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"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
Occupy’s public discussions on “diversity of tactics” have often lacked historical perspective; discussions, at least online, have tended to degenerate to “Ghandi!” “No, ANC!” Now, however, Erica Chenoweth has developed a dataset and analyzed the historical record. Below the fold are slides summarizing the results of her study of 323 non-violent and violent campaigns from 1900-2006. (There are twenty slides, so anybody with a slow connection may prefer to download a zipped file of the original PDF). Here’s one key slide:
I’m sure, readers, that like any study, Chenoweth’s work is open to challenge on any number of grounds. That said, surely looking to the historical record to see what’s worked isn’t such a bad thing?
* * *
Why not do what works? Is that so wrong?
I am 23 years old
I am a female (not that it should make a difference, but apparently in our society it does…)
From the day I moved out of my parent’s house, I’ve supported myself 100%, not because they don’t love me but because they can’t support my dreams financially.
For over two years I schlepped 2-for-1’s and shots to pay for my rent, a used car, and tuition at a community college.
Now I’m attending the University of MN and I depleted all of my savings just so I wouldn’t have to take out a loan this semester. I’m trying to get by debt free and it seems near impossible.
I’m majoring in journalism, a profession I consider a civic duty. I know my salary will never break 5 figures and I’m OK with that because I’ve learned to live within my means.
I am the 99%.
I am one of the more fortunate disabled 99% (I am am a older Deaf disabled person). I am on SSDI but because I had a reasonably good paying job for many years I make ends meet and now also have Medicare with supplemental part B and own my home outright so I am not too bad off (for now). As a group older Deaf one of the most hard hit by this inequality, however, and many older Deaf have always been marginalized as a group. Now with the ongoing and growing polarization of wealth they quite often land in the lowest of the poverty brackets. To make matters worse they are quite often at a double disadvantage as they require interpreters to even communicate with government agencies and providers and THAT cost money (supposedly provided for legally but many many time it is it is not offered as being “too expensive” for the providers and legal loop holes are found). Under these conditions the older Deaf tend to just “disappear” from all statistical radar screens and stay within their own communities and “suffer (and die) in silence”.
Hopefully all 99% activities will be a role model for many 1% groups that do not believe in accessibility rights (either ADA or for their clients) and provide access to ALL older disabled individuals, including any special needs and interpreters/CART access for the Deaf.
I am 24 years-old… and I am one of the very lucky ones. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with skin cancer, and because I was on the truly fortunate ones, I was able to receive medical treatment that I know millions in this country alone cannot afford to have when they’re sick and scared, in pain and in need. On January 4th of this year, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Once again, the fact that I am one of the very luckiest never escapes my mind or my heart. Fortunately, I am still covered under my parents’ health care plan for the next two years. Because of this blessing, I’ve been able to receive treatments, surgeries, and the necessary medications I need to not only survive but to live so that I can fight not only chronic illness but far more nefarious, demoralizing evils like chronic racism, intolerance, greed, corruption, and apathy.
I am a first-generation Palestinian-American, and I will ALWAYS stand with the 99% fighting tirelessly against injustice on all fronts. I stand with my tireless comrades resisting and galvanizing to bring about REAL change! They are my heroes who instill real hope in me and will ultimately change the world. So keep fighting dear comrades!
I believe in hope…
I believe that the blood, tears, patient suffering, and steadfast struggle of the 99% all over the world will stand the test of time and achieve all that is just and moral.
Occupy everything and don’t ever remain silent in the face of injustice anywhere it exists!
I am the 99 percent.
“Never doubt that a doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
De 1990 à 2010, le mouvement étudiant a fait l'objet de plus de 1000 arrestations.
En 2012, en 6 mois seulement, ce nombre a été multiplié par 3.
Nous dédions ce film aux arrêtéEs et aux blesséEs du conflit.
"Dérives" a pour but premier de remettre certaines pendules à l'heure quant aux dérives policières et médiatiques qui ont marqué le Printemps érable.
Is Occupy Wall Street outperforming the Red Cross in hurricane relief?
November 4, 2012
In Sunset Park, a predominantly Mexican and Chinese neighborhood in South Brooklyn, St. Jacobi’s Church was one of the go-to hubs for people who wanted to donate food, clothing, and warm blankets or volunteer help other New Yorkers who were still suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. On Saturday, Ethan Murphy, one of the people heading the kitchen operation, estimated they would prepare and send out 10,000 meals to people in need. Thousands and thousands of pounds of clothes were being sorted, labeled, and distributed, and valuable supplies like heaters and generators were being loaded up in cars to be taken out to the Rockaways, Staten Island and other places in need. However, this well-oiled operation wasn’t organized by the Red Cross, New York Cares, or some other well-established volunteer group. This massive effort was the handiwork of none other than Occupy Wall Street—the effort is known as Occupy Sandy.
The scene at St. Jacobis on Saturday was friendly, orderly chaos. Unlike other shelters that had stopped collecting donations or were looking for volunteers with special skills such as medical training, Occupy Sandy was ready to take anyone willing to help. A wide range of people pitched in, including a few small children making peanut butter sandwiches, but most volunteers were in their 20s and 30s. A large basement rec room had become a hive of vegetable chopping and clothes bagging. They held orientations throughout the day for new volunteers. One of the orientation leaders, Ian Horst, who has been involved with a local group called Occupy Sunset Park for the past year, says he was “totally blown away by the response” and the sheer numbers of people who showed up and wanted to help. He estimated that he’d given an orientation to 200 people in the previous hour.
By midday, a line stretched all the way down the block of people who’d already attended orientation and were waiting for rides to be dispatched to volunteer. Kiley Edgley and Eric Schneider had been waiting about 20 minutes and were toward the front of the line. Like several people I spoke to, the fact that this effort was being organized by the occupy movement wasn’t a motivating factor—they found out about the opportunity to volunteer online and just wanted to help.
So how did an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, best known as a leaderless movement that brought international attention to issues of economic injustice through the occupation of Zucotti Park in the financial district last year, become a leader in local hurricane relief efforts? Ethan Murphy, who was helping organize the food at St. Jacobis and had been cooking for the occupy movement over the past year, explained there wasn’t any kind of official decision or declaration that occupiers would now try to help with the hurricane aftermath. “This is what we do already, “ he explained: Build community, help neighbors, and create a world without the help of finance. Horst said, “We know capitalism is broken, so we have already been focused on organizing to take care of our own [community] needs.” He sees Occupy Sandy as political ideas executed on a practical level.
As frustration grows around the city about the pace and effectiveness of the response from FEMA, and other government agencies and the Red Cross, I imagine both concerned New Yorkers and storm victims alike will remember who was out on the front lines.
As local leaders and citizens complain of FEMA and the Red Cross and general government absences in their own neighborhoods, independent and local volunteer relief organizations have sprung up in droves, organized almost entirely through word of...
It took me 2 years to find a job (with a degree). I can’t afford a sitter, so my kids are left alone after school or with their drunk aunt. I work full time and make a pretty good amount of money and still go back and forth from a homeless shelter & my parents house. I’m just glad I can feed my kids (most of the time, sometimes i go to a food bank) and make sure they have warm clothing. (I live in the arctic where it is -50 below for 3 months out of the year. I am the 99percent.
In the article I give a personal review on some of the important spaces of convergence and mobilisations which took place in 2011 and 2012 and currently being planned: like, 15O, Joint Social Conferences, Hub Meetings of Indignados, Global May, Agora 99 and Florence 10+10 among others. I also deliver my observations on the dramatic rise of peer to peer (P2P) communication as well as increasing involvement of new generation activists and spreading of P2P relational dynamics within in these spaces and mobilisations.
* The Dramatic Rise of Peer-to-Peer Communication within the emancipatory movements Reflections of an International Labour, Social Justice and Cyber Activist Posted on October 23, 2012 . Draft paper by Örsan Senalp
An important review of p2p organizing, mostly within the European movements, by Orsan Senalp.
We reproduce the abstract, the introduction, and the conclusions.
In the article I give a personal review on some of the important spaces of convergence and mobilisations some of which took place in 2011 and 2012 and others are currently being planned: like, 15O, Joint Social Conferences, Hub Meetings of Indignados, Global May, Agora 99 and Florence 10+10 among others. I also deliver my observations on the dramatic rise of peer to peer (P2P) communication as well as increasing involvement of new generation activists in these spaces and mobilisations. Such developments might allow radical reformist and revolutionary forces to invent an upgraded methodology for working together which might in return make it possible to form transnationally connected and strong alliances between horizontal and less vertical forms of agency, so called movement of movements.
In 2011 the world witnessed the beginning of the first truly transnational and global grass-roots uprising. Peer to peer self-organising, on-line connectivity, horizontality, and commitment to non-violence have become the common characteristics of the rising global movement. Progressive and revolutionary civil society organisations and trade unions have played a crucial role in the uprisings that took place in Tunisia, Egypt, Iceland, Greece, Spain, Israel, Chile, the UK, the US as well as many other places.
This constellation might explain why 2012 has begun as a year in which the transnational capital and ruling elite have gathered around a consensus on various types of authoritarian and neoliberal state capitalism. More and more divorce between capitalism and democracy followed the market failure deepening in the West. While imperial confrontations among the elite forces taking the form of military conflicts, the common offensive against the poor and working classes structurally and strategically increased. The violence has been hardened against the peaceful social opposition almost everywhere. Not only austerity, flex-slavery and proletarianisation have spread throughout the world; peaceful public space occupations were violently evicted, militarisation, surveillance and criminalisation captured all domains of social life, strikes were banned, and even as happened in Marikana tragedy in South Africa, tens of striking workers have been massacred by the police forces in cold blood.1
On the other hand, 15M and Occupy movements have reached a sustainable phase within 2012. After 15O, May 1 General Strike and Global May/Spring mobilisations a lot of experience has been gained.2 September 17, the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and current autumn mobilisations have proved the sustainability that the young movement has achieved.3 A week before these lines are written Global Noise mobilisation took place marking, this time, the first anniversary of the October 15 uprising. There have been many local and national mobilisations for various causes between October 12 and 20. October 13 was the global day of action. The Global Noise mobilisations were organised in more than 30 countries and 230 cities around the world making a huge meaningful noise against the ruling class brutality. There have been and will be many other initiatives and mobilisations taking place during this autumn and winter.
Meanwhile we have been observing the formation of larger alliances among more traditional progressive forces. Important spaces and convergence processes have been initiated, launched by radical democratic as well as revolutionary alter-forces especially in Europe. At the beginning of November there are two events taking place: Agora 99 in Madrid November 1-4 and 10+10 in Florence Italy, November 8-11.4 The objective in these gatherings is enabling constructive interaction between non-representational new movements and progressive NGO networks and unions, and defining the common ground and common mobilisations. Hopefully much larger than the ones set for so far. On top of all these unions from Greek, Spanish, and Portugal have declared that they will set forth simultaneous general strikes on November 14. There is a possibility that the unions from Malta and Cyprus will also join in and turn it into the first Mediterranean General Strike of the world history.
In the article I give a personal review on some of the important spaces of convergence and mobilisations which took place in 2011 and 2012 and currently being planned: like, 15O, Joint Social Conferences, Hub Meetings of Indignados, Global May, Agora 99 and Florence 10+10 among others. I also deliver my observations on the dramatic rise of peer to peer (P2P) communication as well as increasing involvement of new generation activists and spreading of P2P relational dynamics within in these spaces and mobilisations. Such developments might allow radical reformist and revolutionary forces to invent a methodology for working together which might in return make it possible to form transnationally connected and strong alliances between horizontal and less vertical forms of agency; so called movement of movements.
The new methods and tools of communication and self-organising that have been experimented with and developed by the new-generation activists in creating a shared feeling and experience, strategy and tactics, public space and political impact. Information-gathering and exchanges before making proposals to the local General Assemblies about the mobilisations, action or alternative initiatives to be taken forward have been representing varying combinations of direct democracy powered by P2P relational dynamics and tools, which were developed and adopted by the previous and current generation activists, including those active in Anonymous and Pirate party movements. Activist from different movements need to reflected upon these new knowledge and experience in order to strengthen international level practices in order to contribute to most radical social change possible.
Following the summer 2012, political momentum is rising again. Upcoming elections in the US, Israel, and the power transition in China, make intra-class conflicts more and more difficult to handle for the ruling elite, in global term. The coming months are potentially full of tension. The increase in military confrontations between China and Japan, Turkey and Syria, Israel & US vs. Iran, reveal these fraternal conflicts. In most of the cases these hit hardest the innocent civilians, the poor, children and elderly. But the hope is always there. While I am making the last corrections on the text, an International Strike for November 14 has been set to take place in Greece, Spain and Portugal. There are important workshops planned for Agora 99 and Firenze 10+10 to interlink the work has been done, seek for collaboration and possibility of larger mobilizations, and start a discussion on building a transnational unionism. Another important unionist platforms New Unionism Network has launched a discussion on how to build global unionism. These might be the signals of the coming of stronger alliances between various types of actors. Who knows may be we can this time achieve to form a ‘Fellowship of the Ring‘, using Tolkien’s fictive image as a metaphor. A force that can attract the eye of the Mordor, murderous 1% in our case, to herself and expand from the Middle Earth (Europe) towards the Mediterranean, Middle East, the Americas and across the world. Charge a glorious battle against the common enemy who declared economic, social, political, cultural and military class war at the 99% and the planet itself.“
Under the slogan “You are not a loan, you are not alone,” Occupy Wall Street's “Strike Debt” group is aiming to inject life into a resistance movement against debt repayment. The operation is gaining worldwide support, and could very well revive the protest movement which was born a year ago.
Strike the Debt poster - Public domain
The basic premise laid out in a joint statement by Occupy Wall Street, Real Democracy Now, the 15-M movement and various organisations asserts a demand for a debt audit by the people, announcing:
To the financial institutions of the world, we have only one thing to say: we owe you nothing.
Mortgages, medical debts, student loans, credit cards, or even local government debts: making war against any form of illegitimate debt is the new combat for an increasing number of protest movements throughout the world.
There are already several videos online calling for debts to be wiped out:
The movement is already world-wide, but its momentum originates in the United States, where a striking reality cannot be denied: a debt strike is actually already underway there. Nicholas Mirzoeffe writes in his blog:
27 percent of student loans are in default and that number is rising.
$1.2 trillion of mortgage debt is underwater (debt exceeds value of property) or about one-third of all properties.
5 million homes have been foreclosed and 5 million more are under threat of foreclosure, meaning that owners are in default or behind on payments. 300,000 people had a foreclosure notification added to their credit report in the first quarter of this year. 27% of mortgages are seriously delinquent–ironically, a slight improvement. 300,000 more people went bankrupt.
The average credit card debt per household has fallen from $17, 936 in 2009 to $14,336 now: because of mass default. In 2010, credit card companies had to write off fully 10% of all debt.
These observations are striking. But how does one go from an individual refusal to repay - often without much choice - to a collective rebellion against debt?
That is the object of the Strike Debt operation. On the operation's official site there is even a “Debt Resisters' Operations Manual.” This comprehensive, referenced and argumented 100-pages-long document explains how to negotiate a credit card overdraft, the risks one runs if one do not repay the student loan or the merits or lack thereof of declaring yourself bankrupt. Another section gives advice about how to best manage debts arising from medical care.
In each section, a short history of the evolution of the banking and financial system allows for a better understanding of the perversity of the financial system. It presents, for example, the collaboration between banks and universities:
A 2006 investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s Office concluded that the business relationship between lenders and university officials amounted to an “unholy alliance.” Lenders paid kickbacks to universities based on the loan volume that financial aid offices steered their way; lenders also gave all-expenses-paid Caribbean vacations to financial aid administrators, and even put them on their payroll.
The Strike Debt operation is aiming in particular to create solidarity between ordinary people, by reminding them that they are not alone faced with their debts:
If you are about to default on a student loan, remember that you are not alone. There are approximately 4 to 5 million other Americans that have already done so.
On November 15, Strike Debt will announce the launch of an operation named “Rolling Jubilee”. The idea is to create a network of mutual help, allowing those who are not indebted to legally buy up the personal debts of those who are collapsing under their repayments.
Rolling Debt Jubilee _ Public domain
The twitter feed @Occupytheory adds:
Towards bailing out the people?
However, beyond education and acts of solidarity, several Strike Debt activists have a more general proposal to put forward. They suggest a modern debt jubilee, meaning a massive debt cancellation.
The Australian economist Steve Keen also calls this idea a “quantitative easing for the people,” in reference to the huge support central banks give to private banks through their policy of purchasing assets. He explains his proposal on his site:
A Modern Jubilee would create fiat money in the same way as with Quantitative Easing, but would direct that money to the bank accounts of the public with the requirement that the first use of this money would be to reduce debt. Debtors whose debt exceeded their injection would have their debt reduced but not eliminated, while at the other extreme, recipients with no debt would receive a cash injection into their deposit accounts.
Fistfullproductions has uploaded an interview with Keen:
The anthropologist David Graeber is one of the main sources of inspiration behind the operation. This anarchist, one of the early instigators of Occupy Wall Street, is the author of a key work published in 2011, “Debt: the first 5,000 years,” in which he explores the history of debt, and launches an appeal for a debt jubilee, which was an important custom in antiquity, as he points out in his book.
In the third edition of the review Tidal, edited by the Occupy movement, he argues:
No doubt, readers will object: “but if you just print trillions of dollars, wouldn’t that cause severe inflation?” Well, yes, in theory, it should. But it seems the theory here is flawed, since that’s exactly what the government is doing: they’ve been printing trillions of dollars, and so far, it hasn’t had any notable inflationary effect.
The problem is it didn’t work. Either to get the economy moving, or to increase inflation. First of all, banks did not invest the money. Mainly, they either lent it back to the government again, or deposited it in the Federal Reserve, which paid them a higher interest rate for just keeping it there than they were charging those same banks to borrow it. So in effect, the government has been printing money and giving it to the banks and the banks have just sat on it.
So in the end why not give money directly to the people if we are now giving it to the banks? Presented in these terms, the idea probably seems less absurd.
In the name of what type of ethics does the debt contract rule?
Going beyond economic justifications, Occupy activists completely reject the moral argument often associated with debt according to which “all debt should be repaid.” On the site The Occupied Times, Michael Richmond writes:
What kind of morality is this morality of debt that says paying one’s debts is more important than anything else? We are seeing a regression back to Victorian times when debtors were criminalised, jailed and branded with a stigma that couldn’t be erased. And yet, everyone is in some kind of debt because the system is built on it, none more so than the entire financial sector which can only survive on public bailouts.
How long will the strike hold? It's difficult to predict, but it is sure that one year after the birth of Occupy Wall Street, the emergence of a global consensus around the operation is marking the start of a new era for the movement. As Astra Taylor interpreted it on September 5 2012 on the site The Nation:
Debt, a growing number of organizers believe, has the potential to serve as a kind of connective tissue for the Occupy movement, uniting increasingly dispersed organizing efforts around a common problem (debt) as opposed to a common tactic (occupation).
In another article on the same site, David Greaber goes as far as to wonder whether debt could trigger a revolution:
Occupy was right to resist the temptation to issue concrete demands. But if I were to frame a demand today, it would be for as broad a cancellation of debt as possible, followed by a mass reduction of working hours - say to a five-hour workday or a guaranteed five-month vacation.
By attacking debt, Occupy is attacking the basis of the system, and no longer only those who benefit from it or even their tools (austerity, bail-outs, central banks). The Occupy movement's change in direction is certainly ambitious, difficult and resolutely more subversive. However for David Greaber, this is not the problem:
If such a suggestion seems outrageous, even inconceivable, it’s just a measure of the degree to which our horizons have shrunk.
"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
"Basically the price of a night on the town!"
"I'd love to help kickstart continued development! And 0 EUR/month really does make fiscal sense too... maybe I'll even get a shirt?" (there will be limited edition shirts for two and other goodies for each supporter as soon as we sold the 200)