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Occupy's Spiritual Quest

The fork in the road ahead.

MARCUS DEMERY

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.

OCCUPY WALL STREET IS NOW DEAD

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

THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT HAS BARELY BEGUN

O

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

OccupyWallStreet.org

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

Displaying 131 - 140 of 197

Page 14 of 20

Harrythefly

I am interested in what models do work and why. People followed the Occupy movement because they could see it working in the Arab Spring. But the Arab Spring did and has access to weapons. Terrorism in Ireland didn't get anywhere for the Catholics. It was the Labour Prime Minister who had a grasp of history who was the catalyst for change. And Gandi's passive movement stupefied the British. The Russians threw out their masters, but then look what happened. Half a generation of men were made to walk into machine gun fire in the 1st world war to cull numbers in Europe to reduce the chance of revolution. I think Occupy need not just to find creative ways of protesting, we need to find the levers of change quickly, and realise the authorities here will deactivate them as soon as they prove effective. Occupy needs a flexible, changing face with strategists who can see what will work and what won't in the West.

Harrythefly

I think I'll try again. :)

I am interested in what models do work and why. People followed the Occupy movement because they could see it working in the Arab Spring. But the Arab Spring did and has access to weapons. Terrorism in Ireland didn't get anywhere for the Catholics. It was the Labour Prime Minister who had a grasp of history who was the catalyst for change. And Gandi's passive movement stupefied the British. The Russians threw out their masters, but then look what happened.

Half a generation of men were made to walk into machine gun fire in the 1st world war to cull numbers in Europe to reduce the chance of revolution. I think Occupy need not just to find creative ways of protesting, we need to find the levers of change quickly, and realise the authorities here will deactivate them as soon as they prove effective. Occupy needs a flexible, changing face with strategists who can see what will work and what won't in the West.

Anonymous

You are confusing Occupy with the actual needed social revolution.

Occupy is just a social manifestation, a gathering place, it is not the revolution Itself. It's the place where we hope the revolution will spring from. Where the ideas and understanding will spring from.

But is not itself the idol of the revolution.

Anonymous

One can only ever think of processes and not a revolution. These processes are as old as civilization itself. Certainly a movement will take a long time. It will take all the time.

Anonymous

I've noticed that a lot of you, ADBUSTERS included, tend to confuse Occupy with the protest.

Granted it's easy to do since they are in such close proximity to each other.

But Occupy is the gathering place, where the GA is held, where the kitchen and library is. Where ideas, and stories are discussed and tossed around and exchanged.

The protest is the front line. Where people Do instead of just Talk.

Anonymous

The Bay of Rage piece is wonderful. Glad to see it on Adbusters. Long live the Oakland Commune!

Anonymous

Chica Indignado (Belgium)
http://justinleestansfield.com/artwork/2654138_Chica_Indignado_Belgium.html

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