Big thank you to our friends at PR Watch
As Occupiers, we love to see people taking initiative in transforming public spaces—even if doing so requires breaking some rules. So naturally we were excited to hear that the prolific street artist Banksy was visiting our home city of New York!
Then on the 4th day of his tour while visiting the neighborhood of Bushwick (Brooklyn), he did this:
Banksy, we’re honored to see you paying homage to our movement by defacing our private property. You inspire as as someone who is both tasteful, and a rebel. You bring fine art to the masses where they exist rather than locking it away in an art gallery. Your work will brighten up our communities for years to come. Please keep doing what you do.
It’s also worth mentioning that this isn’t the first time someone has vandalized Bushwick in our honor!
Register now for the Housing Justice Academy- Southeast
Neighbors block eviction for Minneapolis homeowner who paid for house five times
We call on all activists fighting banker-imposed austerity – here in the U.S. and worldwide – to come to Detroit, Michigan, on October 5 and 6, 2013. Join the people of this city under siege in convening the International People’s Assembly Against the Banks and Against Austerity.
Join us in Detroit on October 5-6 to demand:
Cancel the debt to the banks which is strangling our schools, cities, states and countries.
Guarantee workers’ jobs and pensions and services for the community. No union busting. $15
End undemocratic, racist emergency management of our cities and schools.
A jobs program funded by the banks to put the unemployed to work rebuilding our cities. The banks owe our communities billions of dollars for the destruction they have caused.
Moratorium on all foreclosures and foreclosure-related evictions. Housing is a right.
Repudiate student loan debt. Education must be free and available to all. Increase funding for public education.
Stop racism and attacks on immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities.
The federal government must bail out the people, not the banks.
Money for cities, not for war–Hands off Syria.
Ban Fracking. No tar sands oil, petcoke, wood ethanol, etc. Reverse climate change.
for more info: http://www.internationalpeoplesassembly.org/
Learn more at: http://TooBigHasFailed.org/
VICTORY! Mildred Garrison-Obi wins her home back after Occupy Our Homes Atlanta moved her back in!
The shift from a culture of war, a culture of domination, a culture of “us versus them,” to a culture of love, a culture of shared power, a culture of “us ” is at the core of our evolutionary journey, and key to our very survival on this precious planet. Peace starts in our hearts, [...]
via Occupy Boulder Flood Relief:
Occupy Boulder Flood Relief is a coordination point for #BoulderFloodRelief and is facilitating and organizing relief for displaced and in-need individuals. We are also organizing a database of individuals to…
Mass actions are happening today in NYC on Occupy’s second birthday. All are welcome to participate. For assistance getting to the action or getting involved, please call our help line at (516) 708-4777.
8 – 9 a.m. EDT
Solidarity Action for Fast Food Workers
10 a.m. EDT
OWS Alternative Banking Working Group Book Release
11 a.m. EDT
Global Solidarity March against the Trans Pacific Partnership, Money Out of Politics and Capitalism
Location: Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park), Broadway and Liberty (Map)
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/208250806003654/
More Information: Click here to learn more about the Trans Pacific Partnership and the international implications of this trade agreement for the 1%.
12 p.m. EDT
Rally at Washington Square Park
2 p.m. EDT
Trans Pacific Partnership Puppet Theater Spectacle Money Warz
Location: Times Square (Map)
5 p.m. EDT
Occupy S17: Tax Wall Street, Pass the Robin Hood Tax
S17 Peoples Exchange
6 p.m. EDT
Protest of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption
A Listen In: First Nations Message & Devotional March
7 p.m. EDT
Live Nihilist Theature
8 p.m. EDT
Occupy Wall St. S17: Justice For The 99% Assembly
We were lucky enough to sit down with Laura Gottesdiener and chat about her new book, A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home
What was your role in Occupy and what were your reasons for joining the movement?
I worked in the people’s kitchen in Zuccotti park for most of October and November, until the police raided the encampment. I was living out of the country at the time that Occupy started, so I didn’t know that it was happening until after the Brooklyn Bridge march. When I heard about the movement, through an article in the New York Times, I remember thinking that so many of the reasons that I’d gone to live abroad were the same reasons that Occupy had begun: frustration with our economic system, frustration with the culture, which is a very individualistic and selfish culture that embodies the way our economic system determines the morals and human interactions that govern our lives. And so I thought, if this is an opportunity to really impact society—an opportunity to give voice to that frustration—I need to go home and participate in this. So I flew to New York City, and got to the park on October 5th, which was the day the unions got involved with a huge rally in Foley Square. So when I showed up at the encampment nobody was there, and I said, “Oh no! the movement’s over! I just flew all the way back from Argentina and nobody’s here!” And then somebody told me, “No! No, they’re in Foley Square!” So I go to Foley Square, and there are around twenty thousand people there, which was very exciting. After the ensuing march I went back to the park that night with everybody coming back from Zuccotti, and I lay down, and the next morning somebody offered me breakfast. And I asked, “Where did this breakfast come from?” And they told me, “Oh, the kitchen’s in the center!” So I decided that if there was a kitchen, they probably needed some help. And I went to volunteer and I stayed with the kitchen all through the first few months, up until the eviction.
So what did you do after the Occupation was evicted?
After the raid, I did a number of things: I worked with the direct action group, I helped edit the movement journal Tidal. But mostly I spent a lot of time thinking about what we would do if we couldn’t live in parks. Because the evictions were happening all over the country—all of the parks were just falling like dominoes. It was obviously coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security, and we understand now that the FBI and all of the government agencies played a coordinating role in evicting the movement. But I remember thinking about what the movement could look like on a neighborhood level. And so when I heard in the late winter that general assemblies were happening at the neighborhood level, and that people were embodying very similar principles to the horizontal, democratic society that Occupy had espoused, but in neighborhoods that had been most attractive by the lawsuit machine that we were protesting against, I became really interested in that. I wanted to learn more. I wanted to understand how these actions were being organized, and actually how they’d been being organized since before OWS even began. And so I went up to Detroit to write a small article about the anti-eviction and home liberation movement there, because it was very active, and it is still very active. I wrote that first article for the website Waging Nonviolence, and from there I just kept writing more and more about the anti-eviction movement. I started to shift from organizing New York to really covering a lot of the organizing that was going on in neighborhoods around the country, and trying to bring more light to good aspects of the movement, through my writing.
What was the most inspirational moment that you had while writing this book, in terms of your political activism?
Truthfully, I think that one of the most inspirational moments came before I knew that it was a book project. I was in Detroit and I met a woman named Bertha Garrett who had successfully beaten her eviction and foreclosure using direct action and community organizing, with the help of nearly a dozen community organizations, church groups, neighborhood groups, and activist groups. I couldn’t help thinking, “what is this 65-year-old woman, who has not been a political activist before in her life, doing performing pretty extreme civil disobedience, rallying hundreds of people to block the street when the city went to try to drop the dumpster off to haul out all of her things, sitting down in front of her bank’s office, and saying, “I’m not going to leave. I’m not leaving unless you talk to me to negotiate my mortgage.” So I wondered, “What could possibly have inspired this?” Because I think in New York during Occupy it seemed like a moment in which everybody was undergoing a rapid political analysis, rapid political transformation. But New York City has a long history of political activism and theory. Here in northwest Detroit, what could possibly inspire this? At one point Bertha looked at me, and she said, “You know, Laura, it’s not that I didn’t understand that the banks owned the piece of paper. It’s that the banks didn’t understand that I owned my home.” And in those words, those two sentences, I felt like she had adequately and powerfully summed up everything that we had been talking about, which is the idea that we need to radically transform the way we understand what ownership means, what value means, and use the power we have to shape those definitions. This woman, not a lawyer, not necessarily owning a lot of capital, decided: “I don’t care if one of the most profitable banks in this country—in this world—says they own something. They don’t understand that, actually, I’m defining what my home means, I’m defining what my life means, and I’m not leaving this home.”
So what was the scariest thing you learned while writing this book? the thing that most represents the evils that you’re talking about.
Sure, but first I want to say, it wasn’t scary. Because it was a beautiful community. But, you know, some places I went I could see firsthand the devastation wrought by the financial crisis, some of which was quite staggering to me. Seeing full blocks foreclosed on, houses that had been half-burnt-out, because there were so many homeless people squatting in buildings that fires got out of control. To see and hear homeless people explain what their lives are like, that to me was the most striking—not just because that’s such an extraordinarily challenging existence, but because our class divide and the way in which income inequality has grown in this country really has rendered a lot of this experience invisible. And it’s not simply because people at different sides of the class divide don’t often traverse it, which is true, but it’s also because mainstream media doesn’t report on these issues. It’s because we don’t see it reflected in popular culture. So when I spent days and weeks with the people living these invisible lives, I was struck by how many people don’t fully understand what it means to live in this country for millions of people every day.
What impact do you think Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement had on the anti-foreclosure movement?
I think it’s important to note that the anti-foreclosure and anti-displacement movement has existed, and was thriving, since before Occupy. And groups like Moratorium Now, in Detroit, Take Back the Land, which is a national network, City Life, which has been existing in Boston for thirty years, all these groups predated Occupy. And so when groups like Occupy are formed as a national organization, that was lot of drawing on the strength of pre-existing neighborhood groups. The way that Occupy, I think, impacted this movement, was in two ways. One, it tied the movement, in the mainstream’s eyes, more clearly to broader financial crimes, and broader mechanisms of economic exploitation. It was suddenly more obvious the way that people being thrown out of their homes is related to a broader systemic injustice of capitalism. The second, more significant way was the impact of the creativity and the Direct Action focused nature of Occupy Wall Street. So you saw a proliferation of actions, and a proliferation of interests and creativity across the country as a result of Occupy. And it wasn’t that these movements hadn’t been doing pretty amazing direct action, I mean, Take Back the Land had been doing home liberation and land liberation for five years before Occupy Wall Street rolled around. But there was just suddenly more going on.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I think it’s important to say, particularly on this two-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street: things are worse than they were in 2011, when this movement began. Income inequality throughout the so-called recovery has grown significantly worse than it was before the collapse. And now, we’re at a point, and economists debate this, but we’re essentially at a point where we have worse economic inequality than during the Great Depression, or the same economic inequality as during the Great Depression. We’ve seen no significant movement at the Federal level, most largely at the State level, to ameliorate this crisis. We’ve seen ten million people thrown out of their houses since 2007. Literally millions of children. So I don’t want to celebrate this anniversary. I want to talk about how the need for this movement is more than ever. And the idea that Occupy Wall Street occupied a space in time and place in 2011, and it was a moment—that’s true. But all of the problems, all of the context that led to this movement’s existence, is still in place now. So we should be doing something about that, right now.
On the eve of the second anniversary of the Occupy movement, two video activists, have released a 10 minute short film providing perhaps the most detailed civilian account to date of the NYPD’s process of crowd dispersion during mass mobilizations. The video, shot on September 17th, 2012, during Occupy Wall Street’s first anniversary celebration action, details 10 arrests that took place over the span of 87 minutes. While at first glance many of the individual arrests appear to be arbitrary, careful analysis from the videographers illustrates a larger picture wherein the NYPD’s actions are calculated and designed to derail the protestors ability to effectively assemble.
This video is a powerful resource for activists of all stripes in New York City. Please watch it, share it, carefully examine the NYPD’s process in it, and use it to inoculate yourself from their coordinated attempts to stifle your first amendment protections.“On the eve of the second anniversary of OWS it bears remembering that the occupations didn’t simply fizzle and dissipate,” says Paul Sullivan, who videotaped the police response, “this video, shot last year on the morning of the first anniversary, not only reminds us of how difficult it is to protest when the NYPD is determined to shut you down, but also how the NYPD continues to supress civil liberties in order to stamp out the movement.”
On September 17, 2013, the second anniversary of the beginning of the Occupy Movement, tens of thousands will come together across the country and the world to honor the most important and influential social movement in generations. As we exchange stories about the past and ideas for the future, we will be opposing a number of the 1%’s toxic attempts to siphon even more of our money and power away from us. The Trans Pacific Partnership “free trade” agreement, the undue influence of money in politics, and the lack of accountability in the global financial sector will be just a few of our targets. But, as we attack these symptoms it is necessary that we remember the disease: capitalism.
Without capitalism, there could be no undue influence of money in politics. Without capitalism, trade would be truly free. Without capitalism, the financial sector would be an embarassing relic of the past, a warning to future generations. Without capitalism, there can be no neoliberalism.
Anticapitalism is the true big tent. Whether or not you think the reforms proposed and enacted by various Occupy-related groups (like StrikeDebt, Occupy Sandy and the Occupy Card) will fix the systemic problems of capitalism, they are campaigns worth supporting. They provide temporary relief to people who need the most and allow us to experiment with alternatives. This is a good thing. But we can’t let a good treatment distract us from a cure. Without addressing the underlying cause of capitalism, these problems will only get worse.
Globalization will continue to send jobs overseas. Technology will continue to automate human labor and obsolete the professions of millions of workers who will have no choice but to adapt. But for those who can’t adapt to the new economy, the sentence under capitalism is death. This is because capitalism denies the necessities for human survival (like food, housing, and health care) to those unable to sell themselves to corporations. Even in times of plenty when you’d think we’d have to work less and less.
The end of capitalism means the beginning of your new life – a life where your home cannot be taken from you by force to maintain the bottom-line of a multi-billion dollar company that pays less in taxes than you; a life where you own your future; a life where politics represents you. The end of capitalism means the life you’ve always wanted but never thought you could have. The end of capitalism means freedom.
The 1% owned the mainstream American political system long before the Supreme Court upheld Citizens United. The 1% oppressed the global 99% long before “free trade” agreements became the norm. The 1% used the financial sector to swindle the people long before Dodd-Frank was repealed, long before the Federal Reserve.
As we come together on #S17 it is important that as we oppose the institutions that capitalism has created to oppress us, that we oppose capitalism as well. If we allow ourselves to be held hostage by the symptoms of our disease we will never find our way to the cure. The cure, as we knew and demonstrated two years ago, is revolution.
Two years after Occupy Wall Street was founded we are still here, and so are our problems. On September 17th, and every day – take the street, take your jobs, take back your money, take back your power. Organize.
Interview with Mark Bray, OWS organizer and author of the new book Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street
What role did you play in OWS?
During the first year of the movement I was most active in the Press Working Group, which facilitated communication between the media and the movement. Therefore I focus on the role of the media and its influence on Occupy a great deal in the book because, ultimately, I think the rise and fall of the first wave of Occupy had a great deal to do with how it was portrayed in the media and how everyday people interpreted it through the corporate media lens.
I also regularly attended meetings of the Direct Action Working Group and helped plan some actions in the winter of 2011-2012. Regarding the book, this range of participation gave me an even greater insight into the inner workings of OWS in NYC.
What inspired you to write the book?
As a historian, I was interested in documenting a historic moment as it was unfolding around me. I realized that I had an opportunity to capture an element of what was going on that would be lost in time if it wasn’t documented and for me the most interesting part of the movement was the political composition of its organizers. As I got more and more involved I started to realize that more and more of the core organizers of the movement had really radical politics.
There was definitely a huge gap between the political outlook of the average person who marched in an OWS event and wanted to ‘get money out of politics’ and the average organizer who was working toward an anti-capitalist revolution. To me that was especially fascinating given how the media ignored the distinction between organizers and participants and included everyone under homogenizing rubric of ‘the protester.’ In the eyes of the media all we ever did was show up to the park and hold signs so the political cleavages that influenced the direction of the movement were obscured.
Also not only the media but most liberal supporters of the movement had this ingrained antagonism toward seeing OWS in terms of ideology or distinct political orientations. Instead most liked to see us all as this uniform sea of ‘democracy’ that had transcended ‘sectarian’ political labels but in fact this muddled outlook ran the risk of entrenching the default liberal orientation.
So as I came to realize that anarchist politics played a powerful role in the movement I decided to try to gauge that influence by interviewing as many organizers (as opposed to participants) as I could to see how they identified politically, what they thought about capitalism and democracy, who they did or did not vote for and other questions.
Over the course of a little over a year I interviewed 192 organizers and found that 39% self-identified as anarchists and 78% were anti-capitalist. I also found that about 33% of organizers had what I call ‘anarchistic’ politics, meaning that they were anti-capitalist anti-authoritarians with direct-action oriented politics who didn’t actively identify as anarchists. To me the label is not what’s important, it’s the content behind it so I was very excited to be able to document the fact that about 72% of the OWS organizers of NYC had anarchist politics whether explicitly or implicitly.
In a context where many would have us believe that anarchists ‘ruined’ occupy by resisting hierarchical leadership and infusing a sense of militancy, I think it’s really important to be able to definitively demonstrate that not only was OWS started primarily by anarchists, but that even throughout the first year most of those keeping it afloat were anarchists. I think mainstream liberals have tended to try to isolate those aspects of OWS that they liked and try to denigrate the rest without realizing that the dynamism of the movement stemmed from it’s anti-authoritarian nature.
What’s the significance of the title Translating Anarchy?
The book’s called Translating Anarchy because in my opinion OWS became so popular because it managed to present essentially anarchist politics (autonomy, self-management, direct democracy, even anti-capitalism) in an accessible format without generally using the word ‘anarchist.’ For example, I found that 65% of self-identified anarchists wouldn’t use the ‘a-word’ if they were speaking about their politics to a person they had just met who was unfamiliar with radical politics. Instead they would convey their perspectives through more familiar language.
Also many of the organizers of the Press Working Group were anarchists but didn’t present themselves as such with MSNBC or The Wall Street Journal. So my point is that in many ways Occupy Wall Street was fundamentally about ‘translating anarchy’ (promoting horizontalism, anti-capitalism, mutual aid) in an intelligible idiom.
I’m not arguing against using the term ‘anarchist’ explicitly. After all I did write a book called Translating Anarchy. Rather I’m pointing out that the language we use should be calibrated to the context and that in some contexts the ideas of anarchism do better without the misunderstood label.
What influence do you think OWS has had on the development of anarchism in the United States?
Well to a large extent the answer to that question will only be known in the future, but I think it’s safe to say that an entire generation of radical youth came of political age in a broad-based, horizontal, anti-capitalist context and that this early exposure to direct democracy and direct action will carry over into the politics of the social movements to come.
Given how the financial system has been going and the tendency of capitalism to produce crisis we have to be ready for the next opportunity and so hopefully the anarchist seeds that were planted with OWS will blossom in the not so distant future.
Occupy Homes Housing Justice Academy
Occupy Anniversary Participatory Walking Tour and Cartography Party
The official history of the United States is a history of purposely, systematically erasing social justice movements from our collective memory, or editing them beyond recognition. Forgotten are the labor struggles that won us Social Security and the weekend; the breadth of the civil rights movement — from bus windows smashed on Freedom Rides to Black Panthers murdered by police in their sleep — is reduced to a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., in a corner of the nation’s capital. The intended consequence is that ordinary people won’t remember that, by organizing, they can build power for themselves and change the world. This erasure often works.
“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting,” said Milan Kundera.
On September 17 last year, the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, New York Times financial reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin claimed of the movement, “It will be an asterisk in the history books, if it gets a mention at all.” Could this be true of a phenomenon that turned so many young people into activists for the first time, and that so many elders described as the thing they’d been waiting for their whole lives? The real question is: Will we allow it to be?
As the second anniversary approaches, a group of people who have been organizing and documenting the movement for the past two years are experimenting with ways of making sure our history keeps being told, and keeps spurring our struggles on in the future.
To that end, there will be a Participatory Walking Tour and Cartography Party in Lower Manhattan on Sunday, September 15. We’ll be retracing our steps through Liberty Square and Wall Street. There is no pre-arranged script; those who attend will tell their own stories and share each other’s memories. Afterward, we’ll celebrate our past and prepare for our future. RSVP here.
At 4 p.m. on September 15, we’ll meet between Bowling Green and the Charging Bull, the site of the movement’s first planning meeting and the initial congregating point of its first day. From there, we’ll go on a participatory walking tour to sites like Trinity Church, Liberty Square, Chase Manhattan Plaza and Wall Street itself. Follow the walking tour on the hashtag #owswalk.
Then, at 7 p.m., we’ll gather at the meeting space on the fourth floor of 16 Beaver St., where some of the most important Occupy organizing meetings took place. There will be an interactive cartography exercise, a display of artifacts collected by the Archives Working Group, projected video footage from the Media Working Group, copies of some of the new books about the movement and more. Oral histories will be collected. There will be food and drinks on hand, though we invite you to bring some to share.
Occupy is not the first movement to rise up against injustice and greed. It won’t be the last. But the better we remember this and other movements, the better prepared we’ll be to fight and win in those to come.
The very nature of a politician’s job grants them a public forum. That is what they do–speak to and for the public (ie their constituents). They have access to it at their fingertips at any given moment.
The people (in this instance meaning…
A collective fierce voice demanding, “Not another war” is resounding across the country and around the world.
Now is the moment to make our voices heard.
Join unified actions this Sat. Sept. 7, in
NEW YORK’s TIMES SQUARE, 42ND STREET AND SEVENTH AVENUE AT 1 PM
& in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, IN FRONT OF THE WHITE HOUSE
with Syrian American Forum from 10 to 12. Marching to Congress – Upper Senate Park
Click HERE to find an action near you.
Join in to stop the attack on Syria. The coming days provide the last chance to mobilize popular resistance to the military strike. The people fear both the political and economic consequences of another costly war. Millions believe the pretext for the war is another Big Lie like the lies used before the Vietnam, Iraq and Libya wars. We need to join together to loudly oppose this new war.
Poised to launch weapons of mass death on the Syrian people, the administration has called time out to try to win over the population and Congress with a “full-court press” assault of war propaganda. We must meet this with a “full-court press” response.
Along with the dozens of protests held last week in the U.S. and hundreds worldwide, the anti-attack forces have called major actions in the next week and a full week of lobbying and local actions.
Under the slogans of “Hands off Syria! Not another war!” the International Action Center initiated a call for a united regional action of all antiwar forces for September 7 at Times Square at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue, NYC at 1 p.m.
Other actions on Saturday, September 7 include a protest called by the Answer Coalition in front of the White House at noon. There are also regional coalitions organizing demonstrations in Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, among other cities.
Many groups are also organizing delegations to congressional offices in the coming week before congressional members head back to DC on Sept 9. The delegations range from polite visits to demonstrations to plans for encampments on the doorstep.
Full listings of endorsing organizations and cities where actions are planned can be found at iacenter.org. Click HERE to view an endorsers list. Click HERE to endorse, support or list a local action. Click HERE to find an action near you.
Broad support is also growing for an initiative by the Syrian American Forum to hold its “Hands Off Syria, Don’t bomb Syria” March on Washington on Sept. 9, when Congress is due to reconvene. The group is organizing buses from the Midwest, South New York and other areas for a Monday rally in front of the White House.
Already 50 organizations have endorsed and are mobilizing for these and other actions, including the United National Antiwar Coalition. Among them is “coordinated day of varied actions directed at Congress” on Friday, Sept. 6, from 4-6 p.m. Click HERE to view a full listing of actions. Click HERE to view an endorsers list.
VICTORY! Retired police officer and cancer fighter Jacqueline Barber wins her home back from the bank!
There are politicians that come from all sides to lend their support, in the hopes that occupy will give a shout out in the future and endorse them. We struggle with how to approach this, usually absurd, situation.
We want somethi…
Victory! Springfield family wins unprecedented rental agreement!