On September 17, Wall Street will be occupied. Not by warring/face-grabbing traders and not by troops sent in to put the volatile area under martial law, but by protesters who are going to “set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street.” #OccupyWallStreet has been organized by Adbusters, the “culture jamming” collective, who refer to Wall Street as the “Gomorrah of America.” (Where is America’s Sodom?) There’s a planning meeting tomorrow.
Strategically speaking, there is a very real danger that if we naively put our cards on the table and rally around the “overthrow of capitalism” or some equally outworn utopian slogan, then our Tahrir moment will quickly fizzle into another inconsequential ultra-lefty spectacle soon forgotten. But if we have the cunning to come up with a deceptively simple Trojan Horse demand … something profound, yet so specific and doable that it is impossible for President Obama to ignore … something that spotlights Wall Street’s financial capture of the US political system and confronts it with a pragmatic solution … like the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act … or a 1% tax on financial transactions … or an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the corporate corruption of our representatives in Washington … or another equally creative but downright practical demand that will emerge from the people’s assemblies held during the occupation … and if we then put our asses on the line, screw up our courage and hang in there day after day, week after week, until a large swath of Americans start rooting for us and President Obama is forced to respond … then we just might have a crack at creating a decisive moment of truth for America, a first concrete step towards achieving the radical changes we all dream about unencumbered by commitments to existing power structures.
So, let’s learn the strategic lessons of Tahrir (nonviolence), Syntagma (tenacity), Puerta del Sol (people’s assemblies) and lay aside adherence to political parties and worn-out lefty dogmas. On September 17, let’s sow the seeds of a new culture of resistance in America that fires up a permanent democratic awakening.
(Note: this is an independent blog and is not affiliated with Adbusters. Their content is re-posted for outreach purposes only.)
Starting September 17, the publishers of Adbusters want 20,000 people take over Wall Street for months, until their demands are met. The campaign’s nerve center urges protestors to “set up tents, kitchens [and] peaceful barricades,” apparently in anticipation of settling in for the long haul.
This isn’t a weekend protest — it’s an attempt to launch a Tahrir Square-style occupation.
On Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, the protest’s organizers are trying to whip their followers into a frenzy. Logistics are being coordinated; social pressure is mounting. Will people respond? Will #occupywallstreet rank as a trending topic on Twitter? Will this loose coalition of young people pick up allies among disaffected, under- and unemployed members of the middle class?
Something is wrong. We all know it. We all see it. We are subjected day after day, month after month to displays of absurdities and betrayals. We are subjected to a set of rules and regulations of governments and corporations which we had no say in the creation of. We are subjected to the whims of those who hold power, those who live in a world different from ours. A world where the worst sort of crimes are punished with inconveniences. A day in court. A bad news story. A fine so small their bank account is hardly affected. And we take this. I take this. Sure, I complain, you complain, but what good is our freedom of speech if it is not accompanied by action? Sticks and stones may break their bones but mere words will certainly never hurt them.
We’ve tried begging, we’ve tried asking, we’ve tried hoping, all in vain. The problems continue, ignored by those in power who focus on stupid little things by which they divide us. But now we must say “No More!” No more will we let the rich and the powerful control our lives. No more will we let them dictate to us the ways that we interact with each other. No more will we let them control the flow of information. No more will we let them control the country.
Have we all just given up? What are we waiting for? Forget about the 20% who support the Tea Party — we are the other 80%! This decline will only end when we demand it. And not through an online petition or a tweet. We are going to have to turn the TV and the computer and the video games off and get out in the streets (like they’ve done in Wisconsin). Some of you need to run for local office next year. We need to demand that the Democrats either get a spine and stop taking corporate money — or step aside.
“It’s going to take large popular movements to change this. And that can happen. It’s happened in the past. That’s why freedom and justice have expanded over the centuries. It’s never been gifts; it wasn’t gifts from the rich and powerful. These are things that were won, by the labour movement, by the women’s movement, by the civil rights movement, and by other rights movements. They’re won by popular struggle, then you move forward. But they’re never given as gifts, and they won’t be in the future.”—
A great quote to keep in mind as we prepare to #OCCUPYWALLSTREET and work for change in a few weeks’ time.
First off I want to say thanks for all the new followers who have joined up in the past few days! Liking and sharing our posts is much appreciated, and it helps spread the word about what we are trying to accomplish. You can continue to watch this space for updates relating to the protest.
I wanted to remind you all that there are several spaces where this action is being planned. Chief among them is the Reddit forum for organizing and the independent website for logistics and news updates. I would encourage you all to keep an eye on these spaces — and give them your input! Also, a lot of people have asked how they can support the protest even if they can’t come. The independent website will have more information regarding how you can help in the coming days and weeks. In the mean time, continue to spread the word to as many people as possible!
Have a great weekend and I hope to see all of you on the streets.
I plan on being there on the day. I have a few logistical concerns. The NYPD can have the (non traffic) part of wall street locked down in a im sure a few second's. How can we get past the cop's at the guard houses? and if you have a meeting place (like battery park, i saw suggested on reddit) that would mean that most of the people would funnel in from the south side of wall street and be easily kept out.
Just some thought's, i grew up in this city and assume you live here so you know how the NYPD can be and how much force they command. I just want this to work
Actually I do not live there. However, I suggest you look in on/join the discussions on Reddit.
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”—Thomas Jefferson (via steadystater)
In response to the Sept. 17th Occupy Wall St. call, we decided to incorporate the organizing for the event with a New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts General Assembly on Wall St. on Aug. 2nd. In order to build the Sept. 17th call, we will use this opportunity to have the first NYC meeting for the Sept. 17th event.
I'm really sorry but I just don't really understand whats happening. I've read through your posts and some articles but I'm still kind of confused...
Ours is a coalition effort. The plan is to, on September 17, storm and occupy (setting up a kind of tent-city) Wall Street in the spirit of Tahrir Square, and demand an end to corporate control over our government. We want Democracy, not plutocracy. The government works for us, not Goldman Sachs, AIG, Bank of America, Dyncorp, or any other corporate entity.
If you are interested in helping: Here is the Reddit forum Here is the official planning website
Calling all culture jammers, augmented reality game designers, live action roleplayers, revolutionary flashmobbers, clandestine street artists and activists from the future: on the 17th of September, we need you to show us that what comes after clicktivism is a people’s revolution.
Save the date: on 17 September, less than a week after the celebrations of the tenth anniversary of September 11, New Yorkers have been called to protest against Wall Street and the system that caused the downfall of the world economy in 2008.
Under the name of #occupywallstreet , the magazine “Adbusters” began to promote the event on 13 July, citing the tactics learned from the Arab revolution and the camps that occupied Spanish plazas starting May 15.
According to “Adbusters,” the spirit of this new model of revolution that it wants to implement can be summarized in the quote of Raimundo Viejo, a professor at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona: “The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people.”
“Adbusters,” a magazine based in the Canadian city of Vancouver, has gained notoriety in recent years in promoting anti-consumerism and its satirical ads. On this occasion they have broken the veil of parody to call for enforcing a single, but ambitious requirement: that US President Barack Obama ordain a presidential commission to handle the task of ending the influence of money on political representatives in Washington. “It’s time for democracy and the corporatocracy. We are doomed without it,” they say.
In order to establish “a new agenda for America,” they propose other initiatives such as the dismantling of half of the U.S. military bases spread throughout the world, the reestablishment of the Glass-Steagall Act and the fight against Wall Street, dubbed “the financial Gomorrah of America,” and the movement of the Tea Party.
Keep the revolution alive
“Adbusters” has managed to take the best from each of the revolutions that have occurred so far. From the Egyptian Revolution of Tahrir Square they have taken the idea of making one simple demand. From Spanish camps, they seek to copy the model of action: they want to take Wall Street and gather in assemblies in which to discuss the state of political and economic system. “Adbusters” expects 20,000 people to flood the areas around Wall Street and install tents, stoves and barricades there peacefully.
The promotion model on social networks that proved so effective in its predecessors will serve as an assistant in this path to success. “Adbusters” launched its campaign as a Twitter hashtag to more easily follow the spread through social networks. Although their Twitter page has fewer than 100 fans and the event page on Facebook has been fewer than 1,000 confirmations of attendees, the show of support has not stopped growing. #OCCUPYWALLSTREET begins to be cited by several users on Twitter, including Spaniards showing their support and those associated with the Real Democracy Now (Democracia Real Ya, or DRY) movement. One example is cyberalex75 and his message “#15m is with #occupywallstreet. Let’s change the world. Corrupt ones, go home. “
October2011 Supports AdBusters call to end the Corporatocracy
The October2011 Movement supports Adbusters and their call for the occupation of Wall Street beginning on September 17th. Adbusters is organizing their occupation to send the message that Corporatocracy is NOT Democracy.
Similarly inspired by the nonviolent uprisings around the world, Adbusters writes:
“The beauty of this new formula, and what makes this novel tactic exciting, is its pragmatic simplicity: we talk to each other in various physical gatherings and virtual people’s assemblies … we zero in on what our one demand will be, a demand that awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would propel us toward the radical democracy of the future … and then we go out and seize a square of singular symbolic significance and put our asses on the line to make it happen.”
Ending corporate control of our political process and media is one of the first steps in moving towards a peaceful, just and sustainable future. It will take all of us coming together to achieve the strength required to take on corporatism and the militarism that is fueled by it.
Stop the Machine: Create a New World will begin our occupation to end corporatism and militarism on October 6, 2011. Our action will stand in solidarity with those who occupy Wall Street.
October 6 is the beginning of the 11th year of the Afghanistan War and it is in the first week of the new federal fiscal year which promises an austerity budget for everything except the military and security state. We are bringing together people from a wide range of issues affected by austerity, cuts to environmental protection and restoration, job creation, the social safety net as well as those opposed to war and militarism.
Together we can Stop the Machine! And Create a New World! Join Adbusters in New York City and stand in solidarity with us to end militarism and oppose the new federal budget which provides unlimited spending for the national security apparatus, tax breaks for the wealthy and austerity for the rest of us.
What we ask of you is action. To act in accordance with the beauty of freedom, with the love of freedom with which we are each imbued, but which has been manipulated into a hatred for that which we believe to be impossible. Yet this love cannot be silenced by such pained inversions, only relegated perhaps to a universal disquiet, which at times is roused in fury, be it consciously or of circumstance or action. We ask you now to be so roused. Be no longer satisfied with such placating delusions as to the inevitability of this bondage, these tyrannies, this injustice; be no longer convinced of, enamored with, the false nobility of your idleness and despair. You must act, you must decide. You may wish to extract yourself from this struggle, to subscribe to the comforts of the notion of futility of action, but we must remind you that in refusing to pass judgment, in refusing to decide, you are each moment deciding; you are deciding to conspire with the forces of exploitation and oppression who want nothing more than your silent and idle acceptance. Yet the idle silence in which you presume to sit is false; it is neither silent nor idle, for the air around you is filled with the unending noise and motion of a system unceasing in its expansion and conquest, unceasing in its infliction.
We have ourselves decided. We will no longer be complicit in this destruction, in the self-destructive ways from which our destruction of others emerges empowered. We will no longer conspire against ourselves, no longer conspire against our brothers and sisters. We will no longer conspire against humanity. We do not speak of the conspiracy in the conventional sense; these systems of treachery and injustice are so open and entrenched as to have transcended the very idea of conspiracy; it has escaped us and it traps us in its escaping. It would appear to us that we are bound to its self-established engine of persistence. These systems are often no longer guided or structured by the insidious associations so much as the systems themselves define the form these, our, associations take; these malicious principles propelling a boundless and hungry malignancy to all corners of our imperiled globe, pressing its cruel instruments into the reticent flesh of the exploited, bombing history into disgrace and children into orphans and us to our knees, pressing unwaveringly until the instruments have pierced so deeply and completely so as to form, from that which they did pierce, an instrument of piercing; and thus a new employ of cruelty is born, and this morbid, transforming dance of blades continues, its movements strengthened and sustained.
What we hope for September 17th is inextricably bound to these ideas; we hope to see a realization and celebration of human potentiality, of freedom and justice and liberty; a celebration of their realization, a realization through celebration, a reverent jubilee of resistance. But what does this mean?
It means we do not advocate a hedonistic abandon or joyous disregard or oblivious ecstasy, an uncaring rejection of the reality of the injustice which envelops us, which presses against us at each alive moment. We proceed with a reverence for the seemingly endless suffering imposed on many, around us and around the world, the calculated degradation they face, and the dignity with which they often face it; we proceed with a reverence for the courage and determination seen in the face of such injustice and suffering throughout human history, which rises to inspire us not only in many quiet and continual acts of labor, kindness, resistance and renewal, but in wondrous and resounding occurrences such as the events of the Arab spring, where millions rise in the face of entrenched, merciless, powerful oppressors and systems of oppression, to assert their humanity, their refusal to submit to the conditions of tyranny and exploitation; in their sacrifice we are guided, we are called upon by the courage and beauty of their actions, a beauty which achieves an intensity that renders our denials useless, for if an attempt at denial is made, the negation of life and freedom which is implicit in this act of denying (done in a million ways a million times each day, those smaller, subtler forms by which we subjugate ourselves to contours of a cruel system and its unopposed continuation), brings to our very bones a lasting shake and shiver, an implacable reminder of persistent power and humanity; we are made conscious of the destructive nature of our continual denials of life, and compelled to act.
Yet in the spirit of such somber and deserved reverence, what place is there for the joyous celebration, the laughter and pleasure implied by a jubilee? This reverence is not intended to drive us into despair, an idle contemplation of the ills of the world; it shall drive us to resistance. And we shall celebrate joyously our renouncement of the comforts of despair, and our acceptance of the responsibility of action. We will celebrate this rejection of the disempowering opiate of delusion, the excursion of our duplicitous, life feeding phantoms; and as the dark of their malignant hunger and death peddling recedes, we will make a raucous play among the restored light. In our acts of resistance we will find a welcome lessening of the forces of dread and despair which may have previously rendered us bewildered and inactive; as we proceed in a way more free and integrated, we are less afraid, more emboldened, and less susceptible to the lustrous, bitter sweets, the vile candy of despair. And all this is pervaded with a spirit of resistance, for each act, the reverence we cultivate and express for those courageous acts and ideas, which power structures and their heirs despise and depict as dangerous and regrettable; the celebration of our freedom in humanity, in the streets of that leading citadel, the hospice inhabited by the vanguard of the elite, built to subvert, subjugate and exploit our humanity, to denigrate it to a form we ourselves would come to view as undesirable, to be condemned, repressed or destroyed (and in our expressed desire we announce our refusal to accept such a detestable view); in our tiny acts of struggle and striving, the spirit of resistance in within it all, for it is all born out the liveliest struggles and passions and desires, by the same storming current which courses hot and irrepressible through all those who rise for themselves to say, “no more,” who rise to say, as did the Zapatistas, expressing a thought shared by those oppressed throughout the world, “Enough is enough! Ya basta!”
We will no longer assist in the curtailing of human freedom, of others or our own, but rather actively resist and oppose such subordinating authorities. We will work to see liberty realized for every man and woman, so that each may develop fully, unhindered, their own capacities and powers. We will struggle and strive consciously together to relieve, even if only in some small way, the suffering of our fellow human being. In the West we squander what privileges of freedom we have; we misspend the tremendous opportunity for change, a change not callously commoditized and packaged in electric colors and meretricious exuberance, a tranquilizing tonic of spent action and manipulated sentiment, which they will so generously deign to bestow on us from above, to permit us to experience for a brief time before betrayal, but rather a true change which is within our reach, within the reach of such privileged limbs, born to the best of suns and bountiful nutrient, only to be cut away by those who possess them, so that they may better justify to themselves their inaction under the growing, swirling cries of suffering, the mounting victims of tyrants, the mass graves marked most notably by the simultaneous side-glance of a million healthy eyes.
We ask only that you realize the boundless potential of the unfettered individual. We say only, but we know we ask much of those who have long been entombed in the dead airs of delusion, in the pacification of unreality; one must work to find extraction from the pressing teeth of tyranny, the encircling binds of subservience, that ever-present bridling at once reassuring and terrifying. We ask that you cast off these fetters, immediately and with vigor. We have for too long accepted, with a numb smile and dull gaze, with the glaze of delusion and denial, with the stultifying salve of despair, these entrapments that we have ourselves erected and allowed to negate our strivings: bring a fearless fire to them all, and nourish your expanding soils of tomorrow with their ash-filled rains; seed the dawn with the courage of resistance, seed the night with noble dreams of justice. And we ask this all of ourselves. Each day we renew our commit, as we know it necessary to do so. We claim no authority but the sovereignty of the self. We seek to learn from, and develop in, the beauty of our collectively realized potentialities, of our collectively unbound humanity.
When we speak in a manner in which we cast ourselves as our own worst oppressors, we speak of a degrading submission of will to, and a collaboration with, their forces, and we do not mean to discount the existing regimes of violence and oppression and terror, and the immeasurable pain they bring to bear. We do not propose to understand what it is to experience the immense suffering they inflict, nor the effects of such an experience ; a suffering which must, for those who endure it, reside in each moment of each day, be it in the bright and burning foregrounded or for a brief period subdued. We know we cannot accurately imagine all this entails, in the West it is clouded from many of us, despite our struggles, even those deemed intolerable. We know we stand only at the mouth of the immense and terrible canyon which suffering has opened wide upon the earth, and from here we remember that other human beings have been made to experience the depths of this place, this place which overpowers with its scent of exacted horrors; we remember, and are thankful for, this gift of lacking knowledge when we come to think our own trials have grown too great. Yet we will not because of this inability forgo all attempts at empathy or a conditioned understanding, and still believe we must strive to find some point of relation among us, be it only in our abiding respect for, and inspiration taken from, the courage, determination, strength, the innumerable just qualities we see which give us hope in our largely far less perilous and restrictive, our far less insurmountable circumstances in the West.
While for some it is a spring of hope, for others it is one of fear. These regimes feed violently on a separated and subjected people, and they fear the gathered rising. They fear the beauty of the blossoms which have together risen, and continued to rise, out of out the impassioned earth set upon by this Arab spring, a spring who’s imploring winds blow hard and implacable across all lands inhabited by the exploited, imprisoned, oppressed, winds which blow across the minds of those who daily suffer the terrors of a pervasive, imposing tyranny, and yet who’s dreams spill to dissolve fear at the enkindling kiss of such winds, as oxygen to a flame nearly undone in deprivation. And as these winds reach us in our land of gilt decay, our landscapes of exceptionalism, our seas of electric flesh and well-armed influence, are not impervious to the promise of this kiss; one can read in the reaction of the oppressors what is possible if one were to only act upon this promise, this call; whether one decides to answer this call to action, or further bundle in delusion against the growing winds and changing sky, this is the great, inescapable decision.
So what is to be done? We offer only guiding principles which we believe to be a valid, honest way to begin. We have made our position known; what exactly you should do, if anything, is for you to decide. Indeed, you must decide for yourself whether you believe what we ask deserves any answer at all. But in determining this know that you inevitably determine your position on the matters involved. As we have previously stated, we believe an answer is offered even by those who adopt a position of distance or refusal, and for us this is a most troubling form of response; for in their refusal exists a great and terrifying acceptance of things as they are, the world as it stands, and, perhaps, something beyond an acceptance of, more a submission to; it is a resignation wove out the screams of massed gunships’ spinning steel arms, out the wet pulling guts of wounded animals, out the cries of lost children and the felt weight of intolerable defeat. And fingers which stitch while unaware they are stitching are the most difficult to still. We have seen grow in these fields of unawareness a spurious comfort beneath which resides a seething hatred, in love with its roiling, an inward hatred out which is forged a hatred of the world, of life and the living. At other times this resignation of latticed fear and foreboding has mingled with an overwhelming despair, and ones’ internal skies are lit with little bright wounds which to gaze upon, to receive their cold fire, you would think death welcome; we make constellations of doom and sacrifice ourselves to the movements of these morbid stars, to the dark emptiness left in the wake. And at the worst times it is both and more. We would like to convince you that it does not have to be this way, but we believe you will only come to truly know this through the experience of a living aligned with freedom, with justice, with humanity, through action beyond our words; thus we say to you: join us. Act with the spirit of the free man or woman, and be realized.
You may object that our language is too grand or bewildering, that it is without proper grounding or foundation. We respond that yes, we are in some ways bewildered and bewildering, but our language is founded in a reverence for the beauty of human potential, as it has been, and will continue to be realized, and that there is no grander (nor perhaps bewildering) subject to be found.
We are often confused. We assume this is evident in the above. But we are trying. We are often scared, nervous, despairing. But we are sometimes bold, strong, determined. We are trying, we are acting. We ask that you act with. We ask that you go toward life, not against it or away from it, but toward. What we ask of you is action.
We have always had a voice. But it shall no longer be a murmur which lowers its head. It shall now be a shout which lifts the gaze and we shall force them to see us as we are, and to accept us as we are.
— Subcomandante Marcos
September 17th 2011: Toward a reverent, jubilant, resistance.