Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
We are the 99 percent

Election Day Report: The People's Emergency

Posted 11 years ago on Nov. 6, 2012, 10:01 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: nyc, occupy sandy, tidal

occupy sandy banner

via Tidal (OccupyTheory.org)

Today, we are told, we should go out and participate in the so-called political process: stand up and be counted, let our voices be heard, pick the man who supposedly best represents our interests. That is fine. We are not for or against it. We are agnostic. In truth, we are living and dying in another universe altogether--we are aliens from the future who recognize the perils and the promises of our latest disaster.

Ten days ago, the climate went on strike against Wall Street -- and we all got flooded. The tide surged and the lights went out. Our friends and families, our neighbors and communities, our networks and allies were under water and in the dark. Our lives are at stake. We could not wait for the State. We had to step in.

We declare a state of emergency. This is our emergency. They have tried to claim it--in their own belated, uneven, incompetent manner. For them, the emergency is a temporary problem to be managed and administered in the name of restoring things to normal. But their normal was already a perpetual emergency for us--an emergency of economic inequality, debt-bondage, racial oppression, union-busting, municipal austerity, ecological destruction, police violence, historical amnesia, and more...

We will not allow a return to normal.

The People's Emergency responds to the crisis; we set up distribution centers and energy-generators; we mobilize volunteers; we raise money and attract media; we help folks on the ground when their lives are in danger from hunger, darkness, and exposure to the elements.

But the People's Emergency is not a humanitarian operation. It is not about charity. We are not an army of salvation or an agency of administration. We wear red squares, not red crosses. We are creating autonomous zones for community and solidarity, not camps for managing the lives of powerless victims.

We are autonomous, but this does not mean that we are indifferent or hostile to the State and the vital services it could or should provide. We are simply stepping into the void to do things for ourselves as the clock ticks and the Winter storms approach.

The National Guard has come to sniff around our autonomous zones. The young working-class New Yorkers in uniform--Black, Latino, Irish, Italian, East Asian, South Asian, Arabic, Jewish, Polish, Slavic--see themselves and their communities in the disaster; they see themselves in the People's Emergency, because they come from the same places we do.

At heart they are good people and they want to help, but they are hamstrung by their commanders and their marching orders. They roll up in their armored vehicles, but they don't know how to plug in. They are disarmed. They ask us what to do and where to go, like newcomers used to do back when we had Zuccotti Park. We tell them to get in line at the back of our trucks and help unload the care packages being sent from communities around the city and the region. They offer their cardboard MREs: cold freeze-dried meals cooked up in a military-humanitarian factory months ago and stored for the latest disaster. We politely nod, but we are more concerned with laying out warm aluminum trays of homemade lasagna, arroz y gandules, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, biryani, chicken noodle soup, halal and kosher meats, vegan lentil salad, apple pie...and magical brownies for those who choose to partake after hard days of shoveling debris, pumping out basements, sorting boxes, lugging generators, shuttling volunteers, directing traffic, taking care of the kids and the elders.

The People's Emergency is a real emergency for the 1% because we intend to sustain our intensive care units beyond the immediate crisis of food and blankets and electricity. We assume the State and the companies will eventually come to restore power, haul out the rubble, put people in trailers, and so on--not because of any deep love of humanity, but because of the shitshow they will have on their hands if they continue to neglect the hardest-hit communities. Among other things, the State will offer emergency loans, backed up by corporate debt-collectors. Real-estate developers and disaster capitalists of all sorts will be swooping in too. We will be prepared.

The People's Emergency is doing something different than the disaster-management of the state and the traditional relief organizations. Even as we respond to the short-term crisis, we are building power from below and establishing networks of intensive care and mutual aid for the long-term. In the coming months, we will see the People's Bailout to abolish predatory debts; we will see the establishment of debt-clinics throughout the city; we will mobilize for an Eviction-Defense of the Earth of November 17th; we will see the Black Friday strike by workers and communities against Wal-Mart; we will see a People's Reconstruction from Red Hook to Staten Island to Rockaways and beyond. In each case, we will practice direct action in the deepest sense of the word: everyday folks taking matters into their own hands, outpacing and outsmarting the corporate and governmental agencies tasked with managing and containing the potentially revolutionary life-energies of the People.



Read the Rules
[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

In compliment to this post - election day is past but - people can still do some real concrete voting action:


Elections come and GO - the real work of society is 24/7/365/forever.

Fundamental change ( for the better ) will happen through the involvement of the People.

[-] 1 points by Manna (85) 11 years ago

That shows the 99% are made of great thinkers and not the 1%.

[-] 2 points by johanchovie (2) 11 years ago

What an inspiring and powerful statement. It is all more so, because it is backed by real action on the ground. I applaud you and yours.

John Duignan - Ireland

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3340) 11 years ago

Go OccupySandy! This is fantastic. I nearly went to bed after celebrating the fact that Romney did not win but after reading this, I'll sleep a little better. Thank you for this uplifting article. Good luck to us all.

[-] 1 points by rickMoss (435) 11 years ago

We have to think outside of ourselves and the box. It is the only way to escape it. I can see only one way out of this mess. We have to stop looking for an easy and simple way out. It does not exist.


U.S. Citizens Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://revolution2.osixs.org )

Non U.S. Citizens Read “Common Sense 3.2” at ( http://SaveTheWorldNow.osixs.org )

[-] 1 points by WakeemJones (1) 11 years ago

People have mentioned Romney & the GOP in this Thread. That misses the point. It is both parties. Schumer is in Wall St's pockets, big time. NYC is a Democrat's Town; Connecticut is a Democrat's State. Where do Wall Street'rs live? Remember Bloomberg & Giuliani were Democrats. They changed parties just so they could run & get elected - it was expedient. How many on Obama's Staff are from Wall Street?

If you think it's just the GOP then you're drinking The Donkey's Kool Aid. Don't be their ass. Just how rich is John Kerry? How many jobs went overseas from his wife's company alone: HEINZ? Are either of them sending large grants of money to assist those affected by Sandy? Is Heinz sending food?

Occupy is a great example of what people can do vs the FEMA's. Hate to say it but wasn't it a GOP'r that said take that power back from FEMA & put it in the hands of the Private Sector. Like it or not, Occupy Sandy is a great example of the Private Sector uniting and proving that. FEMA & the Red Cross - effective, NOT!! Did Obama's visit to NJ really give NJ anything they didn't have before his visit?

It's both parties and that includes Union Heads - they suck as much blood from the workers as the capitalists. They live in mansions & the kids go to private schools while the workers stand in line for a bowl of soup on some picket line. Who manages their pension funds?

Look who owns the LA Times, the NY Times, the Washington Post, bastions of the Dems/Liberal Left - very, very rich people. They tell that Wall St is GOP'rs. It is they who point fingers elsewhere. Just how rich is Hollywood who supports the Left?

Why is it if you look at contributions to charity, reported on Income Tax forms, that people who claim to be Conservatives donate more that those who are Liberal? The Liberals orate so well about taking care of the downtrodden - yeah, as long as it's somebody else's money. Look how cheap Biden is when it comes to donations. All this is documented. Check out: http://www.gordon.edu/ace/pdf/Spr07BRGrinols.pdf

OCCUPY - you do wonderful, wonderful work that has nothing to do with whom we voted for. Just understand that those whom are opposed, here, are vastly larger than the GOP'rs you claim. The party of Donkeys will kick you in the head faster than you being hit by those Elephant farts. They, both, are all poisonous liars out for themselves. And, while we avoid those right-wingers, watch out for those on the liberal left who will take your money faster than they'll buy you a cup of Joe.

Somewhere we need to find balance outside of both parties and their respective philosophies. In Occupy Sandy, you are sewing great seeds and garnering a lot more credibility and support than in Occupy Wall St. This is getting you main stream without you being viewed as some sort of youthful anarchy.

Thank you - I am loving all that you are doing and yes I am making donations, time & money, to the Relief cause. Wakeem J.

[-] 1 points by bestevidence (170) 11 years ago

It is good I guess to see OWS out there outcharitying the Red Cross and the churches. Good work! The problem though is who has the resources to actually rebuild homes and maybe more importantly people's lives? The State and the Corporations have these resources. If the masses had these resources themselves under the present system we'd have to say the system might not be that bad, at least not that bad for residents of this country. When it is all said and done there has to be a fight to take power.

[-] 0 points by Manna (85) 11 years ago

I am optimistic. I suppose at least some of the wealthy people will open the purse to save people. Stocked up money is useless. Money is power only when it circulates as energy wheel. All energy systems depend on the circulation. If that starts to happen, other members of the wealthy will probably start to follow the ritual...maybe...bloody power war is no solution.

[-] 1 points by bestevidence (170) 11 years ago

No war, no win.

[-] 0 points by aaronparr (597) 11 years ago

This is a fight to take power, to recognize one's agency and act on it, to build the world for ourselves. etc...

This is exactly what occupy needs to do, occupy the void that the gov't can't. there is a great deal of void in the realm of services upon which to stake one's claim.

[-] 2 points by bestevidence (170) 11 years ago

But you have to be serious about taking the wealth away from those who have it now, for their possession of it is not morally valid on a number of points: 1- They did not work for it, ie. "earn it" nor do they "deserve it." 2- Their possession of it overwhelmingly and in virtually each and every instance reflects unfair advantages they got as corrupt "birthrights". 3- Other people and the planet itself need to take this wealth and use it in ways that are valid and ethical and right.

[-] 0 points by aaronparr (597) 11 years ago

wealth is relative. most of it is generated by work which anyone can do. The problem is that we are in a system that limits our ability to apply our efforts in ways that benefit us instead of the rich.

[-] 2 points by bestevidence (170) 11 years ago

Most wealth is in the hands of people whose own work did not "generate" it. that's the problem.

[-] 1 points by aaronparr (597) 11 years ago

its a problem if it prevents you from doing the work that you need to do to make the world a better place.

In some respects it does. but anyone in the united states that has enough freetime to watch television or surf the internet is NOT restricted from doing the right thing by the rich. A significant part of the problem is that they do not believe that they can do anything to make the world a better place.

Thats why I am excited by what occupy sandy is doing. This is the kind of action that restores power to the people. The take the power for themselves to make the world a better place rather than worries about what other's have.

Money is an abstraction. And an easy one to override if you simply don't put your trust in it. Real estate is a different matter. But one thing at a time. Take responsibility for your own work and take action to make the world a better place rather than complain about the wealth in the hands of others who you don't think deserve it.

[-] 1 points by bestevidence (170) 11 years ago

What's needed though are resources that can create new homes, electrical grids, some sort of Dutch Style ocean barrier if experts come to consensus on that, security for elderly people who are scared to death (for good reason) of going to a shelter and of leaving their meager belongings in an abandoned home (to be looted).

I listen to the radio at night while I drive my (not mine really) taxi. I heard on WBAI self reporting about Occupy's efforts in Brooklyn. Sounded earnest enough and sincere. Also WNYC did a nice piece that was very friendly to Occupy. It's necessary in this day and age for volunteers to step into the void left by a corrupt and incompetent State. BTW Obama is coming to NYC on Thursday. He should be met by a protest over the "day late and dollar short" response of the government. From where I am it has not been better than Bush's response to Katrina, minus Bush didn't bother to go there for a while while Obama did at least show his face, which along with two dollars and twenty-five cents could not get me onto the subway at that time as they were knocked out of service.

The City and surrounding areas were woefully under prepared. It's been known since the hurricane of 1938 that a storm catastrophe in the NY area was just a matter of time.

As for me personally, I wake up around one PM, get ready for my day, spend some time here and reading news, then I head out for my twelve hour taxi shift. My one free day a week is spent both resting and doing urgent errands. This style of life is for me necessary. I keep several people sheltered, clothed and fed this way, thank you very much.

[-] 0 points by aaronparr (597) 11 years ago

Work is the resource. Almost all value comes from that. Yes, you need some capitol to leverage the work, but human capitol is the most important piece.

I work my ass off to support my family too. And yet I still have time as you do to use the internet. Although i have none for TV.

In anycase, if you are advocating some sort of violent seizure of resources but don't have the time to engage in productive activity - such as working for the people around you, I'm not buying anything you have to sell.

Violent seizure of property is much less efficient than starving them of our labor and moving ourselves forward. Both take time. Violence has disastrous consequences that you can't predict.

[-] 1 points by bestevidence (170) 11 years ago

"Some capitol (sic)"- yeah like tons and tons of steel, cement, food, copper cable, yeah right. This idea of "poor folks helping poor folks" while the rich help themselves is not a good one over the long haul.

[-] 1 points by aaronparr (597) 11 years ago

All of which require labor to produce.

And I agree that letting the rich help themselves is a bad idea. The idea is to starve them since they have nothing without our complicity in helping them maintain their wealth. So put your effort toward the people around you, and shift it away from what the rich want you to do. Yes, it is difficult. But as hard as that is, it is much more effective than violence.

[-] 1 points by bestevidence (170) 11 years ago

Oh, so I drive my taxi but don't pay the lease or taxes. Then what?

[-] 1 points by aaronparr (597) 11 years ago

Is that your plan? Unfortunate that you would propose such a bad path based on what I am saying. I suppose you are trying to "win" an argument arguing ad-absurdum. Does that do you any good?

Since you obviously want to live out your own "taxi driver" fantasy and go out in a blaze of glory, all I can ask then is that you reconsider.

[-] 1 points by bestevidence (170) 11 years ago

No, I'm trying to understand you.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 11 years ago

if the people don't need money, they won't work for those that have it

[-] 1 points by aaronparr (597) 11 years ago

Yes, there's the rub. And its a slow process to build up community self-reliance. But it starts with simply doing things for people around you, to satisfy local needs with your own work, and short circuit the system which sucks resources out of our communities. One of the major things that gets in the way of this kind of socio-economic progress is the desire for getting ahead of those around you because you think you should be "better" than that instead of being satisfied with enough to make a life for yourself and your family.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

Yes - another election day has passed. Now we need to continue with uniting the people to take action. Fundamental change will get made in this country and in the world by the People.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 11 years ago
[-] 1 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 11 years ago

Sandy slapped the science denying GOP across the face on the stage of world opinion.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 11 years ago

Wow, what happened below??

[-] 1 points by bestevidence (170) 11 years ago

I think there is a purge on of anti racists here at OWS org.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 11 years ago

Would you like to help petition (in a hard copy link) congress to quit obstructing because the people have spoken??


VQk can help.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 11 years ago

We'll be here. I work late, too.