When Sandy’s waters finally receded, they left behind the devastation of lost lives and a mountain of debris. And they also exposed how a system of historic inequity perpetuates itself in real life, real time and real suffering. A … Continue reading “The Limits of Local”
A friend of Occupy recently passed away: Michael Nash, head of the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU. I had only a passing personal acquaintance with Michael, but this is not untypical of the ways we … Continue reading “The Generosity of the Archivist”
The Occupy Movement has revived May Day. For far too many years, this holiday, which was of course also a solidarity-building occasion, has been ignored by the US labor movement.
As the New York Occupy movement goes on, it also spreads out. 16 Beaver, Charlotte’s place, and the Atrium of 60 Wall Street (now home to General Assemblies), remain nodes in the occupied downtown real estate network, but the overwhelming … Continue reading “Revolutionary Expertise?”
Call me a sissy, but I’ve never particularly cared for being referred to as cisgender. Still, the work of transgendered activists within Occupy Wall Street has been one of things that keep me optimistic. At a November 13th teach-in at Zuccotti Park, just days before the brutal eviction, trans activists took over the people’s mic for an hour-long lesson in occupying gender, educating their non-trans listeners on the unearned privileges we enjoy whenever we conform to ascribed gender; outlining the work that groups like the Sylvia Rivera Law Project have long been engaged in, against police violence and medical pathologization; and outlining pragmatic and principled tactics for an occupation open to trans and cis-gendered people alike.
I didn’t realize how claustrophobic Wall Street’s Liberty Park was until I arrived at my home Occupy in Oakland. Rather than the jumble of tarp-covered shelters that grew and morphed rhizome-like through Liberty Park, Occupy Oakland’s colorful tents felt positively … Continue reading “We interrupt this dispatch … Occupy Oakland and the General Strike!”
Under Review: David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Melville House Publishing: NY, 2011 ‘Tis to be a slave in soul, And to hold no strong control Over your own wills, but be All that others make of ye. –The Mask … Continue reading “A History of Debt”
If you have spent anytime with Occupiers, you have seen people (sometimes by the thousands) hold their hands above their heads and wiggle their fingers. Jazz hands? Cult sign? Known as “twinkling” when it expresses a positive sentiment, the hand … Continue reading “The Ritual of General Assembly and the Bureaucracies of Anarchy”
In her 1966 book Purity and Danger, anthropologist Mary Douglas famously explains dirt as “matter out of place.” Dirt does not index an objective category of pathogens or pollutants she suggests, but rather the designation of “dirt” indexes a contravention to a social order, and by extension, its boundaries.
“Mic check!” The shouted exclamation punctuates the days at Occupy Wall Street (OWS). A lone voice yells it from somewhere in the crowd, soliciting the hoped-for response, “mic check!” yelled back by all within earshot of the initial call. Often the response is weak the first time around. Maybe the caller is surrounded by people new to the movement, who aren’t yet familiar with the rituals, or don’t yet feel comfortable making them their own; maybe the voices around her are tired, from so many days and weeks of the people’s microphone. But with a second, often more insistent call, “mic check!” the surrounding voices rise in response, “mic check!”
Occupy Wall Street’s numbers have swelled to thousands here in New York City, not to mention the Occupy Together Movement across the country. At the October 10th General Assembly meeting–held every evening at 7pm–the kitchen announced that it serves 2000 people free food every day. The Occupied Wall Street Journal is in its second edition, with the first also translated into Spanish.
To note that a camera is a weapon is nothing new. Susan Sontag articulated the relationship between the camera and the semiotic violence that “turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.” For Sontag the violence was symbolic, as … Continue reading “Cameras are Weapons for #OccupyWallStreet”
Introduction by Ashley Dawson:In 1970, an adviser to California Governor Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign commented on the state of public education: “We are in danger of producing an educated proletariat. That’s dynamite! We have to be selective on who we … Continue reading “Andrew Ross speaks to Occupy Wall Street on Student Debt”