From OccupyWallStreet to Occupying Our Streets

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Like many people I am fairly sick of hearing the question, when will Irish people say “enough” and finally take to the streets? Maybe the answer to that is the 15th of October. In the meantime we can only admire OccupyWallStreet…..

Michael Moore on MSNBC

From Elizabeth Gumport writing for N+1 (published 29th of Sept)
Back at Zuccotti Park

I went back to Zuccotti Park last night, for the first time since the 17th. Michael Moore was there, reporting for MSNBC from the corner of Liberty Street and Trinity Place. A crowd gathered around him; “down in front,” people called out, and everyone sat. Then most of them stood back up. A shot of Michael Moore sitting in a director’s chair, in a dark, possibly empty park, surrounded by a couple of security guards: apparently this does not make for good television. We’re live, someone said, and a boy standing behind Moore waved at the camera. People held their phones up the air and took pictures, like they do at concerts.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the park, the General Assembly was in session. The group here was much larger than the one gathered around Moore, but it didn’t feel like a crowd—people were calm, attentive, at ease. A lot of them were sitting down. In order to be heard, speakers relied on “human microphones”: they’d say a few words, then pause while the group repeated their statement. After an explanation of the assembly process for the sake of any newcomers came reports from working groups. A comfort team representative requested sweatshirts, sweatpants, and socks. Justin from community relations told everyone, “You look so beautiful tonight.” “You look so beautiful tonight,” everyone repeated, and they were right. They did look very beautiful. Maybe only someone as ignorant of strategy—of history—as I am would be impressed by this. But people—the ones who figured out how to do these things, the ones doing them now—are impressive! There was an announcement: the night before, someone named Sergio had asked for a translator. A translator had been found, and was present at the Assembly. If Sergio was there—and he was! There was Sergio, joyful, emerging from the circle. Someone else read a letter from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, thanking the occupiers for rallying in solidarity with New York City postal employees on Tuesday.

Nearly two thousand people gathered to hear Dr. Cornell West open OWS General Assembly

From the 27th of September, the 11th day of the occupation

From OccupyWallStreet

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Donagh is the editor of Irish Left Review. Contact Donagh through email: dublinopinionAtgmail.com
 

4 Responses

  1. Alan Rouge

    September 30, 2011 1:50 pm

    Chris Hedges went down to Wall St too: http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_occupies_wall_street_20110926/?ln

    Cornel West got it right when he said “we are in revolutionary times and the counter-revolution is winning”. This adds to Stuart Hall’s analysis of the “march of the neoliberals”

    Michael Moore dropped the ball with his last film I thought. It was a decent attempt at portraying the “brutal and nasty” effects of American capitalism but he barely scratched the surface.

    There was nothing in it that wasn’t covered in his first and best film, Roger and Me. He wrote a decent piece here chronicling neoliberalism from the point of view of the middle class – http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/30-years-ago-today

    Some more writing on the occupation:

    “there is a real potential to begin realizing a society based on human needs not hedge fund profits”

    Open Letter From Arun Gupta on the Wall Street Occupation: The Revolution Begins at Home
    http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2011/09/revolution-begins-home-open-letter-join-wall-street-occupation

    “#OccupyWallStreet is More Than a Hashtag”
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/09/23-13

    “Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history.”
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_best_among_us_20110929/?ln

    “What the Media Aren’t Telling You About American Protests”
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/09/27-2

    “Unions Head to Support Occupy Wall Street”
    http://www.commondreams.org/further/2011/09/29-0

  2. Donagh Brennan

    September 30, 2011 2:12 pm

    Thanks Alan, I realised when I was putting up the clips last night that, like Moore in Capitalism: A Love Story, I was barely scratching the surface.

    So I appreciate those links.

  3. Alan Rouge

    September 30, 2011 2:59 pm

    Heh 🙂

    There is certainly lots to read about it. Despite the best efforts of people doing translations from Spain and Greece I still found the language a bit of a barrier.

    I don’t think it’s gotten any coverage from the trad. mainstream media here at all.

    It was quite the contrast that Gilmore was in the same city giving one of those corporate speeches while the occupation was going on.

  4. dara

    October 1, 2011 1:01 pm

    I think there are a few reasons to be concerned about the capacity of the movement to grow and develop. The messiness of the demands and the lack of a clear message is a major issue.

    This article by Doug Henwood offers some pretty good criticisms. To his points, I would add that is an institutional problem – people lack the organisational basis that could properly sort out these issues.

    Certainly the location of the protest is a statement, but when it comes to words, there’s a strange silence—or prolixity, which in this case, amounts to pretty much the same thing. Why can’t they say something like this? “These gangsters have too much money. They wrecked the economy, got bailed out, and are back to business as usual. We need jobs, schools, health care, and clean energy. Let’s take their money to pay for them.” The potential constituency for that agenda is huge.

    Why instead do we see sprawling things like this (A Message From Occupied Wall Street), eleven demands, each identified as the one demand? Or this: The demand is a process? A process that includes this voting ritual: Select Below and Vote to Include in the Official Demands for #Occupy Wall Street.