Originally Published in We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation, a book published by AK Press in September 2012.
Reform vs. Revolution
The question of whether movements should fight for reform or revolution is not a new one. It pops up in any time period where people think it’s possible to win one or the other, or both. Thanks to Occupy, the question is on the table again, in this new political climate.
A friend once told me – if you’re struggling to choose between two different options, and you just can’t make up your mind, don’t bother: Just have both. I think he might have meant it in terms of something smaller, like which flavor ice cream to order, but I think we can use that thinking about reform and revolution as well – and many revolutionaries of old have come up with similar answers (Andre Gorz is a good place to start if you are looking for further reading).
How the Left’s talk of co-optation missed the real critical questions that 99% Spring offers our movements
by Harmony Goldberg & Joshua Kahn-Russell
Also posted on Znet
Last month, a broad alliance of organizations from across the progressive spectrum came together to train 100,000 people in nonviolent direct action in the hopes of supporting a wave of action targeting corporations and the politicians that own them. It was called 99% Spring. Some also called it “co-optation.” We call it “alliance building.”
The conversation within the movement has been fascinating, and reveals some key pitfalls that the resurgent U.S. Left might fall into if we’re not careful
An Interview with Joe Burns, author of Reviving the Strike at Lawrence, Mass. Bread and Roses Centennial April 28th, 2012
by Camilo Viveiros
Introduction: Many in the Occupy movement have called for a general strike on May 1st but most Occupy activists aren't involved in labor organizations or organized in their workplaces. While General Assemblies may be somewhat effective institutions at reaching the agreement of assorted activists around future direct actions, workplace stoppages require the large scale participation of workers in decision-making structures. The interview below gives some organizing advice for those who have called the general strike. I hope that this interview will inspire Occupy activists to consider the difficult work ahead that is needed to build democracy in the workplace. We are the 99%!
Also published in Occupy! #4. Occupy! is an OWS-inspired gazette, published by n+1.
Almost immediately after a small band of activists first occupied Zuccotti Park in September of last year, many in the movement started expressing concern about potential co-option by more established and moderate forces. These concerns have become more central in 2012, an election year. Wariness is certainly warranted. But angst about an over-generalized sense of co-option may be an even bigger problem. We cannot build a large-scale social movement capable of achieving big changes without the involvement of long-standing broad-based institutions. OWS should actively and strategically forge relationships with many of these institutions, while preserving the role of OWS as an "outsider" force.
Originally published on wagingnonviolence.org.
“The Tombs” is the less-than-endearing nickname for New York City’s Central Booking, the jail you get sent to if you are arrested in Manhattan and set to be arraigned before a judge. This spiraling dungeon below the courthouse at 100 Centre Street is about as ominous as it sounds. Above, the court itself is pristine and immaculate, adorned in mahogany and full of quiet, proper, well-dressed people. But all you have to do is open a door to the back of the courtroom to reveal an underground complex made up of filthy jail cells, violent correctional officers and hundreds of (mainly) poor people (mainly) of color, awaiting their arraignment for anywhere between 10 and 72 hours.
Organizing Upgrade is excited to repost this Media Mobilizing Project interview with two Pennsylvania organizers about the impact of Occupy on rural Pennsylvania.
Episode Description: In this episode Audra and Miguel speak with Mitch Troutman and Kara Newhouse of PA from Below about the occupations across Pennsylvania sparked by #OccupyWallSt. We also get to see stories from occupiers in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania, a report from the UNITE HERE action against Aramark for fair work conditions, and the recent Working People’s Media and Communications Forum.
On Jan 15, SOUL (The School of Unity and Liberation in Oakland) organized a panel and discussion on Occupy with veteran organizers from community and labor organizations who have been deeply engaged in the Occupy Movement. Maria Poblet (of Causa Justa/Just Cause), Shaw San Liu (of Chinese Progressive Association), and Brooke Anderson (of East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy) share lessons from on-the-ground mobilizations in Oakland & San Francisco, and exchange ideas about challenges and opportunities in this new moment in the fight against the 1%.
Matt Bieber originally conducted this interview with Marshall Ganz via telephone on October 28, and it was originally published on The Wheat and Chaff. In the early 1960′s, Marshall Ganz dropped out of Harvard to join the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi. He then spent 16 years working w
Winter Has Arrived. We Do Not Fear the Cold.
On September 17th, we took Liberty Square, used it to begin to create the social norms and institutions of a society to come, and became the Occupy Movement. We hit the streets fiercely, abandoning the metal barricades they once contained us in, rejecting the marching permits they offered us, refusing their sidewalks. We were dragged, handcuffed, into the front pages of people’s minds, and brought with us a story many were trying to silence – a story about the profit of the tiny few through the exploitation of the many, a story about deep and systemic economic, political, and social injustice. We danced in the streets and parks we reclaimed, and then in the jail cells they took us to when they realized we weren’t going home. We were confident, invincible; it’s hard to be afraid when the sun is out.