“Anti-war protest has little impact anymore, because it has devolved into gathering on a weekend in the political capital, marching around empty streets with pre-printed signs, mouthing toothless chants and listening to cliched speeches. It is too predictable and too easy to ignore, by rulers who are insulated from the ruled by dollars and truncheons. On the other hand, occupying space in the heart of a city without end is a challenge to state power.
Keeping a space continually, and using democratic forms of self-governance recreates the commons, which has been colonised over decades by full-spectrum consumption - shopping, eating, drinking, entertainment and paid spectacle. Occupy Wall Street attracted throngs of journalists and the curious because it was a completely different spectacle. It was a miniature society that rejected the private, individualism and capitalism. The scene of hundreds of people exchanging food, art, music, knowledge, politics, healthcare, shelter, anger, ideas, skills and love was unlike anything else in our consumer societies - because not one exchange was lubricated by money (of course the goods were paid for at some point). Within the occupation, thousands shared the experience of having a direct democratic stake in a society they were helping to build from scratch.
It was the Occupy movement that created the people - “the 99 per cent” - not the other way around. The range of politics and issues ran the gamut, but having the space for collective discussion gave occupiers the time to coalesce around the idea that society’s problems stem from the concentration of wealth and power among “the one per cent”. Thus, those who lack healthcare, had homes foreclosed upon, are unemployed, stuck in low-wage jobs, are homeless, subject to repressive immigration laws, burdened with student debt, opposed to destructive energy extraction or angered by corporate personhood and a political system corrupted by money could find common cause and unite against a common enemy.”
From Legislative Theatre, p235: “The primary objective of Newspaper Theatre is to devolve theatre to the people. The secondary objective is to attempt to demystify the pretended ‘objectivity’ of most journalism, to show that all news published in the paper is a work of fiction at the service of the dominant class. Even accurate news, where the facts are not misrepresented (a very rare thing), becomes fiction when published in a newspaper at the service of this class.” — Augusto Boal
Some of the largest demonstrations in the history of Madrid, Santiago (Chile), Montreal, Frankfurt, and Moscow rose up in the streets in common call this past week. The people on the ground referenced each other’s particular resistance movements, from the Spanish call to Indígnate to the New York-cum-global call to Occupy. People continued to march or rebel, depending on their capacity for struggle, in New York, the Bay Area, Bahrain, Gaza, and Syria.
By week’s end, our eyes have shifted to Chicago, where the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an anachronistic western coalition of former colonial empires that was formed officially to counter Soviet influence, assembled to discuss the 11-year occupation of Afghanistan and the coercive administration of neo-colonialism the world over.
Are there divisions in the halls of power? Many. Some have hopes that the moderate “Socialist” president of France, Francois Hollande, may take stiffer stances against austerity and European intervention in other continents. Many have similar expectations of Syriza, the Greek party that was partly born out of the counter-globalization movement, which is now in the lead for the second round of elections. When people rise in the streets, it sharpens the contradictions in the strategies of rule by the world’s rich until, sometimes. And just sometimes, they are pushed from below to abandon the most egregious of structures.
Quebec is witnessing what some say are its largest marches in history, where a student strike (GGi) will wake to it’s 100th dawn this coming Tuesday. Late Friday night, the provincial government passed the emergency Loi 78 (or as one angry assemblyman called it, Loi Fuck) to suppress the student resistance, prompting some legislators to walk out and call for mass civil disobedience. Twenty-five thousand students hit the streets the next day to challenge authorities. Similar movements against austerity have been hitting Chile for years, and this week has seen them flow back into the streets, banging a cacerolazo in a resounding opposition to President Piñera. In Moscow, fraudulent elections pulled tens of thousands into the streets, and though police violence depleted their numbers, still they rise. In Frankfurt, the financial capital of Germany, they too saw twenty-five thousand join Blockupy to prove that austerity is just as unpopular in the power base of the European Union as it is in the smaller economies that it tries to beat into submission.
nato protests via occupychi.org
Occupy the Mail
A National Call to Solidarity With the United States Postal Service
What: Occupy the Mail is a national call to action to stand in solidarity with the United States Postal Service (USPS) workers. The USPS is undergoing major reform, with proposed ideas such as a 50-cent stamp, “changes” to employee health care benefits and cutting up to 150,000 employees through retirement. Occupy the Mail requests that working groups inside of Occupy Wall Street, as well as Occupations nationwide, to take action immediately.
Who: Occupy the Mail’s National Call to Action is for the hundreds of Occupations in the United States to participate. The following idea can be brought to specific working groups or to the general assemblies. The proposal is for each occupation to open a P.O Box—so that occupiers would not have to give out their personal addresses—that the entire occupation could then publicly shout out. Occupiers could then send letters back and forth to one another, in order to update each other on their progress, increase solidarity, and build communication and understanding about the productivity of other occupations.
Where: Occupy the Mail wants to spread across the nation, not only to occupations but to households as well. As the letters get processed and sent across the nation, they will touch the hands of hundreds of USPS employees who will have the opportunity to read the messages of solidarity from the occupiers.
When and Why: A retired member of the United States Postal Service recently came to an Occupy Wall Street General Assembly to ask for solidarity from OWS for a massive USPS action that is taking place on March 17th. The NYCGA reached consensus on the proposal for solidarity. As a show of respect and solidarity, Occupy the Mail thinks that March 17th would be an appropriate day to launch the Occupy the Mail campaign.
How to take action: Grab a pen and paper, and start writing letters. Address them to friends, family or other occupations. In your letters, inform the recipients as to why we stand in solidarity with the USPS. Inform the recipient of how hard you are working with your local occupation. Seal the letter, and add a personalized message to the USPS from your occupation! (Postcards are available. For more information email OccupyMailUSPS@gmail.com)
By 11:30 p.m., as police officers massed on Broadway, a commander announced that the park was closed. Those inside shouted back that the park was obliged through an agreement with the city to remain open. The commander then announced that anyone who remained inside would be arrested and charged with trespassing.