Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What next for #OWS?

As a creature of the North, I am all for suspending operations in winter.  Most of the crazy things I have done in life were done when I was cold (tired and hungry).  Cold is an insidious foe—it simultaneously slows you down and makes you impatient.  Now IF you can get your enemy to suffer the same conditions and you are better prepared, you can win battles you might otherwise lose—see Zhukov at Stalingrad or Bud Grant when the Minnesota Vikings used to play outdoors.  But a cold, disorganized, poorly-fed group of protesters are no match for well-clothed, well-fed, well-organized police.  If they had not been swept from the park last night, it would have been soon.

And #OWS actually needed a reason to regroup.  Things were getting a little scabby at the various venues, the initial victories needed to be consolidated, and some serious thinking needed to be done about the "what next?" question.  No less than than Adbusters (the guys who invented #OWS) suggested that:

We declare "victory" and throw a party … a festival … a potlatch … a jubilee … a grand gesture to celebrate, commemorate, rejoice in how far we've come, the comrades we've made, the glorious days ahead. 
Imagine, on a Saturday yet to be announced, perhaps our movement's three month anniversary on December 17, in every #OCCUPY in the world, we reclaim the streets for a weekend of triumphant hilarity and joyous revelry. 
We dance like we've never danced before and invite the world to join us. 
Then we clean up, scale back and most of us go indoors while the die-hards hold the camps. We use the winter to brainstorm, network, build momentum so that we may emerge rejuvenated with fresh tactics, philosophies, and a myriad projects ready to rumble next Spring. 
Whatever we do, let's keep our revolutionary spirit alive … let's never stop living without dead time. more
But somehow, I am not sure this will happen.  The kids down at #OWS are not going to back down.  They have had too many emotional victories and are not about to let something like a police sweep make them give up.  The attitude is more like this:
Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany
Dear Occupy Wall Street: You're the 'Mega-Event of the Century'

"Mayor Michael Bloombergz is whining about disbanding the camp because the protest could negatively affect tourism. Furthermore, he says, Wall Street ensures jobs. Has anyone ever seen a more ridiculous and pathetic whiner? … For whom does such charity on Wall Street create and secure jobs?! The obsession of financial markets with profits has destroyed jobs - or have I gone completely insane?"

By Mely Kiyak
Translated By Stephanie Martin
October 14, 2011
Germany - Frankfurter Rundschau - Original Article (Germany)

My whole life, I have heard the rags-to-riches story. In America, if you want it enough you can make it! Today you’re selling hot dogs out of a cart, but tomorrow you could be the owner of a hot dog chain with locations all over the world. You failed out of school, but somehow still, you may be paid a salary with a few ones and zeros, and not only could you become the owner of a computer company, but you might sit at the table with world leaders who will beg you to support their election campaigns.

If you make it there, you can make it anywhere. Folks, people and readers around the world: For the last few weeks, the American dream has been at risk. Nation-building tale number one: namely, that it is your talent that will determine whether you will live well. If, as has happened in New York, thousands of people join a movement called “Occupy Wall Street,” then folks, people and readers around the world - this is the mega-event of the century!

The anti-Wall Street movement is encamped at Zuccotti Park to block the access of employees to "their floor." It began in September with a few hundred people, and their numbers have been growing. Last week there were 12,000 people in the streets of New York. They demand a more equitable distribution of assets and losses. People are united in their resentment of state power kowtowing to the financial markets, to yields, and to its own weakness. more

Occupy Wall Street Leaders: “Bloomberg May Have Done Us A Great Favor”
By: David Dayen Tuesday November 15, 2011

Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement said today on a conference call that the police action to evict protesters from Zuccotti Park will only amplify future efforts, starting on Thursday with a planned day of action that will occur at sites across the country. 
“We’re going to get in the streets by the tens of thousands on Thursday,” said a member of the Occupy Wall Street movement, who requested that names not be used. “The energy that has erupted is just being amplified right now … Thursday will be even more militant and defiant than it was planned to be.” 
The eviction last night came just a couple days before a planned series of actions on November 17, conceived in conjunction with progressive groups like the American Dream Movement and organized labor (which is calling their contribution to the day of action We Are One). There are over 300 events scheduled across the country for November 17, the two-month anniversary of the occupation at Zuccotti Park. Many actions will use bridges as a backdrop to show the lack of attention being paid to America’s crumbling infastructure, which could be a key source of jobs. The Brooklyn Bridge in New York, the Key Bridge in Washington and the 4th Street Bridge in Los Angeles are example backdrops. 
One member of Occupy Wall Street theorized that the police action, coming just a couple days before the November 17 protests, was not a coincidence. “They probably had been planning this for some time,” the protester said. “The last time they tried to evict came a few days before the last big day of action… I’m really just guessing, but it’s happened twice at this point, and we’ve seen this happen in other Occupy sites as well.” 
Before last night’s eviction, the plan in New York was to engage in some kind of civil disobedience action as “an attempt to disrupt the business as usual on Wall Street” in the morning, with later events including assemblies and speakouts in all five boroughs, an “Occupy the subways” component, a demonstration at Foley Square at 5:00 and a march onto the Brooklyn Bridge. But because of the events of last night, the actual sequence of protests, and their content, could change, as Occupy protesters try to respond to police tactics. “We’re creating a coordinated response to what’s been going on,” said one protester. 
Whatever the case, the protesters agreed on one thing: the eviction will only grow their movement, starting with the Thursday actions. “Mayor Bloomberg may have done us a great favor,” one protester said. “We will perhaps triple the numbers that we expected. The tenor will perhaps change. A lot more people are going to be here.” more

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