Occupy's Spiritual Quest

The fork in the road ahead.


Dear occupiers, jammers, dreamers,

Three years after the May 1968 uprising that swept the world, the great French philosopher Michel Foucault observed that a key strategy of power is to “appear inaccessible to events.” Power, Foucault argued with a nod towards 1968’s failed insurrection, acts to “dispel the shock of daily occurrences, to dissolve the event … to exclude the radical break introduced by events.”

Forty years later, in light of Occupy, Foucault’s observation still strikes home. Despite achieving the impossible at unprecedented speed – sparking a global awakening, triggering a thousand people’s assemblies worldwide, and giving birth to a visceral anti-corporate, pro-democracy spiritual insurrection – Occupy is now struggling through an existential moment. Our movement has been dealt a blow: our May 1 and follow-up events have been dissolved by power; the status quo has shown itself to be far more resilient than many of us expected.

Now a passionate debate is emerging within our movement. On one side are those who cheer the death of Occupy in the hopes that it will transform into something unexpected and new. And on the other are patient organizers who counsel that all great movements take years to unfold.


May 1 confirmed the end of the national Occupy Wall Street movement because it was the best opportunity the movement had to reestablish the occupations, and yet it couldn’t. Nowhere was this more clear than in Oakland as the sun set after a day of marches, pickets and clashes. Rumors had been circulating for weeks that tents would start going up and the camp would reemerge in the evening of that long day. The hundreds of riot police backed by armored personnel carriers and SWAT teams carrying assault rifles made no secret of their intention to sweep the plaza clear after all the “good protesters” scurried home, making any reoccupation physically impossible. It was the same on January 28 when plans for a large public building occupation were shattered in a shower of flash bang grenades and 400 arrests, just as it was on March 17 in Zuccotti Park when dreams of a new Wall Street camp were clubbed and pepper sprayed to death by the NYPD. Any hopes of a spring offensive leading to a new round of space reclamations and liberated zones has come and gone. And with that, Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland are now dead.

The task ahead of us in Oakland and beyond is to search out and nurture new means of finding each other. We are quickly reaching the point where the dead weight of Occupy threatens to drag down the Commune into the dustbin of history. We need to breathe new life into our network of rebellious relationships that does not rely on the Occupy Oakland general assembly or the array of movement protagonists who have emerged to represent the struggle. This is by no means an argument against assemblies or for a retreat back into the small countercultural ghettos that keep us isolated and irrelevant. On the contrary, we need more public assemblies that take different forms and experiment with themes, styles of decision-making (or lack there of) and levels of affinity… Most of all, we need desperately to stay connected with comrades old and new and not let these relationships completely decompose.

— Read the rest of the this article, by anonymous West Coast anarchists, at Bay of Rage



ccupy Wall Street was at the pinnacle of its power in October 2011, when thousands of people converged at Zuccotti Park and successfully foiled the plans of billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg to sweep away the occupation on grounds of public health. From that vantage point, the Occupy movement appears to have tumbled off a cliff, having failed to organize anything like a general strike on May Day – despite months of rumblings of mass walkouts, blockades and shutdowns.

The mainstream media are eager to administer last rites. CNN declared that “May Day fizzled,” the New York Post sneered “Goodbye, Occupy,” and The New York Times consigned the day’s events to fewer than 400 words, mainly dealing with arrests in New York City.

Historians and organizers counter that the Occupy movement needs to be seen in relative terms. Eminent sociologist Frances Fox Piven, co-author of Poor People’s Movements, says:

“I don’t know of a movement that unfolds in less than a decade. People are impatient, and some of them are too quick to pass judgment. But it’s the beginning, I think, of a great movement. One of a series of movement that has episodically changed history, which is not the way we tell the story of American history.”

— Read the rest of Arun Gupta’s What Happened to the Occupy movement?

The fire in the soul of Occupy burns from Oakland to Quebec, Barcelona to Chicago, Wall Street to Moscow and Frankfurt… the question now is which fork in the road will our movement take?

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

Adbusters 111 Cover

On Newsstands December 3

At last we’re in Winter. It’s the year 2047. A worn scrapbook from the future arrives in your lap. It offers a stunning global vision, a warning to the next generations, a repository of practical wisdom, and an invaluable roadmap which you need to navigate the dark times, and the opportunities, which lie ahead.

Subscribe to Adbusters Magazine

197 comments on the article “Occupy's Spiritual Quest”

Displaying 111 - 120 of 197

Page 12 of 20


Bradley Manning is still in jail and a group of brilliant minds had to go to court to prevent the execution of section 1021 of the NDAA. Therefore, Occupy can't afford to be dead. It is important that we take care of / are kind to ourselves and each other.


What makes you think that Occupy is the only thing that can free Bradley Manning? In fact I can't imagine how Occupy could possibly end up being a force to secure his release. I love Occupy to death but I think you are making way too much of it. There was resistance before Occupy and there will be resistance (perhaps more effective) after. This was just one stage of an ongoing struggle that began long before we were born.

Gary (Akoyeh) McGee

“Gar Alperovitz offers "evolutionary reconstruction" as a better alternative to either reform or revolution. Visionaries from Gandhi to Buckminster Fuller have agreed with him. This model focuses our energy on building new parallel institutions that will, in time, supplant the old ones. Don't fight the existing system, this strategy argues; instead, just sidestep it entirely and create a new one. As the old system collapses under its own decay, yours will gradually fill in the gaps until it becomes the new dominant paradigm.” –Sara Robinson

Two potential solutions: Eco-moral Tribalism, and Commitalism...


CREATIVITY OVER CONFORMITY: Simple living for a sustainable future
"To create the life and world we most want, we need to shift our primary focus from solving problems to creating what matters most. Life is complex. Everything is hooked to everything else. We can’t create a simple, successful future by flailing away at problems one at a time. We can’t worry our way into simple success; we can only create it."


Please consult history about how many revolutions were made in under a year.

There is no substitute for mass work: our future is the majority of the 99% who are not yet actively on the side of their and our liberation.

Occupy should be glad to see infantile leftists and assorted smash-and-grab warriors depart; our work requires patience and steadfastness--not posturing and "heavy" rhetoric.

The Weathermen were full of shit; their corollaries today are no less encumbered.


I love your use of words. But i do disagree, in that it seems to me that the whole process of dialogue and revolt is a push to unencumber ourselves. The desire to immediately attack the physical system, or to analyse ourselves to death in coffeeshops, is more than just useless byproduct of naive young people. Both of these tendencies are the result of people genuinely caring, deeply disturbed by the violence of everyday capitalist existence. The feds try hard to disperse us and to make hate distrust and hate each other. I think we can measure our success by the bonding that takes place, by the community that forms with our resistance.


As tragic as the process is and as fraught with danger as the post-period is;

History has shown us that THE ONLY successful tactic against an overwhelmingly unbalanced power situation is the


Wave upon continuous wave of human beings immediately taking over where their brothers and sisters have fallen in front of them with no let up.

That's it. No alternative.


Aren't we already a human wave? Which wave are you talking about? There have never been successful revolutions.


We live through Zuckerbugs vision, and we become as him. Just look at his eyes, its all right there.


Add a new comment

Comments are closed.