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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I heard the Martin Luther King Foundation is also asking the Occupiers to lay down their arms and go home.


The Occupiers have to be shown that our freedom will prevail in the face of their hate.
They hate us because of our freedom, but we will show them that our freedom will triumph, and we will hunt them down wherever they are hiding. Their young people don't have jobs, because the leaders of Occupy make excuses to fool them rather than take responsibility for their own mismanagement of Occupy (imagine what good could have been done if the leaders of Occupy had taken the Opportunity to pass out job applications and soap!). We will show these Occupiers what we are really made of, and that they should have thought twice before messing with our well established organizational system, and freedom.

one two three four!

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.”

And what has this message board come to? liberal bantering against conservative talking points, this is where the discourse of western world rest, a moot point stemming from years of efforts to grow anti- intellectualism sentiments and an utter ignorance of history among the general populace. What was May 68? Who's Michel Foucault? Who cares, we need to get back to the good ol days of American capitalism before it was usurped by some "bad guys".. this is the liberal discourse in short.

Without a knowledge history we are doomed to be a people without a future destined to endlessly repeat the same easily digested tactics that in short produce a sort of idiots loop where we live in a world where the most radical thing liberals produced was "greenpeace" who's own floating hq's sits (in some cities on this planet) next to oil tankers from Shell without even a hint of threat to their order. The Iraq war protest was a great example mobilizing every activist into the streets peaceful according the law of the elite in a tolerable declaration a war created by elites but not against institutions which create wars let alone war subjectivity. The protest like all precariously arranged facebook events lacking passion of ideology fizzled in seconds accomplishing nothing except informing G. Bush of what he already knew, western mainstream discourse is weak, castrated and not at all dangerous the war goes on to this day under a supposed liberal president.

Occupy is neither dead nor alive as many have figured its a call to people to gather around a potentially radical discourse considering the times of "we do as we please" in other words an a priori demand to true freedom especially in political discourse. It doesn't follow traditional methods and in a way allows the intellectuals to act as they can as agitators of thought challenging their peers with each step of their struggle the result is that radicalization happens to people who never thought it was possible, and so Quebecer students make a militant stance against a threat to their agency as students ignoring the idiots on the sides. In response the state acts it quickly reacts against this threat in a way that the state affirms its stance that their is no freedom in our society and there never was. Occupy could at the least have informed us of this truth alone and now some us must declare whether we stand for total freedom or just restoration of the bourgeois state the latter which liberals aspire to manage someday...

In the end our work is not to be done in isolation in front of a computer, its in real space and time organizing and its not easy yet the struggle never was.


Occupy doesn't exist to put a more 'acceptable' socialist face on capitalist exploitation, through trivial reforms.

It's my opinion, those types (whom you refer to as liberal) are as oppositional to the movement as the 1%, because they don't see that there's anything intrinsically wrong with a system of governance that exploits humans, the environment, or coerces the vast majority through either the threat of force, imprisonment, destitution or starvation.


The International Mahatma Gandhi Foundation (IMGF) has disowned Occupy.

They've asked Occupy to surrender to police.


Occupy has failed because the people who supported it had very short attention spans, the need for immediate gratification, and no real investment in the movement (due to the absence of any actual goals).

In other words, the people who supported OWS were like children. They didn't get what they wanted quickly enough, so they became apathetic and distracted, moving on to other things that might offer more immediate rewards.

The children of OWS enjoyed playing last Fall. Now, having had the Winter off, they find that they are no longer interested in this game and want to play something new. What that might be isn't clear, but it is clear that it isn't Occupy anymore.

"Revolution" is hard work. It means sacrifice and dealing with more setbacks than successes until the ultimate goal is achieved. The folks supporting Occupy don't have what it takes to succeed in endeavors such as these, not do they care to.

Occupy is nothing more than a blip on the radar anymore and it remains that only because of the Black Bloc and the violence they threaten. Once they either lose interest or are all finally in jail, then Occupy will really be over.

The general public has forgotten Occupy, except as a minor inconvenience made up of people who made a lot of noise and stunk like the homeless they cast out of their camps.

That's the legacy of Occupy: Failure and irrelevance.

You can write all the articles you want about how important Occupy is. The fact is that it's just not. Nobody cares anymore.

It's time to go home.


What an irrelevant and failed life you must be leading, to be trolling about "irrelevance" and "failure".


Yes, Eeyore. It's time to go back to sleep and forget everything else--even though the crisis continues. Do you really--seriously--believe this?


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