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”

Displaying 31 - 40 of 197

Page 4 of 20


Firstly you shouldn't have to physically occupy to be a part of occupy. The demand for people to physically take space isn't feasible for most who have jobs, families and responsibilities.

Myself and others who left didn't do so because of the media. We are the ones who are not media junkies and its a stretch to cast everyone as selfish, narcissistic or trivial. Your generalizations of people in general is a sign of how little respect you have for them and that being you cannot claim to be one of the 99%, indeed you sound more like an elitist. It is not "they" who think of themselves as "consumers" but you who think of them as nothing more than consumers.

This is not a revolution so get over yourself. Look out of your window and you will see that nothing has changed and roughly 98% of society is just calmly going about their lives with occupy far far far from their minds. All you are at this point is an occasional snippet in the newspaper,not an infiltration into their imagination nor their communities.

The problem in the US is that it suffers from a narrow binary problem. One is either good or bad, right or left, democrat or republican.

I haven't been to the mall since I was a teenager. It seems from your post that your derision for the American people is a sign of some kind of schizophrenia. On the one hand you claim yourself as the 99%, one of the masses, one of the majority and that occupy is "everyone" and in the same breathe you categorize the same masses as selfish, narcissistic and stupid as if you cannot even tolerate the scent of the hoi polloi never mind associate yourself as one of them. How are you going to create a new democratic power from the selfish, narcissistic, stupid, brainwashed consumers you say are too subservient to even back your movement? Are you going to clone members of occupy to fill the existing shell of society?

And how is it that you are so clever as to have stepped out of your "false beliefs" while everyone else as you seem to believe are suffering from stockholms' syndrome? Did you meet with Morpheus and take the red pill?

If I seem condescending its only a reaction to your own condescension. Your hatred for others is apparent and as a member of the 99% I have indeed turned my back on the movement, or rather I should say I turned my back on attitudes such as yours that have permeated the movement. I am a gardner and I tend my garden in spring. I look out of the window and my May Night Salvia is blooming, my Jacob's Robe and Josephs Coat are bursting with blooms, I am awaiting for the Praying Mantis sack to hatch so I can introduce beneficial insects into my realm and I am planning to dig out existing turf so I can plant my butterfly attracting Aquilegia's of various colors. All of that brings me great pleasure and is much more worthy of my time than fritting it away in a movement that doesn't have enough humility to talk to anyone who is truly a hard-working member of the 99%. The ones who suffer, who strive to survive and are busily tending their individual gardens for themselves, their families and their communities.

At this point I don't believe we have nothing else to say to each other, much like the movement which doesn't condescend itself to reach out to the mainstream public but fancies itself a preacher or an authoritarian thinks it knows what others should want for themselves. So thank you your gracious lord for granting me enough knowledge to know the difference between your and you're. You are so kind. We all love you for your kindness, humility and wisdom.

OOPs! Methinks your lordship has dropped his gilded scepter. Should I bend over and pick it up for you my lord? Ahh. Never mind, was only made of fools gold anyway.


Yeah I have condescension for lying sacks of shit like yourself. You motives are clear, you come here to disparage what you don't support and never did, just as I suspected.


Wrong, just because they do not agree with you, and apparently touch a nerve by calling you out on true stuff does not give you the right to insult them personally.
I'm not the writer of the above comments, and I am/was an occupier in several camps.
I personally saw much of what the above commenter is talking about and I agree completely.

Elitism is not going to accomplish mass revolt or substantial change.
I saw a mass exodus of working people of all types leaving occupy as early as Nov. and Much of it had to do with the elitism that permeated the camps. I saw it in California, and I saw it in N.Y.
And now I see it all over the interwebs.

please remember the idea of horizontalism and inclusion, because it seems like the key ingredients that are sorely lacking right now.


How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Government.

The Stockholm Syndrome is said - by some - to be to relationship that develops between a captor and its hostage. In such a relationship, the captor expresses empathy and positive feelings towards their abusive captor, and often they will display a desire to defend them.

Or could it mean an overly-close relationship that can develop between the public and "their" government? A relationship in which the public will, not only express empathy and positive feelings towards the abusive powers-that-be, but will display an unreasonable desire to defend the system?


P.S: Closely related is a book by William H. Boyer, Myth America - Democracy vs. Capitalism.
(Apex Press, 2003)

"The big leap in public consciousness comes when people see that they have been duped and put into an intellectual cage, a "windowless cocoon" that confines their thoughts and beliefs. People don't like to be duped and exploited-for self-respect is threatened when we are manipulated and not treated as a human being. Stage one in becoming politically literate democratic citizens is for people to be angry about how they have been duped." Page 129

Anonymous Sales Rank: #1291596 in Books

Wow, only 1291595 books had better sales than Boyer's book.

Was it required reading 10 years ago in your Sociology 101 class?


Great idea!

Can you tell us where and when the next general assembly for Occupy is?

Cuz I want to be there!


No that's not what it is. It's that occupy keeps on saying the same thing over and over. Change this, change that. It's become redundant. There are already lots of established organizations that have been working for a long time already on the things that occupy wants, and they are doing a fine job. And none of them need occupy to come in and muddle things. In fact everything was going great until occupy came along. Now everything sucks because of occupy. And occupy has no one to blame but occupy. In fact the only reason there's a problem in the first place is because of occupy. Occupy is the real problem, for all the reasons stated by various people here. So we should all concentrate on getting rid of occupy. Only once we get rid of occupy, can everything go back to normal. If you care about this world we live in, then you'll all come to the conclusion that occupy is the problem, that occupy should never have happened, and that occupy must be stopped. I say thank you that there are people who can see things for what they really are, and that are preventing occupy from interrupting things. We've got a whole lot of real issues to deal with, like getting rid of occupy and getting things back to normal without occupy for starters. So let's all get together and get rid of occupy!!!!!


It may be that the black bloc is not hardly violent enough. It may be that the black bloc needs to get much much more violent. Like insanely and massively violent on an epic scale.


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