Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
UPDATE Today Occupy DC followed through with the plans I mentioned yesterday: this morning’s march to an “undisclosed” lobbying firm reportedly found the doors locked — how symbolic is that — but showing up still made a statement. A party on K Street included drums and dancing, and apparently at least one Occupier being arrested when he laid down in the street. A march to the WH at 5PM, and a 7PM march to the Supreme Court filled out the day’s actions. Live stream (feed is kind of iffy) here.
One admiring comment I heard while watching the livestream: “Nobody does Occupy like Grandma does Occupy.” Probably talking about an old hippy, of course.
A couple of current actions, and some thoughts about “after the encampment.” I’m going to start with the latter, from the initiators of the Occupy movement, Adbusters. They have a very important post up, following at least a couple of others, all of which are looking at the “what’s next in the Occupy movement” direction. Adbusters doesn’t “run” or “lead” the movement they helped initiate, but their thinking could certainly be important in creating the “what’s next” steps and actions.
After the Encampments, #OCCUPYMIGRATION and #OCCUPYHOMES, via Adbusters, Micah White writes:
The history of activism is a cat-and-mouse game of surprising tactical innovations that spark an insurrectionary situation and the counterstrategies developed to put down the revolt. … In each of these cases, the power structures were taken by surprise, were slow to respond but eventually, through trial-and-error, discovered a successful counterstrategy. If there is one law of activism it is that every tactic which works initially will eventually be defeated if too often repeated. …
From the perspective of the status quo putting down a revolution is a matter of buttressing oneself against unforeseen assaults and waiting out the initial storm while continually experimenting with responses. … Our task as revolutionary activists is thus quite difficult: we must continually innovate; we must perceive immediately when one tactic begins to fail; we must be ready to deploy another stratagem.
#OCCUPY was birthed when the Tahrir Uprising was combined with the Spanish acampadas and transposed onto an unexpected place: the most potent symbol of casino capitalism: Wall Street. From a strictly tactical perspective, the first phase of #OCCUPY was comprised of a permanent encampment and a general assembly. … It was the quantity and autonomy of these encampments — that they grew despite an early media blackout, that locals showered them with financial and material support, that they functioned as a viable alternative to the corporate-State — which presented the greatest threat to the status quo.
After some trial and error, the “corporate-State” figured out what to do, and the tactic spread, successfully. Basically, they announce a deadline for the close of the camp; the Occupiers gather in large numbers, law enforcement shows up in large numbers, but then don’t enforce the eviction. Then. They way a day, week or however long, return to “carry out a military-style raid when the encampment is sparsely populated,” and shut it down.
… we could very easily get stuck in a game of diminishing returns by expending our resources to set up encampments once they’ve been taken down knowing they will be taken down once again.
White doesn’t suggest that remaining encampments, or presumably the new versions that have appeared (basically, follow the rules but maintain a presence), should be abandoned, but writes, “now might be the perfect moment to embrace the innovation that is already happening.”
We can accelerate the #OCCUPYHOMES meme by making a concerted push on December 6 and beyond to set up squats in bank-owned, foreclosed homes. In addition, we can facilitate the #OCCUPYMIGRATION of occupiers from hostile to friendly cities. There are, for example, over ninety tents at #OCCUPYBERKELEY even though #OCCUPYOAKLAND’s encampment a few miles away has been shut down.
While the corporate-State chases symbolic tents, we can start consolidating and fortifying our outdoor encampments in friendly territory until we are strong enough to resist foreclosure. Meanwhile in cities everywhere, let’s quietly set up local indoor Occupy Homes in every neighborhood. Both of these spaces just might become the bases for our Spring Offensive.
That appears to be what’s happening. From OWS, about the national day of action to “Occupy Our Homes”:
In recent days and weeks, there has been successful occupation move-ins of homeless families and eviction defense for homeowners facing foreclosure in Atlanta, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Rochester, and over a dozen other cities and towns across the country. Local communities and 99% movement participants have committed to escalating this occupation movement to support the human right to housing – and to push back against the bailed-out and fraudulent big banks that are stealing our homes.
Another action, “Take Back The Capitol,” is taking place in DC this week. Via The Indy Channel:
‘Take Back the Capitol’ is, in part, an outgrowth of the movement to protect collective bargaining that started in Wisconsin and Ohio.
The ‘Rebuild the Dream’ movement organized the event, with funding from many sources, including MoveOn.org and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The movement says thousands of people signed up to join the protest, being organized ‘by a wide variety of community, labor, Occupy, and other groups around the country.’
The official website links to SEIU.org … .
I’ve seen this described as “using the Occupy movement for their own purposes,” but also as “just another way of making the same kind of points OWS is making.” It doesn’t show up on the Occupy DC website, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t Occupiers involved, from DC and elsewhere. The same article says that Tuesday’s actions included visits, and sit-ins, to the offices of, among others: Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri; Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland (who met with the group); “Sens. Joe Lieberman, Scott Brown, Marco Rubio and other lawmakers.”
This part, from the same article, is interesting, in terms of who is involved in the “Take Back the Capitol” weeklong event:
The company Berlin Rosen, which specializes in public affairs campaign management, said sit-ins were taking place at the offices of more than a dozen lawmakers, including Sens. Dean Heller, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Mark Kirk.
‘Unemployed workers and activists from around the country are refusing to leave congressional offices until they are able to speak firsthand to their members of Congress about the need for action on jobs and extending unemployment insurance benefits,’ the company said in a news release.
(Occupy Home poster via Adbusters)