Is anyone else loving this Arkansas v. Vanderbilt game? For those not watching (and interested), Vandy is up 28-17 late in the 3rd Quarter. Now we just need Tennessee to beat South Carolina and for the Dawgs to clobber Florida.
The Occupy Movement is beautiful. We support it and though we are small, we are participating all over the country. We invite all occupiers to read, give feedback, and if you feel moved to do so to present this at a General Assembly or committee meeting near you.
We invite you to imagine, as many of you already probably have, if thousands of people occupied local refineries, roads, ports, oil and mining extraction sites, etc. – in other words, imagine if people occupied the locations where the 1% destroy the land and exploit humans, all for profit.
Imagine their stock prices falling, their cash flow being interrupted, their ability to get loans and/or expand “production” – a euphemism for converting living beings into dead products – finished.
Imagine if we were able to stop them, stop the 1%. Literally. Not symbolically. We think it can be done if we all do it together. We think it can be done if we all figure out how to do it and if we are willing to make the necessary sacrifices, together.
Here’s one way we could start:
Though we are all part of the 99%, not all of us are impacted the same way.
First and foremost we recognize that nonindigenous people in the US are occupying stolen land in an ongoing genocide that has lasted for centuries.
We affirm our responsibility to stand with indigenous communities who want support, to risk our lives, and give everything we can to protect the land without which none of us have anything.
We also recognize and stand in solidarity with communities of people of color who are also disproportionately impacted by environmental racism, capitalism, and a system of white supremacy.
Our focus will be to stand in solidarity with local indigenous communities and people of color communities in struggle – ask if they would like support and what that support would look like, and share some version of this overall strategy.
Then, based on this information and in collaboration with local communities if all agree, each Occupy General Assembly would decide what they want to target. Or they would call on people to form local affinity groups and those groups would decide the local targets on which they would focus.
Many local affinity groups could conceivably attempt to occupy multiple targets. Strategically, however, it will likely be more successful if occupiers focus on one or two major targets – such as Tar Sands refineries, fracking, coal plants etc. The idea is that if we can successfully shut down a few major targets all over the country, one or two targets per region, people more broadly will see the power they all have and then more targets can be taken on.
To be clear, what we’re envisioning here would mean a massive escalation. It would mean hundreds of thousands of people all over the country leaving behind school, jobs, family, and comfort, to really go for it. To not settle for less than victory. To leave behind symbolic action for good.
One obstacle to making this happen, however, is that as soon as we announce where we would occupy, they would come and would likely remove us immediately, especially if we don’t have enough people there. They won’t want the 1% to lose a damn penny. So, we don’t tell them where we’re going ahead of time. But if we don’t say where we’re going ahead of time, then we can’t get people out by the thousands – and we’re gonna need thousands of people to make this work.
So, here’s an idea: We announce, big time, that some of us are planning on occupying the sites of direct exploitation and destruction. And we say that we’ll need as many of the people who love the Occupy Movement and who are sick and tired of being sick and tired, to come out decisively and to not plan on going home for as long as it takes.
We’d ask all those people to start preparing right away, have their stuff packed, tents, food, money, and a plan for how they can participate and be able to stay for as long as it takes (we’d encourage people to ask their community to support them so they could go for as long it takes) so that as soon as the local Occupy groups would announce targets, perhaps through text messages and other means, those people would be ready to go to the targets at a moment’s notice. This kind of tactic has been used successfully in the past to get lots of people to a location for a blockade while keeping the cops on the run and always one step behind. If we can get enough people to the different locations before the state gets there, we have a chance at holding it until even more people can come.
If there are enough of us who are willing to make the necessary commitment and sacrifice, we believe we need nothing more than our bodies, community support, and the will to keep going to:
Occupy the Machine – Stop the 1%, Literally
Here are some other points that could be helpful:
1) Start Together – The key as we see it would be to start on the same day so that they’re overwhelmed with people going to different locations. They may seem all-powerful sometimes, but they can’t be everywhere at once.
2) Sustained Blockades – this would mean doing what Occupy does so well, stay, day after day after day after day… as long as we can go. For every person they drag away to jail, we must bring ten more to replace them every day. We will cost them as much money as we can with our bodies and our determination. Blockaders will blockade both inside and outside of targets when possible. And they will blockade roads and ports to stop supply lines.
3) Demonstrators/Community Encampments – for those who cannot blockade, the role of the community will be crucial. Demonstrators encamped on the target’s land or nearby will provide support to the blockaders and will be crucial to success.
4) Building Communities of Nonviolent Resistance – For those involved in this who lack a strong, unified community, we must very deliberately build the concrete infrastructure for a community of resistance to support these struggles. This is already happening in many ways. But a systematic approach to creating networks of people who are devoted to supporting occupiers could be the key to success. This will mean legal defense funds and a network of lawyers who will work pro bono or for a reduced fee. This will also mean arranging transition housing – places for people to stay after they are released if they are jailed for long periods of time. It will mean relentless fundraising so that those who lose their jobs, take significant time off from work, or who go to prison for long periods will have funds to support themselves and provide for their families. It will mean creating free medical care networks so that people in the movement will have access to health care. It will mean creating food networks to provide food for those who are protesting day after day, and for families of those who are imprisoned or lose their jobs. It will mean creating networks of childcare. It will mean creating a transportation network, including carpools, donations of frequent flyer miles, movement cars and vans, caravans, and buses, to be available for the kind of sustained civil disobedience actions we will need. And last and most important it will mean simple companionship – the incalculable gift of camaraderie and friendship, the healing nature of laughter and hugs, the deliberate creation of a network of communities of love spread far and wide – healers, body workers, artists, musicians, actors, facilitators, counselors, those called by spirit, nonviolent communicators, restorative justice facilitators – all of us will be needed – to see us all through the hard times that will come if we do this kind of sustained direct action.
5) Jail Solidarity – rather than trying to construct civil disobedience actions so people spend the least amount of time in jail and cooperate with the police and court system to the full extent, we will follow the lead of those who have come before us. Instead, those who can, will use jail solidarity as a tactic. Jail solidarity means that those who get arrested will not bring identification with them, won’t give their name, and will not cooperate while in jail. As more and more people are arrested, the jailers and those they protect will not know what to do. At first they will threaten, try to divide, offer deals, or even beat people or put them in solitary confinement to break their wills. But those who will get arrested will know this going in and will commit to maintaining their solidarity. They can’t jail us all and if we don’t cooperate the system will not work, if there are thousands of us. Their actions will further highlight the illegitimacy and cruelty of this system that lets the CEO of BP walk free but will jail and do worse to those who are only trying to protect life. Jail solidarity combined with more arrests, demonstrations, encampments, community involvement, and a network of communities of nonviolent resistance offering material support are unstoppable.
6) Escalation: A Promise – Too often when we don’t succeed, we don’t escalate. Too often when they escalate their attacks against the planet and all living beings, we don’t escalate. (Have you noticed that all of our victories are temporary and defensive, and all our losses permanent and offensive?) No more. If our actions do not succeed, we promise to escalate. We will regroup, reorganize, and go for more than before, risking more and holding nothing back. We promise they will lose more money and we will get stronger and fight harder.
This is our chance. We can use our energy and love to stop the 1% who are literally killing us, stealing from us, and destroying the only home we have. Our bodies will be our demands. And with our bodies, we will stop the 1% together, permanently.
These are just thoughts. Not a plan. But we hope it’s the start of a conversation about how we can do some version of this. The 1% don’t really own or control anything. They do what they do because they have guns and we allow them to. But that can all change.
I totally agree. That character assassination that has been happening to any one in authority has been uncalled for. People are generalizing the actions of one to account for the actions of all. Not exactly a balanced way to approach anything.
I’m not sure I’m following your comment. When you say “character assassination that has been happening to any one in authority,” are you talking about politicians or police or both?
If you’re talking about the police, I couldn’t disagree more. The occupy movement has made it very clear that the police are part of the 99% and NOT the enemy.
If you’re talking about politicians, I’m not sure what you mean. The reaction from politicians has been to crush this movement by use of force or to destroy it by co-opting it. Politicians are put in place by the 1% and cater to their wishes.
The media’s goal is to discredit the protesters, to make them look like agitators, radical left-wing youth. But if you follow the movement outside of mainstream press, you’ll see that’s not the case. The protesters are young and old, jobless and employed, men and women, people of every color, religious and secular, and even left and right.
In the midst of Occupy ____________, please keep in mind there are good police officers out there.
I’m likely in the minority here, and yes, I know I am biased because I am in a relationship with an officer. He and I have had frank discussions of our views on the Occupy movement. I think what happened to Scott Olsen was sh*tty, and gives good officers a bad name. He’s much more cautious, and wonders how much that officer could see, if he knew Scott was there (Note, he has not seen the videos.)
I’m curious as to what he’ll say after watching the videos. The protesters weren’t provoking the police beforehand, from what I can tell. And the part where a flash grenade lands right in the middle of a group of people helping an injured protestor is pretty damning.
At the same time, you have to understand the precariousness of police work, especially in a mob situation. This goes as far back to A Tale of Two Cities, when Dickens painted a mob like a wave personified. Mobs can escalate quickly. Mobs can trample. Mobs can kill. Perhaps it may someday be the police keeping an Occupy mob from turning on itself; I don’t know.
I have to disagree with this being labeled as a “mob situation.” There was a large group of people, but they don’t look anything like a mob. The media (especially CNN as of late… and of course FOX) are trying desperately to discredit the occupy movement. I encourage anyone with an open mind to turn off their TVs and look for alternative news sources. You’ll be surprised at what you see.
Please remember that these men and women are part of the 99% too. Granted, following a directive may not always be the right thing to do, but these are people with mortgages, families, needs, and problems too.
You’re right about the police being part of the 99%. The occupy movement has made this a major cornerstone of their protests. And from what I’ve read, they are receiving quite a bit of support (albeit under the radar) in NYC.
I hope jerks who pepper spray girls and throw flash bombs at crowds are punished. But the majority of those in uniforms are good people who joined a profession to do good things.
These protests have been peaceful so far. That’s also been a major cornerstone of the movement. The protesters know that violence won’t help them achieve their goals. But look at how they’re being demonized in the press. Think back to the Tea Party protests. There were people with guns, to show their support of the 2nd Amendment. No police reaction at all. There is a very clear contrast between those protests and the occupy movement.
I don’t think that all cops are monsters, but there are certainly some very dangerous people behind those badges. I can imagine the conflict the police feel when it comes to obeying orders or following their heart, but that’s a decision they must make as individuals. I hope that more and more officers choose to side with the 99%, rather than attacking them.
Did you know that an Iraq War veteran was shot in the face by a rubber bullet last night in Oakland? It wasn’t a thug or a terrorist who shot him. Scott Olsen was shot by the police for protesting.
Did you know that police are firing tear gas at Americans who are voicing their concerns about the excesses of Wall Street and the disproportionate amount of power the 1% yield over our government and our economy?
I know it’s easy to ignore what’s going on. The media doesn’t report it. We all keep going to our jobs everyday. We come home exhausted and all we want to do is spend some time with our family, have dinner, and relax.
To all those in the United States currently occupying parks, squares and other spaces, your comrades in Cairo are watching you in solidarity. Having received so much advice from you about transitioning to democracy, we thought it’s our turn to pass on some advice.
Indeed, we are now in many ways involved in the same struggle. What most pundits call “The Arab Spring” has its roots in the demonstrations, riots, strikes and occupations taking place all around the world, its foundations lie in years-long struggles by people and popular movements. The moment that we find ourselves in is nothing new, as we in Egypt and others have been fighting against systems of repression, disenfranchisement and the unchecked ravages of global capitalism (yes, we said it, capitalism): a System that has made a world that is dangerous and cruel to its inhabitants. As the interests of government increasingly cater to the interests and comforts of private, transnational capital, our cities and homes have become progressively more abstract and violent places, subject to the casual ravages of the next economic development or urban renewal scheme.
An entire generation across the globe has grown up realizing, rationally and emotionally, that we have no future in the current order of things. Living under structural adjustment policies and the supposed expertise of international organizations like the World Bank and IMF, we watched as our resources, industries and public services were sold off and dismantled as the “free market” pushed an addiction to foreign goods, to foreign food even. The profits and benefits of those freed markets went elsewhere, while Egypt and other countries in the South found their immiseration reinforced by a massive increase in police repression and torture.
The current crisis in America and Western Europe has begun to bring this reality home to you as well: that as things stand we will all work ourselves raw, our backs broken by personal debt and public austerity. Not content with carving out the remnants of the public sphere and the welfare state, capitalism and the austerity-state now even attack the private realm and people’s right to decent dwelling as thousands of foreclosed-upon homeowners find themselves both homeless and indebted to the banks who have forced them on to the streets.
So we stand with you not just in your attempts to bring down the old but to experiment with the new. We are not protesting. Who is there to protest to? What could we ask them for that they could grant? We are occupying. We are reclaiming those same spaces of public practice that have been commodified, privatized and locked into the hands of faceless bureaucracy , real estate portfolios, and police ‘protection’. Hold on to these spaces, nurture them, and let the boundaries of your occupations grow. After all, who built these parks, these plazas, these buildings? Whose labor made them real and livable? Why should it seem so natural that they should be withheld from us, policed and disciplined? Reclaiming these spaces and managing them justly and collectively is proof enough of our legitimacy.
In our own occupations of Tahrir, we encountered people entering the Square every day in tears because it was the first time they had walked through those streets and spaces without being harassed by police; it is not just the ideas that are important, these spaces are fundamental to the possibility of a new world. These are public spaces. Spaces forgathering, leisure, meeting, and interacting – these spaces should be the reason we live in cities. Where the state and the interests of owners have made them inaccessible, exclusive or dangerous, it is up to us to make sure that they are safe, inclusive and just. We have and must continue to open them to anyone that wants to build a better world, particularly for the marginalized, excluded and for those groups who have suffered the worst .
What you do in these spaces is neither as grandiose and abstract nor as quotidian as “real democracy”; the nascent forms of praxis and social engagement being made in the occupations avoid the empty ideals and stale parliamentarianism that the term democracy has come to represent. And so the occupations must continue, because there is no one left to ask for reform. They must continue because we are creating what we can no longer wait for.
But the ideologies of property and propriety will manifest themselves again. Whether through the overt opposition of property owners or municipalities to your encampments or the more subtle attempts to control space through traffic regulations, anti-camping laws or health and safety rules. There is a direct conflict between what we seek to make of our cities and our spaces and what the law and the systems of policing standing behind it would have us do.
We faced such direct and indirect violence , and continue to face it . Those who said that the Egyptian revolution was peaceful did not see the horrors that police visited upon us, nor did they see the resistance and even force that revolutionaries used against the police to defend their tentative occupations and spaces: by the government’s own admission; 99 police stations were put to the torch, thousands of police cars were destroyed, and all of the ruling party’s offices around Egypt were burned down. Barricades were erected, officers were beaten back and pelted with rocks even as they fired tear gas and live ammunition on us. But at the end of the day on the 28 th of January they retreated, and we had won our cities.
It is not our desire to participate in violence, but it is even less our desire to lose. If we do not resist, actively, when they come to take what we have won back, then we will surely lose. Do not confuse the tactics that we used when we shouted “peaceful” with fetishizing nonviolence; if the state had given up immediately we would have been overjoyed, but as they sought to abuse us, beat us, kill us, we knew that there was no other option than to fight back. Had we laid down and allowed ourselves to be arrested, tortured, and martyred to “make a point”, we would be no less bloodied, beaten and dead. Be prepared to defend these things you have occupied, that you are building, because, after everything else has been taken from us, these reclaimed spaces are so very precious.
By way of concluding then, our only real advice to you is to continue, keep going and do not stop. Occupy more, find each other, build larger and larger networks and keep discovering new ways to experiment with social life, consensus, and democracy. Discover new ways to use these spaces, discover new ways to hold on to them and never givethem up again. Resist fiercely when you are under attack, but otherwise take pleasure in what you are doing, let it be easy, fun even. We are all watching one another now, and from Cairo we want to say that we are in solidarity with you, and we love you all for what you are doing.
“From 1959 to 1965, Allende worked with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in Santiago, Chile, then in Brussels, Belgium, and elsewhere in Europe. For a brief while in Chile, she also had a job translating romance novels from English to Spanish. However, she was fired for making unauthorized changes to the dialogue of the heroines to make them sound more intelligent as well as altering the Cinderella endings to let the heroines find more independence and do good in the world.”—
“Tea Party Nation sent to their members today a message from activist Melissa Brookstone urging businesspeople to “not hire a single person” to protest the Obama administration’s supposed “war against business and my country.” Brookstone writes that business owners should stop hiring new employees in order to stand up to “this new dictator,” the “global Progressive socialist movement,” Hollywood, the media and Occupy Wall Street.”
“What did I take away? Just that, unfortunately, my partner and I became exhibit A in a process that I have been warning Americans about since 2007: first they come for the ‘other’ – the ‘terrorist’, the brown person, the Muslim, the outsider; then they come for you – while you are standing on a sidewalk in evening dress, obeying the law.”—
Internationally-recognized author, linguist, and activist Noam Chomsky will be speaking at Occupy Boston in Dewey Square tomorrow, October 19 at 6:15 pm as part of the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series. Chomsky has already released statements of support for both Occupy Boston and Occupy Wall Street, and we are honored to be hosting him.
If an anti-Semite thinks #OCCUPYWALLSTREET is a good idea, that doesn’t mean that we think anti-Semitism is a good idea. Endorsements don’t go both ways. The same is true when it comes to the support we have received from unions and politicians.
In the same way, many white supremacists consider themselves to be Christians. But most of you would agree that Christians don’t endorse white supremacy, by any means.
I understand you are mostly being paid to spout illogical nonsense, so this will likely go through one ear and out the other. But to the rest: I would ask you to see this for what it really is, an institutional reaction to a legitimate threat to wealthy privilege. It’s a smear campaign from those who already know they are on the losing side of the argument — so they have nothing of substance to come back with.
After all, there is a vast amount of support within the movement for things like this — I think if Jewish people felt so threatened by our allegedly “anti-Semitic” movement, they wouldn’t be saying things like this about #OCCUPYWALLSTREET.
We have been clear from the beginning: we do not condone violence. Towards anyone. This movement is about equality and social justice, not the division and hatred that the elites and the media are paid to encourage.
(Note: this is the only post I intend to make on the subject. Things like this are intended to distract, and we have too many problems to face to be subjected to the reactionaries’ games. As always, my opinions are my own and this is not intended to be an “official statement” of any kind. — carton-rouge)
A new movement is picking up steam, and it isn’t Occupy Wall Street. It was sparked by a woman in Los Angeles who is urging people to close their accounts with big banks, and transfer their savings to not-for profit-credit unions. And she wants everyone to make the move by November 5th - the day she’s calling “Bank Transfer Day”.
I visited a local credit union yesterday. I’m going to visit another one tomorrow. Our plan is to open an account at a credit union, then close out our account at Wachovia/Wells Fargo.
I think this is one of the most important things people can do to help the OWS movement. I urge all my friends and followers who currently have accounts with one of the big banks to please take your money out! Put your money in a local credit union, or at least in a local bank.
1. If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean you would be a midget if you were bald.
2. “Fortune” is a word for having a lot of money and for having a lot of luck, but that does not mean the word has two definitions.
3. Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.
4. People who say money doesn’t matter are like people who say cake doesn’t matter—it’s probably because they’ve already had a few slices.
5. There may not be a reason to share your cake. It is, after all, yours. You probably baked it yourself, in an oven of your own construction with ingredients you harvested yourself. It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are.
6. Nobody wants to fall into a safety net, because it means the structure in which they’ve been living is in a state of collapse and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative.
7. Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.
8. Don’t ask yourself if something is fair. Ask someone else—a stranger in the street, for example.
9. People gathering in the streets feeling wronged tend to be loud, as it is difficult to make oneself heard on the other side of an impressive edifice.
10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.
11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.
12. If you have a large crowd shouting outside your building, there might not be room for a safety net if you’re the one tumbling down when it collapses.
13. 99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.
Regarding #11, I think the ending is oftentimes happy. It just depends on whom you ask.
The occupy movement, despite what the media and several politicians are saying, is not connected to the Democratic Party. The establishment thrives on our two party system. They want everything to be D or R. If they can convince Americans that the protesters across the country are all a bunch of hippies, they will marginalize the movement and eventually destroy it.
The 99 percent is made up of liberals and conservatives, the young and the old, religious and secular Americans, people of all races. Don’t believe what you hear in the mainstream news. The occupy movement is about the 99 percent, period. It’s about getting corporations out of government and stopping the 1 percent from stealing all the wealth.
I urge all of you who aren’t millionaires and billionaires to follow the movement. There are several things you can do without taking to the streets.