Phase Two: Occupy Wall Street on November 17

Phase Two: Occupy Wall Street on November 17

Even if it were to dis­ap­pear tomor­row, Occu­py Wall Street would have already scored a mas­sive vic­to­ry. It has fun­da­men­tal­ly altered one of the dom­i­nant nar­ra­tives that under­lies the major­i­ty polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic thought in this coun­try: that as much as Amer­i­cans might be dis­sat­is­fied with politi­cians, they have no real com­plaint with inequal­i­ty, or the eco­nom­ic sys­tem that makes it pos­si­ble and per­pet­u­ates it – name­ly cap­i­tal­ism. Occu­py Wall Street rup­tured this nar­ra­tive through the occu­pa­tions and mas­sive pop­u­lar sup­port. Before Sep­tem­ber the sen­tence, “Amer­i­cans are dis­sat­is­fied with social inequal­i­ty” would have been debat­able to say the least, per­tain­ing only to a small fac­tion of left­ists and aca­d­e­mics. Now it can be stat­ed as fact, a fact that the exist­ing forces and pow­ers do not know what to say about.

Occupy Philly is Dead! Long Live Occupy Philly!

Occupy Philly is Dead! Long Live Occupy Philly!

The emer­gency ses­sion of the Occu­py Philly Gen­er­al Assem­bly this past Thurs­day decid­ed, at around 10PM, to imme­di­ate­ly move from Dil­worth Plaza, where Occu­py Philly is cur­rent­ly ground­ed, to Thomas Paine Plaza. When the pro­pos­al passed, every­one broke into small­er groups, rushed to grab what­ev­er was around, and began mov­ing to the oth­er side of the street. Soon after, the police arrived, con­fu­sion descend­ed, and, not hav­ing decid­ed on any plan ahead of time, we spon­ta­neous­ly broke into three groups: the first regrouped back at Dil­worth, the sec­ond was left at Thomas Paine, and the third decid­ed to storm City Hall. At the end of it all, we were forced to aban­don our objec­tive, with­draw back to the orig­i­nal encamp­ment, and rethink the whole affair.

The Night in Which All Cows Are White

The Night in Which All Cows Are White

Philadel­phia has a large pop­u­la­tion of black, dis­af­fect­ed youth. It also has a black may­or. But when some of these young peo­ple began to spon­ta­neous­ly protest the obscene lev­el of urban seg­re­ga­tion and sys­tem­at­ic pover­ty of the city with “flash mobs,” it was May­or Michael Nut­ter who launched the counter-attack, impos­ing the dis­ci­pli­nary mea­sure of an ear­li­er cur­few in wealthy white areas. Cur­fews, as George Cic­cariel­lo-Maher points out, “have his­tor­i­cal­ly served as a racist weapon for the con­tain­ment of Black bod­ies” – but Nut­ter him­self made the point by accom­pa­ny­ing this mea­sure with an ide­o­log­i­cal assault on black Philadel­phi­ans in gen­er­al.

All Power to the General Assemblies? Or, the Strange Case of Take Artists Space

All Power to the General Assemblies? Or, the Strange Case of Take Artists Space

After the raid on Zuc­cot­ti Park ear­ly this morn­ing, what remains of Occu­py Wall Street? The library was destroyed and thrown in the garbage; the kitchen and com­mune that fed and housed hun­dreds now gone. But what about the gen­er­al assem­bly? The police vio­lence demon­strates that the rel­e­vance of Occu­py Wall Street as a polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion is by no means in its attempts, fail­ures and very real suc­cess­es at direct democ­ra­cy. It is instead a ques­tion: what is beyond democ­ra­cy in the spir­it of Occu­py Wall Street?

Is the Party Over?

Is the Party Over?

The occu­pa­tions move­ment is high­ly struc­tured, and this struc­ture is a focal point for polit­i­cal debates. Deci­sions are made by the gen­er­al assem­bly (GA) through a process of demo­c­ra­t­ic delib­er­a­tion; it also serves as the basis for the del­e­ga­tion respon­si­bil­i­ties and tasks, which are required both to keep peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ing and to orga­nize polit­i­cal activ­i­ty.

Two, Three, Many Oaklands?

Two, Three, Many Oaklands?

All eyes are on Oak­land. And right­ful­ly so. Oak­land has shown the oth­er occu­pa­tions how the move­ment can be suc­cess­ful­ly esca­lat­ed. By trans­form­ing the occu­pa­tion of a park into a gen­er­al strike, Oak­land has indis­putably emerged as the most mil­i­tant sec­tion of the nation­al occu­pa­tion move­ment. All the oth­er occu­pa­tions across the coun­ty are ask­ing them­selves how they can fol­low in its foot­steps. But, as strange as it may sound, the best way to repro­duce the lev­el of mil­i­tan­cy that has erupt­ed in Oak­land may actu­al­ly be to not fol­low in that city’s foot­steps.

Notes on Oakland 2011

Notes on Oakland 2011

We expect his­to­ry to pro­vide us with expla­na­tions – to place the imme­di­a­cy of expe­ri­ence with­in a wider sto­ry whose terms will be pro­gres­sive­ly elab­o­rat­ed and illu­mi­nat­ed. Polit­i­cal action, which aims at inter­ven­ing into his­to­ry and alter­ing its move­ment, has an entire­ly dif­fer­ent kind of truth – a sub­jec­tive truth pro­duced in the act of par­tic­i­pat­ing.

The General Strike: An Incomplete Bibliography for Ambivalent Occupiers

The General Strike: An Incomplete Bibliography for Ambivalent Occupiers

Occu­py Oakland’s call for a day-long gen­er­al strike on Novem­ber 2 has revived inter­est in the tac­tic, calls for which were also heard over the win­ter in Madi­son, Wis­con­sin. Yet the gen­er­al strike is prac­ti­cal­ly unknown today in the Unit­ed States, func­tion­ing more as a rhetor­i­cal index of mil­i­tan­cy than a seri­ous pro­pos­al for uni­fied action. In sol­i­dar­i­ty with this movement’s pro­found rup­ture in polit­i­cal lan­guage, we’ve select­ed a few impor­tant moments in the his­to­ry of the con­cept to illus­trate its poten­tial direc­tions.

Turn on the Heat: The Underground History of Occupation

Turn on the Heat: The Underground History of Occupation

In the ear­ly twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, hun­dreds of thou­sands of African-Amer­i­cans migrat­ed from the Deep South to Harlem. Racist white res­i­dents fled to the out­er bor­oughs and the sub­urbs, and land­lords began to dou­ble and triple Harlem rents, cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the lim­it­ed geo­graph­ic options pre­sent­ed to new black New York­ers. Fam­i­lies crammed into sin­gle rooms, but when the first of the… Read more → 

Critical Refusals: Angela Davis at Occupy Philadelphia

Critical Refusals: Angela Davis at Occupy Philadelphia

The Inter­na­tion­al Her­bert Mar­cuse Soci­ety held its fourth bien­ni­al con­fer­ence at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia. A mix of aca­d­e­mics and activists, the con­fer­ence rep­re­sent­ed yet anoth­er attempt to con­nect the two worlds. What bet­ter way than to have Angela Davis her­self – renowned intel­lec­tu­al, renowned com­mu­nist – share her thoughts with us on a chilly Fri­day night.