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?

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

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Page 17 of 20


Drugs are good because you don't 'own them', you just us them to get ripped.

So drugs should be a part of our manifesto.

BTW, is anyone working on that? (with apologies for using that hated word.)


Apathy has worked for me all my life, and I can't be bothered to change now.

The drugs help, too, especially when mixed with lots and lots of alcohol.


"how do we stop the mess?"

we take your advice and give away all our possessions,

let's start with YOU giving away YOUR stuff.


Y'all correct me if i'm wrong, but doesn't it seem like the world is pushing back not hardly enough concomitant to the level of strife that is already well into starting to befall us?


Occupy was a stationary target, and has suffered the consequences of that.

If the ideas which created Occupy fail to move into the minds of more people (now that we got their attention), they will be proven weaker than incumbent ideas.

Once the ideas of Occupy are in enough minds, people's behaviour will change.

Then the world changes.

No worries - just keep on spreading the ideas around.


Occupy is nowhere near dead. Just look at the students in Quebec. That's not only about tuition, it's about who controls. These students and those who march with them are as angry as Occupy and pretty much at the same thing. The frustration is growing and the mainstream don't get the fact that Occupy doesn't need a solid memorable mission becaus it is a reaction and an outpouring of anger at the status quo. We don't necessarily have an alternative, because so far alternatives in power usually end up compromised and sucked into the status quo or a new system as corrupt as the first..maybe with the exception of Cuba, but which has had to be in a perpetual war with the Empire for 50 years making it difficult.
We need a global revolution to bring down the Empire, the public markets, the bankers and unfortunatly the super rich who have manipulated the system so well. It's tear down time and in the chaos the ensues we will find a new structure of local control and local cooperation and survival because the international exchange of goods and people will be gone for a while. Should this be violent it will be horrible, but if we can do it like they did in Iceland by criminalizing the bankers who screwed them, kicking out the politicians who lied and let them down and rewriting their constitution to never have the disaster happen again we can do it.
Right now the Greeks need to pay attention to what happened in Iceland and not be lulled into accepting the bailout crime.
I am hopeful that as people wake up to the end of our planet approaching, to the exteme poverty of the poor, to the lack of opportunity, to the lack of affordable education,nto the death of the oceans from poison and over fishing, to the lack of citizen services and the plethora of service jobs to support big corporate daddies while only being paid a pittence for ones life, we may kick out the present crop of corrupt politicians and all take back our countries. Good luck. We seriously need it.


So you want a 'global revolution'?

In that case, we need to get this guy to join us:

Oh, and this guy has some valuable experience we could tap into:

No we've got a team!


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