In the Streets

A Call to the Army of Love and to the Army of Software
Franco "Bifo" Berardi and Geert Lovink

October 2011. The fight opposing financial dictatorship is erupting.

The so-called ‘financial markets’ and their cynical services are destroying the very foundations of social civilization. The legacy of the postwar compromise between the working class and progressive bourgeoisie has all but disappeared. Neoliberal policies are cutting back education and the public health system and is cancelling the right to a salary and a pension. The outcome will be impoverishment of large parts the population, a growing precarity of labor conditions (freelance, short-term contracts, periods of unemployment) and daily humiliation of workers. The yet to be seen effect of the financial crisis will be violence, as people conjure up scapegoats in order to vent their rage. Ethnic cleansing, civil war, obliteration of democracy. This is a system we call financial Nazism: FINAZISM.

Chinese Activists and Academics Support Occupy Wall Street
China Study Group

From the middle of September, a great “Wall Street Revolution” has broken out in the United States. This street revolution, going by the name of “Occupy Wall Street,” has already expanded to over 70 cities and countries in North America, Europe, and other areas. In their statement on “The Wall Street Revolution,” the American people have sworn that this demand for “a democratic country, not a corporate kingdom” mass democratic revolution must spread to every part of the world, and they will not rest until this goal is met. From the anti-capitalist demonstrations that began after the 2008 financial crisis, and which this year have spread across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and South America, this magnificent global mass democratic movement has finally spread to the center of capitalism’s financial empire–Wall Street.

Specificity: Demands vs. Claims

Yet there is a strong undercurrent in these accounts, including some sympathizers as well as critics, that the movement’s demands are unspecified, unclear, lacking in useful formulation, uncertain of actual and concrete goals.

Is that criticism justified? I think not, with one exception. I think it results from a misinterpretation of the movement’s sources and has political consequences that undermine the movement’s potential for desired radical change.

Nobody Can Predict the Moment of Revolution
Martyna Starosta

My friend Iva Rad and I just finished a video about the ongoing Wall Street Occupation which started last Saturday, September 17:

We want to share insights into the formation of a new social movement as it is still taking shape in real time. The video was shot during the 5th and 6th day of the occupation.

This idea to take over a public square in New York's financial district was inspired by recent uprisings in Spain, Greece, Egypt, and Tunisia which most of us were following online. Despite of the corporate media's effort to silence the protests, and Yahoo's attempt to censor e-mail communication, the occupation is quickly growing in numbers and spreading to other cities in the US and abroad. Please forward our video to like-minded people via email, facebook, twitter - and make the voices of dissent circulate.

Sunday -- 07.31.11 -- For General Assemblies in Every Part of the World
16 Beaver - New York

Attempt 1 : (to summarize this event into one line)
Anti-austerity/pro-democracy groups and individuals meeting at 16Beaver

Attempt 2 : A day devoted to exploring the inter-relations of recent
global/local struggles through first-hand accounts

Attempt 3 : A day dedicated to create short-circuits in our imaginaries

Attempt 4 : (breaking the one line rule)

This Sunday is a special day at 16 Beaver, as we will be attempting to bring together reports on various struggles from North Africa, Spain and Greece, post-Fukushima Japan, and trying to connect them to contemporary struggles right here in New York and the US. The event comes together out of the interest of various individuals and groups here in New York to build upon some of these developments globally, learn from them, and put them into play here.

Austerity is Prison
Anticut 3

Now, finally, the money is gone. The world has run out of future, used it up, wasted it on the grotesque fantasies of the rich, on technologies of death and alienation, on dead cities. Everywhere the same refrain, the same banners and headlines: there is nothing left for you. From the US to Greece, from Chile to Spain, whatever human face the State might have had: gone. The State is no longer a provider of education or care, jobs or housing. It is just a police force, a prison system, a bureaucracy with guns. . .

Sometimes, maybe, we get treated to some political theater: faked expressions of concern or outrage from the puffy, grimacing faces. But the result is always the same –in Oakland, in Sacramento, in Washington, in the offices of the IMF –whatever the owners of wealth want, they get. The rest of us are sacrificed on the altar of the bottom line. No money on which to retire after a lifetime of crushing work. No money to go to college. No money for the grade schools and high schools, which every day look more and more like prisons. No money for the people maimed, sickened and driven insane by this unbearable society.

We could go through the new California budget line by line, but you basically already know what it contains. It’s not a budget but a bludgeon. Every line says the same thing: Fuck you. Die.

The Tactics of Camping: Yes We Camp!
Eric Kluitenberg

Michel de Certeau observed that the tactics employed by the ‘weak’ are always on the watch for opportunities, and that these opportunities must be seized “on the wing”. Tactics, de Certeau writes, have no base at their disposal from where they can capitalise on their advantages, prepare their expansions, or secure their independence from circumstances. Instead tactics ‘insinuate’ themselves into the places of others. They operate on the terrain of strategic power, ‘fragmentarily’, without taking it over in its entirety. Whatever these tactics win, they cannot keep. [1]

Hence, tactics are always nomadic.

"The Revolt of a Generation"
Paolo Do

More than 200 people from different Italian cities, together with students and precarious workers from Vienna, Madrid, London and Tunisia animated the Euro-mediterrean happening "The Revolt of a Generation" at La Sapienza University on the 12th and 13th of May, in Rome. It was an important moment of discussion and elaboration: the revolution of Tunisia confronted with the experiences of the Italian universities; the Spanish network of Juventud sin futuro and the UK's Uncut discussed together with the antiracist student collectives from Vienna, while the experience of the Feminist university of Tunisia confronted with the challenge of the self-education and the critical knowledge.

Sol, or When the Impossible Becomes Unstoppable
Marta Malo

Write to orient oneself, at the velocity imposed by the moment. Between poetics and theory, write to offer something to the confabulation of the world, to contribute, from inside, to the creation of the square, to prolong the event which is Sol. Because yes, Sol has been an event: one of those unexpected occurrences that redraws the map and reopen the horizon of the possible.

In the demonstration the 15th of May, overflowing with joy at the size of the demonstration and its fresh atmosphere, a Radio Mobile Unit interviewed some of those present. “What does the future look like to you?” Despite all the energy circulating, many of the interviews were clearly pessimistic: “It looks grim.” On Monday, when news of the camp in Sol started to blow like gunpowder in the social networks, in a list for exchanging goods and services someone wrote: “What does it matter if some people are camping, as long as others are shopping at the department store next door?” It does matter, because this wasn’t just any camp: the bold gesture of a few became a signal to the many: it was “now or never” and the hunger for doing was set loose, the hunger to speak.

Arabs Are Democracy's New Pioneers
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

One challenge facing observers of the uprisings spreading across north Africa and the Middle East is to read them as not so many repetitions of the past but as original experiments that open new political possibilities, relevant well beyond the region, for freedom and democracy. Indeed, our hope is that through this cycle of struggles the Arab world becomes for the next decade what Latin America was for the last – that is, a laboratory of political experimentation between powerful social movements and progressive governments from Argentina to Venezuela, and from Brazil to Bolivia.

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