Hey you nimble dreamers, occupiers, believers,
Last May 15, a hundred thousand indignados in Spain seized the squares across their nation, held people’s assemblies and catalyzed a global tactical shift that birthed Occupy Wall Street four months later. Our movement outflanked governments everywhere with a thousand encampments in large part because no one was prepared for Occupy’s magic combination of Spain’s transparent consensus-based acampadas with the Tahrir-model of indefinite occupation of symbolic space. Now exactly a year later, a big question mark hangs over our movement because it is clear that the same tactics may never work again.
Spring re-occupations have largely failed here in North America. The May Day General Strike was stifled by aggressive, preemptive policing that neutralized Occupy’s signature moves. In light of these challenges, Saturday’s May 12 rebirth of the indignados could be a tactical turning point.
Across the world, authorities are using “lawfare” to piecemeal outlaw any tactic that we used last year. In Spain, there is an attempt to criminalize the use of the internet to catalyze nonviolent protests and occupations. The International Business Times reports that this is part of a larger European move to “punish those who use social media and instant messaging to organize and co-ordinate street protests.” Canada wants to ban wearing masks at “unlawful assemblies,” a legal designation often used to disperse nonviolent protesters. Meanwhile Germany is taking a more direct route: they have simply issued a decree “banning” the Blockupy anti-bank protest in Frankfurt. As in the U.S., when outlawing free speech and the right to assembly doesn’t work, authorities are increasingly using brutal, paramilitary force.
The power of Occupy lies in its ability to harness the collective intelligence of our leaderless movement to tactically innovate. We move at viral speed – always one step ahead. “Fight, fail, fight again, fail again, fight again… till victory.” When one tactical constellation fails, we innovate spontaneously – we play jazz.
Across the world, indignados are preparing for a big blast on Saturday, May 12. Some, like Occupy London, are planning to retake the squares and set up encampments. Others have totally new tactics in mind. Whatever happens, let’s learn from the indignados with an eye towards our Camp David inspired May 18 #LAUGHRIOT and the global convergence on Chicago to confront NATO …
Let’s be humble … let’s “fall in love with hard and patient work” – and keep in mind that this is all just the beginning.
for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ