In the Streets

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Occupy Wall Street's Anarchist Roots
David Graeber

The 'Occupy' movement is one of several in American history to be based
on anarchist principles. The 'Occupy' movement is 'a genuine attempt to create the institutions of a new society in the shell of the old.

London, UK - Almost every time I'm interviewed by a mainstream
journalist about Occupy Wall Street I get some variation of the same
lecture:

"How are you going to get anywhere if you refuse to create a leadership
structure or make a practical list of demands? And what's with all this
anarchist nonsense - the consensus, the sparkly fingers? Don't you
realise all this radical language is going to alienate people? You're
never going to be able to reach regular, mainstream Americans with this
sort of thing!"

If one were compiling a scrapbook of worst advice ever given, this sort
of thing might well merit an honourable place. After all, since the
financial crash of 2007, there have been dozens of attempts to kick-off
a national movement against the depredations of the United States'
financial elites taking the approach such journalists recommended. All
failed. It was only on August 2, when a small group of anarchists and
other anti-authoritarians showed up at a meeting called by one such
group and effectively wooed everyone away from the planned march and
rally to create a genuine democratic assembly, on basically anarchist
principles, that the stage was set for a movement that Americans from
Portland to Tuscaloosa were willing to embrace.

Feminism, Finance and the Future of #Occupy
An Interview with Silvia Federici by Max Haiven

Silvia Federici is a veteran activist and writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY. Born and raised in Italy, Federici has taught in Italy, Nigeria, and the United States, where she has been involved in many movements, including feminist, education, and anti-death penalty struggles. Her influential 2004 book Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation, built on decades of research and activism, offers an account of the relationship between the European witch trials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the rise of capitalism. Federici's work is rooted in a feminist and Marxist tradition that stresses the centrality of people's struggle against exploitation as the driving force of historical and global change.

With other members of the Wages for Housework campaign, like Selma James and Mariarosa Dalla Costa, and with feminist authors like Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva, Federici has been instrumental in developing the idea of “reproduction” as a key way to understand global and local power relations. Reproduction, in this sense, doesn’t only mean how humans reproduce biologically, it is a broad concept that encompasses how we care for one another, how we reproduce our physical bodies depending on our access to food and shelter, how culture and ideology are reproduced, how communities are built and rebuilt, and how resistance and struggle can be sustained and expanded. In the contest of a capitalist society reproduction also refers to the process by which “labor power” (i.e. our capacity to work, and the labor force in general), is reproduced, both on a day to day basis and inter-generationally. It was one of the main contributions of the theorists of the Wages For Housework Movement to Marxist feminist theory to have redefined reproductive work in this manner. In this interview, an extended version of which will appear in a forthcoming issue of Politics and Culture, Federici reflects on the #Occupy movements, their precedents and their potentials.

Max Haiven: We hear a lot of talk about the originality of Occupy Wall Street and the other Occupations. But people have been pointing out that this movement isn't unprecedented and it has been building in various ways for a long time. What do you see as the feminist roots of the Occupations, both in New York and more broadly?

Silvia Federici: This movement appears spontaneous but its spontaneity is quite organized, as it can be seen from the languages and practices it has adopted and the maturity it has shown in response to the brutal attacks by the authorities and the police. It reflects a new way of doing politics that has grown out of the crisis of the anti-globalization and antiwar movements of the last decade, one that emerges from the confluence between the feminist movement and the movement for the commons. By “movement for the commons” I refer to the struggles to create and defend anti-capitalist spaces and communities of solidarity and autonomy. For years now people have expressed the need for a politics that is not just antagonistic, and does not separate the personal from the political, but instead places the creation of more cooperative and egalitarian forms of reproducing human, social and economic relationships at the center of political work.

The tactics of occupation: Becoming cockroach
Nelli Kambouri and Pavlos Hatzopoulos

The global occupy protest movement is proliferating by “contagion, epidemics, battlefields, and catastrophes”.[1] Furthermore, it materialises and disperses in multiple ephemeral processes of transformation that construct a common for the multitude of protestors. The common produced by the global occupy movement is not a mutually shared opposition to the capitalist crisis, nor a collective identity (of the “indignados” or of the 99%), nor a consensual political project (for real, authentic democracy). The common does not even embody an identical strategy of occupying public space, but rather to a series of becomings that question established categorizations and taxonomies that normalize the production of subjectivities and the organisation of life.

More so, the common is not produced in a genealogical, linear fashion, evolving from past forms of mobilisation and protest but rather it emerges directly out of the exceptional material circumstances of crisis contagion and catastrophe that spread like an epidemic in different territorialisations.

In order to perform this argument, we will attempt to trace forms of becoming cockroach in the context of the global occupy movement.

Phase Two: Occupy Wall Street on November 17
Jason Read

Even if it were to disappear tomorrow, Occupy Wall Street would have already scored a massive victory. It has fundamentally altered one of the dominant narratives that underlies the majority political and economic thought in this country: that as much as Americans might be dissatisfied with politicians, they have no real complaint with inequality, or the economic system that makes it possible and perpetuates it – namely capitalism. Occupy Wall Street ruptured this narrative through the occupations and massive popular support. Before September the sentence, “Americans are dissatisfied with social inequality” would have been debatable to say the least, pertaining only to a small faction of leftists and academics. Now it can be stated as fact, a fact that the existing forces and powers do not know what to say about.

Poet-Bashing Police
Robert Hass

Life, I found myself thinking as a line of Alameda County deputy sheriffs in Darth Vader riot gear formed a cordon in front of me on a recent night on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, is full of strange contingencies. The deputy sheriffs, all white men, except for one young woman, perhaps Filipino, who was trying to look severe but looked terrified, had black truncheons in their gloved hands that reporters later called batons and that were known, in the movies of my childhood, as billy clubs.

Occupy and Anarchism's Gift of Democracy
David Graeber

The US imagines itself a great democracy, yet most Americans despise its
politics. Which is why direct democracy inspires them.

As the history of past movements all make clear, nothing terrifies those
running America more than the danger of true democracy breaking out. As
we see in Chicago, Portland, Oakland, and right now in New York City,
the immediate response to even a modest spark of democratically
organised civil disobedience is a panicked combination of concessions
and brutality. Our rulers, anyway, seem to labor under a lingering fear
that if any significant number of Americans do find out what anarchism
really is, they may well decide that rulers of any sort are unnecessary.

Court Orders Stay of Zuccotti Park Eviction
MSNBC

Hundreds of police officers, some in riot gear, descended on Zuccotti
Park overnight in a surprise sweep of the Occupy Wall Street
headquarters that Mayor Bloomberg said had become an "intolerable
situation."

Hours later, a judge granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting
the city from enforcing rules of the plaza that she said were
published "after the occupation began." Bloomberg said at a City Hall
briefing that the city had planned to let people back into the park at
8 a.m. but decided to keep it closed while officials evaluated the
order.

Both sides were due in court at 11:30 a.m. See the order here.

Occupy Wall Street Takes a New Direction
Daniel Massey

Twenty-year-old East Harlem native George Machado initially assumed Occupy Wall Street was “just some well-meaning liberal arts college kids with money—same old, same old.”

But he attended a march and started showing up at Zuccotti Park. Now the college dropout who had never been an activist is at the fore of a group planning a series of militant protests Thursday that could signal a new, disruptive direction for the movement.

The actions, to mark two months since Occupy Wall Street began, will start with an early-morning attempt to shut down Wall Street and prevent the New York Stock Exchange opening bell from ringing. They will conclude with an evening march over the Brooklyn Bridge with union members and community groups.

Inside Occupy Wall Street
How a Bunch of Anarchists and Radicals With Nothing But Sleeping Bags
Launched a Nationwide Movement
Jeff Sharlet

It started with a Tweet – "Dear Americans, this July 4th, dream of
insurrection against corporate rule" – and a hashtag: #occupywallstreet.
It showed up again as a headline posted online on July 13th by
Adbusters, a sleek, satirical Canadian magazine known for its mockery of
consumer culture. Beneath it was a date, September 17th, along with a
hard-to-say slogan that never took off, "Democracy, not corporatocracy,"
and some advice that did: "Bring tent."

Belgrade Philosophical Faculty Occupation – call for international support!
Student Liberation League

Students of the Philological Faculty of Belgrade occupied their faculty building on Monday, 17th October with demands for lowering of tuition fees. Soon afterwards their colleagues from the Philosophical Faculty joined their struggle and occupied their building on 20th October as well.

The occupations are run through direct, democratically structured student assemblies which are in charge of organizing security, educational and cultural programmes during the blockades. They are also organized on non-violent basis.

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