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Final occupy journal_3 Final occupy journal_3 Document Transcript

  • SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2011 ISSUE 3Love Letter toLiberty Square PEOPLE STEP UPBloomberg backs down5:00 AM FRIDAY — In the day- Library was packed into plastic binsbreaking hours of a long night and stacked together under a hugespent scrubbing and brushing and blue turtle-shell assembly of tarps.gardening and packing, a stalwart The usual vibrant sprawl of stuff wasgirl named Julia meticulously swept being consolidated, fortified.the tiniest specks from the ground Armaments over shoulder, twointo a dust pan, retracing her steps occupiers patrolled the north side-through Liberty Square again and walk. “Preseeeent - mops! March!”again. Three sentries were on the lookout: Occupiers carried boxes to a a Superman, a Captain Americastorage space around the block, and a Santa Claus. The Sauron-eyeand personal stuff was rolled care- of the NYPD mobile observationfully into those ever-present blue tower on the northwest corner was,tarps, names and phone numbers as ever, mostly ignored.attached. Preparation of a different A bottle hurled at a congregationsort happened, too: some stayed put of uniformed and plain-clothedand refused to pack up anything. cops across Liberty Street fell ten Two young women, in a subtle feet short; they shuffled indoors. Anand endearing form of protest, sat early edition of the Daily News was OCCUPATION OF TIMES SQUARE: October 15 international day of action brings hundreds of cities around the world into motion. PHOTO: Stephen O’Brynecurled up in blue plastic bins wait- passed from person to person. Theing to be carried away. Three hun- headline: “SHOWDOWN”dred people occupied the square. The day before, Mayor MichaelBloomberg had announced that at 6:15 AM — The crowd tripled in ten minutes to well over a thousand. OCCUPY YOUR MIND THE PEOPLE’S LIBRARY7 a.m., the NYPD would enforce a Accredited photographers convenedrequest by Brookfield Office Prop- at the trash can bouquet of donatederties to clear the park for cleaning. plastic brooms and snapped actionThe occupiers, Bloomberg said, shots of occupiers cleaning, now, aswould be allowed to return, but performance. On the south side ofmany worried that this was a tactic the square, half a dozen televisiondevised to evict the occupation. vans lined up, doors open, video A rush of activity commenced. A monitors abuzz. Liberty Square HFacebook page, “Emergency Action: neared, then exceeded, capacity. oward Zinn is here. Dominick vanden Heuvel have donated signed editions,Defend Occupy Wall Street,” was Dunne and Tom Wolfe, too. and vanden Heuvel has pledged hundreds offorwarded to tens of thousands. Mic check: “This special assem- Ernest Hemingway and Barbara copies of The Nation, past and present.Twitter lit up. Emails, text messages bly... is now... in session!” Crazy Ehrenreich and Dr. Who and Beowulf: All As a result of the influx, the library hasand phone calls spread the word. cheers and wiggly fingers from all. here, and all free. Barnes & Noble may be become something of a clearing house forThe direct action working group “This session is being called for in endangered and the Borders across the street books. “People are shipping us stuff fromgot to it. Organizations everywhere preparation for the notice that we closed months ago, but The People’s Library all over the country and we just give themissued statements of support and a received, which we know is a pre- at Liberty Square is open for business and out,” Syrek said. “We don’t need them to beunified call for action. text, to stop this movement, to thriving. returned.” And Occupy Wall Street orga- silence your voices.” The people’s That a lending library would spring up Volunteers log each book on Libr-nizers put out the most urgent call mic relayed the message in four con- fully operational on day one of an occupa- aryThing, an online cataloging site, by scan-for donations yet: cleaning supplies. centric waves. “We have two agenda tion makes sense when you consider that ning the ISBN number using an iPhone items. The first is briefing from the exchange of ideas is paramount here, app. This just in: “Wicked,” “Eat Pray Love”5:30 AM — A line stretched half- direct action.” at a new crossroads of the world. Just as and “Get Rich Cheating: The Crooked Pathway through the park after a mic- From the direct action working occupiers young and old mingle with Afri- to Easy Street.” A blog and a Facebook pagechecked announcement: coffee group: “We will hold no less than cans, Jews, Algonquins and Latinas, de Toc- chronicle visits from literary luminaries andhad arrived. Following an earlier two-thirds of our park at all times. queville rubs elbows with Nicholas Evans the formation of libraries at Occupy sitesdownpour, clothes were hung to Direct action will be coordinating and Noam Chomsky. across the country.dry on police barricades and twine two lines of non-violent resistance Mandy Henk, 32, saw Adbusters’ call to On a recent Tuesday, a few people satstrung between honey locust trees. that divide the park in thirds.” When occupy Wall Street and drove in from Green- on the granite benches that face the book-An olive-dressed couple wafted sage it was asked who in the crowd was castle, Indiana, on her fall break to work in shelves, so absorbed in their reading thatalong the perimeter and a premoni- willing to risk arrest, half put their the library. A librarian at DePaul University, they didn’t look up, despite the din aroundtory buoy bell rung now and then arms in the air without hesitation. she’d been waiting for “an actual movement” LIBRARIES, LIKE NEWSPAPERS, ARE PILLARS OF A DEMOCRATIC COMMUNITY them. Henk, for one, appreciates the role offrom somewhere too near to be on More applause. “Everyone can and for years when she saw a photo of the library escapism, especially when you consider thewater. Five hundred people occu- should have a role in defending our and a poster beside it that read: “Things the narily important role.” ber 7. A sign he made for the library was weighty issues that drew everyone to Libertypied the square. community.” library needs: Librarians.” Young readers can find a wealth of age- snapped up by the Smithsonian Institution: Square. Mic check: “I need (“I need”) vol- The assembly went on until a “And here I am,” she said cheerfully as appropriate material too, like A.A. Milne’s “Literacy, Legitimacy and Moral Authority: “Stories are incredibly important forunteers (“volunteers”) to move this woman carrying a white sheet of she shelved books into clear plastic bins, “When We Were Very Young,” “Oliver The People’s Library,” it read. helping people to understand the world,” shelaundry (“to move this laundry”) paper scrambled toward the facilita- dozens of which line the northeastern edge Twist” and “The Hobbit,” as well as more “More people arrived, more books said. “And so this is a place to come to under-over there! (“over there!”) Thank tors. The people’s mic stopped. Faces of Liberty Square. Henk isn’t surprised that offbeat titles like “Tales For Little Rebels.” appeared, and it’s just been growing ever stand the world.”you!” Two people splashed leaf-pile- wore confusion. Near the center: one a library was erected so quickly. “Anytime Another volunteer librarian, Steve Syrek, since,” Syrek said. “And then everyone in Newstyle onto the heap before helping to hug, then five more. you have a movement like this, people are 33, is earning his master’s degree in English York City just has to clean out their basement,” by jennifer sackstake it away. Teams of coordinated “We have just received notice that going to bring books to it. People are going at Rutgers University. He has commuted he quipped, which would explain how inven-volunteers again push-broomed Brookfield Properties has withdrawn to have information needs. And historically, to Liberty Square from his Washington tory has ballooned to nearly 1,800. Authorswater across granite that was as clean the printed word has played an extraordi- Heights apartment every day since Octo- like Naomi Klein, Eve Ensler and Katrinaas it had ever been. The People’s Continued on center spread
  • A New World VITALE ON PO-POW hat it is, the demand the 1% can’t comprehend, is us. It is the individuals and villages, the cities and peoples across the world who are seeing each other on the far side of appealsand petition. It is the world we are becoming. Establishment polls confirm what everyone in the street alreadyknows: a clear majority of New Yorkers, three of every four, supportthe occupation and get the “demand” in their gut. The epicenter of the UNAFRAID: Despite 700+ arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 1, crowds surged in the following days. PHOTO: Adrian KinlochOctober 15 international day of action was Times Square, barricaded by Rule of law vs. the forces of orderpolice insistent to demonstrate their control. But our town is only onecenter. The world is round. In the south, thousands streamed onto the avenues of Buenos Airesand Santiago. In Brazil, Peru and Colombia, in more than 20 cities ofMexico and all through our Americas, people came out. There was noise.More like a song. O In the East, demonstrators supporting the occupation emerged on ccupy Wall Street, with coordinated direct actions. Without National Convention in New York with barricades, heavily restricting The effect of this has been a low-the streets of Hong Kong and Seoul, Manila and Jakarta, Auckland and its defiant style of non- too much concern for First Amend- City. Permits were denied to use march permits, and making mul- level criminalization of dissent thatMelbourne. Days earlier, astonishingly, a solidarity rally in Zhengzhou, violent protest, has con- ment rights, police departments have Central Park and other traditional tiple arrests, sometimes using exces- serves only a limited legitimate pub-China supported the “Great Wall Street Revolution.” China has rallied sistently clashed with the NYPD’s tended to take one of two approaches protest locations; barricades were sive force for minor violations. lic safety function. The importantfor our human rights. Imagine. obsession with order maintenance, and sometimes a bit of both. used extensively at peaceful, per- This latter strategy is especially thing to keep in mind here is that In Africa, protestors gathered in Nairobi and Johannesburg. The resulting in hundreds of mostly The first is the strategic repres- mitted demonstrations; and over a common in New York City, which has while some protests have been ille-heroes of Tahrir Square in Cairo have returned to battle the military unnecessary arrests and a significant sion of direct action movements thousand people were preemptively an almost limitless supply of police gal and disruptive, they have beenregime that did not follow Mubarak into infamy. infringement on the basic rights of in particular. Beginning with the arrested, with all the charges eventu- officers (upwards of 30,000) to use consistently nonviolent in character. Germany and Greece, ruled by the same banks, rose up with Spain free speech and assembly. Miami police’s aggressive response ally dropped by the Manhattan DA. for controlling crowds. During the This raises the question of whetherand a lost generation of Europeans to claim a future from the dust of Prior to the massive protests at to the FTAA protests in 2003, many The other approach has been Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, the tight and expensive control offaded empire. Everywhere the lack of demands let us see each other the WTO in Seattle, protest policing departments resorted to using sur- to attempt to micromanage dem- we have seen a gross overreaction to these demonstrations is an unwar-clearly. Across the world, as if for the first time. in the U.S. was a largely casual affair veillance, agents provocateurs and onstrations in such a way that dis- peaceful demonstrators engaging in ranted interference in people’s right And in our own backyard, in thousands of backyards, from Augusta punctuated with isolated outbursts negative publicity before an event, sent becomes a tightly controlled minor violations of the law, such as to free expression that exceeds anyand Jackson, Springfield and Sioux Falls, Vegas and Santa Rosa and of police misconduct. After Seattle, followed by massive deployments, and dispiriting experience. This is using a megaphone, writing on the legal objective.Green Bay: Americans celebrated the occupation in its infancy. Jobs with police departments embarked on a “less lethal” weaponry and restric- accomplished through the use of sidewalk with chalk, marching indignity. Housing fit for families. Education. Health care. Pensions. The major rethinking of how to handle tion on protest permits, including large numbers of officers, extensive the street (and across the Brooklyn by alex s. vitalevery air we breathe. What can those who want democracy demand from increasingly large and militant pro- the creation of isolated “protest pits.” restrictions on access to demonstra- Bridge), standing in line at a bankthe king, except his crown? Regime change is in the air. America is look- tests and, most importantly, how Similar problems emerged tions through choke points, pen- to close an account, and occupying aing at itself, it’s place in the world and who we are to be. to handle the growing use of large in 2004, during the Republican ning in and subdividing crowds public park past closing hours. This is not a demonstration. It’s participation. Creation. This is amovement where we can be ourselves, together. In Liberty Square. InNew York City. In America. A new world. by jed brandt and michael levitin PHOTO: Vanessa Bahmani Continued from front page begin with. It matters that so many space and the captain of the captains organizations of all stripes stepped of New York finance and this coun- its—” The rest was indiscernible up and showed up. It matters that try’s most robustly armed police over cheers, yells, whoops, howls, elected officials called in their sup- force joined forces in a showdown banging drums, clapping hands, port. It matters that thousands against the young at heart, and they and the sight of thousands of people woke up early and rallied to defend blinked first. For one crazy-impor- hugging strangers. the occupation. tant moment we held the place that The mayor’s office and Brookfield has become, for many different peo- 7:00 AM — The sun rose over Lib- Properties and the NYPD engaged ple and in many different ways, our erty Square, and it was still very, in machinations behind closed home. And the very big, very loud very loud. doors. That matters too. The three sunrise party that followed was a aligned themselves with an ultima- love note to a democratic moment * * * tum against the occupation. That at Liberty Square. matters more. It matters that the occupiers But this very simple thing mat- by rizzo cleaned like gangbusters. It matters ters most: They backed down. The CLEAN SWEEP: On Oct 13, Mayor Bloomberg announced plans to “clean” Liberty that it was always pretty clean to ostensible owners of a very precious Square, pushing occupiers out of the park. Thousands flocked to clean it themselves. Brooms, mops and others supplies were donated. And in the morning, Bloomberg backed down. PHOTO: Mike Fleshman
  • THE ISN’T JUST WHOLE WORLD WATCHING global democ UNAFRAID: A volunteer sets the open meeting schedule for working groups in Liberty Square. PHOTO: Mike Fleshman OCCUPATION IS PARTICIPATION ATO THE VILLAGE: With a large college and high school student contingent, occupiers from all over the city have repeatedly marched to Washington Square where at least two general mong the remarkable developments at Lib- Laura Gottesdiener, 24, and “we’re serving more thanassemblies have convened. PHOTO: Stephen O’Byrne erty Square have been the Working Groups, two thousand meals per day. Something we’re trying created by occupiers to forward the move- to fight against is the notion that, in this country, yourNYPD: Serving and protecting. ment’s goals. In these groups ideas are exchanged, socioeconomic status determines your health.” All are strategies are collectively shaped and the future of the welcome and all are fed. occupation is being written. Here are dispatches from a few… PEOPLE OF COLOR Two weeks into the occupation, POC emerged in an OUTREACH effort to reach out to those who felt alienated by the Since the best place to reach the 99% is on the sub- movement. “Communities of color have historically way — where 10 million New York commuters travel been at the bottom of the 99%,” said Sharon, 23. “We daily — Occupy Subways is turning New York City’s wanted to make Occupy Wall Street more diverse in underground into a democratic platform. Elsewhere in leadership, voice, perspective and participation, and a the city, Outreach has helped general assemblies con- safer space for marginalized communities.” With about vene in the Bronx, Harlem and Brooklyn. Efforts will 250 members, it operates as a caucus with a variety of culminate in a day of service bringing Occupy Wall subcommittees that engage with other working groups. Street supporters into communities as volunteers. COMFORT MEDICAL Helping people acclimate to the realities of living and Staffed 24 hours a day with 15 to 20 volunteers, the sleeping in a park, the group has distributed hundreds group ranges from nurses and doctors to street med- of donated blankets, sleeping bags, jackets and fresh ics, herbalists, chiropractors, EMTs and acupuncturists. pairs of socks. “We’re here for people’s comfort,” said No one is turned away. “We practice the ethics of medi- Christine Rucker, 22, who has been occupying since cine,” said Pauly, 27, “meaning everyone will be treated week two. “If people forgot something, we’re here to no matter if they’re a police officer, active drug user or provide those things. We’re family.” wearing a suit and tie. We run a city within a city.” DESIGN FACILITATION Perhaps the most visible feature of Occupy Wall Street Holding daily training sessions to assist occupiers navi- are the signs held up by occupiers conveying messages gating the choppy waters of public debate, the group that get beamed around the world. “Graphic design “uses direct democracy and the facilitation process cou- is sometimes called ‘communication art,’” said Emily pled with some inclusive radical concepts,” said Craig Schuch. “I hope this group can help foster commu- Stephens, 24. “Mediation in large groups is very hard nication between working groups and especially help but it’s very rewarding.” Occupy Wall Street communicate to the world at large.” Working in print, web media and graphics, members of FOOD the design group have produced posters, infographics, The Food group, which began on Day 1 of the occu- banners, stickers, buttons...and anything else you can pation, has received hundreds of donations from local name. farmers to sympathizers in Europe and Asia. “Yester- day we had a thousand people at dinner alone,” said by allison burtch
  • So real it hurts: building a new republicO n a Thursday night when I showed up at Occupy Wall Street from a community meeting with some behind. But I couldn’t walk away from the document, or from this movement, either. So our radical South Asian contingent said, was not something that we could allow to happen. We proposed that they cut out the line, and after minutes of debate they In that small circle following the assembly we did a crash course on white privilege, struc- tural racism and oppression. We did a course 8 THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW 1 ATTEND A GENERAL ASSEMBLY ƒ 7–9 pm daily at Broadway and Liberty St., NYC (Liberty Square)South Asian friends, we were handed a sheet stood up. My friend Hena addressed the accepted our change. We withdrew our block. on history and the Declaration of Indepen- ƒ Occupation is participation. All are welcome!of paper with a working draft of the Declara- crowd of hundreds with our concern, and we My friend Sonny looked me in the eye and dence and colonialism and slavery. It was real.tion of the Occupation. were told to send an email that could deal with said, “You did good.” I had never needed to It was hard. It hurt. But people listened. Sit- The night before, I’d heard the Declara-tion read aloud at the General Assemblyand turned to my friend, Sonny, after not- it later. Hena persisted, and again the facilita- tors at the General Assembly tried to bypass our grievance and push it off until later. They hear those words as much as I needed to hear them then. After the assembly concluded, I spoke ting there on a street corner in the Financial District at 11:30 p.m., talking with 20 mostly white men, it all felt worth it. Explaining 2 JOIN A WORKING GROUP ƒ Visit nycga.net, a social network for social change.ing the line that hit me in the stomach: “As warned us that to “block” the Declaration was with some of the men who had written the the way that women of color like me expe- ƒ Follow discussions and work being done on the ground atone people, formerly divided by the color of a serious act. We knew it was a serious act. document. Let me tell you what it feels like rience the world — and the power relations, Liberty Square.our skin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, And that is why we did it. as a woman of color to stand in front of a inequalities and oppressions that govern that ƒ Create an account to virtually “join” working groups.or lack thereof, political party and cultural It is intimidating to speak in front of hun- white man and explain privilege to him. It world — felt for me like a victory. ƒ Connect and come down to the park.background…” Initially we’d shrugged it off dreds of people, but it is even more intense hurts. It makes you tired. Sometimes it makes A victory not only for myself and othersas a rhetorical flourish. Then we realized this to speak in front of hundreds of people with you want to cry. Sometimes it is exhilarating. who feel the way I do, but a victory for thewas about to become the Declaration of themovement, sent out to the world as a definingdocument of the occupation. The proposed whom you feel aligned—and to whom you are saying something that they don’t necessar- ily want to hear. We told the General Assem- Every single time it is hard. Every single time, I get angry that I have to do this; that this is my job, that it shouldn’t be my job. Every sin- movement. As I biked home that night over the Brooklyn Bridge, the world seemed some- how, just a little bit more, in that moment, to 3 OCCUPY! ƒ Bring food, blankets, bedding, rain gear, instrumentstext ignored people from countries that have bly that we wanted a small change made to gle time, I am proud of myself that I’ve been be mine. It seemed somehow like the world and your friends.been colonized and communities right here the language, but that this change represented able to say these things because I used to not that could be all of ours.where democratic participation is anything a larger ethical concern. To erase a history of be able to, and because some days I just don’tbut a given. It was not something I could get oppression in this founding document, we want to. by manissa mccleave maharawal 4 SPREAD THE WORD ƒ Twitter: #occupywallstreet #occupytogether #ows ƒ Facebook: OccupyWallStreet ƒ Download, print, display, and share flyers: nycga.net/resources 5 DONATE ƒ Visit nycga.net/donate ƒ Make a tax-deductable donation to the New York City General Assembly. ƒ You can also mail a check or money order to: Alliance for Global Justice, 1247 “E” Street, SE Washington, DC, 20003. Please indicate “Occupy Wall Street” in the memo line. Or call 202 544 9355 to make a telephone donation. ƒ On Twitter: #needsoftheoccupiers ƒ If you are in the area come by and drop off prepared food, non- perishable food (vegan and gluten free so anyone can eat it), sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks. ƒ You can mail packages to us: UPS Store, 118A Fulton St. #205 New York, NY, 10038 6 FOLLOW THE OCCUPATION ƒ nycga.net ƒ occupywallst.org ƒ livestream.com/occupynyc ƒ livestream.com/globalrevolution ƒ takethesquare.net ƒ occupytogether.org ƒ wearethe99percent.tumblr.com ƒ scoop.it/occupy-together ƒ Follow on Twitter: @occupywallstnyc, @nycsep17, @occupywallst ƒ OCCUPY YOUR LIFE Engage others in conversation in your community. ILLUSTRATION: Beth Whitney ƒ Send personal letters, phone calls and emails to friends and family. ƒ Share your thoughts and photographs on social networking sites. ƒ Occupy your occupation! Whether you clean houses, sit behind aEnacting the Impossible desk, teach in a classroom, work in a kitchen, play an instrument, speak a second language, make videos, walk dogs, anything… your skills are needed at Liberty Square!ON CONSENSUS DECISION MAKING 8 EDUCATE YOURSELF & OTHERSO n August 2, at the very first meet- in New York City. Even the General Assem- direct, consensus-based democracy has been or a majority show hands—provided every- ing of what was to become Occupy blies in Greece and Spain had not attempted so firmly embraced by and identified with one was able to play a part in helping to shape Wall Street, about a dozen people it. But consensus was the approach that most anarchism is because it embodies what is per- and reshape it. The Occupied Wall Street Journal is made possible through dozens ofsat in a circle in Bowling Green. The self- accorded with our principles. So we took the haps anarchism’s most fundamental principle: We may never be able to prove, through bright and talented people who have volunteered their work. The paper got off the ground thanks to over 1,600 generous donations to a kick-appointed “process committee” for a social leap. that in the same way human beings treated logic, that direct democracy, freedom and a starter.com fundraiser. The Occupied WSJ does not (and could not)movement we merely hoped would someday Three months later, hundreds of assem- like children will tend to act like children, the society based on principles of human solidar- represent anyone except its participants. The views of the authors areexist, contemplated a momentous decision. blies, big and small, now operate by con- way to encourage human beings to act like ity are possible. We can only demonstrate it their own.Our dream was to create a New York General sensus across America. Decisions are made mature and responsible adults is to treat them through action. In parks and squares acrossAssembly: the model for democratic assem- democratically, without voting, by general as if they already are. America, people have begun to witness it We are always on the lookout for people who want to help. Submis-blies we hoped to see spring up across Amer- assent. According to conventional wisdom Consensus is not a unanimous voting sys- as they have started to participate. Ameri- sions are open and encouraged. Write us a note, ask us a question, or tell us a story at occupymedia@gmail.comica. But how would those assemblies actually this shouldn’t be possible, but it is happen- tem; a “block” is not a No vote, but a veto. cans grow up being taught that freedom andoperate? ing — in much the same way that other inex- Think of it as the intervention of a High Court democracy are our ultimate values, and that The anarchists in the circle made what plicable phenomena like love, revolution, or that declares a proposal to be in violation of our love of freedom and democracy is what EDITORIAL Jed Brandtseemed, at the time, an insanely ambitious life itself (from the perspective of, say, particle fundamental ethical principles — except in defines us as a people—even as, in subtle but Priscilla Grimproposal. Why not let them operate exactly physics) happen. this case the judge’s robes belong to anyone constant ways, we’re taught that genuine free- Michael Levitinlike this committee: by consensus. The direct democratic process adopted by with the courage to throw them on. That dom and democracy can never truly exist. Jennifer Sacks It was, in the least, a wild gamble, because Occupy Wall Street has deep roots in Ameri- participants know they can instantly stop a The moment we realize the fallacy of this Ryan Woodas far as any of us knew, no one had ever man- can radical history. It was widely employed in deliberation dead in its tracks if they feel it teaching, we begin to ask: how many otheraged to pull off something like this before. the civil rights movement and by the Students a matter of principle, not only means they “impossible” things might we pull off? And it DESIGN Jed BrandtConsensus process had been successfully for a Democratic Society. But its current rarely do it. It also means that a compromise is there, it is here, that we begin enacting the Anna Goldused in spokes-councils — groups of activists form has developed from within movements on minor points becomes easier; the process impossible. Zak Greeneorganized into separate affinity groups, each like feminism and even spiritual traditions toward creative synthesis is really the essence Nona Hildebrandrepresented by a single “spoke” — but never (both Quaker and Native American) as much of the thing. In the end, it matters less how a by david graeber Elizabeth Knafoin mass assemblies like the one anticipated as from within anarchism itself. The reason final decision is reached—by a call for blocks