Our revolution was televised. These revolutionary delegates walked out on the floor of the Democratic Convention and into the pages of history. To further escalate the struggle, we have begun a new occupation. Adjacent to the convention, we have pitched our tents in Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park.
This park now belongs to the people and will henceforth be known as Liberty Park. We call on our comrades to join us. We will work together to shut down the convention and the manipulations of capitalism and racism found in our government and day to day lives. Our peaceful presence in this beautiful park will help us strengthen our networks to each other and build political power beyond the campaign of Bernie Sanders. We are at the end of July, take a day off, take a sick day, take two days, join us in the park and let your presence be your action. Come to the park and sit-in against both Republican and Democratic leadership.
One betrays us with neoliberalism and the other with fascism. Today we stand in a world that is dominated by critiques of capitalism and possible alternatives. Today we stand in a world in which a Democratic Socialist almost became the presidential nominee, were it not for the undermining efforts of top Democratic National Committee leaders. The City of Philadelphia has informally told us that camping will be "tolerated" around the city, including in FDR Park at night.
Posted 3 years ago on July 8, , p. The murder of five police officers in Dallas has killed street protest. Activists are partly to blame. You knew your protest marches weren't working. And yet you failed to acknowledge the crisis. The result was predictable and horrifying. What we don't want is for people to lose hope in the possibility of protest entirely. Because then they become more violent.
Who will march in the streets now that in the best of cases it achieves nothing and in the worst of cases it is used as a cover for lone-wolf terrorism? This is the end of protest. Now that protest as we know it is no longer an option, activists are faced with a dilemma: win wars or win elections. Either we gain sovereignty through an armed insurrection that devolves into martial law; or we gain sovereignty by building an electoral social movement capable of sweeping the people into power.
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Posted 3 years ago on July 4, , a. It didn't trend. No one replied. I must have sounded naive, outlandish and slightly absurd. Back then Occupy was just a seed in the minds of Kalle Lasn and I. Nine days later we released our tactical briefing and the Occupy meme bloomed into a worldwide, leaderless spiritual insurrection. Now it is , the fifth anniversary of Occupy is approaching and activism is in a paradigmatic crisis. Here's why:.
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Contemporary forms of protest are no longer effective. Sincere activists ought to know this now because the great social movements of the past two decades—from anti-globalization to anti-Iraq war to the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Idle No More, Black Lives Matter, climate change protest, Nuit Debout and many more—have failed to achieve their desired social change objectives.
Whatever the people publicly opposed happened anyway. The monied elites are still in power. The economic inequalities have increased. Disruptive protests have failed to halt the rise of Donald Trump. Democracy continues to decline. The months have never been hotter. And, most disturbing of all, frontgroups are proliferating that use the rhetoric of revolution to destroy the possibility of revolution by turning protest into a pre-scripted, performative, springtime farce.
We are in, what I call, the end of protest. What I have just written is taboo within the activist scene. Many passionate activists are ostracized by their protester friends, and deemed persona non grata by their movement buddies, for expressing these sentiments. And that is one of the most disturbing symptoms of the crisis within activism: anyone who points out that the standard repertoire of protest tactics is not working, and suggests innovations that might break the script, is accused of being anti-protest.
But it is the ones who shun unconventional activists for speaking up against the groupthink of activism that are truly anti-protest. It is no coincidence that at the same time as a growing consensus of experienced, veteran activists are becoming disillusioned with protest theater, the chorus of giddy pro-protest rhetoric grows louder and louder on social media.
With dazzling photographs of thousands in the streets, behind exciting declarations that this is an era of uprisings, riots and general strikes, the protest industry—the well-funded NGOs, marketers, clicktivist frontgroups, corporatized progressives and police masquerading as polyamorous militants—attempt to drown out productive revolutionary criticism with retweets, likes and shares.
They exclude dissenting voices from their conferences, use their slush funds to reward conformists with fellowships and deny access to their progressive media channels for any discussion of the ongoing crisis within activism. Because the end of protest is an integral part of the political pageant. The illusion of democracy would be ruptured without the spectacle of dissent and so their purpose is to encourage the simulacrum of protest.
The prohibition on speaking honestly about the dismal state of activism is beyond dangerous: it is suicidal. At its peak, the movement was able to mobilize many hundreds of thousands nationally, he said. One of them, Max Bean, a talkative New York City teacher given to the sorts of in-depth cultural analyses you might expect of a Brown graduate, which he is, says he spent 12 to 15 hours a day, seven days a week, doing work for the movement last fall. This winter he sent a letter to about 60 other occupiers announcing his departure. A few days after the Midtown meeting, he locked up his bike and sat down on the steps of Union Square to talk about his reasons for dropping out.
Some recent efforts carried out under the auspices of Occupy do go beyond sit-ins and marches. In Minneapolis and a few other cities, activists have been camping out in the homes of foreclosure victims and resisting arrest, and some of the homeowners have gotten their homes back.
When I asked Grimm why, she replied with a two-word history of the radical left. While some of the protesters huddle in out-of-the-way offices debating the wording of their posters, the drifters who make up the second faction of OWS sit at one of the busiest intersections in the world, displaying their own hand-scrawled protest signs to the thousands of tourists, businessmen and office workers who pass them each day. At night they sleep on sheets of cardboard and bedrolls spanning about 50 feet of sidewalk. At times, their numbers climb as high as 40 or 50; some nights they drop to the single digits.
A little ways back from the sidewalk, behind an iron gate, stands Trinity Church, an 18th century structure with a foot Gothic spire. The protesters chose this location because of a conflict that arose last winter when several Occupy activists and a priest were arrested while trying to set up a new encampment on a Trinity-owned piece of land several miles uptown. Over the past few weeks, the police have confiscated boxes of books, bags of donated food, and any cardboard signs that the protesters have left lying around. If that happens, it would be an incredible transformation. While Zuccotti had a library of thousands of volumes and a staff of professional librarians and professors, the Trinity camp has six books that someone spotted on the sidewalk in Brooklyn.
Zuccotti had a funding pool of nearly half a million dollars and a group of bookkeepers to manage it; Trinity has a water cooler bottle where passersby drop maybe 20 or 30 bucks a day. A week after the midtown meeting I spent a few evenings at the Trinity encampment.
Occupying Wall Street: The Start of a New American Movement
One night, a year-old girl named Amanda stood up in front of everyone with a huge smile and announced her husband was getting out of jail. As it turned out, she and her husband had met in Zuccotti Park and got married a few months later in a Brooklyn squat. They were both arrested this spring for drinking in public, and the husband was now finishing a four-month sentence for violating parole. Sitting back down on the sidewalk, she talked about her hopes for the movement. For many of the people who lived in the park, the makeshift village there was a welcome reprieve from hard lives on the streets.
Occupy movement - Wikipedia
A man raped me and knocked my teeth out, and someone told me to go to Zuccotti: it was safe there. So why did it fall apart? The anxiety over money goes back to the earliest days of the movement. The people who lived in the park, in particular, suspected the mostly better-off and better-educated bookkeepers of incompetence and greed, mirroring the attitude of the movement as a whole towards the American ruling class and Wall Street.
By April, the savings had dwindled to several thousand dollars, and the protesters put a freeze on spending. Some of the Trinity crowd think that federal agents are watching them through binoculars from the second-story window of a building across the street, some describe their most dedicated members as informants, and I heard a number of conspiracy theories that reach back to the very founding of the country. Some of the Trinity occupiers are more paranoid than others. Of all the people I talked to, none seemed more reasonable and thoughtful than I.
Others at the camp respect him. Once, an aging hippy with wild gray hair came by holding up a sign and shouting something about Obama, and as he passed I. Tall, thin and black, I. Most days, I. Once, when I greeted him there, he told me that a woman had just stopped and exhorted him to vote in the election. When I asked how he replied, he laughed.
Like many protesters throughout the movement, I. He mentioned the National Defense Resources Preparedness act, an executive order signed by Obama this spring that gave the president unprecedented powers to appropriate national resources in the event of a national emergency. Many leftists saw this as an attempt at some sort of fascist power grab.
Like many of the people at the camp, I.
- How Occupy Wall Street Really Got Started – Mother Jones.
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His father was a Muslim leader in Harlem who had five wives and 30 children, and I. At one point in his 20s he ran an online forum for fans of the band, but he never had a face-to-face conversation with any fellow enthusiasts. At the peak of the movement, many celebrities of the left came by Zuccotti to rally the masses: Cornel West, Naomi Klein, Joseph Stiglitz.
I reached out to about a half dozen people who could be described as influential liberals, but only one, Ben Cohen, agreed to talk about Occupy Wall Street. As the election approaches, lefties have a new cause to rally around. The two classes of Occupy movement, meanwhile, have come to resemble two much larger segments of American society.
The people on the street are increasingly like street people everywhere. And the people in the offices are increasingly like traditional left-wing activists. If we become just another left movement, we will suck the life out of it. In the last few weeks, perhaps a hundred occupiers from around the country have gathered in Tampa and Charlotte to protest the political conventions of both parties. Some protesters came from the Trinity encampment, some from the office contingent.
The 15, reporters at the conventions barely acknowledged them. One of the protesters, a young man wearing dirty cargo shorts, ran after them. The protester stood on the sidewalk, screaming hoarsely into the traffic while a family waiting at a nearby hotdog stand stared at him and giggled. After a minute or two the protester walked back to the camp, picked up a fresh piece of cardboard, sat back down on the sidewalk and started working on a new sign.
This story originally appeared in Huffington , in the iTunes App store.