Call to “rise up again” May 12
Although Occupy’s May Day “celebrations” were muted in numbers and over whelmed by the violence at various spots such as Seattle and San Francisco, Occupy is calling on people to do it again on May 12.
Rise up on May 12th- we are the 99%!
On the 15th of October 2011 we took to the streets in over 1000 cities in 82 countries. We got organized and took the first steps on the road to dignity and global change. That was more than six months ago yet we continue to have to raise our voices to make politicians and bankers understand that they in no way represent us. We are united in our demands: the welfare of the 99% must be respected.
Governments only represent us if they follow the will of the vast majority, not just the privileged few.We are united, we are everywhere, we are where you least expect us.
We demand, firmly but without violence: social justice, wealth distribution and an ethic of commons. (emphasis added). We condemn poverty, inequality, environmental devastation and corruption as tools of subjugation by the powerful on society.
We will not stop until we achieve our objectives: the 99% will take to the streets again and again until we have a say in the world in which we live. We want global change. Let’s turn the streets into the world’s biggest loudspeaker on the 12th of May.
Because we are the 99%, we are not owned by politicians and bankers. Take to the streets on May 12th!
The claim of over 1000 cities in 82 countries is pure propaganda; even the main Occupy sites were claiming on May 1 no more than 180 cities. Yet even so, attendance was not what had been hoped for, for example, in cities like New York. Several thousands were present in New York, but more for the immigrant coalition May 1 Coalition rather than for Occupy. This attendance was after months of work and effort on the part of Occupy. So calling for an event so soon after with very little publicity announcing it seems to doom it to failure before hand.
The Radical Philosophy within Occupy
We see within the nature of the call another window into the philopsophy of OWS- a demand for “wealth distribution and an ethic of commons”.
While there are certainly many people and philosophies floating through Occupy, there are the two one might refer to as the “reformers” and the “revolutionists”. The reformers are the ones that think they can work within the system. They have been outweighed by the revolutionists from the start, and many have left. The revolutionists are the ones that planned it before it started, have been there since the beginning. They are the professional activists, those who have been involved in Spain and in Greece. They are the reason Occupy livestream is called “global revolution” -that is not hyperbole, but an envisioned goal for which they have worked for and to which they have committed their lives.
They are the people, who like Jed Brandt, wish the downfall of the United States in its present form because it is loathsome to them. Capitalism is loathsome to them, and to them, the US is the leader of capitalism and all that is evil and unhealthy. Jed Brandt works on the Occupied Wall Street Journal, “Tidal” -the few page tract handed out by Occupiers at encampments in NYC (sounds like Tides, doesn’t it?) as well as other Occupy media.
Listen to the following tape of Jed, taken in 2009, to understand.
In addition to the old left and professional activists we have added into the mix the new left of Anonymous. Anonymous as a bigger entity encompasses many thoughts and philosophies. But, of those that have become political and enamored of Assange, Wikileaks and Occupy, there is a commonality of a disgust with the system, and a desire not to be infringed upon by any government rules such as those pertaining to copyright, piracy or speech. Amongst those, many would call themselves, or be classified as, anarchists.
The young involved in general are perhaps summed up with a line that many took to upon hearing it – “this shit is fucked up and bullshit”. They see no prospects for their future, they don’t know where they are going or what they are to do. They have the sense that the government should be giving it to them or taking care of them, so they feel aggrieved that this is not resolved. They feel a community among others who have a similar angst, and in that they find their emotional strength which in other areas of their lives may be missing.
So at protests you see the old communists, the new anarchists and an odd amalgam of both-the anarcho-communist. Aren’t anarchists and communists in natural philosophical conflict, one might ask? It would seem so, logically, yet they haven’t gotten the message.
- Black and red anarcho communist flags fly as black bloc gets ready to march in Seattle. Credit Foolish Reporter
Anarcho-communism advocates getting rid of the state, markets, money, capitalism and private property, while still retaining personal property. It is in favor of the common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and “horizontal networking of associations and workers councils”. Like communism, it espouses from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Goods are distributed according to needs not according to labor or how much anyone worked.
The idea is that things will be shared in common, through the concept of “mutual aid”. On their May Day organizational site, May Day 2012, Occupy gives a rousing endorsement to the the anarcho communism espoused by Peter Kropotkin.
Peter Kropotkin, one of the foremost figures of Russian anarcho-communism, wrote about its importance in the book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. His work argues that cooperation is far more important to the evolution and survival of a species than competition. He provides evidence throughout history in a variety of societies as well as among nonhuman animals. Some examples include the Bushmen (southern Africa), the Dayak (Borneo), the Papuan people (New Guinea), the Aleut people (Alaska), the Tupi people (Brazil), the Wendat (Ontario), villages throughout Europe in the tenth and eleventh century, medieval cities, and examples in his time. It would, in fact, be difficult to find a time and place where mutual aid did not exist in some form!
Jed even talks about “mutual aid” at ~3:20 of the above video. Of course, they leave out some other interesting words from Kropotkin. He said, ”houses, fields, and factories will no longer be private property, and that they will belong to the commune or the nation and money, wages, and trade would be abolished”. He believed in the “expropriation” of private property, although not personal property.
A question that is commonly asked is how they can be upset about police disruption of their property, in Zuccotti Park, for example, but not at all concerned about seizing buildings belonging to other people, such as the seizure of the Catholic Church’s building in San Francisco. The reason is the difference between private and personal property. Personal property=your car, your backpack. Thus, some were shocked at destruction of cars in San Francisco by some of the more militant anarchists. But private property-real property and homes, businesses- those should be held in common, so you don’t have a right to deny them what they need just by claiming that they don’t own a property. If they need it, they should have it- “to each according to his needs”. Everything will be held in common and parcelled out according to needs. There will be the ultimate evolution of man, and selfishness, racism and war-all just outgrowths of capitalism-will just disappear.
Foolish Reporter picked up some reading material at May Day in Seattle. Again, while every location has something of its own character, the reading picks up on common themes. Communism will help make everything equal, it is the “saving grace” rather than God, that the workers, soldiers and students must be brought into the movement. It notes how Communism is the true salvation of man:
Why not fight for the interests of the international working class, why not fight for communism?
Another question came up. “Where are the guns?” A comrade answered, “the guns are in the military along with our soldiers, our class brothers and sisters. Red Flag is being used to inform the soldiers of what is really happening and what is really being done by the capitalists so that ultimately guns can be turned around”.
“Wealth distribution and a ethic of commons” – in the words of Paul Harvey, now you know the rest of the story.
OWS has been casting around, trying to bring in more people. In so doing, they have tried to pull from anywhere they might collect people with a cause, from “Justice for Trayvon” to the “de-colonization” movement.
One indictment of OWS, which has had the sting of truth, is the overwhelming lack of diversity(translation-no appreciable number of POC) in what is a principally white young male driven effort, at least in so far as the boots on the ground.
As part of the May Day effort to get people out, OWS has been promoting the statement and efforts of the “May 1st Coalition”, which is basically an immigrants’ rights endeavor. OWS makes clear their rationale for doing so in this first paragraph:
This May Day, Occupy Wall Street is rising up in solidarity with the immigrant rights movement. Years before #OWS, May Day was revitalized in the U.S. as a day of mass mobilization against the unjust, racist U.S. immigration system. On May Day 2006, the May 1st Coalition helped organize the largest protest in NYC history, bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the streets in a march stretching over 26 city blocks. This year, as we gather as a unified front for economic justice in a Day Without the 99%, they are leading the struggle to UNIONIZE, LEGALIZE, and ORGANIZE.
OWS then promotes the following statement from the May 1st Coalition:
Dear Brothers and Sisters
We bring you excellent news and a message from the May 1st Coalition.
On this May 1st 2012, there will a unified celebration. We immigrants have united with the most important unions of New York, the working class along with Occupy Wall Street. This has come about after long and intense debates, at which point we concluded an agreement to realize a single act on May 1st in historic Unión Square.
This agreement and example of unity was proposed to all the delegates at the National Conference and to the peoples, States and Counties of this country.
Also, given the incapacity of Congress and its two chambers, the White House and the corrupt political system of the United States, we propose on May 1st to transform our multifaceted forms of organization and struggle into one center of PEOPLE’S POWER, consisting of union power, of social power, including those from the countryside, in the sweatshop factories, and throughout the poor neighborhoods, all as an alternative to capitalist and imperialist power.
We demand LEGALIZATION for the 12 and perhaps 20 million undocumented immigrants which will in turn allow the youth to pursue higher education. Furthermore, no youth should be obliged to enter the Armed Forces and sent to fight imperial wars.
In calling for legalization for all NOW, we are demanding an end to:
deportations immigration raids the fracturing of families We demand debt forgiveness on houses lost and the return of those houses and property of the 15 million families affected by the mortgage crisis brought on by the avarice of the Banks.
We demand immediate employment for the 40 million chronically unemployed, whose ranks are swelling by the prolonged crisis and recession of the capitalist system on an international level. We Occupy to Create People’s Power.
We demand immediate freedom to the thousands of immigrants currently being held prisoner in the jails and concentration camps. We want immediate closure to the Center of Torture and extermination in Guantanamo. MR. OBAMA, ENOUGH OF YOUR LIES AND DEMAGOGUERY. Stop the torture!
We demand a halt to all war preparations against Iran. No to the utilization of nuclear arms against civilian populations. The United States is not the COP of the world. Troops out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and an end to all imperialist military bases around the world.
As always, we will fight for civil rights and the human rights for education, health and employment without discrimination of any type.
To our friends the people of Iran, we are always with you.
FRATERNAL GREETINGS TO ALL WOMEN WHO STRUGGLE. THEY ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL IN THE UNIVERSE.
It is only Revolution that will set us free. It is now time to CREATE, CREATE PEOPLE’S POWER IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST OF IMPERIALISM.
We will see you on May 1st in Union Square