Announcing: Occupy Everything: Anarchists in the Occupation Movement 2009-2011

January 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm (Building Occupations, Housing Occupations, Land Occupations, Squatting, Student Occupations, Workplace Occupations)

From LBC Books

Anarchists in the Occupation Movement 2009-2011

Since the first day that Zuccotti Park was occupied there has been a shadowy figure haunting Occupy Wall Street. The anarchist. Who is this anarchist? What role has she played in the Occupy Movement? What would Occupy be without him?

This is a book where anarchists, in their own words, express how and why they engaged in Occupy, what methods they used, and evaluates the success of Occupy on anarchist terms. It also expresses the flexibilty, energy, and experience that anarchists brought to The Occupy Movement as it moved beyond lower Manhattan onto the docks and streets of Oakland, the town square of Philadelphia, and abandoned buildings around the country.

The anarchists’ way of operating was changing our very idea of what politics could be in the first place. This was exhilarating. Some occupiers told me they wanted to take it home with them, to organize assemblies in their own communities. It’s no accident, therefore, that when occupations spread around the country, the horizontal assemblies spread too.
-From Nathan Schneider in The Nation

Contributors: Antistate STL, Anon, Ben Webster, Cindy Milstein, Crescencia Desafio, Crimethinc, David Graeber, Denver ABC, Dot Matrix, Ignite! Collective, ingirum, John Jacobsen, Phoenix Insurgent, R.R, Serf City Revolt, TEOAN, Tides of Flame, TriAnarchy

Edited: Aragorn! publishes books at Little Black Cart, edits The Anvil Review and writes on popular culture, nihilism, and identity. He also blogs and does technology consulting.

Buy: Now
250 pages, Digest
$15
ISBN 978-1-62049-000-6

Purchase at Little Black Cart


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Anticapitalist activists convert empty bank and vacant lot into community spaces; police threaten reprisal

December 16, 2011 at 12:37 am (Building Occupations, Land Occupations, Squatting) (, )

Santa Cruz activists convert a vacant lot into a community garden. Credit: Creative Commons/Margaret Killjoy

By leila peachtree, The Precarious

SANTA CRUZ, CA- Santa Cruz raised the bar of what it means to “Occupy Everything” in two separate actions last week. Community members organized to convert two unused spaces into gathering places.

“I think it is important to directly reinsert ourselves as communities who need space to connect and share, to connect with one another outside of commercial space and monetary exchange,” said one protester, who like all who attended this action chose not to their names due to legal concerns.

Santa Cruz maintains strict laws: It is illegal to sit within 14 feet of any building, public bench, public telephone, public trash can, drinking fountain, bus stop, open air dining area, street or intersection or piece of public artwork; to sit on benches for longer than an hour; to blow bubbles; to hacky-sack.

Rejecting these laws and the broader capitalist system, hundreds occupied a vacant bank and turned an empty lot into a community garden.

Nearly 75 hours at 75 River Street

Covering the city, posters called for a Nov. 30 march that would lead to an empty property. “While many people are denied basic needs like shelter and social space, capitalism forces numerous spaces to remain empty and unused,” the poster read.

Around 2 p.m., Nov. 30, people assembled near the Occupy Santa Cruz encampment. Less than an hour later, approximately 75 people marched to the sounds of Lady Gaga and Dead Prez.

At a nearby Chase bank, protestors held a brief picket line before moving toward an empty bank at 75 River Street.

“I think some people thought we were going to picket Wells Fargo, but then we went to this one. A smaller crowd took to the building with a lot of excitement but a lot of them seemed hesitant. Within the hour a lot more people took it seriously,” said one protester.

As soon as the crowd moved into the bank, protestors unfurled two banners from the roof: “Occupy Everything” and “Reclaim Space, Reclaim Our Lives.”

Everyone was “running around like chickens with their heads cut off,” commented one protester, as they painted signs, erected barricades, claimed rooms and passed out candy that still stocked the vending machine.

By the time dozens of police arrived in full riot gear, the crowd had swelled to around 200. As the police tried unsuccessfully to enter the barricades, about 150 people linked arms to block the officers. After 20 minutes the police left with no arrests.

“Once we did that, we felt like we had it. It was this tiny victory that felt enormous,” said one occupant.

Over the next days, occupiers strategized with what to do next. Many wanted to turn the empty bank into a community space, but others found that action incompatible with the way the building was designed.

Dec. 3 occupiers decided to vacate the building. “It was this labyrinth, a cavernous space that wasn’t conducive to creating a community space,” said one participant.

The official reason for leaving was because it appeared that police were targeting individuals not involved in the occupation.

In a press release, Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel stated that the actions were, “senseless and childish and diverted our limited resources.” He also stated that the department intends to work with members of the District Attorney’s Office to identify those responsible for the trespass.

Despite the threat of police reprisal, the occupants of 75 River Street left inspired.

“I think that collective confrontation is a liberating thing, the sense of community that comes from reclaiming space is different from anything else,” said one participant.

The former Coast Commercial Bank was purchased three years ago by Wells Fargo and since has been left empty.

A Garden is Built

The same day the bank at 75 River Street was vacated, a new space was being created on an abandoned lot on Pacific Street in downtown.

Gardeners wearing orange vests and carrying sledgehammers arrived Saturday morning to find an empty lot full of cigarette butts, broken glass and concrete slabs.

Others decked in Santa hats and dressed as candy canes gathered on the same corner for the Annual Downtown Santa Cruz Holiday Parade. They asked the gardeners what they were doing. The reply: working on a city beautification project. Passerby vocalized support and even stopped to dig and break apart concrete.

Before the gardeners arrived, “it was horribly ugly looking. It was shocking how ugly it was; they put in a lot of effort and made it really beautiful really quickly. It really speaks to the vibe of Santa Cruz,” said one observer.

Supporters dropped off mulch and horse manure. The growing, evolving crowd cleaned up trash and broke the cement slabs into smaller pieces from which they built raised garden beds and benches.

By the end of Saturday, they had transformed the lot into a community garden replete with four raised beds planted with apricot tree seedlings, succulents and other drought tolerant plants.

“It helped to make that part of town nicer, which is what we need. It was a place for someone to stop in and read a book and relax,” said Arden, who owns a jewelry and art store across the street.

The space was only half finished. Sunday plans to create four more beds were put aside until everyone had a chance to recover.

“There wasn’t really the energy to finish it on Sunday,” one gardener said, “We were exhausted by the past few days. Some people were hanging out but nothing else was done.”

At 2 p.m. Monday, Datum Construction based out of Boise, Idaho, was scheduled to demolish the garden. Word spread and by 1 p.m. nearly 60 people had gathered to protect their new community center.

Protestors’ presence stalled the bulldozers for the day. Early the next morning, fences and police surrounded the garden.

“They planted a garden on private property and we took it out because that property is under construction to be improved anyway,” said Jason Reisinger, the construction manager with Datum Construction. He would not comment on what the planned improvement was.

Santa Cruz has a long history of radical actions. The most recent was a series of student occupations at University of California, Santa Cruz in 2009 to protest tuition hikes.

At that time in 2009 the words “Occupy Everything” were far from the public consciousness. Since the start of the Occupy Wall Street Movement Sept. 17 the words have gained widespread recognition.

“These continuous actions have sparked a certain use of language that began as kind of illegible by the broader population, but now they are part of the common discussion. It shows a movement building upon itself,” said one gardener. “I think that actions like this will serve as a form of experimentation, in terms of continuing to take spaces and hold them for longer, and we can learn to create something more cohesive and long lasting, here and everywhere.”

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Occupy Our Homes: Take Back the Land Has Lessons For Home ‘Liberators’

December 14, 2011 at 1:20 am (Building Occupations, Housing Occupations, Land Occupations, Squatting) (, , , , , , , )

Max Rameau is led away by a City of Miami police officer when he was arrested during a protest against the evictions being carried out at an apartment complex on June 15, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Rameau, who is the cofounder of the activist movement Take Back the Land, tried to prevent the eviction of tenants from the complex but was unsuccessful. According to the activists, the bank, which now owns the apartment complex, is forcing the current residents out and they have no other homes to move to. (Joe Raedle, Getty Images)

By , Huffington Post

MIAMI — Two years ago the Ramos family moved into a small house in the Little Haiti neighborhood here. They did so without a title, a lease, or permission from the property’s owner.

After the father’s construction company shut down, a victim of the housing crash, they couldn’t pay their rent. Their possessions were literally thrown on the street.

“For a time we were basically living in our car or at our friends’ houses — pretty much without a home,” Mr. Ramos said.

Now the Ramos family, naturalized citizens who spoke through an interpreter and asked HuffPost not to use their first names for fear of being kicked out, have succeeded in making the house a home. They cleared out the trash that drug users had piled in mounds. With a leafy lawn and a couple of dogs barking happily, the place looks pretty comfortable.

“For myself as a mother in the United States, this is the place that I’ve been the happiest in,” Mrs. Ramos said. “And in my consciousness this feels right. Instinctively it feels right.”

Many would simply call it squatting. But Take Back the Land, the Miami-based group whose members helped the family move in, calls it a home “liberation.”

According to the Census Bureau, in 2010 there were 1.6 million homes sitting vacant in Florida. A 2010 report estimated that 57,643 people go homeless on any given night. In between that unused capacity and unfilled need stands the law, which protects banks’ and other owners’ property rights.

On Tuesday, Occupy Wall Street will take the group’s unorthodox anti-foreclosure tactics national. Activists will move to “Occupy Our Homes” in a nationwide series of civil disobedience actions, challenging the big banks over the thousands of vacant homes across the country that lie empty even in the midst of a homelessness and foreclosure crisis.

“Here we have a chance to occupy and liberate: it’s a one-two punch and that’s what works,” said Max Rameau, the Haitian-born activist who has braved and sometimes endured arrest while defending families from eviction as part of Take Back the Land, a group that he helped found. The group is now listed on the Occupy Our Homes website as an “ally.”

Rameau’s “liberations” mostly helped people of color. “The Occupy side,” Rameau said, “has mainly happened with young whites.”

Now he hopes that with the help of the Occupy movement, community groups like his can mainstream their fight against the banks. But as Occupiers move into neighborhoods hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, they will be greeted by a confounding knot of problems that Take Back the Land has been wrestling with for years: race, responsibility and property.

Take Back the Land’s struggles in Miami started in a vacant lot in Liberty City. Fed up with gentrification, the group moved on October 2006 to set up a makeshift village of shanties made from shipping pallets and cardboard. They quickly rebranded the plot Umoja Village; the first word is Swahili for “unity.”

They were responding to the human impact of the housing bubble, what Rameau calls a mentality of “gentrification: buy low, fix up, sell high.”

In April 2007 the village burnt to the ground in a furiously quick fire. No one was seriously harmed. Just as it was forced out of its Liberty City lot, however, Take Back the Land was expanding its scope. The group’s playing field had become the whole state of Florida, hit hard by the foreclosure crisis.

In February 2007, even as foreclosure filings dropped nationally over the previous month by 4 percent, Florida’s shot up by 63.5 percent, according to RealtyTrac. It was a harbinger of things to come.

After Mary Trody’s mother stopped making payments on the family’s house northwest of Miami, her family was evicted in February 2009 — but Take Back the Land and another local group that Trody is a member of, the Miami Workers Center, very publicly moved them back in, with TV stations, a crew sent by filmmaker Michael Moore, and the Miami Herald looking on.

The eviction was halted.

“If it’s worth fighting for, yes, I would say the same thing: take arrests,” Trody said. “That’s the only thing that’s going to make a difference. If we organize. If we stand together and try to show the world.”

The struggles Take Back the Land has encountered since late 2007 in legalizing their “liberations” may serve as lessons for the people taking part in Occupy Our Homes. Trody’s family house, for example, has seen a parade of four owners since the eviction defense, none of whom have been willing to settle on terms to let them stay.

Today, Take Back the Land has stopped moving in families to newly “liberated” properties. Rameau and other core members have left or are leaving Miami for other opportunities.

“We haven’t won homes. We haven’t changed people’s lives,” Rameau said. Without more public pressure on banks, he said, Take Back the Land’s successes could only be incremental.

“We were only doing defense,” Rameau said.

On Tuesday, with the help of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Our Homes will begin. Activists in dozens of cities — some members of the Take Back the Land affiliates that have sprouted in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Portland, Washington, DC, and more — will be following the group’s example. They hope to shame banks into cutting mortgage payments or creating a “right to rent” foreclosed properties.

As actions begin, however, Take Back the Land members say the Occupiers should know what they’re getting into.

“Leak in the roof, water, electricity’s out, whatever minor issue — I think it’s something we did not necessarily foresee as becoming our responsibility, in terms of providing social services, which is what it ended up being in addition to it being a political organization. And that’s very stressful,” said Mamyrah Prosper, another activist with Take Back the Land.

The toll on families who move into “liberated” houses, too, can sometimes be taxing. Since Trody’s family defended their house, they have been living in it without any sort of agreement from its owners, under constant threat of eviction or arrest. The Ramoses have had their house broken into twice.

If occupiers are white, meanwhile, they may also end up moving into the black or Latino communities that have been hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis.

Rebecca Wood, a white, 30-year-old self-described anarchist who is a supporter of Take Back the Land, said the group “was very intentionally black-led and focused on working within black communities and working towards self-determination for those communities.”

“I think that that’s a pretty different goal than continuing the occupation through the winter,” she said.

Rameau drew a contrast between the mostly white “occupiers” and the more diverse “liberators.” The occupiers, he thinks, should take actions like sitting down in banks in “direct confrontation with core parts of the system.”

“How does that manifest itself for the liberate side?” he asked. “That manifests itself in home liberations.”

If and when the Occupiers move families into houses that they have not previously inhabited, they will be running up against some very strongly held beliefs about ownership.

The goal of Take Back the Land, Prosper said, was to change the framework: to make people think about “moving away from what’s legal versus illegal into just versus unjust.”

“Some of us just challenged the whole notion of private property, period,” said Prosper. “If you go that route so radically, you’re going to ostracize yourself.”

Still, there is precedent in the United States for squatters taking possession of homes. On New York’s Lower East side, residents were able to eventually gain control of buildings on East Seventh Street.

The Ramos family would welcome any help it can get. At the mention of the Occupy movement, Mrs. Ramos beams. She doesn’t ever want to leave her house, she said, “because as human beings we have the right to live dignified in a home.”

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Hundreds Occupy Belo Monte Dam Site in Brazilian Amazon

October 31, 2011 at 7:14 pm (Indigenous, Land Occupations) (, , )

An estimated 600 Indigenous people, fishermen, and others from the Xingu River basin have gathered to occupy the construction site of the Belo Monte Dam project in the state of Pará, Brazil.

Photo by Ivan Canabrava / Illuminati Filmes

The protest arrives one day after the second judge from the Regional Federal Tribunal voted against judge Selene Maria de Almeida’s landmark decision against the Belo Monte dam.

Judge Selene Maria de Almeida’s decision (which is not to be confused with last month’s decision by judge Carlos Castro Martins to suspend the construction of the dam) found that the government illegally issued the project’s environmental licenses because it failed to properly consult affected Indigenous peoples beforehand. That failure, according to judge Selene Maria de Almeida, is a direct violation of Article 231 of Brazil’s Constitution.

“The trial is now tied at one vote in favor, and one vote against,” says International Rivers. “The third and final judge must now give her decision on whether she agrees with the lawsuit that claims that tribes were not properly consulted. The trial has been delayed once more, and will reconvene for the final vote. Either way the final vote falls, both sides are ready to appeal the tribunal’s decisions to the Supreme Court.”

The protesters, on the other hand, have vowed to continue their protest until the Belo Monte dam project is brought to a decisive end.

Help support the peaceful protest: http://www.causes.com/campaigns/158177

Below: a report on the protest from Amazon Watch; and a declaration from the Xingu Alliance.

Hundreds Occupy Belo Monte Dam Site in Brazilian Amazon

Altamira, Brazil – Hundreds of indigenous leaders, fishermen and riverine people from the Xingu River basin have gathered to occupy the Belo Monte Dam construction site in a peaceful protest to stop its construction in Altamira, located in the state of Pará in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. They have vowed to permanently occupy the site and are calling on allied organizations and movements to join them.

The Trans-Amazon Highway (BR-230) has been blocked around the Santo Antônio village, where it passes the proposed construction site. Groups are demanding the presence of a Brazilian government high-level official at the site to initiate a new round of negotiations that are transparent, inclusive and respectful of the rights of local people affected by the dam.

“Belo Monte will only succeed if we do nothing about it. We will not be silent. We will shout out loud and we will do it now,” said Juma Xipaia, a local indigenous leader. “We only demand what our Constitution already ensures us: our rights. Our ancestors fought so we could be here now. Many documents and meetings have already transpired and nothing has changed. The machinery continues to arrive to destroy our region.”

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) has requested explanation as to why the Brazilian Government did not act to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples affected by the dam, as requested by the IAHCR in April. According to the OAS, the Brazilian Government has an obligation of consulting and informing indigenous peoples who will be affected by the dam prior to construction.

Yesterday, the government of Brazil refused to attend a closed hearing convened by the IAHCR intended to foster dialogue toward resolving conflict and discuss failures in protecting the rights of indigenous peoples threatened by the proposed Belo Monte Dam. Plans for the project ignore international protections such as the right to free, prior and informed consent, and jeopardize the health, livelihood and ancestral lands of thousands of indigenous peoples.

Last Monday, a federal judge in Brazil voted that the environmental licensing of the controversial Belo Monte Dam is illegal given the lack of consultations with affected indigenous communities.

For more information, contact:
Caroline Bennett, + 1 415 487 9600, caroline@amazonwatch.org
Christian Poirier (in Brazil), + 55 116597 8359, christian@amazonwatch.org

Sheyla Juruna, indigenous leader from Brazil, available for interviews in Washington, D.C.
(Hi-res photos available upon request)

Declaration of the Xingu Alliance against the Belo Monte Dam

“We will not allow the government to establish this dam or other projects affecting the lands, lives and survival of current and future generations of the Xingu Basin”

We, the 700 participants of the seminar “Territories, Environment, and Development in the Amazon: the Fight Against Large Dams in the Xingu Basin;” we, the warriors of the Araweté, Assurini do Pará, Assurini do Tocantins, Kayapó, Kraô, Apinajés, Gavião, Munduruku, Guajajara do Pará, Guajajara do Maranhão, Arara, Xipaya, Xicrin, Juruna, Guarani, Tupinambá, Tembé, Ka’apor, Tupinambá, Tapajós, Arapyun, Maytapeí, Cumaruara, Awa-Guajá and Karajas tribes, representing indigenous peoples threatened by Belo Monte and other hydroelectric dams in the Amazon; we, the fishermen, farmers, and residents of coastal cities, impacted by Belo Monte; we, the students, trade unionists, social leaders and supporters of the struggles of peoples against Belo Monte; we together affirm that we will not allow the government to build this dam or other projects affecting the lands, lives and survival of current and future generations of the Xingu Basin.

During the 25th and 26th October 2011, we met in Altamira to reaffirm our alliance and determination to resist together the project to dam and kill the Xingu River, no matter what weapons nor moral, economic or physical threats are used against us.

During the past decade, the government has returned to developing one of the most nefarious infrastructure projects created by the military dictatorship in the Amazon. During this time, we, who are all Brazilian citizens, were not considered, were not heard, nor were we consulted on the construction of Belo Monte. This is a right protected for us by the Constitution and laws of our country, and by international treaties that protect Brazil’s traditional inhabitants, of which our country is a signatory.

Forced out of their land, expelled from the banks of the river by construction machines and suffocated by the dust they raise, the people of the Xingu have been brutalized by the consortium authorized by the government to clear our forests, cocoa plantations, gardens, orchards, gardens and houses on the Xingu River, destroying the river’s fauna, usurping our properties in the city and the countryside, raising the cost of living, exploiting workers, and terrorizing our families with the threat of a dark future of misery, violence, drugs and prostitution. And thus the government repeats the errors, the lack of respect, and the violence caused by so many other dams forcibly imposed upon the Amazon and its peoples.

Armed with only our dignity and our rights, and strengthened by our alliance, we here declare that we have formalized a pact to fight against Belo Monte, which makes us stronger than the humiliation imposed on us so far. We have signed a pact that will keep us together until this project is wiped from the map and the history of the Xingu, a river to whom we have a debt of honor, of life, and, if the survival of the Xingu requires it, of bloodshed.

Faced with the government’s intransigence in dialogue with us, and with their insistence on disrespecting us, from now on we occupy the construction site of Belo Monte and close access to it from the Trans-Amazon highway. We demand that the government send a representative here to sign a waiver to definitively paralyze all works, and to desist from building the Belo Monte Dam.

Altamira, Pará, Brazil, October 27, 2011

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Mapuche Community Peacefully Occupies Traditional Lands and Plans to Stay Indefinitely

October 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm (Indigenous, Land Occupations) (, )

From IndigenousNews.org:

On the morning of Thursday, October 20th, approximately 30 families from the Mapuche-Huilliche community of Huichan Mapu walked onto a 250 hectare (approximately 615 acre) parcel of land in Frutillar, Chile and began a peaceful occupation of the land. The community was removed from the land in 1991 and has been trying, unsuccessfully, to use the processes of the state to gain its return. According to their spokesperson, the families are prepared to stay on the land indefinitely until the land is returned to the community.

Prior to 1991, the Hulliche community members lived on and farmed the land that they now peacefully occupy.  But in 1991, according to the lonko (leader) Florinda Martínez Gáez, the land was taken from the community when other individuals “misrepresented” the land’s status. At that point in time, men, women and children were removed from the land. Since then, the community has sought the return of their lands by going to authorities at the regional, provincial and national levels. With those efforts leading nowhere, the decision was made to take peaceful action to recover their traditional lands.

The community’s spokesperson, José Hernández, added that the families have no intention of leaving the land until it is returned to their people. Hernández also indicated that the community has documents proving that they were rightfully on the land 40 years ago, although CONADI seems to indicate that no records from that far back currently exist.

The community’s efforts have resulted in a meeting to take place on Friday, October 21st, which will involve community members, the Governor and a representative from CONADI (the Chilean government’s Indigenous development corporation). Assuming that the issue won’t be resolved with one meeting, the people of Huichan Mapu have called upon other Mapuche leaders and communities to support their efforts.

The occupation has, thus far, occurred without incident, although police officers were sent in to the entrance of the land to ensure that order is maintained.

See the articles linked in this story and additional Indigenous headlines by clicking here (updated daily).

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Argentina to Wall Street: Latin American Social Movements and the Occupation of Everything

October 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm (Building Occupations, Housing Occupations, Indigenous, Land Occupations, Peoples' Assemblies, Squatting, Student Occupations, Workplace Occupations) (, , )

Assembly at Occupy Wall St. Photo: Flickr/MatMcDermott

By Benjamin Dang, Toward Freedom

Massive buildings tower over Wall Street, making the sidewalks feel like valleys in an urban mountain range. The incense, drum beats and chants of Occupy Wall Street echo down New York City’s financial district from Liberty Plaza, where thousands of activists have converged to protest economic injustice and fight for a better world.

As unemployment and poverty in the US reaches record levels, the protest is catching on, with hundreds of parallel occupations sprouting up across the country. It was a similar disparity in economic and political power that led people to the streets in the Arab Spring, and in Wisconsin, Greece, Spain and London. Occupy Wall Street is part of this global revolt. This new movement in the US also shares much in common with uprisings in another part of the world: Latin America.

This report from Liberty Plaza connects tactics and philosophies surrounding the Occupy Wall Street movement with similar movements in Latin America, from the popular assemblies and occupation of factories during Argentina’s economic crisis in 2001-2002, to grassroots struggles for land in Brazil.

Latin America: Economic Crisis and Grassroots Responses

Almost overnight in late 2001, Argentina went from having one of the strongest economies in South America to one of the weakest. During this economic crash, the financial system collapsed like a house of cards and banks shut their doors. Faced with such immediate economic strife and unemployment, many Argentines banded together to create a new society out of the wreckage of the old. Poverty, homelessness, and unemployment were countered with barter systems, factory occupations, communally-run kitchens, and alternative currency. Neighborhood assemblies provided solidarity, support and vital spaces for discussion in communities across the country. Ongoing protests kicked out five presidents in two weeks, and the movements that emerged from this period transformed the social and political fabric of Argentina.

These activities reflect those taking place at Occupy Wall Street and in other actions around the US right now. Such events in Argentina and the US are marked by dissatisfaction with the political and economic system in the face of crisis, and involve people working together for solutions on a grassroots level. For many people in Argentina and the US, desperation pushed them toward taking matters into their own hands.

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#OCCUPYWALLSTREET

August 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm (Building Occupations, Housing Occupations, Land Occupations, Student Occupations, Workplace Occupations) (, , )

#OCCUPYWALLSTREET

A shift in revolutionary tactics.

Alright you 90,000 redeemers, rebels and radicals out there,

A worldwide shift in revolutionary tactics is underway right now that bodes well for the future. The spirit of this fresh tactic, a fusion of Tahrir with the acampadas of Spain, is captured in this quote:

“The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people.”— Raimundo Viejo, Pompeu Fabra University
Barcelona, Spain

The beauty of this new formula, and what makes this novel tactic exciting, is its pragmatic simplicity: we talk to each other in various physical gatherings and virtual people’s assemblies … we zero in on what our one demand will be, a demand that awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would propel us toward the radical democracy of the future … and then we go out and seize a square of singular symbolic significance and put our asses on the line to make it happen.

The time has come to deploy this emerging stratagem against the greatest corrupter of our democracy: Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.

On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.

Tahrir succeeded in large part because the people of Egypt made a straightforward ultimatum – that Mubarak must go – over and over again until they won. Following this model, what is our equally uncomplicated demand?

The most exciting candidate that we’ve heard so far is one that gets at the core of why the American political establishment is currently unworthy of being called a democracy: we demand that Barack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington. It’s time for DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY, we’re doomed without it.

This demand seems to capture the current national mood because cleaning up corruption in Washington is something all Americans, right and left, yearn for and can stand behind. If we hang in there, 20,000-strong, week after week against every police and National Guard effort to expel us from Wall Street, it would be impossible for Obama to ignore us. Our government would be forced to choose publicly between the will of the people and the lucre of the corporations.

This could be the beginning of a whole new social dynamic in America, a step beyond the Tea Party movement, where, instead of being caught helpless by the current power structure, we the people start getting what we want whether it be the dismantling of half the 1,000 military bases America has around the world to the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act or a three strikes and you’re out law for corporate criminals. Beginning from one simple demand – a presidential commission to separate money from politics – we start setting the agenda for a new America.

Post a comment and help each other zero in on what our one demand will be. And then let’s screw up our courage, pack our tents and head to Wall Street with a vengeance September 17.

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Is America Ripe for a Tahrir Moment?

#OCCUPYWALLSTREET goes viral.

#OCCUPYWALLSTREET

Hey you rebels, radicals and utopian dreamers out there,

Our call to #OCCUPYWALLSTREET on September 17 shook up a tsunami of spontaneous enthusiasm. Jammers from all over the nation (and a few Canadians!) have sent word that they will be there. Meanwhile various activist organizers have realized the potential of this event, rolled up their sleeves and gotten to work. While some techies have teamed up to build an indie open source website for organizing carpools to the event (occupywallst.org), others are thinking through the logistics of feeding everyone and defending the first days of the occupation. Through it all, a deluge of solidarity messages have been pouring in from Spain, Egypt and elsewhere.

Will you be there?

Imagine … the dawn of the 13th day of the occupation … you’re tired, not sleeping or eating too great … you’ve been harassed, maybe tear gassed and beaten. Bloomberg is threatening to call in the National Guard, Obama is hemming and hawing, but you are sitting tight because much of the nation is cheering you on. Al Jazeera and the BBC are beaming your struggle to a captivated world and the tension is building for Obama to break his silence. It feels much like it did in Tahrir Square moments before Mubarak caved. You’ve never felt so alive!

What had the power to inspire all this?

It was our one simple demand that Barack Obama must ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence that corporate money has over our representatives in Washington. Our one simple demand is: STOP THE MONIED CORRUPTION AT THE HEART OF OUR DEMOCRACY!

Achieving this Presidential Reform Commission will be the crucial first step towards opening a political space for a flurry of further people’s demands like, total transparency in all government affairs, a Tobin Tax on financial transactions, a grand strategy for reducing America’s carbon footprint …

September 17 could be the beginning of an American Spring … the moment we the people turn the tables on our would-be corporate masters and start acting like free empowered citizens once again.

Are you with us? Bring a tent.

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

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On Sacred Ground: Native Occupation of Glen Cove Enters 13th Week

July 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm (Indigenous, Land Occupations, Sacred Sites) ()

A view of Glen Cove, part of Vallejo, Calif., which is north of San Francisco Bay. (Photo by R.M. Arrieta)

Native Occupation of Calif. Cove Enters 13th Week
By R. M. Arrieta, In These Times
Thursday, Jul 14, 2011, 10:32 am

Labor comes in many different forms. The kind of labor required to defend one’s land is uniquely voluntary— and now on display in Vallejo, Calif., where a group of native people and their supporters have been occupying land at Glen Cove for 92 days to stop development in an area that once contained ancient shellmound burial sites.

On April 14 the group—members of the Yoche Dehe Wintun Nation and Cortina Band of Wintun Indians—began occupying the 15-acre area north of Oakland where the City of Vallejo and the Greater Vallejo Recreation District (GRVD) want to build bathrooms, a hiking trail and a parking lot on land known to contain shellmound burial grounds and Native American villages dating back to 1,000 A.D.

Native people, who are seeking permanent legal rights from the city to protect the land, refer to the area as “Segorea Te,” its traditional name in the language of Karkin Ohlone. Hundred of visitors, including nearby residents, have come to Glen Cove offering gifts, food, help with keeping the grounds tended, and prayers to the sacred fire that has burned continuously since the occupation began in April.

This pristine area sits on a cove where cool waters wash over rocks and into the Carquinez Bay. Willows, alder trees and tule shade the land near a fresh water creek. Fishermen ply the shore. The quietness belies the fight waging between indigenous people and GVRD and the City of Vallejo.

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France: GZero Occupation Camp

July 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm (Land Occupations) (, )

Communiqué: This is a occupation!!

The ZAD, July 9, 2011,

We are a hundred, we just occupied the land in order to make a autonomous village, to overcome the fight against g8 we gathered together to start to build up a concrete moment of alternatives and struggles.

It’s been a while that we think about the idea to change the way of protest against g8 summits, against pressure, the expected appointment, police traps and event hopping. By preparing this long term “Camp” which we want to call village here on La ZAD ( Zone to defend ) we want to expand this mobilization, take our time for reflection and exchange, linking the global and local struggle…. Our rage is intact: our energy too!

Now we are here and we intend to stay: the land is occupied, there are a lot of motivated people, structures are actually getting mount, the info is spreading: we are here to stay, at least until the end of July!

This open space serves as a laboratory of ideas, a rebel zone, a pirate island, a World apart the rotten one began to rise and there’s everything to accommodate everyone who wants to experiment this with us. Medical areas, kitchens, kids space, Cultural activities and many space to debate, practice and exchange. Our aim is to function horizontally, everything will be on donation. It’s not a holiday camp! We got the envie to talk politics, to build networks in order to support the alternative life we dream of, to destroy their world, their airports. But it does not mean that we will be unhappy to welcome everyone who’s into subversive Art, storytellers and poets, musicians and painters…….

We expected many things, debates, workshops, it will probably not happen as we expect and preview and that’s good like that! There are still many open opportunities to come and animate a debate, workshop or a action training. We count on you to join us… and surprise!

The map to join us and further information you find on: www.gzero.info

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Communication from Glen Cove Occupation

June 7, 2011 at 9:29 pm (Indigenous, Land Occupations, Sacred Sites) ()

ProtectSacredSites.org

In Northern California once the rivers and even the streams in many parts – saw the passing thru and fro of the almighty – SALMON. As we frail humans began to understand the journey of the SALMON – we, the indigenous people – showered a deep respect on this annual ritual. The fight, up hill – to the spawning rounds, the release of life – and finally the glorious death. All nature participated in this historic episode year after year – for thousands of years. Even, the redwood trees, in all its majestic power and glory – wallowed in the smell and nutrition of the SALMON. The stranger, the creator of the concrete jungle, messed the balance and left the indigenous people, and all of nature that once was pristine – adversely impacted and polluted. Desecrated the SACRED LAND and continues to do so – even today. Aho.


I have been to Glen Cove many times – and I have heard from the Elders about the many trials and tribulations of the many California Tribes that revered this Cove. The salmon have for thousands of years – visited this Cove – and then made their journey up stream to visit again, spawn, initiate life and die.

The ritual of the salmon, the abundance it brings, has been tied to so many cultural factors and has been the DNA of the indigenous tribes all over Northern California and Northern American – but also far way New Zealand – the land of the Maori.

The Elders and the Shamans once knew what would befall them and took precaution. The timing was prefect but the time has come to reveal the truth – and the truth is not pretty – not so to those that are mundane and continue to disrespect Mother Earth.

The Elders of the many tribes – have spoken to me – and because they have confided in me – I have done what is possible to expose their wisdom to those that do not – comprehend.

Years ago with great difficulty – we brought the leaders, the elders, so that they may address the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). The authority that uses the Hetch Hetchy water and responsible for the Hetch Hetchy damn – the other rivers and streams where it pumps water from – and from time to time – releases water.

The SFPUC and the authorities behind the Water System Improvement Project (WSIP) has continued to disrespect the First People. If they think they have not – I will explain to them in my speech very soon.

Even, as the visit of the Salmon to Glen Cove and its yearly ritual is welcomed and understood by the indigenous people and other children, women and men of good faith – not so by the greedy, materialistic, evil – stranger whose main goal is hoarding and making money. Taking the resources that Mother Earth gives and use it without judgement and often indiscriminately.

The stranger was responsible for the cutting of the redwoods and there is a relation between the Salmon and the redwood.

The stranger has for years – fished for salmon – without any care, no discernment of what is good – taken so much and adversely impacted an entire region.

The stranger has damed the rivers – taken upon himself to destroy, without even knowing the consequences too deep, too salient, too spiritual for him with his evil ways to comprehend.

The list of what the stranger has done is long – and to fill this page with his misdeeds – is not the purpose of this message.

Yesterday, for the first time in hundreds of years – a ritual was conducted to welcome the Salmon.

Much like some years ago – from a far away Nation the Maori invited the California tribes and revealed to them that they could come and visit the salmon – that the Great Spirit had arranged for a far away Nation – to preserve and keep the Salmon in trust.

Glen Cove in Vallejo is Sacred Land – visited and respected by many California Tribes – that Sacred Land has the blessing and is connected to those that must be respected.

Now, the stranger wants to build some restrooms and a parking lot. If he dares to that – the misery of his bankruptcy and related woes today – will be multiplied a million times. Those that do not pay heed to this warning – can dare the impossible and suffer the consequences.

I was a witness to the ceremony – but, what I saw with my eyes – was the past as the ceremony too place.

A revelation that was meant to be so that I could reveal to the world – what indeed in the power of the ritual, the meaning of respect, the keeping of a bond – not written in any language – less that of the stranger the originator of most that is “evil” on this earth.

It has been over two months, now – the Fist People have camped and are protesting that no entity should be permitted to build a parking lot and some restroom – on a Sacred Burial Ground at Glen Cove.

No one has Patrimonial Jurisdiction on that land – except, those First People; those indigenous people that have revered the Sacred Site for thousands of years.

The Native American Graves Protection and Rehabilitation Act (NAGPRA) , the Precautionary Principle, and other mundane laws of the Stranger are in place and can easily be applied.

However, in this case – if anyone dares desecrate the land – now that they have been told and warned – the consequences will be severe.
” No home, no building, will withstand the quake and much like Joplin – nothing much will be left – but death and destruction” – I have spoken.

Every great care was taken to perform the ceremony in keeping with what has been passed from generation to generation by those Indigenous Tribes that understand the Salmon – the Pitt Indian River Tribes.

My role was to be a witness and connect the dots. To see with my eyes the present, the past and reveal certain aspects of the future.

In the year 2011 is it completely wrong to think of desecrating a Sacred Burial Ground.

The Vallejo Council and the Vallejo Recreation and Park Authorities know that what they are doing is wrong.

I told them that at one of their meetings – four years ago. They have an Environmental Impact Report and a General Management Plan that is full of loop holes.

There is no sound leadership in this fake plan – and what is more – given the dire economic straits of the City of Vallejo that is bankrupt – no one should waste money and more try to confront the First People, the California Tribes, and those that respect Sacred Burial Grounds.

The stranger thinks he has his laws – but for thousands of years the Patrimonial Laws of the First People have withstood what cannot be understood by those that are not spiritual.

Leave the Sacred Ground alone – and if you do not – suffer the consequences.

Here are some photographs – look at them and respect the seeings.

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