Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Battle for the Soul of Occupy
… First they silenced our uprising with a media blackout… then they smashed our encampments with midnight paramilitary raids… and now they’re threatening to neutralize our insurgency with an insidious campaign of donor money and co-optation. …
Will you allow Occupy to become a project of the old left, the same cabal of old world thinkers who have blunted the possibility of revolution for decades? Will you allow MoveOn, The Nation and Ben & Jerry to put the brakes on our Spring Offensive and turn our struggle into a ‘99% Spring’ reelection campaign for President Obama?
We are now in a battle for the soul of Occupy… a fight to the finish between the impotent old left and the new vibrant, horizontal left who launched Occupy Wall Street from the bottom-up and who dreams of real democracy and another world.
Whatever else you may think of Adbusters’ take on what’s happening, they are, as usual, unambiguous in their perspective. One thing that stands out for me is the use of the term “old left.” Maybe that’s because I remember when the Democratic Party discarded “liberal” and made “progressive” the term, or brand name, of preference. How much changed, other than the designation, is a matter of various opinions. How much is changing now is wrapped up in, among other things, the 2012 elections, and in Occupy and related movements.
Also from Adbusters:
Our Spring offensive is building toward a climactic May uprising …
May 1 we leap into the new world with a mighty multinational General Strike. Wherever you are, No Work; No School; No Shopping. No illusions. No apologies. No business as usual. Into The Streets!
May 12, we intensify with three days of global action. Jammers in London, Lisbon, Paris, Marseilles, Helsinki, Cuzco, Barcelona, Quebec are already on board with more on the way. …
We scared the G8 away from Chicago and now some occupiers are planning #OCCUPYCAMPDAVID … .
Others are upping the ante with #OCCUPYCHICAGO — a mobilization of anarchic swarms to shutdown the NATO summit.
And then one of the softer aesthetic moments of our Spring offensive could well be the #LAUGHRIOT on May 18, the day the G8 leaders meet in Camp David. There is something totally ludicrous, absurd, even insane about the eight most powerful people in the world deciding to do the people’s business … behind closed doors and razor wire fences.
This veneer of legitimacy is our tragedy turned to farce. …
Then we get ready for our next big challenge: How to Occupy the U.S. Presidential Election on November 6.
There’s always been some cooperation between Occupiers and members of the “old Left,” though I’m doubtful the latter see themselves that way. Left, liberal, progressive … whatever the labels used by those identifying as Democratic, the “horizontal left” Occupy actions that became public on September 17, 2011, have continued, and the “Spring Resistance” is well underway. Some of what’s happening, and is being planned:
From OWS, a report about actually being on Wall Street:
For a full week, Wall Street … has been #Occupied. Thanks in part to a 2000 decision by a federal court in Manhattan, protesters are legally allowed to sleep on the sidewalk, as long as they don’t block building entrances or take up more than half of the sidewalk.
Regardless of the federal court ruling, however, yesterday NYPD Decides Occupy Wall Street’s Sidewalk Sleepovers Are Illegal. In the photo, barricades remain in case the scary sleepers return.
More about what’s happening, from the OWS article above,
… Occupiers in San Francisco took over a neglected property to create a vibrant community center for the 99%. Although thwarted by police, the #SFCommune has vowed to return this May Day … .
In Boston, Occupiers set up a camp on the steps of the State House to protest cuts to the public transit system. In Chicago … Occupiers joined with mental health advocates and community allies to occupy a clinic slated for closure by the city’s ruthless austerity measures … .
… in February, Occupy Atlanta occupied the headquarters of AT&T to stop mass lay-offs. …
Occupy Detroit has opened a new social center while also staging tent city protests against foreclosures and unemployment in low-income neighborhoods. …
See also NYers Blockade Home Foreclosure Auctions with Week of Sing-In Actions in Brooklyn, Queens & the Bronx; from Denver, Take Action Against Ordinance to Criminalize Homelessness; from Sarasota, On May 12, there will be a lawn chair sit in by Occupy Sarasota at 5 Points Park; from Greensboro, Occupy Greensboro joins Occupy Raleigh to reclaim an evicted family’s foreclosed home; in NYC, Occupy Wall Street … presents Run on Bank of America”; in DC, Occupy the Justice Department.
There’s more. For example, #Occupied:ReportsFromtheFrontLines, with actions at Santa Monica College, Midwest Occupy, Occupy Berkeley, Philly, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, and Un. of NC, Chapel Hill.
And looking beyond the U.S., for examples, read Canadians protest proposed tuition hikes, strike paralyzes Quetta; Montreal Students Occupy Banks in 12-Hour Protest Marathon; Ireland: Occupy Dame Street Responds to Austerity & Bail-Outs With Bank Occupation; Germany: Blockupy Frankfurt; and Occupy Papua New Guinea Takes On Government, Wins.
So where does “the Left,” in its Democratic Party version, see itself in the Occupy Spring Offensive actions?