Adbusters

OWS GUT CHECK

Three challenges Occupy must overcome.

LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS

Hey you nimble dreamers, believers and jammer tacticians out there,

Our movement has reemerged from winter hibernation to find that this spring we are different but so too is the political and tactical situation. Occupy now faces a series of existential challenges that will define the month of May and set the tone for our long-term future.

#1 challenge: Jump over the corporate media

It took the New York Times two weeks last year to wake up to the insurrection percolating in their own backyard. This May Day, we saw an insidious attempt to ignore and discredit us right across the mainstream media. Time to jam the corpo-commercial lie machine and shift the way information flows and meaning is produced. Here is occupier Charles Young’s take on the blackout:

“I know. It’s just a coincidence. Or conspiracy theory. The .01% who rule the United States would never stoop to such stunts to knock Occupy Wall Street off the front page and surround it with mentions of terrorism… But Occupy wasn’t on the Times’ front page, online or in print, either.”

Read more at Counterpunch.

#2 challenge: Block the co-optation of our movement

Last September, the old left didn’t want to touch us. Then Occupy captured the world’s imagination and now they are jumping in to channel our energy into electoral politics and symbolic actions. Founding Zuccotti Marisa Holmes warns that the co-opters are a deep threat to our movement:

“This is an election year. Everything is at stake. There will be many more attempts like The 99% Spring to come. The 1% have no intention of funding a movement that actually poses a threat to their power. They seek to manage social movements via foundations thru resource allocation, top-down structures, and co-opting language. In the past this strategy has proven effective at dividing, conquering, and integrating movements into respectable forms of activism, and it’s starting to take hold… We have realized our collective power, and we must not be pacified!”

Read more in the Occupy! Gazette #4.

#3 challenge: Occupy the future

Our most difficult task of all is to describe, build and sustain the post-capitalist future we want to live in. Here is Slavoj Žižek’s stab to get your juices flowing:

“It is not enough to reject the depoliticized expert rule as the most ruthless form of ideology; one should also begin to think seriously about what to propose instead of the predominant economic organization, to imagine and experiment with alternate forms of organization, to search for the germs of the New. Communism is not just or predominantly the carnival of the mass protest when the system is brought to a halt; Communism is also, above all, a new form of organization, discipline, hard work.”

Read more at the Guardian.

Hey occupiers: the old world has no future; their leaders have no solutions. Now everything from how we live to how we love and how the world is governed is up for grabs. Can we rise to the challenge? Let the tactical brainstorm begin.

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

OccupyWallStreet.org / Tactical Briefing #29 and #30 / On May 12, retake the squares and on May 18, spark the #LAUGHRIOT then join the movement in Chicago

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217 comments on the article “OWS GUT CHECK”

Displaying 21 - 30 of 217

Page 3 of 22

Anonymous

Oh and guys. The Hardcore Militant Left wants you in Chicago. They want you going up against Pigs in Riot Gear and Military..

Cause Nothing works better in spreading "The Revolution" then blood of the innocent in the streets..

A few dozen OWS'ers bleeding to death in the streets a thousand or so other arrested, battered, abused and gases.

Then INSTANT calls of MORE POLICE POWERS to DHS! More TSA groping down your pants.. and Clamp down and choke off any constitutional rights of the people left! Sacrificing Liberty of Security and crocodile tears of "oh we can't let any more future ows end up in body bags. So these new Draconian Powers are a must for the safety of all"

And they the Elitist Vampires of BOTH the Left and Right go on to suck the very soul of America dry of any last vestiges of blood.

So I do hope you have your last wills and testaments ready. Cause Dude.. Chicago 2012 will make Chicago of 1968 Democratic Convention look like Kindergarten!!

Former Progressive

rtb61

Occupy still needs a core apolitical cause and that should be the political representative selection process. It should be openly challenged and discussed. Not the election but everything that goes on before the election. What information and what tests politician should be required to provide and undergo prior to the selection process. What the public has the right to know about a politician before the politician stands for election.
How can the public make an informed choice about which politician to vote for when that information is missing.
No matter how much money is spent, the truth is still the truth and the core method of selecting a politician should be about their provable skills, abilities and history and not idiotic commercials.

Anonymous

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9c2K4Jl5LI

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMU1_ctXthM&feature=related

hermit

Regardless of organizational ideologies, Occupy won't function as a healthy social form unless it brings inner order to itself. Right now everyone wants to lead, everyone thinks they know best and no one wants there to be "leaders" at all. Too many cooks spoil the stew.

Whatever slick or cute name we give to the seeming opposition (wealthy elite, corprotocracy etc.), one of the ways they work is by having inner order. England had a king and an aristocracy. There was no original American Revolution until the Colonies organized themselves, created grounded inner structures and eventually went so far as to pick outstanding individuals to perform necessary hierarchical functions (e.g. George Washington to lead the army).

Instead of "actions", which is getting way ahead of itself, Occupy needs State conferences, followed by regional conferences and eventually a national conference. What the conferences do is create situations in which leaders can emerge, through the ongoing dialogues where outstanding individuals reveal themselves through what they do and how they handle themselves.

Rome was not built in a day, and changing the situation in America and elsewhere needs to have time appropriate to its needs and nature.

In a way, these "conferences" actually become a second government of the people etc., which is formed inside the existing no longer functional oligarchical government. We need large scale democratic processes by which we learn and by example lead the country through creative deeds, not destructive spasms dominated by immature individuals who don't know history and of course are thereby doomed to repeat all its prior errors.

Joel A. Wendt, author of Economic and Social Rebellion

Liberation Now!

Thanks Joel! I couldn't agree more. Finally, Adbusters is turning the lens on itself. It's easy to critique so called "outsiders" and fail to look inward at ourselves and reflect on our own movement and what needs to come next.

I feel like one of the fears Occupy has is having inner organization and leadership. It's as if having leaders means forfeiting so-called "horizontalism". But its false that their aren't leaders in this movement, and not acknowledging it doesn't make it less real. Of course, when it's acknowledged we run risks: leaders can be targeted by enemies and leaders egos can get in the way. But that still happens.

Ss beautifully depicted in her article Tyranny of Structurelessness many moons ago (http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm), Jo Freeman explains to the 2nd wave woman's movement that the notion of their being no leaders in a long-term movement is a myth. It's been a myth from the start. There are organizers in Occupy, and it's not the 99%, it's the .001%. That's okay, we've all heard the Margaret Mead quote about it taking a small group of committed people to make change.

But if we don't acknowledge our structures and leader, then we have no way to hold anyone accountable, no way to vote them in or out, no way to focus our ideas and our movements into a cohesive strategy. Consensus is a nice model for some things, but not on the front lines. Decisions need to happen quickly and effectively. How many of us regularly participate in General Assemblies? Honestly, I vote more in general elections than participate in these Assemblies.

Even anarchists of the past (and I only keep bringing up anarchist's because it's clear that this is the ideological orientation of adbusters, even if they don't openly admit it) like the the IWW and the Spanish syndicates, had models of organization and leadership. The structures we create don't need to be hierarchical or top down. Having leaders doesn't mean the rest of us sit idly back. It does mean that we recognize that some people have skills and time for some tasks, and that others need time and experience to develop. Let's honor our unique skills and capacities, while we constantly nurture greater participation and growth in each other. Time to get truly organized and really rock the system!

Anonymous

WE are the ones we've been waiting for!

here we are!

no more waiting!

occupy should splinter into dozens of subgroups. what works in one place does not always work in others! diversity of tactics is the driving force behind the evolution of this new form of people's movement! the tactics and strategies that work will stick around and grow. we can do this - we are clever and resourceful people! all of us, everywhere!

occupy!

de-colonize!

rise up!

act up!

fight back!

one, two...many strategies!

Anonymous

Fuck leaders, this is not the rebuilding of America the way it used to be or the presenting of targets for assassination. This is another historical retribution that helps would be elites understand the mounting historical argument that elites get stuffed when they start to imagine that others were born to serve them. This isn't about finding someone who can whisper that lowering the minimum wage to avoid vigorously taxing the rich is wrong. Its about political equity in the short term.

Anonymous

While I agree with many sections of your comment in regards to organization, creative deeds, and conferences, I disagree with your assumption that we need "leaders". Your comment implies we should create power structures similar to those we wish to change. Moreover, it's regressive and unnecessary. Occupy must be careful not to mimic current and/or previous power structures. That's authoritarianism, not democracy. The revolutionary war isn't a pertinent analogy as to how Occupy should organize and conduct itself. The revolutionary war was won because the French fleet showed up on the coast of Yorktown. What one can take away from the revolutionary war, is that the entirety, or even a majority of the population isn't needed for a successful revolution. The loyalist and fence sitters outnumbered the patriots.

The current battle for humanity against corrupted governments, banker, corporate and military control, must not be fought through war or violence, but through awareness, education and direct involvement.

The technology already exists for direct democracy. Conferences could be conducted online so people aren't restricted by location or movements. And the international chapters of Occupy in Canada, the UK and Australia could be part of the consensus/conferences, so Occupy can expand. Why not have spokespeople, spokescouncils, rather than leaders? Duties could be shared, volunteered, instead of delegated, or assumed. In order to expand this movement, people need to feel that they can have direct involvement, not just as a theoretical supporter, but by making a direct contribution or taking an active role other than civil disobedience or occupations.

Organization and consensus first, then ongoing awareness campaigns to counter propaganda from current power structures, this creates expansion. Then proposed reforms, new ideas and actions, along with the mechanisms and methods for the reform; one of which would be direct democracy. If direct democracy is implemented - online - for Occupy, then a system is in place that can take over the role of corrupted courts and corporate controlled governments.

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