As we mark the anniversary of OPD's gratuitously brutal clearing of the Plaza, it's obvious that the demoralizing effects of state repression have taken their toll on everyone involved in Occupy Oakland. Long-established left-liberals and their newbie acolytes, who merely paid lip service to the more radical aspects of the reclamation of public space, have reverted to their instinctive position: polite pseudo-opposition, which means first and foremost a respect for capitalism and those who protect it. How else are these self-described progressives to make themselves known as politically legitimate actors, worthy of acknowledgement and recognition by powerbrokers looking for the next generation of the managers of revolt? DOOM and the OO Media Committee have finally made their true intentions obvious: to drive an irreversible wedge between pro- and anti-capitalists, between good and bad protesters, between politicians and those who understand they can only represent themselves.
I wrote the following essay for the anthology We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation (AK Press, 2012), edited by Kate Khatib, Margaret Killjoy, and Mike McGuire, and encourage you to pick up a copy of this hefty collection for the approximately fifty contributions, including insightful pieces by many good comrades. I’m particularly excited to share the pages with some of my friends: Josh MacPhee, Ryan Harvey, Andy Cornell, Chris Dixon, Koala Largess, George Caffentzis, and Team Colors! Thanks to Kate and Mike for giving me permission to release my essay into the world so soon into this book’s printed life, since they, like me, see all the essays as tools/weapons in the struggle for freedom.
I hope my partial, open-ended, experimental musings shake up your thinking a bit and maybe make you smile, shed a tear, get angry, and/or recall Occupy from angles you’d forgotten. More to the point, I wrote this piece as inward self-reflection to shake up my own thinking about this past year, but also to spark dialogue and debate, among anarchists especially, about our relation to, role in, mistakes and possible achievements within the occupy movement/moment. Dig in, share, engage with it, make up your own prehistory or future (im)perfects.
For the book, head to your local anarchist or indie bookstore, or click here and support AK Press rather than Amazon: http://www.akpress.org/wearemany.html
Hey anons, goblins, ghouls, ghosts and hallowed party-goers,
Looks like on the eve of the election there’s going to one hell of a party on Wall Street, one on Capitol Hill and hundreds more in front of banks and other prime locations all over the land.
“We all just need a good night off, to relax and have fun.”
Invite your friends, invite your enemies … bring back the spirit of all Hallows’ Eve by honoring the dead and giving those on Wall Street, Capitol Hill and our fr-enemies at the big banks … A GOOD SPOOK!
for the wild,
It would be fitting for the last action of Occupy Oakland to be a return to Oscar Grant Plaza and the planting of one tent. But the slogan on the side of the tent should mourn our dead friends and Occupy Oakland itself.
Movements come into existence and then recede or end. Somewhere in the U.S. there is undoubtedly an outpost of the Temperance Society, which was a world-wide movement for over a century, but is now meaningless . When a movement or organization doesn’t recognize that it has reached its endpoint, it becomes as welcome as a rotting corpse. Smell one once and you would know what we mean.
The evidence of the end of Occupy Oakland is not this proclamation; others have already pronounced it dead before now. The evidence is that the real work of Occupy Oakland continues in spite of the public spectacle. The housing organizing, the labor solidarity group, the anti-repression group and others can no longer pretend to be under the control or direction of the General Assembly, because that body doesn’t exist as a place where serious discussion or, more importantly, decision-making can occur.
A year ago, when Occupy Oakland began, it seemed like the beginnings of a new grassroots political movement, uniting social, economic and institutional justice movements under one banner.
Twelve months later - on the anniversary of the Oct. 25, 2011, police raid on Occupy’s downtown encampment - the movement has become a mucked-up mess, smeared by in-fighting and finger-pointing, which has overshadowed its larger goals.
In the past few weeks, several Occupy-affiliated factions have issued pointed communiqués through various websites and blogs, both official and unofficial. Instead of focusing their energies on targeting an unjust system, what we’ve been seeing is — cue the banjoes — dueling propaganda aimed at internal divisions within the movement itself. The irony is so thick, you could cut it with a knife.
On Oct. 9, Oakland rapper Boots Riley, one of OO’s more visible faces, wrote a Facebook post denouncing vandalism, which was widely circulated through the blogosphere. Riley stated, “The use of the blac bloc tactic in all situations is not useful. As a matter of fact, in situations such as the one we have in Oakland, its repeated use has become counter-revolutionary.”