The future for Occupy Christchurch rests in it living up to its promise and claiming the moral high ground it lost – immediately at inception – in October 2011. Experience-hungry students launching into this political franchise as May 1968 revival – more Woodstock love and peace ‘happening’ than coherent ideology for practical change – repeated historic error. Shunning transparency, accountability and structure from the start, out of timidity or anonymous enthusiasm to riot, the founding Occupy Christchurch leaders lost credibility for the protest camp straight away, deluded that some kind of youth personality cult around them would suffice for community order. It did not. Their naivety showed: semi-authorised substance abuse in the occupied park led to derelict takeover, thefts and assaults, a criminal image and eventual eviction by council. All that was inevitable as justice was scorned internally and Occupy Christchurch democratic standards fell below those of the host society, disproving the “99%” representation claim of the nascent movement early on. But with Occupy phase 1 almost expired – through trampled democratic free speech – learning its lessons to secure its gains would make a progressive phase 2 possible here, to which this write-up is dedicated.

Militant, antidemocratic identity politics undermine Occupy Peace

Militant, anti-democratic identity politics prevent Occupy Peace with separatism

In short, the student confusion over political principle opened the door to extinguishing threats to their peaceful cause. In short, Occupy Christchurch failed because it was sabotaged, taken over by those uninterested in peace and determined to assert that violence-in-kind could be the only way forward. It was a combination of the misandrist “class struggle” of the anarcho-feminists and that of the “smash the state” Workers’ Party that would seize the online tools of Occupy Christchurch for themselves, eager to permanently subvert or destroy new dynamic energy. Permanent because their attitude is one of superior knowledge and focused suppression of any more challenging discourse or organisation, such that they would act to disable all peaceful, intelligent competition, regressively and without principle. The criminal image was qualification more than deterrent to these long-standing violence mirrors. But peace will prevail – nothing else can deliver justice and victory for the 99%. All we ask is a shared future.

The way forward is still direct and participatory democracy, to reinstate and mature it through the Occupy Christchurch General Assembly as a kernel of real and networked collective self-determination for the future. Through an effective General Assembly that overturns the militants’ coup, political principle can finally be established for Occupy!

May Day community arts 2012

May Day community arts 2012

Updating the #OccupyMayDay 2012 #Occupy #Christchurch #M1 #OWS after-match report, is this a matter of one step forward and two steps back? ..

Diverging May Day Matters “the day itself was underwhelming.. It’s as if most of the globe’s human inhabitants have thrown up their hands, coincidentally, at the same instant, and with a loud collective sigh, exclaimed to the godless heavens, ‘We don’t know how to fix this mess. But we know that we have to try.’ So we’re experimenting. We’re taking risks and attempting to innovate, premised on pie-in-the-sky guesswork. We’re making mistakes, lots of ’em, and trying, trying again, with almost childlike wonderment at what our not-knowing will birth this time around. Maybe! ..the past thirty or so years of a horizontalist zeitgeist, in which words and images, bottom-up practices and egalitarian ethics, autonomous experiments and reclamations and occupations, all have brought us to this May Day and beyond.. it compelled us to reorient outward. To shake off the narrowness of what occupy was or had become.. May Day mattered because, ultimately, it didn’t matter all that much.” The North Star blog re-post 16 May 2012

Taking Occupy Wall Street from May Day to Every Day “the tens of thousands who took part showed that a model is being created in which Occupy assemblies, labor unions, immigrant worker justice organizations and other groups can collaborate and begin to jumpstart the catatonic left.. In order to reverse decades of decline, the labor movement must begin to adopt the more aggressive resistance Occupy has made commonplace, and not censoring or policing us is a start.. liberals and radicals, reformists and anarchists, labor organizers and hackers — a broad range of voices that represent the diversity of the Occupy movement. Without the GA and Spokes Council, inclusive and open projects like May Day can build solidarity and bring us together.. If Occupy Wall Street is to survive as a radical movement, it must strive to produce tangible results, making life better for people.. It’s time to absorb the lessons in the successes and frustrations of May Day, and move on toward new long-term projects and goals. It’s time to begin building real power that challenges the legitimacy of state and capitalist institutions, putting the very reason of their existence into question. Let’s continue the feeling of solidarity we had with each other during the May Day organizing process and use our combined strength to begin challenging the state head-on. I can think of no better way to start than by securing a new home for Occupy Wall Street and working to keep people all across New York inside of theirs.” – adapt locally Activists fight foreclosures together, but with different visions Waging Nonviolence

How to Succeed in Reoccupation Without Really Trying “This is a new time; the movement and its supporters are in a totally different place than they were last fall. Potential allies expect more from the movement — as they should. Many who were wholeheartedly behind it a few months ago seem to think it’s over, or should be. The encampments lost much public support as the pressures of police harassment, a lack of resources to assist homeless Occupiers and other factors turned many into unsafe spaces. Videos of Occupiers behaving badly became fodder for a right-wing smear campaign that is now gearing up for any possible resurgence. This matters; in some sense, an occupation is only as good as its public support.. As the movement shifts gears, it’s hugely important to keep the spirit of occupation alive — though not necessarily in tents. Occupiers are mapping the city’s sites of injustice by sleeping out in the Financial District, but just as important is the sense of community at afternoon Town Square events and mutual aid on May Day. This sort of action is constructive rather than just disruptive, and it points the way toward a new, revolutionary society. Lots of people in the movement talk about wanting to see these occupations evolve into sustainable worker cooperatives and serious, large-scale mutual aid networks.” indypendent.org 2 May 2012

Occupy’s liberation from liberalism: the real meaning of May Day “Occupy’s May Day rebirth, forging a new alliance of activists and union members, was a historic moment of anti-capitalist struggle.. In endorsing a vision of universal equality, of the dissolution of national borders, and democratic self-governing communities, nurses, bus drivers, and construction workers at the heart of America’s greatest capitalist metropolis are signing on to the vision, if not the tactics, of revolutionary anarchism.” David Graeber guardian.co.uk 7 May 2012

Radical Geometry: A Constructive Critique of the Radical March on May Day “despite local ordinances the right to peacefully assemble absent of a permit or fee is a constitutional right.. Protests are not safe, simply because there will always be an inherent risk when any form of direct confrontation occurs, particularly between activists and institutions of power. Nonviolent struggle doesn’t mean the absence of violence, it refers to the willingness to accept the risk of such violence brought on by the oppressors as we seek to engage and have our voices heard, as well as the willingness to refrain from committing acts of violence towards the oppressor.. To be radical is not in the color of clothes you wear, or in your level of disdain for the system, how loud you can yell at the police, but in how one engages with the status quo to achieve the desired results.. This isn’t about being radical: it’s about being effective.” portlandoccupier.org 9 May 2012

Occupy: Rebirth of American Radicalism “The Arab Spring reached U.S. imperialism’s economic nerve center in an ironically familiar yet strange form: occupation.. The opposition to OWS adopting a formal list of demands was not confined to a small core of anarchists, it was much broader, coming from liberals, revolutionaries, counterculturalist hippies, radicals, and (newly) militant reformists for sound strategic reasons. Adopting a list of demands in the early stages of OWS would have played into the corporate media’s hands.. would have ignited a destructive war between OWS’s revolutionary, reformist, and prefigurationist elements and blunted Occupy’s revolutionary-utopian edge in favor of reformist-economist half-measures.. Occupy is more than a movement and less than a revolution. It is an uprising, an elemental and unpredictable outpouring of rage and hope from the depths of the 99%.. The people leading the uprising are those who are willing to make the biggest sacrifices for it.. No idea or suggestion was dismissed, no matter how seemingly utopian or outlandish.. Occupy’s watchwords – direct democracy, direct action, horizontalism, and “leaderlessness” – are different expressions of the same political content: only we can truly represent ourselves; elected representatives can easily misrepresent their constituents; trust no one to do anything on your behalf, do it yourself.. an attempt to create a classless, hierarchy-free prefigurative infrastructure of resistance much as the hactivist group Anonymous has. A horizontal society is one without class, racial, sexual, or gender divides, without an oppressive state machine; horizontalism is both a political strategy and a moral code that compels occupiers to be the change they want to see. It is without a doubt a progressive impulse, and Marx surely would have recognized its communist implications.. Lenin’s vision of revolution was fundamentally inclusive, not exclusive, and the same is true of Occupy.. the socialist left played a rearguard instead of a vanguard role, remaining marginal rather than becoming central.. dysfunctional, irrelevant state of the American socialist movement.. Occupy’s militant, creative, indefatigable, and uncompromising spirit is what built the AFL-CIO in the first place. When that spirit left the unions with the divorce of the socialist and union movements in the 1950s, both were fatally crippled.. Occupy is the American edition of the Arab Spring. The long-term weakness of the union movement and irrelevance of the socialist movement stamped it with a non-dogmatic, non-ideological anarchist character, allowing anyone with daring and ambition the freedom to seize the initiative and shape it as they saw fit” thenorthstar.info 10 May 2012

Occupy Global Day of Action #Occupymay “Saturday 12 May, police from virtually every borough in London – in addition to members of the Territorial Support Group – violently removed supporters of Occupy London who were simply sitting on the steps of the Royal Exchange. The arrests came after a day of ‘Meet the 1%’ activities around the city timed to coincide with an international day of action marked in over 380 cities worldwide” You and I Films vimeo.com

Blockupy “The global Occupy movement is undergoing a period of sustained tactical innovation. In the U.S. occupiers are experimenting with new techniques of nonviolent protest inspired by the Black Bloc. In Quebec, we are testing whether a sustained student uprising against fee hikes can spark a broad base anti-capitalist insurrection. In Spain, the indignados are imagining new ways of holding people’s assemblies without permanent encampments in the squares. And perhaps the most important tactical breakthrough has come from Germany where last week 25,000 occupiers took the streets for Blockupy, three days of visceral protest against capitalism and the logic of austerity. The beauty of Blockupy is that it combined three tactics into one powerful event in Frankfurt’s financial district: Occupy, Blockade, Demonstrate.” adbusters.org 22 May 2012

“One of the central disagreements within the #Occupy movement has been whether our central goal should be to work to perfect US Democracy through doing things like getting money out of politics and reforming it over time or whether the problem lies much deeper and the whole system must be done away with. How will we achieve an egalitarian world?” Everything for Everyone .org August 11-12 Seattle – “Occupy is not seeking just to ‘fix’ the old oppressive order to make it seem ‘fairer’ to the relative few on the planet. The desire is for a new form of popular struggle, and a new content of the way we relate to each other as people and to our planet – our common home” The Everything for Everyone Festival thenorthstar.info 22 May 2012

What happened to the Occupy movement? “Although media coverage has dwindled, Occupy cells are alive and well all over the United States – and beyond. Arun Gupta – a co-founder of The Indypendent and The Occupied Wall Street Journal, covers the Occupy movement nationwide for Salon ..it is easy to forget taking collective action in a shared physical space is how social change happens from below.. Anti-war protest has little impact anymore.. On the other hand, occupying space in the heart of a city without end is a challenge to state power.. ‘Occupy is very odd right now. The people who have stayed are the cream of the crap, and the brilliant. The rank-and-file in between are at home.’.. just as it took years of labour organising prior to the 1937 sit-down strikes (another form of occupation) that secured collective bargaining rights for unions, the Occupy movement has barely begun.” aljazeera.com 23 May 2012

Group calls on Brownlee to address housing “Occupy Christchurch protest organiser Kelly Pope said there was an energetic atmosphere at the protest outside the Earthquake Recovery Minister’s electoral office. ‘Brownlee has stated that there is no housing crisis. There is no crisis for him as he owns several rental properties in the city, for others displaced by the earthquake and effected by the recession this is certainly a crisis.'” The Press 27/05/2012 + ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ Comes Home To Roost Otautahi Solidarity Network blog 30 May 2012 + Car Sleepers help “website for people displaced by the big earthquake of Canterbury”

Housing crisis solution will ‘get people out of cars’ 14/06/2012 + Village camps set to house rebuild labour “Business leaders support the idea of ‘working men’s villages’ in central Christchurch. The proposed security-monitored, self-contained camps would house the thousands of overseas workers expected in the city for the rebuild. Up to 10 camps could be built on vacant sites within the four avenues, each housing hundreds of workers” 15/06/2012 + Worker camps idea backed “Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said.. he did not want to see ‘1930s-type workers’ camps emerging throughout the city'” 16/06/2012 + No ‘astronomical’ rent rises in Chch – Brownlee + Govt to look at housing problem “investigation into overcrowding, homelessness and unsuitable living conditions in Christchurch.. Department of Building and Housing.. Problems included people living in cars and sleeping between sand dunes on beaches, and families struggling with unaffordable rent rises” The Press 18/06/2012 +

Occupy leadership battles:

The importance of dealing with Occupy’s misogyny problem 9 May 2012 +
Are you a misogynist, a misandrist or just a misanthropist? article 27-Feb-07

"Feisty" rad-fem Unicorn -  1 May 2012

Feisty rad-fem Unicorn – 1 May 2012

“..2 Requiring all those to whom authority has been delegated to be responsible to all those who selected them. This is how the group has control over people in positions of authority. Individuals may exercise power, but it is the group that has the ultimate say over how the power is exercised. 3 Distribution of authority among as many people as is reasonably possible. This prevents monopoly of power and requires those in positions of authority to consult with many others in the process of exercising it. It also gives many people an opportunity to have responsibility for specific tasks and thereby to learn specific skills. 4 Rotation of tasks among individuals. Responsibilities which are held too long by one person, formally or informally, come to be seen as that person’s ‘property’ and are not easily relinquished or controlled by the group..” etc The Tyranny of Structurelessness “Why organisations need some structure to ensure they are democratic” Jo Freeman 1970

Peace versus anarchist domination: Where does peaceful protest get us? Phil Dickens propertyistheft.wordpress.com 19/01/2011 + Why pacifism is morally indefensible 14/03/2010

Direct Action Makes History: A Response to Andrew Kliman’s ‘The Make-Believe World of David Graeber’ ..OWS has grown as rapidly as it has because it has provided people with an arena in which to jump right in and start acting politically: not just a forum in which to discuss what is wrong with the current political and economic system, but a jumping-off point for participating in all kinds of meaningful political activities: shutting down foreclosure auctions, building independent media, picketing in support of Sotheby’s workers, learning how to facilitate meetings. It has done more to build a movement than something like the Marxist-Humanist Initiative, on behalf of whom Kliman writes, ever has (other things that don’t build a movement? signing people on to a mailing list, inviting them to a public talk, or handing them a newsletter).. OWS may not yet be in a position to overthrow capital, but it has managed to build a mass political movement where not even the glimmer of such a thing existed before, and it has done so precisely by providing a space of meaningful and empowering political activity” recomposition.info/2012/05/15

Real Lessons from the Age of Industrial Violence “Although the mainstream labor movement usually rejected violent methods, there were always extremists willing to seek vengeance on the oppressors of the poor. As a result, the plutocratic rich were anything but secure during the Gilded Age. Threatened by terrorist retributions, they often lived as prisoners in their own mansions, chaperoned constantly by paid detectives and private police.. This is the past — not some laissez-faire idyll of happy workers and generous capitalists, but a period of social war with the potential to rend the nation to pieces — that awaits America if the hard-won gains of a century’s activism are finally allowed to lapse.” Portland Occupier .org 27 May 2012

You Know That The Hypnotized Never Lie “..How the hell did the Woodstock Generation leave a four decade pile of muddy blankets and garbage for the rest of us to pick up?.. the announcements really tell the tale. Chip Monck and John Morris repeatedly urge the crowd to clear the roads so food and supplies can get through and commend the Army for flying in with their “choppity chops” to help. They try to talk people off the towers, urge them not to fight, direct them to the hospitals, plead for them to stay away from the bad acid, pick up trash, or visit Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farmers for some grub. In the movie and other documentaries we meet such people as the Port-A-John guy, who gets subtly mocked while he proudly scrubs the toilets because the kids deserve a nice place to relieve themselves. Townspeople make stacks of sandwiches for total strangers, defend their right to be freaks, and generally accommodate the invaders. A half million people on a hillside congratulating themselves on their beautiful community, one thousand of whom actually invested any effort into it. And that is why forty years later the global landscape looks like Yasgur’s meadow. You Baby Boomers turned out to be pampered, greedy, self-absorbed, selfish children. Your myth is love, peace, and harmony, but for every Wavy Gravy from your generation who genuinely tries to make a difference there are a thousand Rush Limbaughs, Karl Roves, Hank Paulsens, and Sandy Weils. Even iMessiah Steve Jobs underpaid Chinese workers while marketing the mythology of the Woodstock dream. My generation, Generation X, isn’t much better. We’re bitter, sarcastic, nihilistic. If Mad Max’s evil nemeses actually were to tear down my street in their homoerotic leather gear the most we could manage was a bored “oh, you are so cool.” It’s all gone to shit anyway, why bother? No feeling at all is better than falling for the same bullshit over and over, and when we do drop our guards for a moment nothing changes — just more drone strikes and gridlock, the further erosion of civil rights, and Gitmo remains open. So much for believing in change..” Why It Matters blog jamesostafford.com 3 June 2012

Situationists – an introduction “In a (anti-)spectacular demonstration of the validity of their ideas, a group of Situationists, along with anarchists, at the Nanterre University were instrumental in sparking the Revolt of May 1968 which swept the country, bringing it to a state of near-revolution, with 10 million workers on General Strike, many of them occupying their workplaces.” libcom.org + Planet Anarchy .net “Occupy Wall Street!”

Occupy’s Spiritual Quest “The fork in the road ahead.. Occupy is now struggling through an existential moment. Our movement has been dealt a blow: our May 1 and follow-up events have been dissolved by power; the status quo has shown itself to be far more resilient than many of us expected. Now a passionate debate is emerging within our movement. On one side are those who cheer the death of Occupy in the hopes that it will transform into something unexpected and new. And on the other are patient organizers who counsel that all great movements take years to unfold.” adbusters.org 24 May 2012 + Flash Encampments “Occupy morphs into a new model! ..Acting autonomously under the banner of Occupy, without waiting for approval from any preexisting General Assembly, Occupy The Farm was notable for its sophisticated preplanning and careful execution.. In its own sweet way, our movement is now moving beyond the Zuccotti model and developing a tactical imperative of its own: Small groups of fired up second generation occupiers acting independently, swiftly and tenaciously pulling off myriad visceral local actions, disrupting capitalist business-as-usual across the globe. The next big bang to capture the world’s imagination could come not from a thousand encampments but from a hundred thousand ephemeral jams… a global cascade of flash encampments” 05 Jun 2012

You Can’t Evict a Revolution “..NYPD’s illegal eviction and occupation have cruelly exposed Occupy Wall Street’s (OWS) shortcomings. The police divided the occupiers by giving them a warning before moving in, allowing people to choose whether to stay and be arrested or leave with their freedom. The working groups are in disarray because they did not have contingency plans in place for this eventuality. The media team lost all of its expensive equipment in the raid, over 5,000 books in the People’s Library ended up in sanitation department trash bins, and as of this writing it was unclear what happened to the numerous pet dogs that were in the park with the occupiers..” socialistproject.ca E-Bulletin 15 November 2011 + Another Socialist Left Is Possible “Lesson: if you want to ignite a debate among socialists about what is to be done here and now in the middle of the Occupy uprising, don’t write about Occupy, write a critical review of a Lenin biography written in 1975 by someone who died over a decade ago. Then the sparks will fly. This is exactly what’s wrong with us, the U.S. socialist left.” spnyc.org 17 Feb 2012

The Money Masters .com “The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching plan, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole… Their secret is that they have annexed from governments, monarchies, and republics the power to create the world’s money…” + We are the 99 percent .tumblr.com “We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything.”

Proposed Program for Occupy’s May 1 General Strike “suggestions for the type of program Occupy needs to employ to break out of its stagnation; prevent it from being co-opted.. and subvert the dominant paradigm that drives the masses back toward the capitalists’ fake solutions” 2 April + Occupy MayDay! Occupy Lenin! 24 April 2012 redrave.blogspot.co.nz

London student protest - 2011

Previous posts: #OccupyMayDay 2012 #Occupy #Christchurch #M1 #OWS + The last tent comes down at #Occupy #Christchurch #day164 #OWS #NZ + Christchurch occupation over, Occupy 2.0 begins + Occupy Christchurch speak + Occupy Christchurch update + Find land for economic refugee camp activity + Occupy left, right? + Occupy ~ what and why October 2011

Advertisements