all, the Washington Square is public space, but completely surrounded by New York University. I wasn't at that GA, but I watched part of it online and then heard stories from friends who had been down there then marched to Zuccotti.

Apparently the OWS organizers prefaced the Wash Square GA with the announcement that there would be no occupation of that space and that everyone would march back to the main occupation. Some comrades there stood up and addressed the crowd towards the end of the assembly (too late perhaps) and announced that they wanted to stay the night and asked the crowd who was with them. They got a tepid response and the occupation of Wash Square did not proceed for lack of numbers.

This seems like a wasted opportunity. It also seems to highlight the powerful, but hidden hand of the OWS organizers. By announcing that the occupation would remain in the Financial District they undermined any possibility that the hundreds (thousands?) there would try to hold a public park en mass in defiance of city statute. When and where was this decided? With Zuccotti filling up it seems inevitable that the occupation will have to move or be reproduced elsewhere to expand, but there is resistance to that kind of direct action due to its provocative nature.

Perhaps this is something that can be pushed in further GAs. Then again, it seems that the breakaway march that attempted to take Wall St and the NYSE was a semi-spontaneous action on the part of thousands of folks in defiance of the NYPD. So maybe the expansion of the occupation tactic will come of its own accord in the course of the struggle. Time will tell.

The dominant ideologies at Zuccotti were a mishmash of liberalism and left/right populism. Especially salient were the Ron Paul folks, who seemed to have their own sizable bloc marching from Square and at the occupation chanting "End the Fed/End the Fed!" There were also many signs calling for a renewal of the Glass-Steagal Act, demanding jobs from the government and higher taxation on the rich. In the GA, a South Korean man spoke at the assembly on behalf of longshoremen in Asia fighting against layoffs. He had them on conference call on his cell phone and the crowd gave a rousing cheer in their support. A woman from Kentucky announced that she and her cohorts raised $14,000 in five days to come to the NYC occupation and address mountain top removal and 'corporate greed' in Appalachia. Others spoke about housing justice for the homeless and those foreclosed upon with wide support from the GA in the form of that odd twinkle fingers thing.

This echos what I've heard walking around the occupation and listening in on random conversations. It appears that folks down there are concentrating on various aspects of the crisis of capitalism, but in a very desultory fashion. The GAs are interesting, if not a bit tedious. They constantly vie for attention amidst myriad small discussions and the persistent drum circles that bang away into the night. Also, like the Washington Square episode, they express a very particular notion of the occupation. As a 'soft' occupation, where the cops are potential allies and the action exists only at the behest of real estate management groups and city officials, any suggestion that the demo push beyond its very limited bounds is met with hostility.

On Wednesday after the big labor march a friend of mine waited in stack then stood up and started to address the GA. He started by saying that the occupation was great and we should all be proud (lots of happy twinkle fingers). Then he began to question the assumptions and strategy of the protest in very comradely terms. All he got off was, "We need to recognize the limitations of this kind of struggle and seek to expand it," but his full sentence died midway through as the 'people's mic' trailed off after the word 'limitations' as downward facing fingers rose up throughout the crowd. Therefore more than half the audience was unable to hear his critique and he was immediately shuttled off so the next speaker could address the crowd. This speaker spouted some self-congratulatory platitudes and his every word was duly repeated by the occupied Greek chorus with twinkle fingers flashing everywhere.

This, I think, reflects the weakness of the GA/consensus form that dominates the protest. A movement that fails to criticize itself is a movement that cannot expand tactically or strategically. In the search for inclusiveness or consensus or whatever, the GA shuts down debate about what to do and where. It also shows the influence that certain people and ideas have over a movement that, as it grows in numbers and changes in composition, will necessarily elicit differing ideas on how to proceed. This is one of the hallmarks of a mass movement and a healthy one.

I'm not sure that the OWS organizers yet have the flexibility necessary to allow a debate on such divisive issues as the role of police and direct confrontation of power. This can be seen in some members' attempt to link the Brooklyn Bridge incident with 'outside agitators' and 'provocateurs' who seek to undermine the 'pacifist' basis of the occupy movement. As though anyone who takes direct action outside the bounds of some notion of acceptable protest can't possibly be from within the movement, but must necessarily reside outside as some frightening Other.

All that being said, Zuccotti Square is still an amazing place to be. There is a wide variety of folks discussing the economy and politics with a passion that is invigorating. As the protest grow (as they are in NYC and across the country) I trust that the issues outlined above will be solved within the struggle itself. After all, if they are to continue to expand they will have to address the contradictions within their strategy and, ultimately, within the plurality of 'single-issue' campaigns, the aggregate of which add up to a pretty decent critique of capitalism and bourgeois society.

CRUD

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 9, 2011

Schwarz

The Washington Square Park assembly seems like an attempt to branch out into new space and bring new folks in. After all, the Washington Square is public space, but completely surrounded by New York University.

Occupy public space? I'm not sure that's possible ;)

I think occupying private property might be a better goal? Correct me if I'm wrong. Industry would be great but at least we can start with some fucking land yes? :)

Schwarz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Schwarz on October 9, 2011

CRUD

Schwarz

The Washington Square Park assembly seems like an attempt to branch out into new space and bring new folks in. After all, the Washington Square is public space, but completely surrounded by New York University.

Occupy public space? I'm not sure that's possible ;)

I think occupying private property might be a better goal? Correct me if I'm wrong. Industry would be great but at least we can start with some fucking land yes? :)

No doubt, CRUD! I'd like nothing more than to see massive occupations of factories, office towers and municipal buildings.

What I'm pointing to is a strange and ironic issue of legality regarding public vs private space. Apparently, one of the reasons the occupation is able to continue at its current location is that Zuccotti Park is NOT a public park. That is to say, the real estate developer who built one of the buildings surround the plaza was given zoning concessions in exchange for constructing a private-public space to be open to all. This means that it must be open 24 hours and accommodate all users.

Washington Square Park, on the other hand, is fully public (owned by the City of New York) which means the city sets the rules, most notably the hours of operation. Therefore, if Washington Square Park (or any other public park) were to be occupied over night it would immediately undermine the 'safe and legal' tenor of the Occupy Wall Street protests and raise the likelihood that police would forcibly evict the demonstrators at the witching hour. So a public park occupation would actually be a much more provocative move than the current occupation. It would take much higher numbers, but its a conceivable step towards escalating the struggle.

After that maybe we'd be free to occupy the Empire State Building and, like, construct a giant zip line that ends in a 100 acre ball pit in Brooklyn or maybe communize Conde-Naste and or something.

CRUD

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 9, 2011

Schwarz

CRUD

Schwarz

The Washington Square Park assembly seems like an attempt to branch out into new space and bring new folks in. After all, the Washington Square is public space, but completely surrounded by New York University.

Occupy public space? I'm not sure that's possible ;)

I think occupying private property might be a better goal? Correct me if I'm wrong. Industry would be great but at least we can start with some fucking land yes? :)

No doubt, CRUD! I'd like nothing more than to see massive occupations of factories, office towers and municipal buildings.

What I'm pointing to is a strange and ironic issue of legality regarding public vs private space. Apparently, one of the reasons the occupation is able to continue at its current location is that Zuccotti Park is NOT a public park. That is to say, the real estate developer who built one of the buildings surround the plaza was given zoning concessions in exchange for constructing a private-public space to be open to all. This means that it must be open 24 hours and accommodate all users.

Washington Square Park, on the other hand, is fully public (owned by the City of New York) which means the city sets the rules, most notably the hours of operation. Therefore, if Washington Square Park (or any other public park) were to be occupied over night it would immediately undermine the 'safe and legal' tenor of the Occupy Wall Street protests and raise the likelihood that police would forcibly evict the demonstrators at the witching hour. So a public park occupation would actually be a much more provocative move than the current occupation. It would take much higher numbers, but its a conceivable step towards escalating the struggle.

After that maybe we'd be free to occupy the Empire State Building and, like, construct a giant zip line that ends in a 100 acre ball pit in Brooklyn or maybe communize Conde-Naste and or something.

Got it....and ya- zip lines. I think that might be the spark of the revolution ;) A global zip line ski lift shuffling workers from continent to continent? (I've had a glass of wine...or three...sorry)

Strange how private land is being used to protest private property. Fucking capitalism.

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 9, 2011

On Friday, the occupation in Minneapolis started. I was aiming to be down there around 9AM because I was the only one on the 'public safety committee' able to. But I ended up staying up too late. Checking the livestream I saw there were more reporters than actual people, as well as witnessed former government and pro-wrestler Jesse Ventura talking to (arguing?) with an IWW member. A couple of seconds later he starts yelling and people off camera saying "He's a plant! Leave him alone! Ignore him! He's a plant!" Later I found out it was some lunatic with a "NAZI BANKERS ON WALL STREET" sign.

Eventually I got down there around 3PM, donned by fluorescent orange safety vest and found the other Wob doing public safety. Most of what we did, until 9PM or so, was tell people wearing masks that the police would hassle them if they're spotted. Luckily, there was enough of us (mostly IWWers, SEIU staff and others) who weren't all about being protest police. One older ex-Marine on the committee wanted us to go "Looking around for troublemakers and be ready to call the cops". He also wanted us to go around and tell people to stop smoking. We didn't do either.

For a long while, the occupation was kind of just loitering around. Much different than Madison, where there was always motion and speakers and music and so on. The atmosphere here was way more lazy.

There was a significant number of Ron Paul type idiots. 2 out of the 6 books in the lending library were by Ayn Rand. One of the active drum circle people was wearing a Ron Paul shirt, proving once again that libertarianism is the new New Left. Most of the socialist groups were out, but only one really has any real presence or involvement there. A couple of their people are part of the informal emerging leadership that's spring up in these things. Not many anarchists at all. Besides seeing a couple I know, most of that scene has stayed away from the occupation stuff here in the Twin Cities.

Most of the time there was around 300-500 people. When the rally began at 7PM or so, there was probably around 1,000 or more. The general assembly afterward had around 500 folks. That was around the time that I left.

Had some good conversations with several people. Madison is a good segway into talking to people. A lot of people from Minnesota went to Madison when the protests were going on and were inspired by them, so finding out you spent 4 months there, they wanna pick your brain.

No tents or structures of any kind are allowed. There's a limited amount of amplified sound allowed, as well.

Arbeiten

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Arbeiten on October 9, 2011

There was a significant number of Ron Paul type idiots. 2 out of the 6 books in the lending library were by Ayn Rand.

Oh my god i thought the US Ayn Rand obsession was a joke that I wasn't in on....

Soapy

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on October 9, 2011

Ladies and gents, we have our first agent provocateur:
"http://my.firedoglake.com/cgrapski/2011/10/09/american-standard-editor-admits-to-being-agent-provacateur-at-d-c-museum/"

He states that “as far as anyone knew I was part of this cause — a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator — and I wasn’t giving up before I had my story.”

According to Howley’s story he joined the group in its march toward the Air and Space Museum but the protesters on the march were unwilling to be confrontational. He states “they lack the nerve to confront authority. From estimates within the protest, only ten people were pepper-sprayed, and as far as I could tell I was the only one who got inside.”

He claims that upon arrival at the Museum the group of approximately one hundred protesters split into two factions with the smaller of the two “rushing the doors,” the majority “staying behind.” Howley then admits in his piece that he snuck past the guard at the first entrance in order to “infiltrate” the building and then confronted another guard. He then “sprinted toward the door” at which time he was first hit with pepper-spray.

As he describes his next actions “I forced myself into the doors and sprinted blindly across the floor of the Air and Space Museum, drawing the attention of hundreds of stunned khaki-clad tourists (some of whom began snapping off disposable-camera portraits of me).”

Fully inside, despite the orders of the security guards that the Museum was closed to the public, Howley made his way upstairs – to the location where a banner was unfurled protesting the Museum’s exhibit of unmanned drone weapons.

“I strained to glance behind me at the dozens of protesters I was sure were backing me up, and then I got hit again, this time with a cold realization: I was the only one who had made it through the doors. As two guards pointed at me and started running, I dodged a circle of gawking old housewives and bolted upstairs.”

He then found himself “stumbling around aircraft displays with just enough vision to keep tabs on my uniformed pursuers. “The museum is now closed!” screamed one of the guards as alarms sounded. “Everyone make your way to the exits immediately!” Using my jacket to cover my face — which I could feel swelling to Elephant Man proportions — I ducked through the confused tourists and raced out the exit. “Hey, you!” shouted a female guard reaching for my arm. “Get back here!” But I was already down the steps and out of sight.”

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 9, 2011

Soapy

Ladies and gents, we have our first agent provocateur:
"http://my.firedoglake.com/cgrapski/2011/10/09/american-standard-editor-admits-to-being-agent-provacateur-at-d-c-museum/"

He states that “as far as anyone knew I was part of this cause — a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator — and I wasn’t giving up before I had my story.”

According to Howley’s story he joined the group in its march toward the Air and Space Museum but the protesters on the march were unwilling to be confrontational. He states “they lack the nerve to confront authority. From estimates within the protest, only ten people were pepper-sprayed, and as far as I could tell I was the only one who got inside.”

He claims that upon arrival at the Museum the group of approximately one hundred protesters split into two factions with the smaller of the two “rushing the doors,” the majority “staying behind.” Howley then admits in his piece that he snuck past the guard at the first entrance in order to “infiltrate” the building and then confronted another guard. He then “sprinted toward the door” at which time he was first hit with pepper-spray.

As he describes his next actions “I forced myself into the doors and sprinted blindly across the floor of the Air and Space Museum, drawing the attention of hundreds of stunned khaki-clad tourists (some of whom began snapping off disposable-camera portraits of me).”

Fully inside, despite the orders of the security guards that the Museum was closed to the public, Howley made his way upstairs – to the location where a banner was unfurled protesting the Museum’s exhibit of unmanned drone weapons.

“I strained to glance behind me at the dozens of protesters I was sure were backing me up, and then I got hit again, this time with a cold realization: I was the only one who had made it through the doors. As two guards pointed at me and started running, I dodged a circle of gawking old housewives and bolted upstairs.”

He then found himself “stumbling around aircraft displays with just enough vision to keep tabs on my uniformed pursuers. “The museum is now closed!” screamed one of the guards as alarms sounded. “Everyone make your way to the exits immediately!” Using my jacket to cover my face — which I could feel swelling to Elephant Man proportions — I ducked through the confused tourists and raced out the exit. “Hey, you!” shouted a female guard reaching for my arm. “Get back here!” But I was already down the steps and out of sight.”

Haha what an idiot...

Samotnaf

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on October 10, 2011

Don't know if this has been mentioned somewhere else, but there's an anarcho/libertarian-type site here - Bay of Rage - calling for a demo and occupation today in Oakland.

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 10, 2011

Went down today. There was a Troy Davis march, that was unfortunately with Zeitgeist fucks at the front with a big banner. 2 of them also spoke and gave horrible speeches. Luckily a IWWer there got up and gave a speech on race, class and prisons.

Most of the time there I walked around. Me and the informal head of public safety (who's a rank and file union worker turned union staff for SEIU) had to argue with this older guy on the committee that basically wants to turn us into the protest police.

Lot less people than Friday. Maybe 350.

IWW had a table up finally. Some dudes who I'm pretty sure were right wing bloggers of some sort came up and asked condescending questions. I think they were a bit taken aback, because it was a dual carder teacher at the table and not some hippie kid.

Seems like there'sDFL cadre now coming by and trying to push a program.

The decision making structure is going through some type of change, based on the impossibility of the consensus model. I left the GA before that got talked about though. Some of the changes proposed were from IWWers and based on the traditional recallable delegate structure and some of the things the Greeks were doing based on this.

Tonight there's a 'noise demo' at the jail (which is across the street from 'The People's Plaza') in solidarity with the prison hunger strike going on in California. This is seen by some of us as the anarchos here trying to escalate the level of protest here. We'll see what happens.

That's about all I can remember off the top of my head.

Devrim

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on October 10, 2011

rooieravotr

Again, the subject should get a separate thread. I get the feeling that Libcommers are massively underestmating what is about the explode.

I get the opposite feeling, and it is just that, a feeling, that people are massively overestimating what is going on. I think that part of it is connected to the fact that it is in the USA, where levels of class struggle are low, and people are just getting excited because something is going on.

Devrim

Mark.

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on October 10, 2011

Devrim

Mark.

Again, the subject should get a separate thread. I get the feeling that Libcommers are massively underestmating what is about the explode.

That was rooieravotr's view, not mine. I really don't know what will happen with the global call out. Maybe it will be a bit like the initial attempts to spread the 15M protests outside Spain, which were a bit of a damp squib in most European countries and only really took off to any extent in Greece and later in Israel. So my best guess would be that most of the protests won't amount to much but they'll take off somewhere unexpected - but it's only a guess.

Devrim

I get the opposite feeling, and it is just that, a feeling, that people are massively overestimating what is going on. I think that part of it is connected to the fact that it is in the USA, where levels of class struggle are low, and people are just getting excited because something is going on.

You may have a point here, but then at least something is going on.

Devrim

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on October 10, 2011

Mark.

That was rooieravotr's view, not mine.

Sorry, I messed up with the quote function, but have now corrected it.

You may have a point here, but then at least something is going on.

I think that it is important to understand what is going on. The impression that I get, looking from very much afar, is that this is actually quite a small voluntarist movement. It certainly doesn't seem to have the depth that the movements in some of the Arab countries had.

Devrim

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 10, 2011

Devrim

rooieravotr

Again, the subject should get a separate thread. I get the feeling that Libcommers are massively underestmating what is about the explode.

I get the opposite feeling, and it is just that, a feeling, that people are massively overestimating what is going on. I think that part of it is connected to the fact that it is in the USA, where levels of class struggle are low, and people are just getting excited because something is going on.

Devrim

I think there has been some overestimation of the movement, but it has mostly been by people within/associated with the "Occupy" campaigns. Most people on here seem to be calling for engagement with the protests, rather than claiming social revolution is right around the corner. I advocate engagement with/intervention in the protests (even though I haven't really been following my own advice) but I'm not over optimistic about what they will turn into.

There is a good chance that the protests could implode soon, run out of steam, or degenerate into radical liberal support for the Democrats. But even if this does happen a lot of people will be politicized that weren't before. I don't know what the class struggle is like in Turkey right now, but in America social peace is still pretty much unbroken. We've had Madison, a few strikes here and there, and now this. Things haven't caught fire yet, so yes, you are correct to say American radicals are making a big deal of this because almost nothing else is going on. But what else are we supposed to do? I definitely don't think anyone should abandon solid organizing campaigns, union work, etc in order to participate in this, but I think a lot of people who were previously apathetic or who are politicized but inactive have been drawn into a movement that highlights class, however mediated and confused the understanding of class is, and I see this as a good thing.

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 11, 2011

There were 20,000 people marching in Chicago today. I don't know about where you are, but over here that's significant.

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 11, 2011

Just saw this on facebook. This is messed up:
A Wobbly

This is my personal account of events occurred the evening of September 30th, 2011, after leaving the Occupy Chicago General Assembly. I speak in a personal capacity and claim to represent no one but myself.

Around 9:00pm, the occupation was on the move to a new location as instructed by the Chicago Police Department. While en route to the new location from Millennium Park, I decided to part ways with my affinity group as I needed to pick up my daughter and head home. Against my better judgment, I said goodbye to my fellow workers & friends and left alone to head west about 4 blocks to where my car was parked in a garage. This particular evening I was wearing black jeans, an IWW t-shirt (Industrial Workers of the World), and a black jacket. Upon my departure, a FW suggested I zip up my jacket to simply remain less noticeable and avoid a confrontation with someone in opposition to the occupation or something of the like. I did so.

As a single woman, I've been conditioned to be completely aware of my surroundings. I have a need to know where everyone is at all times as a means to keep myself safe. So needless to say, when I noticed a black town car driving at a snail's pace keeping up with my stride I immediately became uncomfortable. For two blocks, this car kept up with me despite traffic passing it. The further west I walked from Michigan Avenue, the more desolate downtown Chicago became, dwindling to just a few people scattered here and there. Because I felt like I was being followed, I decided to walk upstairs to an El stop I was passing to be around people until the vehicle passed. Unable to see the street from where I was standing (without having to pay the fare to get on the train deck, that is), I just waited a few minutes and called my group back at the occupation. At this time, I let them know that I believed I was being followed by someone in a black town car and that I felt unsafe to be alone.

I decided to head downstairs and walk the 1 remaining block to my car. When I reached the bottom of the stairs I was approached by a man in a suit who was seemingly average looking, nothing very distinguishing about him. He started to strike up a forceful conversation with me that quickly turned into questions like "Where are you going? What were you doing tonight? Where are your friends?" to which I kept responding, "I'm sorry, but I need to go." The questioning continued and as I tried to walk away, this person made a grab at my jacket in an initial attempt to unzip it. "Let me see the shirt you are wearing," he said and while aggressively grabbing me and touching my breasts to unzip my hoodie he managed to expose my shirt enough to read "I.W.W." and made a comment that I can't remember exactly, but it was kind of an "Aha! Gotcha!" type of statement. I backed away and assertively told him that I absolutely HAD to leave and had nothing to say to him. Standing in my way and standing over me in an intimidating manner, he grabbed my phone out of my hands and looked as though he was trying to go through it. It was locked and this seemed to only exacerbate the situation as he made one more final attempt to put his hands on me and completely take my jacket off of me.

At this point the only option I felt I had left was to just scream. I yelled as loudly as I could to get the attention of the small group of people who were across the street from us. When they all turned their heads, two began to walk towards myself and this unidentified person. The man who had assaulted me threw my phone on the ground, breaking it's case and shattering the glass on the back of it, and jumped into that same black town car I was suspicious of before. A few people that were standing around asked me if I was okay or if I wanted to call the police and I said I was fine and walked the last block to the parking garage. Once I was in my car, I called my comrade back to let him know exactly what had happened to me. It is my suspicion that these men were, at the very least, undercover cops or even quite possibly federal agents. However, as I stated earlier, neither the person I had direct contact with or the driver of the vehicle identified themselves as such. I wanted to let my group know that this happened for the safety of my friends and the people at the occupation. As I started driving, I happened to notice a couple police wagons heading east and wanted them to be aware of that, too, just in case.

I cannot speak to the intent of the two men involved in this assault, but I do believe that this was an intimidation tactic used to agitate. It is no secret that I am a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. Perhaps it was for this reason that I was followed as an individual who broke away solo from their affinity group, or perhaps it was made on impulse to try and send a message to the people of Occupy Chicago. Either way, people needed to know that this just happened if for no other reason than a comrade of theirs was just assaulted while walking alone. The person I was directly communicating with asked if he could share my story with the General Assembly and I said that I was okay with it so long as I remained anonymous.

The events that followed thereafter I was not there for, but I still would wish to speak to them. I heard from several trusted comrades, friends, & IWWs that a "police liaison" for the Occupy Chicago movement tried to silence my story and wished to keep it under wraps. They stated that they did not want to scare anyone and once this FW went against the suggestion of the "police liaison" and told the GA what had occurred, he, and my comrades who work tirelessly in the name of the working class and the IWW, were labeled as "agent provocateurs" and even went as far as to suggest that I, myself, was a liar. Had this person done even a minimal amount of research, they would realize that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of people that could and would vouch for every single person in our group from not only the IWW but Chicago's local radical community.

Then a statement was made on the official Occupy Chicago Twitter account, that has over 5,000 followers, stating that no one should believe my story in an attempt to discredit myself and my comrades.

This is not a scare tactic, these are not the actions of a provocateur, this is the reality of class warfare. This happened to me and it could just as easily happen to anyone. Not only have I been personally shaken from being assaulted and having a stranger question me and put their hands on me, I have to find out that the community that should have my back has turned on me. There is nothing more incredibly ostracizing than this, which is why I choose to remain anonymous. I implore you to take a look at the people you are following. Take a look at the people you are listening to. Those who would call others in the radical community agent provocateurs lightly and without having some solid EVIDENCE to support their claim are either incredibly naive and unaware of what bad jacketing an activist can do or are, perhaps, provocateurs themselves.

Solidarity Forever.

And also, after the big march today, 4 people were arrested (not sure why). The OccupyChicago twitter put out something that said "The four union workers arrested today have nothing to do with our movement" or some bullshit like that. It was on facebook too, but luckily so many people complained about how obviously uncomradely it was it got taken down.

...Fucking Occupy Chicago :x

Samotnaf

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on October 11, 2011

Don't agree with every aspect of it, but take a look at this interesting passionate text here, which includes this:

Our indiscipline means that among political ideas only the one idea which is, by its very nature, determined to remain an idea, an ideal, can gain any purchase here: democracy. From Tunisia to Egypt, from Spain to Greece, from Madison to Wall Street, again and again, the “movement of the squares” buckles under the dead weight of this shibboleth. Democracy, the name for the enchantment of the people by its own image, by its potential for endless deferral. Democracy, a decision-making process become political ontology, such that the form itself, the form of the decision, becomes its own content. We democratically decide to be democratic! The people chooses itself!
In the present era – the era of the austerity state and the unemployment economy – radical democracy finds its ideal locus in the metropolitan plaza or square. The plaza is the material embodiment of its ideals – a blank place for a blank form. Through the plaza, radical democracy hearkens back to its origin myth, the agora, the assembly-places of ancient Greece which also served as marketplaces (such that the phrase “I shop” and “I speak in public” were nearly identical). These plazas are not, however, the buzzing markets filled with economic and social transaction, but clean-swept spaces, vast pours of concrete and nothingness, perhaps with a few fountains here or there. These are spaces set aside by the separation of the “political” from the economy, the market. Nowhere is this more clear than in the most recent episode of the “movement of squares” – Occupy Wall Street – which attempted, meekly and rather insincerely, to occupy the real agora, the real space of exchange, but ended up pushed into a small, decorative park on the outskirts of Wall Street, penned by police. This is what building the new world in the shell of the old means today – an assembly ringed by cops.
If there is hope in these manifestations, it lies in the forms of mutual aid that exist there, the experimentation people undertake in providing for their own needs. Already, we see how the occupations are forced against their self-imposed limits, brought into conflict with the police, despite the avowed pacificism of the participants. The plaza occupations – with all their contradictions – are one face of the present dissociation of means from ends. Or rather, they present a situation in which means are not so much expelled as sublimated, present as the object of a vague symbolization, such that the gatherings come to pre-enact or symbolize or prefigure some future moment of insurrection. At their worst, they are vast machines of deferral. At their best, they force their participants toward actually seizing what they believe they are entitled to merely want.

jesuithitsquad

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on October 11, 2011

my experience on saturday was something of a mixed bag. there were 1,200 at its height. it was just as confused as expected with calls for people to pull their money out of the major banks and put it into credit unions instead, investing your 401K in "ethical" companies because they will "listen to our money;" and a general overarching theme of personal transformation which i found more than a bit odd as it came up many times from disparate corners: "we need to stop worrying about changing corporations and the government and start worrying about changing ourselves. only when we get the greed out of our own lives will we make a difference." that sort of thing.

that said, people were generally receptive to radical ideas. we had no problem unloading a couple hundred copies of our abbreviated version of work.community.politics.war (which khawaga, i'm sorry to say we put it together on a copier and stupidly gave away our last copy so i can't scan it and put it up).

there was a decent sized group of anti-authoritarian radicals (of various stripes) which was encouraging and many of them were new to me so it was great to make new connections. as someone said somewhere above, one of the unambiguously good things about all of this is that people are outside and talking to one another. i would also agree with others that this is a group of people just waiting to be radicalized through struggle.

the consensus decision making is really ridiculous in such a large group, as rather than consensus, what ends up happening is rule by diktat by whomever has the mic. in a really egregious example, a couple of times there were fairly loud boos when asking for consensus, and the motions still passed. i'm pleased to hear juan's report that they are forgoing the consensus model elsewhere, and hopefully, this will be something that gains steam around the various locations.

the occupation moved to the statehouse lawn where it remains, but it is a "vertical" occupation which seems to me like a waste of energy and resources as it is a space that could just as easily be retaken each morning. it's hard to imagine how something like that can remain sustainable in the long run, but i've got lots of respect for those giving it a go. sadly, for various reasons i haven't been back since saturday, but i'm planning to head down again tomorrow.

one last note of interest, there were some pretty widespread rumors our local fash were going to make a show of it on saturday. fortunately, they did not and have not, but had they, it would have created a really awful scene as a comrade who had made it into the super secret organizing committee meeting last week had a pretty heated debate about the tactics of confronting the fascists. he was told in no uncertain terms that absolutely no violence would be tolerated, even against neo-nazis. he made a pretty strident anti-fascist argument, but apparently the others were unswayed, even after the 'refusal to confront is passive acceptance' argument was made. here's to hoping they stay away because i can't imagine a more divisive situation than anti-fascists physically confronting the fash and then being made out to be the bad guys in the situation.

Hieronymous

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 11, 2011

Devrim

The impression that I get, looking from very much afar, is that this is actually quite a small voluntarist movement. It certainly doesn't seem to have the depth that the movements in some of the Arab countries had.

Devrim

Of course not, but it's got to start somewhere. And rather than attributing the Tahrir Square Occupation to facebook, like some ahistorical liberals do, it should be seen originating in the textile strikes in industrial estates, like Mahalla in the Delta, a half decade before.

We could see the first inklings of this current Occupy Movement in the U.S. in the 6-day occupation of Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago in December 2008.

Although I didn't go myself, I just got off the phone with a comrade who said over 1,000 turned up -- in the rain -- for the inaugural Occupy Oakland today. This past weekend there was a planning meeting to create an Occupy Berkeley, but when more than 100 people showed up, they decided to just begin the action and plan it while doing it.

These things are extremely limited, but from what I've seen with my own eyes they're taking off like wildfire.

This past weekend was Fleet Week in San Francisco, which is ironic since the Navy's fleet -- and most other military instillations -- left with the demilitarization at the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s. But at the Occupy San Francisco encampment this weekend, lots of uniformed military personnel stopped by and openly stated their support. San Francisco's Muni public transit workers, who have voted down 2 concessionary union contracts, show near universal support by blasting their horns for the whole block as they pass the encampment. This is clearly a class movement.

In this incarnation the occupations probably won't go very far, but if you look at history you will discover that when old Wobblies and Socialist & Communist Party hacks came together around 1931 to organize what became the Unemployed Councils & Leagues, they probably didn't have nearly as many people -- in anywhere near as many cities -- as the Occupy Movement today.

But by the time unemployment hit its historical all-time high, at 24.9% in 1933, the movement was already well under way. Here's an outline of some of the high points:

[quote=Radical America]The jobless employed a number of spontaneous survival strategies such as informal and formal cooperative movements, family and neighborhood networks for assistance, individual and group looting of supermarkets, coal bootlegging, determined searches for work, and innovative stretching of income. At the same time, radical organizers helped stimulate more formal and political jobless actions such as sit-ins at relief stations, national and state hunger marches, demonstrations at City Hall, and direct resistance to evictions...Not only did these radical organizations [the Communist Party, Socialist Party and the Musteites] of the unemployed stop evictions and raise relief payments, they also helped to intensify the class consciousness of many of their members.(from an article by Roy Rosenzweig, entitled "Organizing the Unemployed: The Early Years of the Great Depression, 1929-1933," in Radical America, vol. 10, no.4; July-August 1976)[/quote]

And then within a year of that, the country was rocked by 3 of the most successful general strikes ever: in Toledo, Ohio, Minneapolis, and San Francisco.

Around mid-decade unemployed groups lost their radical content, becoming liberal proponents of the New Deal, especially after a popular front of all the various factions were joined in 1935 to form the Workers' Alliance. About 1937-1938 what little improvements that the New Deal had made in working class people's lives were being wiped out by the "Second Trough" of the Depression, also called the "Roosevelt Recession," where unemployment was still at 19% in 1938 -- a full 5 years into the New Deal. But the working class did rise up and here's how from George Rawick's "Working Class Self-Activity":

George Rawick

With the further downswing of wages and employment in 1937, the workers in autos, then in rubber, and then in other industries occupied the plants, slept there, ate there, refused to leave or produce, protected themselves inside the plants, and organized massive demonstrations outside. Thousands of troops surrounded the factories with tanks and artillery, not firing because of the certainty that it would further radicalize the situation.

With the rumblings of the Greek military these days, the working class in Greece might be soon facing a situation like the U.S. in 1937. Hopefully they will rise up and fight back, as well as inspiring the working class here in the U.S. to do so as well.

We can only hope...

jesuithitsquad

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on October 11, 2011

interesting historical perspective, hieronymous. thanks for that.

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 11, 2011

Devrim

I think that it is important to understand what is going on. The impression that I get, looking from very much afar, is that this is actually quite a small voluntarist movement. It certainly doesn't seem to have the depth that the movements in some of the Arab countries had.

Devrim

No, this movement has barely anything in common with the Arab Spring (I hate it when American protesters make that connection! We're not being killed in the street yet, people! :x ). And again, I am somewhat pessimistic about the immediate prospect for major social unrest...however it is extremely significant for our time and place.

Again, there were 20,000 people on the streets of Chicago today. Sure, that's not a huge percentage of the overall number of people in Chicago, and I would LOVE for there to be more people involved, but I'm not sure if there have been any other protests in recent years, besides Madison, which got to this level. I could be wrong of course. And there is no harm in us trying to engage with the protesters and help them reach a better class analysis as long as it doesn't distract us from pre-existing projects.

Devrim

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on October 11, 2011

tastybrain

I think there has been some overestimation of the movement, but it has mostly been by people within/associated with the "Occupy" campaigns. Most people on here seem to be calling for engagement with the protests, rather than claiming social revolution is right around the corner.

I wasn't talking about people on here in particular, but more about the general impressions that I had picked up from a range of sources. I mean there are people describing it as an 'American fall' and what not.

tastybrain

I advocate engagement with/intervention in the protests (even though I haven't really been following my own advice) but I'm not over optimistic about what they will turn into.

It seems a reasonable approach.

tastybrain

But even if this does happen a lot of people will be politicized that weren't before. I don't know what the class struggle is like in Turkey right now, but in America social peace is still pretty much unbroken.

Turkey is pretty quite at the moment, and there hasn't been a major struggle since a two day national health workers strike in the spring. In general though the level of days lost to strikes is significantly higher than in America.

tastybrain

We've had Madison, a few strikes here and there, and now this. Things haven't caught fire yet, so yes, you are correct to say American radicals are making a big deal of this because almost nothing else is going on. But what else are we supposed to do?

I am not saying that people should do anything, except perhaps to try and keep a sense of perspective.

tastybrain

There were 20,000 people marching in Chicago today. I don't know about where you are, but over here that's significant.

It is pretty small. There was a demonstration in Ankara last weekend with about 40,000 on it (the Ankara urban area has about half the population of Chicago's). When things were happening last year, the biggest demonstration had between 140,000 and 170,000 on it depending on who you believe.

I think that this emphasises the low level of struggle in the US. Another thing that shows it is the movement in Madision. Now its not to say that in the US context this was an important movement, and also that the US is an important country internationally, but as I understand it nobody actually even went on strike there. This is not to diminish its importance, but to try to understand where things actually stand.

Hieronymous

Of course not, but it's got to start somewhere.

Yes, that is a fair point. Whether anything will start is another question though.

Hieronymous

And rather than attributing the Tahrir Square Occupation to facebook, like some ahistorical liberals do, it should be seen originating in the textile strikes in industrial estates, like Mahalla in the Delta, a half decade before.

I didn't attribute it to Facebook. At the time we wrote:

ICC

The protests were widely advertised on social media, and particularly through Asmaa Mahfouz’ , a female journalist, you tube video going viral. The media have picked up on all this calling it a ‘FaceBook revolution’, but it is worth remembering that hundreds of thousands of leaflets were also distributed by various groupings.

I don't think that you are right in seeing it as originating in the strikes that had previously taken place in El-Mahalla El-Kubra though. I don't think that the Tahir square movement was a class movement, but more of a cross class movement.

A friend of mine from Sidon who went there commented that it didn't seem to be a class movement, and "you only had to listen to their accents". Of course there were some workers there, and the media focused on them stressing that it was a movement of all classes of society. I think that the strikes that emerged afterwards were more the working class exploiting the situation than part of the same movement if that makes any sense.

Hieronymous

We could see the first inklings of this current Occupy Movement in the U.S. in the 6-day occupation of Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago in December 2008.

I think that it is fair to ask questions about the nature of this movement. That is not to say that communists and anarchists in the US shouldn't try to 'engage with/intervene in it' as Tastybrain put it. I think that they should. It does mean though that we should try to understand what is going on.

Devrim

Soapy

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on October 11, 2011

I know that occupy Boston was attacked by the police overnight and mass arrested, any updates on that?

soc

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soc on October 11, 2011

I'm following the events of the Occupy X movement for a while and my opinion at the moment is rather pessimistic.

For first, there's the problem with the participants. I know, I know, some radicals and anarchos showed up but it looks like they forced in to the corner with their own agenda, and they had two choices: either go with the leading activists' agenda (that is, non-violence and state interventionist capitalism propaganda), or get isolated. The rest, the bigger crowd seemingly just go with the original meme, 21st century hippy stuff, which is actually some kind of social democratic incarnation. This crowd isn't just a non-opinionated crowd which you can argue with in the hope they will eventually get what you're talking about. They are already deaf to any other political view than theirs. For me, the atmosphere that comes through the reports is nothing different, as our everyday struggle with apathetic working class and the activisty scene of the left.

For second, there's no prospect to move out of this position. As others already mentioned, many sees the occupation movement as an end in it self, more over, it is a movement where one can catch up with the trendy anti-something of our times. As it was the same with the 15M thing, many just simply doesn't get to the realisation, that the occupation movement wasn't successful at all in Egypt (just look at the recent months' news coming from there), and even if it was, that doesn't mean that the same tactics supposed to work everywhere else. There's a huge difference: dictatorships rely a lot on centralist propaganda and use of symbols, therefore the occupation of Tahrir square was inevitable led to a complex struggle, while western democracies are more distributed, more divided along many lines, and there's no central symbolic space to attack that would lead any major conflict with the power. Such a movements are doomed to be either tourist spectacles or simple public space operations of the police without having any, even marginal impact on the economical and political structures. Even in Egypt there was more than occupations: battles on the streets erupted on daily basis thus realising a defensive organisation of the participants.

And while talking about strategies and tactics is satisfactory for many activist, this is all just superficial analysis without any meaningful content. You can see, that the demandless nature of these movements has nothing to do with the "demand nothing" of communism. It is still a protest and as such it is an appeal to a higher authority to satisfy, in this case, a diversity of single issue. That is, having no explicit program isn't the result of ignoring the government to the point of confrontation. It would be quite a wishful thinking to imagine, that this crowd somehow magically takes a firm anti-capitalist turn, even with the unions involved (as trade unions aren't anti-capitalist by default). In its best, this movement is disruptive to the radical movements, who tend to be overexcited when some thousands of people get together any time. Risking to sound sectarian, I think for anarchists there's no place in this movements. If we want to make an impact, we should pursue our own goals more visibly, taking actions on our own terms rather than try to adjust ourselves and the occupy X movement to a common denominator.

Samotnaf

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on October 11, 2011

soc:
You're presumably talking about the occupy# movement and not this, which I put up a few hours ago: Occupy X; have I made a small mistake in calling this particular news piece 'Occupy X' because it's what some people call 'occupy#' or does it matter because this is just some tiny pedantic detail or what?

soc

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soc on October 11, 2011

I just used the "Occupied X" term for Occupied Wall Street, Occupy Britain, Occupy London Stock Exchange etc. But if it is confusing, I will edit to occupy#...

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 11, 2011

Devrim

In general though the level of days lost to strikes is significantly higher than in America.

tastybrain

There were 20,000 people marching in Chicago today. I don't know about where you are, but over here that's significant.

It is pretty small. There was a demonstration in Ankara last weekend with about 40,000 on it (the Ankara urban area has about half the population of Chicago's). When things were happening last year, the biggest demonstration had between 140,000 and 170,000 on it depending on who you believe.

I think that this emphasises the low level of struggle in the US. Another thing that shows it is the movement in Madision. Now its not to say that in the US context this was an important movement, and also that the US is an important country internationally, but as I understand it nobody actually even went on strike there. This is not to diminish its importance, but to try to understand where things actually stand.

Right, there is a low level of class struggle in the U.S., so what might seem like the usual ineffectual protests to someone in Europe or the Middle East is actually a huge deal here. Turkey is a more politicized society so I'm not surprised your area can muster a lot more people to protests. I agree that we need to keep things in perspective and not "fall in love" with the protests (to partially quote Zizek). I mean, I realize 20,000 people is not too many people compared to Chicago's overall size, but it does seem like the biggest thing to happen here. for a while (I could be wrong about this tho, someone who knows more feel free to correct me).

Soc: I think the lack of demands, even though you are right in saying it is not the same as a communist refusal of demands, gives communists/anarchists more space to maneuver within the movement than if it were a single-issue campaign with set demands. Do you really think all protest is bad and inherently reformist? I don't think radicals have been totally boxed out of these movements. If we don't challenge the leftist/reformist gatekeepers we will cede control of the movement to them, which can only be a bad thing.

Hieronymous

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 11, 2011

tastybrain

I mean, I realize 20,000 people is not too many people compared to Chicago's overall size, but it does seem like the biggest thing to happen here. for a while (I could be wrong about this tho, someone who knows more feel free to correct me).

Here are some numbers from 5 years ago:

Beginning in February, 2006, mass mobilizations against H.R. 4437 began throughout the U.S., including as many as 1,500,000 protesters in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006 -- in the city's largest protest ever. The main day of action was May Day, where strikes and walk-outs occurred in at least 200 locations, involving as many as 5,000,000 -- mostly Latina/o immigrant -- protesters. The U.S. Senate never passed the bill, so the resistance was successful.

--March 10, 2006: Chicago 300,000

--May Day 2006: Chicago 600,000 (fire department estimate), some school districts up to 80% absent [other estimates put as many as 700,000 on strike in Chicago]

Figures from Infoshop News

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 11, 2011

Hieronymous

tastybrain

I mean, I realize 20,000 people is not too many people compared to Chicago's overall size, but it does seem like the biggest thing to happen here. for a while (I could be wrong about this tho, someone who knows more feel free to correct me).

Here are some numbers from 5 years ago:

Beginning in February, 2006, mass mobilizations against H.R. 4437 began throughout the U.S., including as many as 1,500,000 protesters in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006 -- in the city's largest protest ever. The main day of action was May Day, where strikes and walk-outs occurred in at least 200 locations, involving as many as 5,000,000 -- mostly Latina/o immigrant -- protesters. The U.S. Senate never passed the bill, so the resistance was successful.

--March 10, 2006: Chicago 300,000

--May Day 2006: Chicago 600,000 (fire department estimate), some school districts up to 80% absent [other estimates put as many as 700,000 on strike in Chicago]

Figures from Infoshop News

Ahh thank you Hieronymous. I stand corrected ;) . Even so, I think the protests are worth noting and engaging with.

Hieronymous

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 11, 2011

tastybrain

Ahh thank you Hieronymous. I stand corrected ;) . Even so, I think the protests are worth noting and engaging with.

20,000 people in motion is considerable and with the right level of militancy, can be a formidable force.

When the Iraq War started on March 20, 2003, I was amongst almost exactly the same number of fired-up demonstrators. There weren't enough cops to control or contain us. Unfortunately, our tactics weren't up to the challenge -- although we did shut down parts of San Francisco's Financial District for half the day. This took place in the exact same area where Occupy SF is today!

Shorty

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Shorty on October 12, 2011

This is an interesting breakdown of the 99% tumblr. Worth looking at to see some of the limitations and contradictions as well as maybe what's useful and what's not in terms of moving forward with it, if even. Not sure if I share the conclusions of the article though.

http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/parsing-the-data-and-ideology-of-the-we-are-99-tumblr/

soc

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soc on October 12, 2011

tastybrain

Soc: I think the lack of demands, even though you are right in saying it is not the same as a communist refusal of demands, gives communists/anarchists more space to maneuver within the movement than if it were a single-issue campaign with set demands. Do you really think all protest is bad and inherently reformist? I don't think radicals have been totally boxed out of these movements. If we don't challenge the leftist/reformist gatekeepers we will cede control of the movement to them, which can only be a bad thing.

This is very ambiguous thing, and I do understand that the lack of demands sounds somewhat promising. But the problem is right there: "maneuver within the movement". Do we really want to? It sounds like as if anarchists would like to get in the driver seat of a movement that has no class analysis, no specific anarchist aspects, and we'd try to get it right. This is, what I said before, wishful thinking. You can still spread anarchist propaganda though, but it has nothing to do this movement apart from the opportunity of a big crowd, which is there for some political interest (compared to a crowded subway station).

On the protests: Yes and no. Protest could be a sign of further political awakening, but that's all about it. Protests by their nature are reformist as the crowd shows dissatisfaction of what some organisations, or government institutions are doing or planning to do. Thus protest is a reactive measure of the acts of the ruling class, and therefore always organised around particular issues and phenomenas within the system. Their manifestation is always fit to this purpose: showing numbers and banners to the rulers and to the media, and demanding by the weight of these numbers. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not for some dubious anarchist purity here, I just try to measure the utility of protests in general. Looking it this way, protest is perhaps an opportunity for propaganda, but not vehicle for anarchists, and there's no use of anarchists organising demonstrations and protest in their legal definition. Direct action is not a tool for protest: it is a mean to ignore the legal context, a vehicle for autonomy and not begging.

An Affirming Flame

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by An Affirming Flame on October 12, 2011

"Iran says Wall Street protests to topple US capitalism"

Iran's supreme leader has told a mass rally that the Occupy Wall Street movement will bring down capitalism in America.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the US government could crack down, but would not be able to stop the movement.

If only...

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 13, 2011

soc

tastybrain

Soc: I think the lack of demands, even though you are right in saying it is not the same as a communist refusal of demands, gives communists/anarchists more space to maneuver within the movement than if it were a single-issue campaign with set demands. Do you really think all protest is bad and inherently reformist? I don't think radicals have been totally boxed out of these movements. If we don't challenge the leftist/reformist gatekeepers we will cede control of the movement to them, which can only be a bad thing.

This is very ambiguous thing, and I do understand that the lack of demands sounds somewhat promising. But the problem is right there: "maneuver within the movement". Do we really want to? It sounds like as if anarchists would like to get in the driver seat of a movement that has no class analysis, no specific anarchist aspects, and we'd try to get it right. This is, what I said before, wishful thinking. You can still spread anarchist propaganda though, but it has nothing to do this movement apart from the opportunity of a big crowd, which is there for some political interest (compared to a crowded subway station).

On the protests: Yes and no. Protest could be a sign of further political awakening, but that's all about it. Protests by their nature are reformist as the crowd shows dissatisfaction of what some organisations, or government institutions are doing or planning to do. Thus protest is a reactive measure of the acts of the ruling class, and therefore always organised around particular issues and phenomenas within the system. Their manifestation is always fit to this purpose: showing numbers and banners to the rulers and to the media, and demanding by the weight of these numbers. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not for some dubious anarchist purity here, I just try to measure the utility of protests in general. Looking it this way, protest is perhaps an opportunity for propaganda, but not vehicle for anarchists, and there's no use of anarchists organising demonstrations and protest in their legal definition. Direct action is not a tool for protest: it is a mean to ignore the legal context, a vehicle for autonomy and not begging.

Would you say that the protests (and riots) against the Poll Tax in the UK were mere "begging"? Aren't workers who go on strike and picket their workplace also demanding something from their bosses?

I never said that anarchists should organize OWS style protests (although I wouldn't say anarchists organizing ANY kind of protest is necessarily a bad thing)... propagandizing to the protesters from outside can only get us so far. As comrades like Juan and anarchists in Boston who have taken an active role in the organization and planning of these protests have done, it is necessary to actually get involved and enter the movement if we want the protesters to listen to our critique. I agree that the protests as they are right now are not going to achieve much; I am interested in whether anarchists/communists/ultra-leftists can enter the movement and push it into direct action as opposed to the symbolic action that we both think is inadequate. This is similar to how anarchists have to get involved in the actual planning and execution of strikes (even those controlled by business unions) in order to push them towards greater militancy. I believe some comrades in the UK are involved in planning and organization for the upcoming public sector strike, despite it being controlled by bureaucratic unions. In much the same way anarchists can move within the OWS protests and push them towards direct action (just look at UK Uncut!)

Also, what's wrong with actions which are

organised around particular issues and phenomenas within the system.

? It would be nice to have a mass movement against capitalism in its totality and for libertarian communism, but the only way we can reach this point is by starting from the particularity of different issues which affect different segments of the class and moving outward into a broader critique of the system.

And as I have already said, I do not advocate anarchists abandoning solid projects and jumping into this; I would just assert there is nothing wrong with engaging with these protests as long as it doesn't take away from other type of organizing.

soc

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soc on October 13, 2011

tastybrain

Would you say that the protests (and riots) against the Poll Tax in the UK were mere "begging"? Aren't workers who go on strike and picket their workplace also demanding something from their bosses?

They are, and those movements never resulted in wider action against capital itself, did they? If you don't get too excited with their militancy, you can also see, that whenever the working class takes the route of protesting, it never result in anything revolutionary. Of course, it doesn't mean that protest can't have an underlying agenda of sparking an uprising but that's quite rare, in all honesty.

Strikes aren't essentially for demands, at least not in theory. You can organise strikes for revolutionary purposes, but if you're straightforward organising for a revolution, you'll find the protests as an expression of extreme weakness.

So we are discussing three different types of mass political actions: protests, strikes, and riots. In my understanding, we are agree on the general conclusion that protests could only serve us for propaganda purposes but the other two is more likely to be taken as a direct action against capitalism, if they are organised the class war in mind. But none of these inherently practical for anarchist, neither a riot, neither a strike, at least, not because their particular forms. Protests on the other hand have a quite different character. Protests, demonstrations can only be organised around demanding, even if at a given moment there's no visible, well expressed set of the demands. Anarchists therefore always outsiders of protests, even if they manage to take active role sometimes. We're not just outsiders by our own definitions, but it is acknowledged by many experience with mass demonstrations, but we're often seen as outsiders who are mostly welcomed to the point where we engage in direct actions and visible propaganda of the class war, instead of adding only an other voice of discontent with the issues in question.

There are of course situations within protests when people are generally drawn to a more radical attitude toward the government, or the boss. This is mostly prominent on demonstrations where the anger of the protesting masses is critically exceeding the maneuvering space of the original representatives, such as the union's stewards. This is the best case scenario of all. We all know, that a protest with it's symbolical targets, the increased attention what it gets from the police, are likely to be the worst places for starting direct actions. Look at this #OWS thing: They are literally serving themselves to the police and politely keeping themselves vulnerable to any isolation, containment. This movement, by its own premises, even with a more general radical attitude is paralysed.

So it's all boils down to a propaganda opportunity. But given our ranks are pretty vague, it could turn out a major waste of energy and exhaustion of spirit, if we don't measure our possible impact on the given protest. Now I would say, the #O15 and #OWS so far isn't the right place and time to insist spreading anarcho prop.

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 13, 2011

Real quickly, I don't agree with the fatalistic defeatism of soc. I've seen that attitude from some anarchists/communists/radicals and the motivations fall into three categories usually

1)Who are these unknown people encroaching upon my turf of activism and protests?
2)This is just reformist and liberal.
3)Going out of my social scene/political milieu makes me uncomfortable.

If that is your attitude, then I recommend you do stay out of this. You won't be any help, but will in fact probably be a liability. Revolutionary isolationists are of no use.

I don't have any illusions about the #Occupy movement being anti-capitalist or revolutionary, but most mass movements aren't. That said, I think in most places we won't be able to push things in a more desirable direction, because, well, that's just not where everyone is at and it's still new and vague, but that doesn't mean we can't do useful things.

Some reasons to get involved

1)Gain new skills - I'm sorry, but, in my experience, most revolutionaries do not know how to do simple things like table, talk to real life people without jargon, make personal connections with strangers and build a relationship, etc. For every good organizer who can get people to unload all their agitations with the world and what they think the solutions could be, there's 9 awkward anarchists only making in-jokes and smoking cigarettes together like they're outside some bar, completing ignoring and even looking down on people outside this circle.

2)Fight to give the movement space - There are people who want to suffcate this movement with hippie, pacifist, cop-snitching nonsense. Some of these folks are part of the emerging leadership that always starting coalecsing around disorganized, vaguely "horizontal" groups and movements. People often listen to them because they act confident, not because people have made a thought out decision based on experience that these people are right.

3)Offer differing perspective - I'm sorry, but I think these "revolutionary isolationists" often forget that they were once liberals, apolitical, Trots or even Ron Paulites or conservatives. In the IWW there's folks who were on the anti-union committee at a particular workplace that eventually flipped because of a relationship with a core organizer and now they are vital parts of ongoing workplace campaigns. I was in the YCL and vaguely a capital c Communist until a chance internet posting led me to a meeting where I connected with anti-authoritarians. Others have met people at protests and that was their entry point. I think you fail to recognize the different entry points that people have on the path to wanting to abolish the present state of things.

sabot

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by sabot on October 14, 2011

10 people (including 3 PDX wobblies) were arrested this morning for civil disobediance in Portland.

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 14, 2011

soc

tastybrain

Would you say that the protests (and riots) against the Poll Tax in the UK were mere "begging"? Aren't workers who go on strike and picket their workplace also demanding something from their bosses?

They are, and those movements never resulted in wider action against capital itself, did they? If you don't get too excited with their militancy, you can also see, that whenever the working class takes the route of protesting, it never result in anything revolutionary. Of course, it doesn't mean that protest can't have an underlying agenda of sparking an uprising but that's quite rare, in all honesty.

You seem to be demanding massive revolutionary activity which materializes out of thin air. The only movements that even partially challenged capital started from non-revolutionary actions which grew broader, more disruptive, and more radical.

soc

Strikes aren't essentially for demands, at least not in theory. You can organise strikes for revolutionary purposes,

I would be interested in what strikes you are thinking of here. When have workers gone on strike for the explicit purpose of bringing about anarchist communism?

soc

but if you're straightforward organising for a revolution, you'll find the protests as an expression of extreme weakness.

How are we supposed to organize for revolution except by engaging in the class struggle as it exists, rather than as we would like it to be?

soc

So we are discussing three different types of mass political actions: protests, strikes, and riots. In my understanding, we are agree on the general conclusion that protests could only serve us for propaganda purposes but the other two is more likely to be taken as a direct action against capitalism, if they are organised the class war in mind. But none of these inherently practical for anarchist, neither a riot, neither a strike, at least, not because their particular forms. Protests on the other hand have a quite different character. Protests, demonstrations can only be organised around demanding, even if at a given moment there's no visible, well expressed set of the demands. Anarchists therefore always outsiders of protests, even if they manage to take active role sometimes. We're not just outsiders by our own definitions, but it is acknowledged by many experience with mass demonstrations, but we're often seen as outsiders who are mostly welcomed to the point where we engage in direct actions and visible propaganda of the class war, instead of adding only an other voice of discontent with the issues in question.

I still don't understand the difference between a strike and protest for these purposes. Most, if not all, strikes, to my knowledge, have a definite set of demands. Rioting is also not inherently revolutionary. Do you really think the rioters who were in the streets this year in the UK were trying to bring about anarchist communism?

soc

There are of course situations within protests when people are generally drawn to a more radical attitude toward the government, or the boss. This is mostly prominent on demonstrations where the anger of the protesting masses is critically exceeding the maneuvering space of the original representatives, such as the union's stewards. This is the best case scenario of all.

Yeah. And anarchists and other radicals getting involved vastly increases the chances of this happening.

soc

We all know, that a protest with it's symbolical targets, the increased attention what it gets from the police, are likely to be the worst places for starting direct actions. Look at this #OWS thing: They are literally serving themselves to the police and politely keeping themselves vulnerable to any isolation, containment. This movement, by its own premises, even with a more general radical attitude is paralysed.

I'm not sure about this. It depends on what the purpose of the direct action is. I don't know what things are like where you are, but in America there are not very many anarchists. If we just got together and did a direct action (attacking some bank that was foreclosing on people for example) we would be vilified in the media and our action would be isolated from the class in general. We don't have the numbers to actually threaten capitalism, even if we do take direct action. Direct action within a larger protest, however, has the potential to draw in non-anarchists and spread the idea of direct action to the rest of the class. In a way, direct action is propaganda.

soc

So it's all boils down to a propaganda opportunity. But given our ranks are pretty vague, it could turn out a major waste of energy and exhaustion of spirit, if we don't measure our possible impact on the given protest. Now I would say, the #O15 and #OWS so far isn't the right place and time to insist spreading anarcho prop.

Again, I don't know what things are like where you are. But in America, the OWS protests are a pretty good place to spread anarchist propaganda. Most people are totally alienated from any kind of "politics" (whether we define ourselves as political or anti-political we seem political to them...political in the wider sense). People here are very cynical about any kind of positive change. The OWS movement is a social movement where there is an openness to new ideas and new solutions. Everyone is fed up, but the OWS people have realized they don't just have to sit on their asses and take it while voting for the lesser of two evils every four years. This is the first step. They may have terrible ideas about how to "fix" things but at least they have decided to take some kind of action...they have the consciousness that something is wrong and that they must do something about it. All we have to do is change (broaden) their idea of the problem and inject some imagination into the discussion of the solution.

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 14, 2011

Soc check this out.

As politically confused as the protesters who did that probably were, they are indeed taking direct action! And I believe some protesters in NYC disrupted an auction that had locked out Teamster art handlers. So the protests have already, in a few instances, crossed the line from symbolic action to direct action. I think it's absolutely essential that anarchists involve themselves and push for more of these sorts of actions.

Also, I agree with Juan; none of us came out of the womb anarchist (well, maybe some of us :bb: :a: :b: )...if people of our political tendency do not involve themselves, we ensure that nobody will be won over to out point of view and we leave the protesters (many of whom are new to politics and are more or less open to new ideas) to the tender mercies of liberals, leftists, and right wing populists.

Hieronymous

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 14, 2011

I agree with lots of the points tastybrain and Juan made above. I was at the San Francisco Wells Fargo Bank demo linked above and I'm sorry, but I can't help but be frankly critical and say it was incredibly lame. It was not an act of direct action because it was a spectacle organized with the complete consent of the police. It was one of those set-pieces where the organizers talk to the pigs the week before, get the permits signed, and let them know how many plastic handcuffs, blank citations, and vans to bring.

Once all this is arranged, priority #2 is notifying the bourgeois media with the perfunctory pre-demo press release, simultaneous with consulting with the activist/non-profit/business-union/left-wing-of-the-Democratic Party/industrial complex to arrange the speakers' list. Everything, and I'm not being hyperbolic, so let me repeat that: literally everything is pre-scripted. It all has to be approved by the activist establishment -- under the cops' oversight. So when ANSWER has the mic, their canned rap is always about defending North Korea, Cuba, and every despotic state, spun within the Stalinist line on anti-imperialism. But I forgot one element. The establishment has some leftist ad agency graphics firm design some slick propaganda, like the tens of thousands of glossy postcards that another distribution agency is paid to distribute all over town. And this form of advertising would be the envy of Madison Avenue.

So when the demo happens, it's as predictable as clockwork. So much so that the "outcome" is the tame, toothless spectacle that one can predict with 99% accuracy. If they tell the cops a dozen sacrificial lambs will be willingly subjected to the arrest ritual, then by God almost exactly that amount will be hauled to the paddy wagons, driven to the station, then cited and released -- just as planned. Actually, yesterday it was only 11.

That Wells Fargo branch has 3 entrances. The TV cameras were focused on the main 2, but employees and customers were able to come and go at will through the 3rd entrance, off an alley. No one was threatened by this symbolic protest, but the main beneficiaries were the pigs who can milk the "hazard pay" supplement they receive.

I hardly saw any of the core who have been maintaining the Occupy SF encampment at this spectacularized bank protest, so it should be seen as a separate event.

As for soc's pessimism, which seems to endorse a passive quietism, you simply can't judge these Occupy actions based on what you're reading through either the internet or the media. You have to be there, at one of these occupations, to see how fresh and hopeful they seem. Sure, there are incredibly limited, but for every un-radical weakness, there's a fresh face, completely new to all this, who is a prime candidate for radicalization.

And as for what's transformative and consciousness raising, you know it when you feel it in your gut. It is literally a taste of freedom, that once tasted drives you to try to push events to realize that euphoric sense that anything is possible again and again. You see new potentials open up and get this rush, the visceral feeling that you are making history. It could be a riot, a militant strike, or simply an inspiring act of solidarity or mutual aid.

Here are some examples for me:

I was part of the Prisoners Literature Project in the early 1990s, before it moved from San Francisco to Berkeley. One Saturday afternoon, we picked up packaged and addressed books, put them in 3 shopping carts, and wheeled them the 2 1/2 blocks from Bound Together Anarchist Bookshop, down Haight Street, to the post office on Clayton. We set up and ironing board with a PLP sign and asked everyone going in to the post office to simply take a package or two, pay for the postage, and have the clerk put it in the mail hamper. And about 90% of the black and brown customers not only had a relative or friend in jail or prison, but nearly every one of them -- to a person -- grabbed a package and sent it off. Some felt so good about doing it, they came back and got another. It was about 50-50 with white hipsters, but that's to be expected.

But the really inspiring part was hearing the stories. Lots of moms, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, nieces, nephews and cousins with a loved one in prison for non-violent drug or property crimes. After we cleared out 3 whole shopping carts full of packaged books, I realized I've never received more sincere "thank yous" in a singe day in my life. It not only made me feel good, but made me realize that reaching out to people builds bridges that might not be useful today, but some day when society starts to break down, a few of those people are going to remember the white kids practicing mutual aid in the Haight that afternoon.

Another event is worthy of mention too. It was around the same time, but was in the East Bay at Santa Rita, the county jail in the far eastern end of the Alameda County. Unlike the usual Food-not-Bombs slop, we careful went to the kitchen of an old hippy caterer at a communal house in Berkeley and cooked a real sumptuous meal and packed it up. Some comrades were in Santa Rita for some heavy charges related to a militant demo. So when we got to the county jail, we threw out a spread, picnic-style. It was on a Saturday, right when visitor's hours began. We visited our comrades, then came back and hung out on the grass near the jail parking lot all afternoon.

Someone, quite talented actually, started strumming a guitar, and we put a tiny sign that said "Free Food." At first everyone passed us by, not knowing what to make of us. People of color were the first to sit with us, to try some of the food, and soon were sharing stories. Again, a large percentage were in for "poverty" crimes, non-violent drug and property theft charges. Soon even working class whites sat down and joined us too, and were able to compare notes about how to put money on their relative's or friend's "books" for the commissary, or sharing information about who was a good pro bono attorney in Oakland. Once again, it felt like we were building a community where none existed before. And once again, people were talking to each other, especially across race lines, where normally they are atomized and isolated from each other.

I find a lot of the same subjective feelings of solidarity, mutual aid, and togetherness when I go to Occupy San Francisco. I got laid off from my public sector job on July 1st and there are some nights when I get insomnia from anxiety about my future. I feel that my partner and I will suffer some personal economic crisis, be made homeless, and die lonely on the streets. But when I get to the Occupy SF encampment, I see more than enough fresh, healthy food and get this feeling, summed up in a slogan I saw there, that "We're too big to fail."

I've tasted the freedom of chasing cops away during a riot and the exhilaration is beyond words. I've felt the rush of power from telling my boss to fuck off, then walking out collectively with my co-workers in a wildcat strike. But it's the community-building activities, rooted in mutual aid and solidarity, that have given me a deeper sense of hope, that we've got each others' backs, and despite how bad this coming depression gets, we will be able to not only survive, but collectively invent new forms of fighting back as we learn by doing.

EDIT: the news articled linked in the previous post says the bank protest, "at its height involved more than 200 people." Which is misinformation because there were 3 times that many people at the demo.

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 14, 2011

Inspiring post, Hieronymous. I take back what I said about the Wells Fargo action :oops: ...I didn't realize they gave advance warning and all that. But with hundreds of people real occupations and disruptions are totally possible and the fact that they haven't really taken off yet is more evidence that we need to be involved in this movement. The Sotheby's Auction disruption was very small (only 9 participants) but I think it's a tiny step in the right direction, and it didn't seem to me as if they had warned anyone beforehand. Now what they should have done was gatecrashed the auction with hundreds of people and forced them to shut it down :a: . Anyway, I think my point stands that the movement could easily make the transition from symbolic action to direct action.

Hieronymous

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 14, 2011

Yeah, tastybrain, I completely agree about the Sotheby's action. It was incredibly effective, even with so few people, and clearly had the element of surprise. That's what so many set-piece protests are lacking -- intentionally so, since well-executed spontaneous actions have the potential to spin out of control. For us that unpredictability is desirable, but not so for those who are doing this for their jobs, whether they're cops or business union bureaucrats or professional activists at non-profits.

But this crisis ain't going away, so we'll have plenty more opportunities to experiment, try new tactics, and hopefully push for direct actions that truly escalate in a more radical direction. We just need to be open minded about what's possible and trust our imaginations. A comrade in Berkeley just printed up some pamphlets of Perlman and Gregoire's Worker-Student Action Committees, France May '68 and is giving them out for free at the Occupy action there. In Berkeley, in the 1980s, I got radicalized away from liberalism by having a leaflet handed to me at a militant demo, about the events of May/June 1968, which sparked a romantic, youthful fascination with revolution and got me questioning some of my reformist assumptions.

soc

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soc on October 14, 2011

I can only reply in summarized for the moment:

First and foremost I don't represent any 'ism in this debate. C'mon comrade, "passive quietism"? Don't have to classify everything to some 'ism, because I don't argue for any dogmatic behavior at all. I am perhaps skeptical and critical, but that's pretty much one of the key feature for a radical, isn't it?

So... Where I am, and where I am from isn't that different from the USA. Class consciousness is pretty much nowhere, anarchists/communists have virtually no impact on the society as a whole. I've been in inspiring demonstrations and riots but the aftermath of these taught me being careful with my judgement. I raised my concerns about the Occupy# movement because based on my readings (not at least reading your comments) because I have no other means to learn how this movement is progressing. I will have more first-hand impression when I see the #O15 here in London tomorrow, but I shared my ideas about the occupy # movement exactly because of the coming event tomorrow, and wanted to find out more how my comrades view the unfolding movement at this stage.

The issue with the protests came up for me exactly because I wanted to have some grip on the major flow events taken place in Europe and elsewhere recently, including Greece, Italy, UK, Spain and other places. My understanding is that the very idea of protest became a major obstacle in the recent movements, as they became end, and declined to more political apathy in their aftermath. This is a huge risk at the moment. Participating in protests can be considerably easier than any other form of political action, hence it can see sudden influx of people and rapid decline as it gets isolated in the long term. I am worried that whatever way the occupy movement goes, when it comes to this, radicals suddenly will end up in a more isolated atmosphere as they ever felt before. In my understanding we should make sure that such a turn of the events wouldn't occur. But that doesn't mean passivity, shame on me, if my posts points to that direction. Fuck no.

I agree, direct action is propaganda too. But this direct action doesn't have to come from within the #ows and alike events. In fact, it could prove quite dangerous as there are quite a few people who are willing to cooperate with the authorities to get rid of the "bad protesters" and in turn such a feeling would obstruct radicals to do any really inspiring and practical measures. It creates a feeling of being locked in a seemingly active, but in other terms useless situation, where your limbs are tied to those who you supposed to inspire and push toward more radical stand.

IMO, with all the stirring going on at the heart of the cities, it could prove far more useful to bring new territories in to the concert of action, namely the estates, immigrant or native working class areas (ok, I admit, this is more of a local, London-based view, I have no experience in the class division in the US). Not only their residents, but these areas can prove more favorable grounds for direct action. In fact, I believe that the "echo" in the estates would have quite an impact on the general attitude in the occupation movement. This if of course, speculation but deserves more attention as a project than trying to radicalise an otherwise quite lefty-liberal crowd who have still their hope in the government and the state in general.

proletarian.

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by proletarian. on October 14, 2011

An Affirming Flame

"Iran says Wall Street protests to topple US capitalism"

Iran's supreme leader has told a mass rally that the Occupy Wall Street movement will bring down capitalism in America.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the US government could crack down, but would not be able to stop the movement.

If only...

Just out of interest, does that crew think they have capitalism in Iran or some other system? Do they pretend they have some Islamic economy or some such bollocks?

Caiman del Barrio

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on October 14, 2011

soc

IMO, with all the stirring going on at the heart of the cities, it could prove far more useful to bring new territories in to the concert of action, namely the estates, immigrant or native working class areas (ok, I admit, this is more of a local, London-based view, I have no experience in the class division in the US). Not only their residents, but these areas can prove more favorable grounds for direct action. In fact, I believe that the "echo" in the estates would have quite an impact on the general attitude in the occupation movement. This if of course, speculation but deserves more attention as a project than trying to radicalise an otherwise quite lefty-liberal crowd who have still their hope in the government and the state in general.

This is an interesting suggestion, and i've been wondering about how to positively interact with - and maybe shift - this movt. Localising assemblies maybe one good idea, but only if they have set objectives. I heard that after the eviction of the (symbolic, spectacular) Plaza de Sol in Madrid, that neighbourhood assemblies mobilised to block residential evictions? Can folk provide links? It'd be a good precedent to call on in debate.

One thing that encourages me about the Occupy trend is that it's moving beyond the rather stale 'anti-cuts' rhetoric, which saw a lot of groups and individuals conflate populism with conservative defeatism ("let's get things back to pre-recession!"). Clearly, the Occupy folk have some sort of desire for a new world, not an old one!

An Affirming Flame

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by An Affirming Flame on October 14, 2011

proletarian.

Just out of interest, does that crew think they have capitalism in Iran or some other system? Do they pretend they have some Islamic economy or some such bollocks?

Yeah, I laughed about the same thing when I read that. "Oh, and you guys don't have a capitalist system?" Obviously it is just propaganda for the faithful - this was a mass rally, after all. But it still must sound completely ridiculous to the many communists and other anti-capitalists in Iran when he talks about capitalism as some kind of outside force, exclusive to the West.

Mark.

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on October 14, 2011

Caiman del Barrio

I heard that after the eviction of the (symbolic, spectacular) Plaza de Sol in Madrid, that neighbourhood assemblies mobilised to block residential evictions? Can folk provide links? It'd be a good precedent to call on in debate.

Some fairly randomly chosen news reports on the anti-eviction campaign in Spain, mostly from July when it first got going:

http://pressenza.com/npermalink/the-15m-movement-in-spain-has-already-stopped-47-evictions

http://wlcentral.org/node/2030

http://observers.france24.com/content/20110715-protest-evictions-homes-spain-indignados-mortgage-crisis-flashmobs

http://storyful.com/stories/1000005354

http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2011/09/30/riot-breaks-out-as-family-are-evicted-for-failing-to-pay-24000-mortgage-in-spain/

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 15, 2011

It was decided that tents were going to be put up today, in defiance of county rules on them. Police said they were coming in to take them down 20 minutes ago, no show as of yet. There's a 'human chain' of people willing to risk arrest around the tents right now.

http://livestream.com/occupymn

CRUD

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 16, 2011

wojtek

Amy Goodman: What Occupy Wall Street can do for Barack Obama

CRUD, can I have your numbers for the lottery please?

How many times do people need to get stabbed in the back by the democrats to realize it's a rigged game? She's a fucking idiot leading workers to the slaughter.

If I could predict the lottery numbers I'd buy up DemocracyNow! and sink it into the ocean. I think, if anything, these protests will expose the need for a new left in America.

Reality is fucking absurd. I want to quit it :)

AMY said - "The suggestion that a loss for Obama would signal a return to the Bush era has some merit" "

Ya I wasn't aware Obama shifted away from bush era policies. These assholes are so predictable. She has some major doublethink problems....the article is Orwellian as all get up.

How can she, in one sentence say Obama was put in office by Wall St then say he needs us (as in our support) as a counterweight?

Grr....we're going to see the so called left media in America start pushing real hard for protesters to support Obama in 2012 as an answer to all of the universes problems. Maybe we should support Obama in 2012 to further expose the fake facade of democracy in America. I would have thought us on the left would get it by now.

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 16, 2011

Police are moving into @occupymn right now, tearing down tents
http://www.livestream.com/occupymn

petey

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by petey on October 17, 2011

Since the Occupy Wall Street protest began on September 17, New York security consultant Thomas Ryan has been waging a campaign to infiltrate and discredit the movement. Ryan says he's done contract work for the U.S. Army and he brags on his blog that he leads "a team called Black Cell, a team of the most-highly trained and capable physical, threat and cyber security professionals in the world." But over the past few weeks, he and his computer security buddies have been spending time covertly attending Occupy Wall Street meetings, monitoring organizers' social media accounts, and hanging out with protesters in Lower Manhattan.

As part of their intelligence-gathering operation, the group gained access to a listserv used by Occupy Wall Street organizers called September17discuss. On September17discuss, organizers hash out tactics and plan events, conduct post-mortems of media appearances, and trade the latest protest gossip. On Friday, Ryan leaked thousands of September17discuss emails to conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who is now using them to try to smear Occupy Wall Street as an anarchist conspiracy to disrupt global markets.

What may much more alarming to Occupy Wall Street organizers is that while Ryan was monitoring September17discuss, he was forwarding interesting email threads to contacts at the NYPD and FBI, including special agent Jordan T. Loyd, a member of the FBI's New York-based cyber security team.

http://gawker.com/5850054/meet-the-guy-who-snitched-on-occupy-wall-street-to-the-fbi-and-nypd

888

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by 888 on October 17, 2011

I camped along with 150 odd tents at occupy seattle over the weekend. This was a victory against the ultra-reformist, collaborate with the mayor crowd. 2000-3000 people during the day. Police removed the tents and arrested 7 this morning.

tastybrain

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 18, 2011

150 or so arrested in Chicago...they are promising to be back.

ludd

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ludd on October 18, 2011

San Diego occupied Civic Center right in the downtown. Police announced on Thursday evening that they would remove all tents at midnight. Several hundred people came to hold the tents, linked arms and said they were ready to get arrested. Police bid their time. Made their move at 7am Friday, when the crowd had thinned out. The remaining people were not ready to fight. They took their own tents and left. Cops arrested one person who refused to move their tent. By afternoon one las tent was left standing and few dozen activists were ready to defend it. 6 or 7 of them got peppers sprayed by the pigs (video of youtube if you want to google it), but the tent stayed up for a while longer. Now the occupation continues with sleeping bags and no tents.

October 15 was a powerful march through the tourist areas. Haven't been to the occupation since, but the earlier police action had one very positive effect. As soon as the cop announcement was made that tents would be removed, the cop-loving faction left to establish their own occupation in a remote area of our main park. This left the more militant Civic Center crowd looking more legitimate, especially after the invigorating Oct 15 march. There are still a ton of problems of course, but it's been a good development I think.

wojtek

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on October 21, 2011

[youtube]o-1TdemR7_Q[/youtube]

aww, Chris Hedges goes all gooey at the end (ps. I know he's a leftist celebrity)

CRUD

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 21, 2011

wojtek

[youtube]o-1TdemR7_Q[/youtube]

aww, Chris Hedges goes all gooey at the end (ps. I know he's a leftist celebrity)

@ 3:50

"THE CORPORATE STATE"

Get it through your heads.....the modern state was never separate from the large capitalists. (talking to liberals and average protesters)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Transformation_%28book%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Transformation_%28book%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Transformation_%28book%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Transformation_%28book%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Transformation_%28book%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Transformation_%28book%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Transformation_%28book%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Transformation_%28book%29

GAAARRRR!!!!!!

[youtube]RAgJs9anhw8[/youtube]

Ambrose

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ambrose on October 21, 2011

These guy's are getting there. I haven't been to a protest yet, but even in my town which is fairly conservative there's a lot of sympathy for the movement.

Honestly as long as people are pissed off, it's a start. It gives us "politicized" folks a chance to go in and bring some of the more open minded around. Just don't say "class struggle" or "plight of the proletariat" and all the other classic commie terms lol

wojtek

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on October 23, 2011

Occupy The Hood Facebook Page

Also, somebdy on Ian Bone's blog said that the Hispanic gang ALKQN (The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation) have called for all the gangs to unite, but I can't find any information elsewhere confirming it.

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 23, 2011

wojtek

Also, somebdy on Ian Bone's blog said that the Hispanic gang ALKQN (The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation) have called for all the gangs to unite, but I can't find any information elsewhere confirming it.

That very possible. LK has always flirted with radical politics, having had links with the Young Lords in Chicago and having two factions form in the 90s in NY, one wanting to become political, the other wanting to stay street. They even provided security for Lolita Lebron when she got arrested at the UN in the 90s if I remember right.

In Lawrence, Kansas there was an prison solidarity group that had contacts with some political LK's in prison in NY. One considered himself an 'anarcho-maoist' and wrote some pamphlets that they would distribute for him, while sending him various pamphlets, etc.

ludd

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ludd on October 25, 2011

Occupy Oakland

This morning at 5am over 500 police in riot gear from cities all over central California brutally attacked the Occupy Oakland encampment at 14th & Broadway. The police attacked the peaceful protest with flash grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets after moving in with armored vehicles. Apparently the media was not allowed in to document this repression, and the police established barricades as far apart as 11th and 17th. Over 70 people were arrested and the camp gear was destroyed and/or stolen by the riot police.

http://www.occupyoakland.org/2011/10/police-brutalize-dismantle-occupy-oakland-camp/
and
http://www.democracynow.org/2011/10/25/dozens_arrested_at_occupy_oakland_as

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 26, 2011

In Oakland....

I'm hearing an Iraq vet got his skull fractured by a tear gas canister and when people tried to come to his aid, police through flash bang grenades into the crowd helping him
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OZLyUK0t0vQ

Pictures from last night
http://www.insidebayarea.com/top-stories/ci_19188125

Police shooting tear gas into the crowd
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=237706202950462

Hieronymous

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 26, 2011

I was there from the start of the demo at the Oakland Public Library's Main Branch at 4:00 p.m. until I had to catch the last train back across the Bay after midnight.

Here's what a comrade said about yesterday morning's attack:

4:30AM mass bust of Occupy Oakland's two sites [Oscar Grant Plaza in front of City Hall and Snow Park 5 blocks away]. Several hundred police [from 18 different agencies in Northern Calfornia], including units from cities as far as Vacaville and Fremont, equipped with riot gear, armored vehicles, helicopters, moved in violently, using rubber bullets, tear gas, and flash-bang canister grenades. Downtown Oakland is an armed camp. 105 protestors were arrested; 2 had broken bones in their hands, one requiring hospitalization.

Downtown remained an armed camp all day and all evening as well. Throughout the night, the crowd kept growing and ceaselessly stood its ground, despite 5 volleys of tear gas shot into the crowd. The pigs spin the spectacle by saying there was "violence" and they were attacked. This is bullshit, since the cop attacks were unprovoked.

I'm writing an account right now and will post it up later.

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 26, 2011


"His name is Scott Olsen. He's a 24 year old former marine, served 2 tours in Iraq and came home safe. Then, in Oakland, he was struck in the head by something that the Police likely fired at him, fracturing his skull. When people tried to help him, they were shot with rubber bullets and flash bang grenades."

Hieronymous

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 26, 2011

Update:

Today, 10/26/11 at 3pm at Oakland City Hall, a vigil will be held in support of Scott Olsen, a Marine veteran who was hit by a police projectile in downtown Oakland at the Occupy Oakland demonstration on the evening of October 25, 2011.

Olsen completed two tours in Iraq and is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. At this time, Olsen is in stable yet serious condition at an Oakland Hospital.

At the hospital, he is accompanied by friends and other Iraq Veterans Against the War. Olsen is a valued community member of Occupy San Francisco.

Please join this vigil in support of Olsen and others that were affected by the events at Occupy Oakland last night.

Soapy

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on October 27, 2011

Let's make this video viral! [youtube]OZLyUK0t0vQ[/youtube]

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 27, 2011

I'm hearing that the plaza in Oakland has been retaken by protesters. Police backed down.

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 27, 2011

Yeah, they defintly took back the plaza, not sure under what circumstances. Hearing something about the GA calling for a general strike next week, too? Seems like they're discussing it right now.

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 27, 2011

From Nate:

"Word I heard is that the proposal just passed, about 1500 to 50. Like 97% in favor. It's a call for a general strike in oakland only, so far, and the date is november 2nd."

Hieronymous

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 27, 2011

O.K., the demo started at 6:00 and there wasn't a pig in sight -- except a few underground in the BART subway station.

I got there a couple minutes late and there had been fences surrounding Oscar Grant Plaza, but those were in the process of being methodically pulled down and stacked in orderly piles. The crowd came. And came and came and came. We held the General Assembly in the amphitheater (where I gave a workshop, with a multimedia presentation, on the '46 Oakland General Strike last Saturday). And as we began, more people came. By its peak, there were about 3,000 people participating in the General Assembly. The general strike proposal was made and we had breakout groups to discuss it.

My breakout group was mixed, lots of young working class people of all races, but also some older people that included a guy who owned a small hardware store, as well as a guy who ran a small flower shop along with his wife. The latter 2 were all for a general strike, but the hardware guy acted as though he'd never heard of one, but still discussed it with good faith and an open mind. A young woman in our group mentioned details of the '46 General Strike, recalling how "bars were allowed to stay open as long as they served only beer and put their jukeboxes out on the street." She made the case for a total shut down (later she told me she read the account, not knowing it was Stan Weir's, "somewhere on the 'net"). Another 30something woman, who was a single mom, said she liked the idea but would prefer to leave work at lunchtime and take her daughter out from school then.

When it was my turn -- and everyone was so damn polite and respectful while taking turns it scared me -- I mentioned again that the Oakland General Strike completely shut down all commerce and that was its strength. I also mentioned how the mid-day or after work proposals had been used to undermine the May Day Immigrant Strike in 2006, especially in Los Angeles where the Catholic Church, the Labor Council, and Latino city officials did everything they could to prevent it from becoming a real strike. They all wanted a symbolic rally at something like 5:00 p.m., so no one would miss work. But the rank-and-file hardcore persevered and on May 1st a significant part of the working class went out in L.A.

We faced this same shit on March 4, 2010 with the education struggles and I saw ghost of that when local Trotskyites spoke to the GA tonight and said "we need more time to build, so we should prioritize the teach-ins on November 9th and the protest to shut down" the meeting of the statewide "regents at the University of California" on November 16th. This was when the GA reconvened and the liberals urged as much caution, namby-pampy nonsense like non-violence and not sending out bad "messenging," as the Trots.

From what I understand, it was 90% consensus and from what I saw it was closer to 75% for a general strike and 25% against. Since there were over 3,000 people and I never saw or heard a vote since we were working on consensus, I don't know where the numbers above come from. Honestly, I was so demoralized by the naysayers that I went outside the the amphitheater and talked with comrades. When I went back to the GA, it was on to another agenda item.

We kept getting announcements from San Francisco, so when the meeting wound down I headed there, only to see every left bureaucrat in town there to pretend to help prevent the rumored pig crackdown. Yet even SF with nearly 500 people at midnight was an inspiring sight. As I left, the BART station was closed and buses were being rerouted, so the attack was to come shortly. But the SF pigs are more strategic, so I imagine they'll accomplish their deed with little or no teargas. I've never seen teargas in the Bay Area before the Oscar Grant Riots in 2009 in Oakland, and it was used very sparingly.

Part of the conscious avoidance of teargas is due to the People's Park Riots in 1969, when the National Guard dropped liquid CS gas on the UC Berkeley campus to penned in (we'd say "kettled" today) protestors, but a stiff breeze off the Bay carried this war-grade CS gas into the windows of a hospital on campus, preschools in the hills, and into the houses of wealthy people at the top of the hill. Like with the tear gas in Oakland last night, it drew even more fence-sitters into supporting the People's Park protestors against the pigs and National Guard.

All my comrades and I agreed that the liberal use of tear gas last night organized our mass assembly tonight. It will be interesting to see if the SF pigs fuck up too.

We can only hope...

Hieronymous

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 27, 2011

I stand corrected:

[quote=Indybay.org]Breaking News Reports from Occupy Oakland on Wednesday, October 26th

Wednesday Oct 26th, 2011 10:22 PM : #OccupyOakland General Assembly just voted 1484 to 46 for an Oakland #GeneralStrike next Wed November 2nd [/quote]

Juan Conatz

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 27, 2011

Yeah, I saw it popping up on Twitter. Funny, I was joking to folks here asking "Does this mean I have to move to Oakland now?" :O

In any case, I'm in the process of editing an internal IWW report about WI that me and the other stipended organizers presented to convention. Hopefully, we can get it out soon, as it now seems relevent again and will serve as a teaser to the bigger piece we unfortunatly have put on pause.

Hieronymous

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on October 27, 2011

Oh yeah, Boots Riley of The Coup used his street creds, when his turn came in the stack of the GA, to eloquently say that he was 100% behind the general strike idea. He was also articulate in making the point that even if it doesn't work now, it's the next obvious step to escalate this movement.

It's hard to express this in words, but this is really capturing more and more people's imaginations, which in turn allows many more possibilities to open up. Being tired from last night's skirmishes, I almost didn't go -- until a comrade called and told me that I might miss "an historical moment." I'm so incredibly glad I went.

Mark.

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on October 27, 2011

[youtube]jcSfS23kjgo[/youtube]

radicalgraffiti

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on October 27, 2011

article saying scott olsen, the guy hit in the head with the tear gas canister at occupy oakland may die

http://www.businessinsider.com/this-veteran-could-be-the-first-person-to-die-at-a-wall-street-protest-2011-10

tastybrain

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 27, 2011

So is there a real chance of a general strike happening? Wouldn't people have to do an insane amount of organizing before November 2nd to shut down most of Oakland's commerce?

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 28, 2011

I started a new thread on the Oakland situation: http://libcom.org/forums/north-america/occupy-oakland-general-strike-call-28102011

Ambrose

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ambrose on October 29, 2011

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/28/occupy-la-ripped-apart-by-argument-over-pot-smoking/

The pot smoking thing sounds like it's become a big issue over in LA. Thoughts?

I don't like the movement getting divided, especially over something like Pot. Who cares if people decide to light up a blunt? As we've seen, the cops break this up regardless if there's a reason or not.

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 29, 2011

Riot police are descending on Occupy Denver looks like. Reports of rubber bullets fired.
http://occupydenver.org/occupy-denver-under-attack/

tastybrain

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 30, 2011

Ambrose

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/28/occupy-la-ripped-apart-by-argument-over-pot-smoking/

The pot smoking thing sounds like it's become a big issue over in LA. Thoughts?

I don't like the movement getting divided, especially over something like Pot. Who cares if people decide to light up a blunt? As we've seen, the cops break this up regardless if there's a reason or not.

It's a silly dispute. I definitely don't think radicals should make a big thing about the right to smoke bud, but a movement that objects to people lighting up is probably not going to change the world.

CRUD

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by CRUD on October 31, 2011

http://online.wsj.com/article/AP72d08a25e8084c25beb180b9df78f471.html

^ good or bad?

tastybrain

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on October 31, 2011

CRUD

http://online.wsj.com/article/AP72d08a25e8084c25beb180b9df78f471.html

^ good or bad?

Uggg. I would say bad.

Ambrose

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ambrose on November 3, 2011

CRUD

http://online.wsj.com/article/AP72d08a25e8084c25beb180b9df78f471.html

^ good or bad?

I'm going with bad. There's no need to get caught up in legal BS like this. It bogs down the movement.

It would be nice if people in the movement tried to think outside the box and operate outside the legal framework of the system.

EDIT: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/01/occupy-wall-street-protester-police-ignoring-troublemakers-at-zuccotti-park/

Hopefully these protesters learn to police themselves. Don't want another Summer of Love to happen again. Expecting the cops and state being protested against to come to the aid of the movement and remove criminals is a little too... expectant imo.

Hieronymous

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on November 6, 2011

When Wisonsin Governor gave a speech at Chicago's Union League Club the morning of Nov 3rd, he has some unexpected guests: Stand Up! Chicago

Stand Up! Chicago

[youtube]1oHRdiklTlU[/youtube]

Ambrose

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ambrose on November 7, 2011

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/06/occupy-movement-reaches-tiny-rural-communities/

I see a great opportunity for voluntary organization there. Some small towns don't even have their own police and are absent a sheriff. If some had the will to do so, they could establish community congress's much easier than a place like New York or Chicago, which would likely be crushed by police aggression.

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on November 7, 2011

They have even invited local Tea Party activists over “to share tea and round-table discussion about areas where the Tea Party and Occupy movements can agree.”

Very worrying. I've heard of this in the city (approx 50,000-60,000) I'm originally from.

klas batalo

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on November 7, 2011

Right wing and reformist elements continue to come in to the occupation or around it in my city. There is tons of red baiting of both out revolutionaries and unions. People are freaking out that a lot of us wanted to support public sector workers and immigrant struggles.

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on November 7, 2011

Occupy Dallas now calling for a general strike
http://occupydallas.org/dallas-calls-general-strike-nov-30th

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on November 7, 2011

OccupyMN is still dwindling. The city is prohibiting signs being hung up and said they're kicking people out if the temperature goes below 25 degrees (which it will very shortly). I believe there is an Occupy St. Paul at the state capitol starting up, but don't know much about it.

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on November 10, 2011

Looks like OccupyMN is working on anti-foreclosure/evition work.

Pretty powerful video about one family they're trying to help. http://vimeo.com/31770485

Here's a picture of the occupation there which has started

Ambrose

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ambrose on November 10, 2011

Most people around my area are anti-OWS. Is it different else where in the country or are the American people turning against their own?

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on November 11, 2011

Some police being police at OccupyCal

[youtube]buovLQ9qyWQLQ9qyWQ[/youtube]

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on November 15, 2011

`Today was supposed to be a 'Occupy Your Job' rally,mostly pushed by the IWW, but today also became the day that the city says no one can sleep in the plaza any longer. So it became more of an emergency rally to defend the occupation. Probably the most people I've seen since the first week. Possibly 200-300 at the rally and then around 100-200 for the unpermitted march through downtown. At least I'm pretty sure it was unpermitted. I didn't see even one cop, but we had our own marshalls blocking traffic so we could go on.

There was a bunch of speeches, some of us spoke, folks from various antiwar and socialist groups spoke. The best one was from a carpenter that helped build the plaza who screamed "I helped build this place, and I say stay as long as you want!"

The march was fun and lively, at least in our 15-20 person IWW bloc. We got the whole march to chant "Oakland workers got it right, we need a general strike!". I think a lot of the older folks on the march liked our energy like the 'A. anti. anticapitalista." chant that speeds up and our (?) version of 'Bella ciao'.

There were around 25 people defying the no sleeping rule there when I left. Cops were expected at 10PM, but as far as I know haven't shown up.

There's also an anti-foreclosure occupation that's going on on the Northside.

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on November 15, 2011

Oh yeah, some Teamster/CPUSA dinosaur confronted one of us saying we were counter-revolutionary and trying to spilt the unions. And that we were all white, even though the person he was yelling this at was latina.

And at the front of the march one of the FRSO folks gave one of us a bullhorn (we forgot to bring our own), and when we started a 'What's the solution? Revolution!" chant, they tried snatching it out of a comrade's hands. This lead to a nasty argument between the IWWer and a couple FRSO people later.

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on November 15, 2011

NYPD is raiding Occupy Wall Street right now.
http://www.livestream.com/occupynyc

Schwarz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Schwarz on November 15, 2011

Just got home from Zuccotti Square. Was in bed in Brooklyn around 1am when I got about 6 texts at once saying cops were evicting OWS. I hopped on the train and got there around 2am. I was lucky to make it because apparently they shut down all subway service to the area shortly thereafter.

Pigs had cordoned off area around Zuccotti about 2 blocks out. Still you could hear the 'riot act' through megaphones and see phalanxes of riot police all up and down Broadway. There were so many fucking cops, many with helmets, shields and batons out. There was no way the 300 or so folks who came down could get close to the square. This was a highly planned police action by New York's 'Finest'.

Apparently at the park there were some beatings and pepper spraying and they dropped tear gas in the kitchen tent to get the last holdovers (leftovers?) out. Most people, however, left without incident, although they didn't allow anyone to take their possessions out. Instead (as I saw on the news in a bodega up the street) they piled tents and belongings up on the street. Allegedly they brought out NYPD bulldozers to sweep the rest up. Who knew cops had bulldozers?

Around 2:30 a large group of about 400 had gathered north of the now former occupation. We marched up Broadway on the streets against traffic. Folks were crying and yelling, sad and angry. A large contingent of black blocers began putting makeshift barricades up on Broadway in an attempt to hold an intersection a few blocks north of the police lines.

Unfortunately, the peace-police were also out in force and they nicely put the trash cans, cones and dumpsters back for the cops. This did not bode well because soon about 10 police vans sped up the street and began splitting the crowd up and off the streets. Some fights broke out with the 'non-violent' contingent and some solid comrades were called out as 'FBI agents'. The liberal marchers then decided to essentially kettle themselves at Foley Square and sure enough they were quickly surrounded by police. Meanwhile they pointed out 'provocateurs' which began an hour-long cat and mouse game throughout downtown Manhattan, complete with unmarked cruisers speeding the wrong way down tiny Chinatown side streets and a police helicopter sweeping in to spotlight the protesters. Several were arrested.

The same dogmatic 'non-violent' stance that reigned at Zuccotti reproduced itself at the bitter end of the occupation. Not that it mattered much. The energy at the Square had been flagging for a couple of weeks, the participants more focused on the quotidian tasks of collectively surviving in a barren concrete wasteland as the NYC winter began to rear its ugly head.

Thankfully, November 17th is just a couple of days away and there will be some exciting actions. There is a lot already planned although everything is open to revision now. The OWS folks are already calling for a reoccupation (although NYPD says after the park is 'cleaned' there will be no 'personal property' allowed back in.) There will be community groups converging in the outer boroughs to 'occupy the subway' and lots of organized labor folks, etc. But who knows what will happen now?

Personally, I'm not overly concerned by the loss of Zuccotti Square. The protest there was always abstract and symbolic. Oakland has shown the way towards advancing the struggle and there has been a lot of energy from the union folks and fellow workers I've spoken to, including support for a mass strike called for on December 30th. The crisis is still taking its toll and the conditions still call for mass struggle.

We shall see what we shall see.

Mouzone

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mouzone on November 15, 2011

Schwarz

Just got home from Zuccotti Square. Was in bed in Brooklyn around 1am when I got about 6 texts at once saying cops were evicting OWS. I hopped on the train and got there around 2am. I was lucky to make it because apparently they shut down all subway service to the area shortly thereafter.

Pigs had cordoned off area around Zuccotti about 2 blocks out. Still you could hear the 'riot act' through megaphones and see phalanxes of riot police all up and down Broadway. There were so many fucking cops, many with helmets, shields and batons out. There was no way the 300 or so folks who came down could get close to the square. This was a highly planned police action by New York's 'Finest'.

Apparently at the park there were some beatings and pepper spraying and they dropped tear gas in the kitchen tent to get the last holdovers (leftovers?) out. Most people, however, left without incident, although they didn't allow anyone to take their possessions out. Instead (as I saw on the news in a bodega up the street) they piled tents and belongings up on the street. Allegedly they brought out NYPD bulldozers to sweep the rest up. Who knew cops had bulldozers?

Around 2:30 a large group of about 400 had gathered north of the now former occupation. We marched up Broadway on the streets against traffic. Folks were crying and yelling, sad and angry. A large contingent of black blocers began putting makeshift barricades up on Broadway in an attempt to hold an intersection a few blocks north of the police lines.

Unfortunately, the peace-police were also out in force and they nicely put the trash cans, cones and dumpsters back for the cops. This did not bode well because soon about 10 police vans sped up the street and began splitting the crowd up and off the streets. Some fights broke out with the 'non-violent' contingent and some solid comrades were called out as 'FBI agents'. The liberal marchers then decided to essentially kettle themselves at Foley Square and sure enough they were quickly surrounded by police. Meanwhile they pointed out 'provocateurs' which began an hour-long cat and mouse game throughout downtown Manhattan, complete with unmarked cruisers speeding the wrong way down tiny Chinatown side streets and a police helicopter sweeping in to spotlight the protesters. Several were arrested.

The same dogmatic 'non-violent' stance that reigned at Zuccotti reproduced itself at the bitter end of the occupation. Not that it mattered much. The energy at the Square had been flagging for a couple of weeks, the participants more focused on the quotidian tasks of collectively surviving in a barren concrete wasteland as the NYC winter began to rear its ugly head.

Thankfully, November 17th is just a couple of days away and there will be some exciting actions. There is a lot already planned although everything is open to revision now. The OWS folks are already calling for a reoccupation (although NYPD says after the park is 'cleaned' there will be no 'personal property' allowed back in.) There will be community groups converging in the outer boroughs to 'occupy the subway' and lots of organized labor folks, etc. But who knows what will happen now?

Personally, I'm not overly concerned by the loss of Zuccotti Square. The protest there was always abstract and symbolic. Oakland has shown the way towards advancing the struggle and there has been a lot of energy from the union folks and fellow workers I've spoken to, including support for a mass strike called for on December 30th. The crisis is still taking its toll and the conditions still call for mass struggle.

We shall see what we shall see.

Thanks for the report.

Fucking Liberal peace police douche bags. :wall:

Soapy

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on November 17, 2011

This are really going to kick off today, can't wait!

Juan Conatz

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on November 17, 2011

What started as rumor has been apparently confirmed. The police and federal officials (FBI and Department of Homeland Security) have been collaborating on the evictions.

http://www.examiner.com/top-news-in-minneapolis/were-occupy-crackdowns-aided-by-federal-law-enforcement-agencies

Soapy

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on November 17, 2011

Occupywallstreet blockaded entrances to stock exchange this morning, many arrested

arkface

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by arkface on November 19, 2011

a reportback from someone at a n17th march in St Louis:

St. Louis, MO, USA: N17 March Against Austerity – A Joyful and Unruly Crowd Takes a Building, a report from one participant: http://libcom.org/news/st-louis-mo-usa-n17-march-against-austerity-%E2%80%93-joyful-unruly-crowd-takes-building-report-one

Django

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Django on November 19, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AdDLhPwpp4

... the fuck.

soc

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soc on November 19, 2011

C'mon... this video is just wrong. Th pigs are usually quite stupid but the protesters are just offering themselves for abuse... I hope they'll get smarter than that and start fighting back properly.

Ambrose

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ambrose on December 5, 2011

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/04/occupy-dc-in-standoff-with-police-after-erecting-wooden-structure/

“As Americans together we can rebuild the country, we don’t really need the government for that.”

That's an encouraging statement. Seems there is definitely a growing anarchist influence in OWS.

Schwarz

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Schwarz on December 5, 2011

Soapy

Occupywallstreet blockaded entrances to stock exchange this morning, many arrested

There was nothing more beautiful that day than standing across the sidewalk in a line with 7 or 8 people locking arms and telling bankers and financial workers that they could not cross because of an 'economic blockade'. The looks on their faces were priceless. The ones that got sassy got jeered and jostled. The ones that broke through were met with an ironic chorus of 'scab! scab! scab!'.

We held the line for almost an hour until the riot pigs showed up. It was wonderful to see a diverse group - young, old, black, white, latino, men, women - push back at the cops while blocking a TD Bank on the corner from opening at its appointed hours. Good times.

Chilli Sauce

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on December 5, 2011

financial workers

I'm slightly worried about this statement. I mean, strictly speaking, this would include all workers in finance: cleaners, receptionists, web designers. Those people are not the enemy.

Schwarz

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Schwarz on December 5, 2011

Chilli Sauce

financial workers

I'm slightly worried about this statement. I mean, strictly speaking, this would include all workers in finance: cleaners, receptionists, web designers. Those people are not the enemy.

You're certainly right about that. Most of the people heading to work were wearing thousand-dollar suits and expensive loafers, so I doubt they were web designing. Things were chaotic, but I remember several instances where people who were clearly prole (wearing hardhats, overalls, etc.) were let through with a pat on the back. It's tougher to pin down a receptionist or web designer by their clothing. All still had to face the police line up the block where they checked everyone for corporate IDs to get let in. This took a while and was one of the consequences of the call to shut down the NYSE and the thousands that showed up to do so.

I'm sure some non-bankers were inconvenienced for an hour or too. (In fact, my Aunt was bringing my young cousin down to music lessons around there and got blocked by the crowds.) These type of things seems inevitable when an economic shutdown is not an industrial action from within, but occurs external to the workplace. This is indeed a liability to the extent that is can alienate otherwise sympathetic workers.

Still, what form of economic stoppage doesn't affect 'innocent' bystanders? Would we condemn a transit strike because cleaners, receptionists and web designers were blocked from getting to work? Is it something we should worry about?

Chilli Sauce

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on December 5, 2011

Fair enough. I was just concerned about the liberal notion that 'anyone who works in a bank is bad'... But yeah, it seems you'd already given thought to all that already.

Schwarz

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Schwarz on December 5, 2011

Thanks, Chilli, you do point to a valid concern regarding management and ownership vs. workers.

I won't derail this thread by ruminating on whether well-paid salaried financial analysts who don't hold management positions can be considered workers. But, on a side note, in the late 1940s ('46 was it?) there was an unionization drive by workers on the floor of the NYSE, who got crappy wages, were overworked and labored in a tense and hostile work environment. The effort failed, but I read a beautiful description of the campaign where the cops were harassing and assaulting the demure white-collar picketers outside of the Exchange until rank-and-file of the International Seafarers Union got wind of the attacks. Since the ISU headquarters was right up the street dozens of burly sailors with placards (held up by axe handles) swarmed up the street en mass and completely routed the police all in solidarity with the finance workers.

Hieronymous

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on December 5, 2011

Speaking of critiques of "strikes" lacking working class agency, here's Cal Winslow's piece in CounterPunch calling the upcoming West Coast Port Shutdown an act of "substitution":

http://www.zcommunications.org/the-strange-case-of-occupy-and-the-longshoremen-s-union-a-dissent-by-cal-winslow

knotwho

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by knotwho on December 5, 2011

re: "management and ownership vs. workers"

This blog argues that CEOs are basically highly paid wage laborers.

I had a very interesting dialogue this morning with Ned Resnikoff, starting with his tweet "shorter The Economist: Life ain't fair, so let's force workers to bear cost of shoring up crumbling financial system." What's specifically at issue are propsals from the Tory/LibDem coalition in the UK to not pay public sector workers the full amount of pensions they've been promised. My question to Resnikoff was which non-workers are available to pay the cost? His proposal, I think, common to most progressives is that high income people ought to pay the cost, which I'm sympathetic to. But it's worth noting that this rhetoric about "workers" is really a legacy of an outdated time. As Thomas Piketty and Emannuel Saez write in one of their celebrated papers on the death and rebirth of inequality in America (PDF), "this rise of top income shares is due not to the revival of top capital incomes, but rather to the very large
increases in top wages (especially top executive compensation). As a consequence, top executives (the 'working rich') replaced top capital owners (the 'rentiers') at the top of the income hierarchy during the twentieth century."

That's not just to make the banal point that someone like a Jeffrey Immelt does in fact do work, it's to highlight the point that the concept of a class struggle between workers and capitalists was at the time it was created grounded in a specific contrast between workers and owners. Today relatively few companies are managed by their owners. What's more, the kind of rich people least likely to prompt public resentment are the Mark Zuckerbergs and Bill Gateses -- the entrepreneurial capitalists who did primarily make their money through equity stakesin the firms they founded. But your average workaday fat cat CEO is, in a way, just a very well-compensated wage slave. That wasn't true in the era before the Great Compression of the income distribution that happened in the middle of the 20th century, but the New Gilded Age is substantially different from the original in this respect.

jesuithitsquad

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on December 5, 2011

Schwarz

Thanks, Chilli, you do point to a valid concern regarding management and ownership vs. workers.

I won't derail this thread by ruminating on whether well-paid salaried financial analysts who don't hold management positions can be considered workers. But, on a side note, in the late 1940s ('46 was it?) there was an unionization drive by workers on the floor of the NYSE, who got crappy wages, were overworked and labored in a tense and hostile work environment. The effort failed, but I read a beautiful description of the campaign where the cops were harassing and assaulting the demure white-collar picketers outside of the Exchange until rank-and-file of the International Seafarers Union got wind of the attacks. Since the ISU headquarters was right up the street dozens of burly sailors with placards (held up by axe handles) swarmed up the street en mass and completely routed the police all in solidarity with the finance workers.

Can you provide a link or source for this story? I'd love to read more about it. Thanks for sharing.

knotwho

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by knotwho on December 5, 2011

"Speaking of critiques of "strikes" lacking working class agency, here's Cal Winslow's piece in CounterPunch calling the upcoming West Coast Port Shutdown an act of "substitution""

I was just about to post this, too. The article is kind of troubling, and doesn't seem to see Occupy as working class.

Who is Cal Winslow? His books sound somewhat interesting.

Schwarz

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Schwarz on December 5, 2011

I first read about it in Joshua Freeman's Working Class New York (which I can't find right now because I just moved and my shit is everywhere!) but I found this short synopsis online just now:

http://www.docudharma.com/diary/27645/the-first-time-wall-street-was-occupied

Hieronymous

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on December 6, 2011

knotwho

"Speaking of critiques of "strikes" lacking working class agency, here's Cal Winslow's piece in CounterPunch calling the upcoming West Coast Port Shutdown an act of "substitution""

I was just about to post this, too. The article is kind of troubling, and doesn't seem to see Occupy as working class.

Who is Cal Winslow? His books sound somewhat interesting.

I should have qualified that I though the Winslow piece was crap.

Cal Winslow, and his wife Barbara, founded the ISO in 1975. That should tell you everything you need to know about him.

Schwarz

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Schwarz on December 6, 2011

I meant to write a report on N17 in NYC soon after it happened, but I was too burned out from running around the streets, working, etc.

A couple of amazing things happened. Firstly, in an act of gross substitutionism ;) some direct action people chained open the emergency gates of 6 subway stations across the city during rush hour. Untold numbers of people got through for free that morning. The TWU station agents refused to remove the chains or stop people from going through (its not in their contract) so the gates sat open until at least 10am (others said they got in one station as late at 12:30pm) when the NYPD had to come down with bolt cutters to remove them.

A beautiful thing happened later in the afternoon as the anti-capitalist/student bloc marched through the streets of lower Manhattan. They blocked 5th Avenue as students opened up an occupation and dozens rushed in the doors. Next the march snaked around to 6th Avenue then 14th street with thousands blocking traffic.

The MTA buses were blocked too and they were all lined up on the south side of 14th street. As they saw the lead banner "Students and Workers: Shut the City Down", each driver in his/her seat opened their window, raised one fist in support and in the other held up their TWU Local 100 union card.

Some hard-nosed comrades of mine broke into tears at this beautiful display of solidarity.

The march at the end was apparently hijacked by the SEIU who had the marshals out in force. Instead of the planned general assembly (which would have been huge; there were tens of thousands there) piecards speechified at us in between deafeningly loud jams from a local hip hop group. I can't attest to the Brooklyn Bridge scene because the hyper policed march and boring speeches were discouraging so we went to a local dive bar instead and got plastered.

Still, a fine day all around.

Hieronymous

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on December 6, 2011

Great account Schwarz!

bastarx

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bastarx on September 23, 2012

This article is pretty cool:

http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/square-and-circle-the-logic-of-occupy/

Intifada1988

9 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Intifada1988 on June 21, 2015

Intifada1988

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

Wow, how wrong was I?

Jamal R.