#occupywallstreet

The memory of struggles from before the global economic crash has allowed people to move beyond a simple kneejerk response to the present crisis and instead formulate a deeper critique of the system responsible for their woes. In practice, this has meant a popular shift from complaints about specific laws or specific features of the banking system that might serve as scapegoats for the crisis, to a radical critique of government and capitalism. While the movement is heterogeneous and by no means consistent, on multiple occasions it has popularly defined itself as anticapitalist, thus drawing on a strong tradition of struggle that goes back more than a century throughout Europe.

The United States is also a country with inspiring histories of popular struggle. But it is a country with a case of social amnesia like no other. It seems that to a certain extent, the Occupy Wall Street actions exist more as a trend than anything else. The slight extent to which they draw on, or even make reference to, earlier struggles, even struggles from the past twenty years, is worrying.  The fact that a present awareness of US history would shatter certain cornerstones of the new movement’s identity, for example this idea of the 99% that includes everyone but the bankers in one big, happy family, is not a sufficient excuse to avoid this task. The historical amnesia of American society must be overcome for a struggle to gain the perspective it needs.

socialismartnature:

Thanks #OccupyWallStreet, for successfully refocusing media attention.

This is addressed to everyone who says the movement will be useless and not yield any real change: we’ve already started. Just by defining the arguments on the people’s terms.

socialismartnature:

Thanks #OccupyWallStreet, for successfully refocusing media attention.

This is addressed to everyone who says the movement will be useless and not yield any real change: we’ve already started. Just by defining the arguments on the people’s terms.

To the reactionaries:

Let me spell this out for you.

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)

In all of these instances, most people think the problem is that these are the acts of a “few bad apples.” But taken together, one has to ask: Should an orchard producing so many bad apples be allowed to continue operating?

Another question is raised by the attitude of some activists in the Occupy Wall Street struggle who believe that the police are part of the “99 percent” that the movement is speaking for. For example, when the arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge were taking place, some marchers who hadn’t been trapped appealed to police with chants of “Join us, you’re one of us.”

Anyone have any thoughts about this article?

Watch #OCCUPYWALLSTREET on Livestream!

A group of occupiers have made their way to the Citibank branch at 555 Laguardia, where they attempted to close their accounts with the bank. They were promptly locked in the branch and are currently being arrested by NYPD.

The past 17th of September, the world experienced almost unknowingly the first taste of the new global protest movement of our time. Initially this was the date marked as the beginning of the Occupy Wall St. movement (now a nationwide phenomenon), however it also served to launch an international campaign of protests in front of local banks and stock exchanges dubbed as ‘Anti-Banks Day’. For the first time, the rising global civil society movement, based on democratic assemblies and structured around an ever-growing network of activists, tested its capacity to rally people worldwide and not only in a national framework. They created task-forces for media strategies, both online and offline, set up independent live-streams and coordinated globally for spreading information. Consequently, the 17th was like an excuse to prepare for the main course on October 15th, which will be the consolidation of this structure, and will set the standard for its future success or failure.

VIDEO 2: Bank of America REFUSES to let #OWSers close their accounts - suits and security guards keep a group of BofA ‘customers’ outside. (Saint Louis, MO - 12 October 2011)

VIDEO 1: Bank of America REFUSES to let a group of #OWSers close their accounts - locks them out of the building and complains to the police (Santa Cruz, CA - 7 October 2011)

Not surprisingly, Mr. Chavez expressed solidarity with American activists who have been staging rallies and marches against what they view as corporate greed by Wall Street.

The U.S. protests, which began last month in New York and have spread to Tampa, Florida, Seattle and other cities, have mostly been peaceful but sometimes resulted in confrontations. Dozens were arrested and police used pepper spray in New York earlier this week.

“This movement of popular outrage is expanding to 10 cities and the repression is horrible, I don’t know how many are in prison now,” Mr. Chavez said in comments at a political meeting in his Caracas presidential palace shown on state TV.

To the Mayor of Seattle and SPD: Stop Harassing the Occupiers!

So being a Seattle native, I still have a soft spot for my fellow rabble-rousers in the Northwest. Especially when I read that Occupy Portland had 3-5,000 people marching last weekend! The last thing Seattle needs is more of an inferiority complex about competing with Portland :) so I was glad to hear that Occupy Seattle is picking up some steam this week, slowly winning over the local unions and local media (The Stranger!) alike.

However, reading about how the Seattle Police Department and the Mayor’s Office have treated the occupiers is really disappointing. Over the past few days, they have been harassed by SPD and Park Police constantly, forbidding them from setting up tents, trying to drive them from the square, and generally being assholes. It’s gone so far that the Seattle Police have been ticketing drivers who drive by the occupation and honk in support. Can you believe that? Now, fast-forward to last night:

Mayor’s office spokesman Aaron Pickus said about an hour ago that cops wouldn’t bug protesters at Westlake Park tonight as long as they didn’t have a “structure.” But other than that, things were hunky-dorey.

Cut to right now.

Police are aggressively clearing people out of the park. Cops are telling people they can’t stand underneath the awnings, can’t wrap themselves in a tarp, and can’t even sit down with an umbrella. “You can’t have an umbrella open unless you’re standing and holding it,” a cop reportedly just told a few people who were sitting down next to their umbrellas. Paul Contant, intrepid reporter, just called to confirm that person’s account. And he added, “The cops are lined up under the awnings—I tried to get under an awning to type and and they told me I cannot be under the awning at all.” Police are also telling people they can’t lay under a tarp.

That’s right: you can now be arrested in Seattle’s Westlake Park for sitting down while holding an umbrella to protect yourself from the rain. All because the Mayor’s new ‘rules’ for the park, updated a couple days ago (conveniently), forbid erecting a structure in the park. And umbrellas apparently count as a structure to the police.

So, this is bullshit, right? I’ve already written the mayor to let him know that he can kiss my vote for his re-election goodbye if he doesn’t cut this out immediately. But we need as much help as we can get. If you can spare a couple minutes today, please let Mayor McGinn’s office know that you DO NOT approve of his strong-arm tactics to break up this demonstration!

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s Office: Phone (206) 684-4000 or email form: http://seattle.gov/mayor/citizen_response.htm

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes: Phone (206) 684-8200 and tell him to stick to his word and to not prosecute those who have been arrested!

Seattle Police Department: West Precinct (206) 684-8917. Tell them what you think of an ‘umbrella’ being classified as a structure!

Thanks for your time :)

- Jake