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Articles tagged direct action

Principle Seven of Activism – Edge Leads The Pack: Invert the Ladder of Engagement

Posted 7 months ago on Dec. 14, 2013, 11:46 p.m. EST by MicahWhite
Tags: Authenticity, ladder of engagement, direct action, Minoritarianism

The dominant paradigm of activism is the ladder of engagement. In this model, there are a series of rungs leading from the most insignificant actions to the most "revolutionary," and the goal of organizers is to lead people upwards through these escalating rungs. This makes sense on a commonsense level but it has a nasty unintended consequence.

When taken to its logical conclusion, the ladder of engagement encourages organizers to pitch asks to the lowest rung on the assumption that the majority will feel more comfortable starting with clicking a link or social network sharing.

This is a fatal assumption.

The majority can sniff out the difference between an authentic ask that is truly dangerous and might get their voices heard and an inauthentic ask that is safe and meaningless. The ladder of engagement is upside down. We are judged by what we ask of people. Thus, we must only ask The People to do actions that would genuinely improve the world despite the risks.

Rather than the ladder of engagement, I live by the minoritarian principle, in which, the edge leads the pack. This principle means that when trying to shift the direction of the majority, pitch action ideas from the edges of politics. Authenticity goes hand-in-hand with edginess. The campaign ideas that work are the ones that thrill us into asking “Would I do that?”

Would I camp on Wall Street if it meant an end to the financial stranglehold over our democracies?

Would I uproot my family and move to Nehalem if it meant liberty, equality, community for all?

Would I blow the whistle for the greater good no matter the cost to myself?

The majority does not follow its center; it undulates towards its inspirational edges.

The corollary of this principle is that our political imagination must be in constant flux as it incorporates emergent tactics. This principle is minoritarian in the sense of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari because it places a greater emphasis on cultivating (or cool-hunting) tactics that are being developed by political minorities.

The edge, Left or Right, is where we find the best tactics to transpose into our struggle.

This is why—and here I am speaking to Chris Hedges, a great orator of our movement—it is necessary to respect the partisans of the Black Bloc or any other fighting force that shares our principles but insists on a different tactical approach.

It is oftentimes these tactical approaches that need to be merely tweaked and applied to a new context for their potential to take off. The street level anarchists were the source of most of the tactical innovations following the collapse of the mainstream antiwar movement in 2003. The so-called “cancer of Occupy,” as Hedges unjustly called them, deserve more credit for their role in sparking Occupy Wall Street.

For one, I very closely watched the student occupations of 2009 that swept universities in London, New York City, Berkeley, and dozens more. These protests used the tactic of occupation: students would takeover campus space for political reasons. In the UK this began as a way to force universities to take a public stand against the Israeli war against Gaza.

As the tactic spread to the United States, it lost its focus around demands and the popular slogan of the time—“Demand Nothing! Occupy Everything!”—emerged. I was present at the Sproul occupation at the University of California Berkeley and watching the students trapped in a classroom and shouting impossible to hear words to the crowd below is when I had the first idea to apply the tactic of occupation to public space. I remember thinking that the students should be occupying the grassy parks rather than the cloistered classroom.

By reminding ourselves that the edge leads the pack then we are often able to see the potential of a new idea well before it has matured.

Micah White is a board member of the Occupy Solidarity Network. His website is http://micahmwhite.com.


Banks Cannot Gamble On Your Future (As Much As They Would Like To)

Posted 7 months ago on Dec. 14, 2013, 5:25 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: occupy the sec, volcker rule, direct action

What if you could change the rules on Wall Street without bribing regulators or buying off politicians?

Well, we did it. We passed the Volcker Rule

Occupy the SEC, a working group of Occupy Wall Street, submitted critical public comment to SEC officials and followed up like crazy.

"We met with each regulator after they wrote the rule, and we worked with other interest groups collaboratively through the process," says Occupy's Eric Taylor

"To get ideas, we had a weekly conference call where we talked about things with a couple other groups," added member Akshat Tewary.

Making change. From the streets and in the halls of power.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/11/the-volcker-rule-cites-the-occupy-movement-284-times/

via our friends, US Uncut


Join #AllofUs in the #NYC Streets on Thursday at 4pm

Posted 8 months ago on Dec. 2, 2013, 9:26 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: Bloomberg, #AllofUs, direct action

The era of a New York City run by and for the 1% is coming to a close and it’s time for us to take to the streets and demand Bloomberg and his friends get out of the way.

Join with community activists, union members, students, teachers, fast food workers, faith leaders and many others for a massive citywide mobilization in Foley Square. We are demanding the Robin Hood Tax, universal pre-K for all children, good wages for all workers, affordable housing, quality healthcare, an end to inequality and the tale of two cities and the start of One New York that works for #AllOfUs. We are not broke, we are twisted, and all the resources are in front of us, if the 1% will agree willingly to step away from their hoarding in favor of a sustainable world.

Meet us:

When: Thursday December 5th at 4pm Where: Foley Square, Manhattan, NY Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/359450277532091/

View Larger Map

We have done a lot of work in battling the propaganda of the 1% and raising issues of inequality, but it is not enough. This is why we continue the work that brought us to Zuccotti. We continue to fight and raise our voices with the 99% of this city who are tired of the greed of big corporations, Wall Street, and the rest of the 1%.

It is our hope that we will serve as an example for the rest of the world. We want New York City to be the model for communities in which class war is carried out in lack of funding for education, racial profiling, food insecurity, and lack of housing.

For too long working people have been disregarded. But this is our moment. Last month we made our voices heard and our message was clear. We want an end to the tale of two cities. We want a New York that works for all of us.



Posted 8 months ago on Nov. 26, 2013, 3:55 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: occupy, capitalism, direct action, street

Without capitalism, there could be no undue influence of money in politics. Without capitalism, trade would be truly free. Without capitalism, the financial sector would be an embarrassing relic of the past, a warning to future generations. Without capitalism, there can be no neoliberalism.

Anticapitalism is the true big tent. Whether or not you think the reforms proposed and enacted by various Occupy-related groups (like StrikeDebt, Occupy Sandy and the Occupy Card) will fix the systemic problems of capitalism, they are campaigns worth supporting. They provide temporary relief to people who need the most and allow us to experiment with alternatives. This is a good thing. But we can't let a good treatment distract us from a cure. Without addressing the underlying cause of capitalism, these problems will only get worse.

Globalization will continue to send jobs overseas. Technology will continue to automate human labor and obsolete the professions of millions of workers who will have no choice but to adapt. But for those who can't adapt to the new economy, the sentence under capitalism is death. This is because capitalism denies the necessities for human survival (like food, housing, and health care) to those unable to sell themselves to corporations. Even in times of plenty when you'd think we'd have to work less and less.

The end of capitalism means the beginning of your new life - a life where your home cannot be taken from you by force to maintain the bottom-line of a multi-billion dollar company that pays less in taxes than you; a life where you own your future; a life where politics represents you. The end of capitalism means the life you’ve always wanted but never thought you could have. The end of capitalism means freedom.

The 1% owned the mainstream American political system long before the Supreme Court upheld Citizens United. The 1% oppressed the global 99% long before “free trade” agreements became the norm. The 1% used the financial sector to swindle the people long before Dodd-Frank was repealed, long before the Federal Reserve.

It is important that as we oppose the institutions that capitalism has created to oppress us, that we oppose capitalism as well. If we allow ourselves to be held hostage by the symptoms of our disease we will never find our way to the cure. The cure, as we knew and demonstrated two years ago, is revolution.

Two years after Occupy Wall Street was founded we are still here, and so are our problems. Take the street, take your jobs, take back your money, take back your power. Organize.


This #BlackFriday Join the #WalmartStrikers on the Front Lines!

Posted 8 months ago on Nov. 21, 2013, 4:49 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: direct action, Black Friday, Walmart Strikers

Walmart workers are mobilizing to take action on Black Friday in your area and they need you to support them directly, in the streets.

Even Ashton Kutcher gets it.

Can you join them and attend a direct action training? Companies throughout the world have followed Walmart’s example, creating low-pay, low-security jobs. We have all seen our friends, family and neighbors struggle as they are forced to take jobs they know can’t cover their bills. We’re all paying the price for the Walmart economy.

But there is hope for change. All around the country, Walmart workers are standing up. They have gone on strike in Dallas, Cincinatti, and Southern California to protest Walmart’s attempts to silence them by firing and disciplining those who stand up for their coworkers’ rights. They’re tired of looking their children in the eyes and having to explain why there’s no food in the cabinets while they work for one of the most profitable companies in the world.

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, they’ll be holding protests to call on Walmart pay a real wage of $25,000/yr for fulltime work and to end the retaliation against those who speak out.

Workers in YOUR CITY are planning to act. Making Change at Walmart is holding a quick course in how you can support them and mobilize for action. Can you attend a protest training this week to learn how you can get more involved?

If you’re interested in supporting Walmart workers as they let companies know that Walmart-style jobs aren’t good enough for our country, RSVP and get more information.

Show Your Solidarity While Supporting the #WalmartStrikers
#BlackFriday Practical Protest Techniques: Using Your Body and a Few Simple Tools


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