#goldsmirk

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003200589474

Goldsmiths Occupiers say: ‘We are an open heterogeneous group including Goldsmiths staff, students and many others who believe the university is a public resource that should be open to all. We stand with all those affected by the privatisation agenda and against those who profit from its misery. Goldsmiths is now occupied in solidarity with the UK-wide strike on November 30th and the global occupy movement. We are here because we reject the privatisation of the university, symptomatic of the neo-liberal agenda that permeates all aspects of life. For this reason we have strategically occupied the building housing Goldsmiths’ finance offices, responsible for executing the cuts and the privatisation agenda.. All groups on and off-campus are encouraged to use this space to host meetings, events, and planning sessions for actions on November 30th. Where the current government agenda not only encourages, but enforces the transfer of public resources to private hands we join people worldwide in taking them back!’

More #Goldsmirk HERE and below:

 

Jodi Dean on What Now #ows

November 22, 2011

What now? #occupywallstreet

Suggestions are appearing for the next phase of #OWS. On the one hand, this isn’t new. Suggestions and advice have accompanied the movement from its inception. On the other, with the eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park, fierce police repression all over the country, and the holiday weekend coming up, it feels like things are changing, like the momentum of the past two months is shifting.

Even as I write this, though, I am skeptical of this description–I’m not sure whether it’s too NYC-centric, insufficiently attuned to the multiplicity of movement, the differences from occupation to occupation, the valences of local issues. These valences are significant–different cities have different codes (no camping after dark; no sleeping on sidewalks; no open flames), which means that occupiers have different relations with police, local governments, campuses. These different relations to law also occasion different relations to violence, that is, the effectiveness of  non-violence as a tactic and the amount of violence part of the daily experience of the occupiers.

What now? The occupation form, the common fact and symbol of the tent, the slogan (we are the 99%), the consensus based practice with the twinkle fingers, and the insistence on no leaders have created a vocabulary, maybe even a discourse, where there wasn’t one before. They have carved out or produced a space, rupturing everyday practices, the previous sense of what was possible.

Will this discourse, vocabulary, and sense persist in the absence of physical occupations? Will the multiplicity of occupations–the fact that occupations, big and small, pop in and out, appear and reappear, are shut down and reestablished–amplify and link them in their singularity, making them be and appear as the something larger than themselves that they instantiate? Can they continue to feel like the movement of the 99%?

Maybe these are the wrong questions. Maybe what matters are the multiplicity of different practices, the real existing experiences of occupiers, protesters, supporters. Maybe what’s at stake is the creation of new practices, people forging new ways of communicating, getting things done, being together. It’s about remaking the world one marathon discussion at a time, changing the world through changing ourselves as we changing the world.

I think there is probably some truth to this. We can’t keep doing the same things and thinking that we will get different results (so, all the internet petitions and lol-pepper spray cops in the world won’t bring down Goldman Sachs). But the practices associated with occupation–the long deliberations and living in tents–don’t scale enough to be the change. So for those involved, the movement is a change and a possibility and for the everybody else it’s content, stuff on FB and YouTube, the opportunity for a petition. It maybe sorta new (but haven’t there always been these protests, like the anti-globalization movement and the anti-war movement? –someone said this to me the other night). But even if it is, what can it really accomplish? Protests don’t work (someone said this to me last week).

The issue around scale and the connection between the practice of occupation and the politics of occupation have been around since the beginning. For the last two months it’s been the case that there are occupations and that there are the politicizations they effect: primarily the politicization of inequality, the making visible and undeniable the wrong that is the 1%. This politicization has been a first major political achievement of the first phase.

Now, because the movement, no one can deny that the capitalist system is broken, that the last thirty years have been a project for the restoration of the class power of the capitalist class  (especially but not exclusively via finacialization), and that the state has been a crucial weapon of class war (tax policy, police and prison, etc). In the last 10 days, the occupations have been especially effective at eliciting the brutal, repressive, para-military side of the side–a side that people on the lower part of the food chain already encounter more than the rest of us (so it’s news when cops hit college students; it’s reality television when they hit poor people.

It’s possible that eliciting the violence of state and campus police will be continue to be a crucial element of this next phase. I don’t think it’s likely for two reasons: first, Christmas break is coming up and campuses go into  a lull during the break; second, not every college administrator is an idiot, so the smart ones will tolerate occupations and teach-ins and all the rest, confident that the activists will remain a campus minority and that eventually something else will attract their attention.  A better alternative: building alliances and creating occupations that span from students to others, including staff and workers on campuses, and those off-campus, those for whom college hasn’t been an option. These occupations could be on campuses–and they raise opportunities for conflict because of the presence on campus of “those who don’t belong there.” And they could be off-campus–in bank and hotel lobbies, in the offices of mortgage brokers, in empty buildings.

At this point, if the next phase of the movement relies on college campuses, I think it will be to the detriment of the movement. Its concerns and audience will narrow. It will become disarticulated from inequality and a politics of the 99%. It will become a student movement, which is still something, but it is not a movement that by itself can keep the politics of inequality alive–most of the people going to college already have better odds of an economically better future than those they left behind in high school. The odds for college grads are getting worse, sure, and their debts doom them to wage-slavery, but that’s not sufficient for a movement that will produce a positive, egalitarian alternative to capitalism–and I don’t say bring down capitalism because that is already in the works; it’s already clear that it’s broken–no one denies this. The argument is over what to do next.

Other alternatives that are emerging include legislation and fragmentation. These are connected. Legislative battles (whether in the form of constitutional amendments or tax policies) are technical and specific. They require people with legal knowledge and full-time lobbyists.  These requirements in turn require focus, on a specific issue or proposal to the exclusion (even if just momentarily) of other issues. Given the multiple issues, proposals, and even demands circulating within #OWS, this fragmentation seems very likely, a devolution into affinity groups and issue politics. Especially in a milieu that privileges autonomy, this “do you own thing” or “if you think it’s a good idea, go for it” could well be the next phase of the movement.

This will also be a bad development–it will sacrifice the collectivity that the movement has been creating, the very collectivity and common pursuit that are the second major achievement of the movement in its first phase.

Collectivity rather than fragmentation has been the difference between #OWS and the last thirty years of left politics. It’s what feels fresh, vital, essential. It’s what we’ve been missing and what we’ve gotten back–a common front, a shared struggle (even when we disagree). Maybe more than anything else, we have to use this new phase to strengthen collectivity, to cohere and grow in discipline. The video from UC Davis is powerful not just because of the blatant violence–we’ve seen lots of violence. It’s powerful because of the extraordinary solidarity and discipline demonstrated by the students–those linking arms and sitting together and those who encircle the police. How do we foster and extend that sort of solidarity?

Maybe by occupations–whether tents or buildings, whether ones that endure or ones that are short–that share skills, instill trust, take risks. Already the occupations have common kitchens, medical tents, libraries, mediations, yoga, lectures, civil disobedience training, and legal services. What more can they provide so as to bring more people into the movement and create new loci of political and economic power? How can they take the place of local governments, boards, and institutions?

And how can these new loci build the solidarity that will inspire security guards, data processors, programmers, bank tellers, insurance claims adjusters, and office personnel to undertake risky acts of sabotage and refusal–imagine how inspiring would be the refusal of hundred office workers charged with collecting on debts or processing foreclosures, and how that could lead to a variety of copycat actions in a Fight Club that breaks its own first rule: everybody talks about Fight Club, or about taking not just parks but all the industries, companies, and enterprises that are already ours, we already occupy them. Taking them, making them ours, is just paperwork–the refusal to acknowledge any claim to private property.

All of these ideas are already circulating. Which ones are we and should we link, amplify, and extend?

Echo-casting

Mike check
   <mike check>
.
We are not going to stand still for this
  <We are not going to stand still for this>
.
Capitalism is moribund, its crisis is permanent,
<Capitalism is moribund, its crisis is permanent,>
         <<Capitalism is moribund, its crisis is permanent,>>
.
We must kick it while it is down, Kick it hard.
   <We must kick it while it is down, Kick it hard.>
      <<We must kick it while it is down, Kick it hard.>>
.
Starting with that Bank over there…
   <Starting with that Bank over there…>
      <<Starting with that Bank over there…>>
.
Starting now…
.
[A sly repost from 7 Nov]

Letter on the UC Davis mobilization

More on the UC Davis Pepper Spray Surprise posted here yesterday.

This letter by ‘anonymous’ was sent from a discussion list [sent, not written, by GCS] and says it all:

It has now been covered in the NY Times, USA Today, Time Magazine, CBS, CNN, and across the entire mediasphere.  The various UC Davis police assault videos have been watched hundreds of thousands of times.  Various searches related to UC Davis and pepper spraying were the *top searches on Google* in the US today — think of what that means.  By mid-afternoon, UC Davis had already backed down and the Chancellor had released a damage-controlling and mealy-mouthed promise to investigate.  But it was too late.
By monday, millions will know about Lt. Pike and his chemical assault squad, and the $400K per year (plus free housing, travel, and vehicle) Chancellor who gave the order to cut the protesters down to the point that some were hospitalized, and including forcing open students’ mouths and spraying directly into them.  I kid you not.

And something remarkable happened at Davis tonight.  I’ve been watching the live streams and following the blogs since late this afternoon.  It was a very important moment.

Chancellor Katehi was preparing to give a news conference to take another crack at spinning this story and controlling the growing, viral character it has acquired.
UC Davis students showed up in large numbers to this conference,  and were kept out of the small building (Surge 2, for those who know the campus) for lack of press passes (ha ha).  They surrounded the building and their numbers grew over several hours to over 1000 student protesters.  Reports came that Chancellor Katehi was afraid to leave and go through the student protesters, or even that she was being kept from leaving, as if it were a hostage situation.  Cops were *not* summoned, however — or at least they were kept back.  UC Davis appears to have learned at least a tactical  lesson already.
Through patient OWS style organizing, worked out over dozens of mic checks, they arranged to clear a wide path, determined that they would be silent and respectful when she came out, and sent word that they were not keeping her hostage in the building, just there to call for her resignation.  Hours went by as the situation got more and more tense, but the students showed remarkable discipline and organization as their numbers kept growing.   Finally, they negotiated with Chancellor Katehi’s people and she left the building to walk to her taxpayer-paid $70,000 Lexus SUV [buick] with one aide.  The students maintained *absolute, total order and silence* — really, not a word —  and stood aside,  except for the couple of journalists asking her questions on the livestream feed.  It was eerie and powerful and  Chancellor Pepper Spray was clearly feeling the shame of a thousands of eyes on her around the nation (the livestreams were overloaded as they were joined by students across California and then the nation).
Here is the moment of triumph, posted moments ago and already with several hundred views:

http://youtu.be/8775ZmNGFY8

Only once she began to pull away did the crowd erupt into a roar: WHOSE UNIVERSITY? OUR UNIVERSITY! dozens of times as they marched off to consume the pizza ordered for them by people around the nation.
It was so powerful — and remember this all happened on a day when virtually no news (except Demi and Ashton’s divorce or the 30 year old Natalie Wood death investigation) gets reported on mainstream outlets.  This *all* happened online, and drew a huge national audience in the process, enough so to force a major university into damage control freakout.

update:

Last night’s video now has nearly 25,000 views.  A better one has now
been released of Katehi’s “Walk of Shame.”  Turns out that was not
just any “aide” — it was the UC Davis police chief (Spicuzzi) walking
with her [disputed, Spicuzzi was at the press conference].  This new video shows the final mic check to get everyone to
be silent and stand back before Katehi leave the
building.  If you are sending this story around, this video is better
in that it shows how deliberate and well orchestrated the silence was:

.

.

Occupy Wall Street!  #ows #ucdavis

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Goldsmiths Meet on 23.11.11 to Build for 30 Nov General Strike.http://t.co/cAuSdWUG

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UC Davis Pepper Spray Surprise.

If you are gonna pull out your weapon, you gotta use it. For me, this means that there should not have been anyone arrested – those dragged off should have been retrieved. They let them off lightly – my meaning will become clear if you watch this all the way through, not just the first few outrageous frames.

If it will not show as an embedded frame, try: http://youtu.be/WmJmmnMkuEM

Arundhati Roy @ #ows

They (the 1%) say that we don’t have demands … they don’t know, perhaps, that our anger alone would be enough to destroy them. But here are some things – a few “pre-revolutionary” thoughts I had – for us to think about together:

We want to put a lid on this system that manufactures inequality. We want to put a cap on the unfettered accumulation of wealth and property by individuals as well as corporations. As “cap-ists” and “lid-ites”, we demand:

• An end to cross-ownership in businesses. For example, weapons manufacturers cannot own TV stations; mining corporations cannot run newspapers; business houses cannot fund universities; drug companies cannot control public health funds.

• Natural resources and essential infrastructure – water supply, electricity, health, and education – cannot be privatised.

• Everybody must have the right to shelter, education and healthcare.

• The children of the rich cannot inherit their parents’ wealth.

This struggle has re-awakened our imagination. Somewhere along the way, capitalism reduced the idea of justice to mean just “human rights”, and the idea of dreaming of equality became blasphemous. We are not fighting to tinker with reforming a system that needs to be replaced.

As a cap-ist and a lid-ite, I salute your struggle.

 

[Also fun to see them trying to mouth the words Lal Salaam and Zindabaad]

Occupy London ‘repossesses’ multi-million pound bank offices [first in a series I expect]

Posted on November 18, 2011 by 

– First building for the economic justice campaigners as they occupy third space in borough of Hackney, alongside existing spaces in the City of London and borough of Islington
– New ‘Bank of Ideas’ open to public this Saturday. Offices and meeting rooms will be available for those that have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs due to savage Government spending cuts

Occupy London has taken over a huge abandoned office block in the borough of Hackney belonging to the investment bank UBS in a move it describes as a ‘public repossession.’ [1]

Overnight on Thursday, a dozen activists from the Occupy London, campaigners for social and economic justice as part of the global fight for real democracy, gained access to the building and secured it, giving them a legal claim on the space.

The multimillion pound complex, which has been empty for several years, is the group’s third space and its first building, adding to its two camps at St Paul’s Courtyard – near the London Stock Exchange in the heart of the City – and at Finsbury Square (borough of Islington).

Occupy London supporters Jack Holburn said: “Whilst over 9,000 families were kicked out of their homes in the last three months for failing to keep up mortgage payments – mostly due to the recession caused by the banks – UBS and others financial giants are sitting on massive abandoned properties.

“As banks repossess families’ homes, empty bank property needs to be repossessed by the public. Yesterday we learned that the Government has failed to create public value out of banking failure. We can do better. We hope this is the first in a wave of ‘public repossessions’ of property belonging to the companies that crashed the global economy.”

The Bank of Ideas
The group say the space will be reopened on Saturday morning as the ‘Bank of Ideas.’ [2] An events programme is being lined up, including talks from Palestinian activists, comedy from Josie Long and a session led by trader Alessio Rastani, who sent shockwaves through the media following a provocative interview on the Eurozone crisis. [3]

Sarah Layler of Occupy London added: “The Bank of Ideas will host a full events programme where people will be able to trade in creativity rather than cash. We will also make space available for those that have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs to savage Government spending cuts.”

The Bank of Ideas is a non-residential occupation – so visitors are asked not to bring their sleeping bags. Space will be free from drugs and alcohol from the start, as per Occupy London’s safer space policy.[4]

Notes

[1] The complex is owned by Sun Street Properties Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UBS. The property includes 5-29 Sun Street, 5-17 Crown Place, 8-16 Earl Street and 54 Wilson Street. See dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/ubs…http://dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/shoreditch-ubs.PDFdl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/pla…http://dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/os-map.pdf and dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/lan…

[2] www.bankofideas.org.uk

[3] www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC19fEqR5bA

[4] occupylsx.org/?page_id=1214

[5] UBS Bank, which describes itself as a ‘premier global financial services firm offering wealth management, investment banking, asset management and business banking services’ was the subject of a $60bn bailout from the Swiss government in 2008 after piling up the biggest losses of any European lender from the global credit crisis. Since the time, the bank has cut thousands of jobs.

In September, a 31-year old trader at UBS was arrested by City of London police in connection with rogue trading that has cost the bank an estimated $2bn. The New York Times wrote an article in response called ‘At UBS, It’s the Culture That’s Rogue’ (see www.nytimes.com/2011/09/24/business/glo…? pagewanted=all)

The Financial Mail ran the headline ‘UBS grabs £1bn from pensioners’ with reference to a controversial form of secured lending that was sold aggressively to pensioners (seedl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/ubs….)

The bank has nine offices in the UK including three in London.

A recent report showed a total of 9,200 homes in the UK were repossessed by banks in the third quarter of the year, a rise on the previous three months (see www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15672123). Figures are expected to deteriorate further.

[6] Nearest tubes for the Occupy London Stock Exchange (OccupyLSX) site are St. Pauls, Mansion House and Canon Street; buses 4, 11, 15, 23, 25, 26, 100, 242; do check Transport For London website for delays and closures at journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk/user/XSLT_TRI…. The new Bank of Ideas is just down the road from the Occupy London Finsbury Square (OccupyLFS) space, which is near Moorgate; buses 141, 153, 205, 21, 214, 43

[7] On Sunday 16th October at an assembly of over 500 people on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, Occupy London collectively agreed the initial statement below. Please note, like all forms of direct democracy, the statement will always be a work in progress. Details at occupylsx.org/?page_id=575

[8] Bringing together a diverse range of people, Occupy London’s Stock Exchange, Finsbury Square (OccupyLFS) and Bank of Ideas are part of more than 30 occupations happening in towns and cities across the UK and over 1,000 actions worldwide coming together under the banner of “United For Global Change” calling for true democracy. Occupy London is supported by groups including UK Uncut, the London-based Assembly of the Spanish 15M movement and many others. It has already received phenomenal interest, from the public and media in the UK and around the world, with the OccupyLSX facebook group now more than 31,000 members.

[9] More information on UK occupations at www.occupybritain.co.uk/protest-details