[Bk Discussion List] i quoted Adam Trowbridge from this list in my blog... here's the post

Alan Moore awm13579 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 26 15:01:47 PDT 2011


FYI, gang --
posted at "Ocuppations and Properties" today

the OandP post on OWS

On the Global “Occupy”

This blog has long been concerned with information and issues around
occupation. The movement of squatted social centers has been about providing
social, political and cultural space in cities where the processes of
hyper-capitalism have foreclosed or constrained such possibilities. These
occupations have been for the most part tiny islands in the immense oceans
of normative life, captained by ultra-left pirate bands. Only now has a
global movement bloomed which demands that same kind of space, which
occupies it, and resolutely, slowly, determinedly discusses what to do about
the systemic failure of the capitalist system to provide for the social
welfare.
Visiting in New York before the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests began, I
biked by the site in the morning and was amazed at the extraordinary police
presence for what I assumed would be a small demonstration. Now I see the
cops were right. Like small boys whose defensiveness is in proportion to
their guilt, they knew what was up. The encampment developed beautifully,
roiled by traditional protest  marches which set off chanting slogans – but
even these worked in well as the marchers returning were greeted with cries
of “Welcome home!” The form of OWS developed like the encampments of the 15
May movement (15M) I'd seen in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid – with
designated areas to handle all the various necessities, as in a social
center. The massive general assemblies of the 15M ran smoothly. All this I
assumed was the outcome of decades of experience with big-building
occupations by many activists in 15M.
What precisely the 15M owes to the squatting movement is a question which
will be addressed by Miguel Martínez at the early December meeting of the
SQEK in Amsterdam. But the question of what the Occupy movement owes to
squatters is only one of many as the U.S. movement is historicized. The
Smithsonian and New-York Historical Society are already scrambling together
collections of OWS artifacts. Are other cities' historical societies doing
the same? On my travels I saw Occupy encampments in the downtowns of Chicago
and Minneapolis this fall, and some time spent on the web can turn up the
online evidence of the dozens more around the USA. These are all significant
local events in a movement writers for “Dissent” have compared to the
populist risings of the 1930s.
Since my return to Madrid, I've been following the U.S. on the web, just as
I did with the Tahrir Square uprising in Egypt. That was easily the most
exciting webcast of 2011. The international character of the Occupy
movement, like the anti-WTO organizing of the '90s and '00s, follows the
dust storms of international capital. While the entire scope of this global
revolutionary period is too much to wrap one's head around, a September
collection of “journalisms” on the 16 Beaver Group website begins to try,
comparing U.S., Greece, and Egypt protests and their processes. The U.S.
correspondent writes that, like me, “I have to follow from home via this
Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/#!/OccupyWallStNYC.” The Twitter feed is
tactical, but it also turns up all sorts of great stuff that's been written
about the movement, like the Lowndes and Warren text cited above. S/he also
watches the OWS live on http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution, and
recommends the live feed of the assembly process.
As web television, the national OWS so far has been a bit of a bore, or to
be fair, widely dispersed in eventless streams and various shorts. There is
no CNN for this revolution. Still, I liked the Ed David short film “Where Do
We Go from Here?”, posted at http://occupywallst.org/ for the one-month
anniversary of the NYC occupation. In it, a young woman explains in
rejoinder to the mainstream pundits' complaint that OWS has no program, “I
have no idea – and that's what's really exciting, not knowing what's going
to happen.”
So far as analysis goes, Marxists are weighing in heavily on this movement.
After a visit to Occupy London, “Lenin” (Richard Seymour, in the blog
“Lenin's Tomb”) points out the “political indeterminacy of the movement thus
far,” but concludes that, given their so-far enunciated principles, that
“it's a reformism radicalising in the direction of an anti-systemic stance.”
For him, “This isn't a revolutionary situation, but merely a punctuating
moment in the temporal flow of class struggle.” The identification with
Egypt, which Seymour says has been mocked in the English press, emphasizes
the internationalism of the movement, and, like OWS, “it identifies the
political class rule of the 1% as the key problem; the colonization of the
representative state by big capital.”
Brian Holmes writes from Chicago where, true to form, the police are
brutalizing the demonstrators (10/17), “Some kid from nowhere who hadn’t
made it, a young drunk who wasn’t proud, he told us not to repeat with the
people’s mic because he wasn’t clever. But he knew exactly what he wanted to
say. It was `dead end, no chance, doors closed, please try somewhere else':
what happens when there’s no place for you in the system. It’s strange to
feel myself, over fifty years old, with accomplishments and self-discipline
and a name that others recognize, reverberated in the speech of this honest
kid. What it means to me: dead end for practical idealism, no chance for
real cooperation, doors closed to care and solidarity, try somewhere else
for your humanity. There’s no place for people like me in this system,
that’s how I feel, stripped bare by the crisis like all the rest. It’s
because the 1% have blocked all vision of anything beyond what they can
grab, and that’s practically everything, the whole cookie.”
While he is leading a seminar at Mess Hall on “Three Crises: 30s–70s–Today,”
this egghead captures the populist affect of the movement of encampment on
the streets. His story poignantly reminded me of experiences I had as a
hitchhiker on the road in the 1970s, another “public space” systematically
foreclosed by police (and fear-mongering Hollywood movies) during those
years. Holmes' ever-useful blog also reposts the Occupy TVNY video interview
of war correspondent Chris Hedges in Times Square, comparing peoples'
revolutions in East Germany, former Yugoslavia, Egypt, etc. to what is now
happening in the USA. Hedges ends the interview in tears of gratitude...
Slavoj Zizek, in his recent visit to OWS, neatly sideswiped the red-baiting
U.S. Media. He said through the “human microphone” – “We are not Communists
if Communism means a system which collapsed in 1990. Remember that today
those Communists are the most efficient, ruthless Capitalists. In China
today, we have Capitalism which is even more dynamic than your American
Capitalism, but doesn’t need democracy. Which means when you criticize
Capitalism, don’t allow yourself to be blackmailed that you are against
democracy. The marriage between democracy and Capitalism is over.”
On this, Marxists and anarchists are agreed. Crimethinc, in their recent
letter to the occupiers, write that “Capitalism is not a static way of life
but a dynamic process that consumes everything, transforming the world into
profit and wreckage. Now that everything has been fed into the fire, the
system is collapsing, leaving even its former beneficiaries out in the
cold.” And Mike Davis, nothing if not Marxist, embraces direct action
strategy in his 10/21 article, writing of the necessity of bodies in space:
“Activist self-organization — the crystallization of political will from
free discussion — still thrives best in actual urban fora.” Online social
media still only preach to the choir – (here I disagree; Facebook also makes
converts, and the computer is by far the best revolutionary TV). His
prescriptions for evading co-option by normative politics (i.e., the
Democratic party) include the following: “continue to democratize and
productively occupy public space (i.e. reclaim the Commons). The veteran
Bronx activist-historian Mark Naison has proposed a bold plan for converting
the derelict and abandoned spaces of New York into survival resources
(gardens, campsites, playgrounds) for the unsheltered and unemployed. The
Occupy protestors across the country now know what it’s like to be homeless
and banned from sleeping in parks or under a tent. All the more reason to
break the locks and scale the fences that separate unused space from urgent
human needs.” This has always seemed like common sense to me, and it is
sweet to read the Great Pessimist advocate for it.
Adam Trowbridge on the Basekamp list comments on Seymour's text, that “The
demand to be allowed to exist, together, in space, in real time, all day and
night, is incredibly radical and this is perhaps why the media, especially
the talking heads, cannot understand what is happening. No one has to
explain to the existing homeless that there is something political happening
in their lives every day and night. Occupy sites have gone beyond the idea
of demanding of power that they be 'allowed', they have simply chosen to
begin existing in real space and time, together. I think this goes beyond
'civil disobedience,' although that becomes a necessary part when existing
outside a rented or purchased space has been mainly outlawed. We are left
with a choice to continue as a customer of a series of private spaces or
occupy a site illegally.” Exactly.


//////////////////////
Miguel Martínez' website
http://www.miguelangelmartinez.net/?The-Struggle-for-Social-Autonomy&lang=en

minutes of the Squatting Europe Kollective meetings are at:
https://n-1.cc/pg/groups/91603/squatting-europe-kollective/

"The Smithsonian and New-York Historical Society Race to Preserve Occupy
Wall Street's Art and Artifacts"
http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/38922/the-smithsonian-and-new-york-historical-society-race-to-preserve-occupy-wall-streets-art-and-artifacts/

“Occupy Wall Street: A Twenty-First Century Populist Movement?” by Joe
Lowndes and Dorian Warren
http://www.dissentmagazine.org/online.php?id=551

“Journalisms -- The Occupation of Wall Street -- Fragments On, From, Inside,
Before, Through” (9/11)
http://www.16beavergroup.org/journalisms09.23.11.htm

Lenin (aka Richard Seymour), “Visiting Occupy London” (10/17)
from http://leninology.blogspot.com/2011/10/visiting-occupy-london.html –
reposted to Basekamp discussion list, from whence Adam Trowbridge's comment

Brian Holmes, “Meanwhile, Back in Chicago”
http://brianholmes.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/meanwhile-back-in-chicago/

transcript of Slavoj Zizek on Wall Street
http://www.criticallegalthinking.com/?p=4415#more-4415

Dear Occupiers: A Letter from Anarchists (10/7)
http://www.crimethinc.com/blog/

Mike Davis, "No More Bubble-Gum"
http://lareviewofbooks.org/post/11725867619/no-more-bubble-gum

Basekamp – “Occupy Everything” (only the one event posted here with links)
http://basekamp.com/about/events/occupy-everything


image: “Fight The Vampire Squid” by Molly Crabapple (scientists inform us
that these creatures are unfairly maligned; still a cool image!)

-- 
Alan W. Moore
en Madrid

"Art Gangs: Protest and Counterculture in New York City" (from Autonomedia)
"House Magic: Bureau of Foreign Correspondence" blog at
http://occuprop.blogspot.com & PDF zines online
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