What is #OCCUPYWALLSTREET : http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/occupywallstreet.html
What can I do? For us, creating this blog was one way, albeit a small one, of answering this question. We believe movements such as this are built of a million small, unacknowledged actions. We see the both the drudgery and beauty in this.And remember that our work has been made much easier by all those unacknowledged actors before us who, in the face of unimaginable adversity, continued to act.
What follows is a brief, preliminary sketch of some questions which occurred to us in our initial consideration of the practicalities of this action; please be aware that it indeed that it is indeed very preliminary, and as such is yet in a rough, somewhat confused form. Clarity is our eventual aim for what we hope arises from these questions. The sheer amount of considerations which came upon first becoming aware of this action initially overwhelmed, us, and at times still does. Our focus is on three areas of concerns (which themselves encompass many others) that we believe to be of prime importance. Many other questions must yet be asked, and many other questions will undoubtedly arise in the course of preparing for this action (and also, of course during the occupation itself). We ask that you contribute any thoughts you may have regarding the questions asked, or pose new ones yourself. We will continually revise this document as new information is submitted and collected, as new ideas occur and old ones develop.
We believe this act is what we make of it, what we are willing to invest in the just and human ideas it represents. More about this can be found, for those interested, in the (coming) section of this site entitled "What is it?."If all the aforementioned tiring, tiny acts are undertaken with the deserved spirit of courage and determination we believe what we make will be beautiful, beyond what we can know imagine or set down in words. It is true that many factors conspire against us, but we must recognize the struggles of those who rose up under conditions of poverty, under the fire of hunger and illness, under the rule of military dictatorships, under the grip of secret police, under the malicious steel of live rounds and infantry, under the teeth and blood of tyranny.
We must recognize our own great opportunity and potential. We believe we ourselves hold the power to ultimately determine the outcome, for their power is contingent upon the submission of our own, and if at last we are to say, "enough, no more," we believe something beautiful will start to happen.
Again, below are just a few of our concerns, and the questions we believe they raise. We would like to see a practical document eventually develop from the questions to follow. We would like to see creative responses to the problems we face, creatively uses of the significant resources and opportunity we have in the United States. and the Western world in general. For too long we have let these things be used employed mercilessly in the service of injustice and increased suffering, both here and aboard; let us at last employ them in the service of the just and free.
These are all just suggestions; we do not claim to be an authority on these matters, but rather wish to assist in the development of these ideas through the application of critical thought and reason. Please make suggestions of your own in the comments below, or email us at: occupywallstreet at gmail dot com.This is just a beginning, but it is necessary to begin somewhere. Much work needs to be done. We need all the help we can get.
1. Awareness and Organization
We believe that if we were able to adequately convey not only the details of this action, but a way for others to form for themselves an idea as to what it represents for them, that we dramatically increase the potential for a signifigant, effective, occupying presence on September 17th, on Wall Street and in similar centers of finance and injustice around the world. Thus we must ask: How do we make as many people as possible aware of this action and the ideas which inspire it?
- Persistent small acts of raising awareness; posting online, flyers, posters, contacting relevant organizations, discussion
- Engagement; continually developing ideas and making others aware of these develops. Fostering the momentum inspired by the initial announcement, and hopefully working to grow this momentum in the coming months
- Use of independent media, print, radio, and online. This action corresponds to their expressed principles. We seek their support.
- Use of social media; here (and in general) one should study the Arab Spring, what tactics proved most effective.
- Use of mainstream media; consider both that this allows for the possibility of making a great number of people aware of the coming actions, but also prevents the possibility of the distortion or manipulation of the action and its ideas. How have others done this effectively, how have the avoided the potential pitfalls and used it to the benefit of their cause?
- Actions prior to September 17; For example, leaks of financial data which make mention or express solidarity with the ideas behind the #occupywallstreet activities. We believe online acts, such as some of those taken by movements such as Anonymous (specifically AnonOps) have proven effective in gaining both attention and results. We propose the undertaking of coordinated efforts online and on the ground in support of #occupywallstreet (discussed further below). Please post any updates regarding awareness (links, media coverage, ideas, etc.) below, or send them to the email above.
We are curious how you believe we could most effectively and efficiently raise awareness, as it relates to the methods above,and as well as others we have not mentioned.
Links (to be expanded):
What is Hacktivism? 2.0 (pdf file)
The action on September 17th, to occupy Wall Street (or centers of finance around the world), requires a tremendous amount of planning and organizing if any of the potential of what we believe to be a beautiful and just idea is to be realized. The type of organization we refer to above is a sort of pre-organization, conducted prior to the action itself (some considerations regarding the organization we believe necessary during the actual act will be discussed under the heading of Logistics).
We ask of you, what should such preparatory organization include? Some thoughts on the forms this sort of organizing might take follow (in what is currently an admittedly disorganized form):
- A study of the realities and environment of the space at Wall Street (physical specifics and the possibilities and challenges they pose, weather, location of surrounding businesses and services) as it relates to occupation, and all that entails (food, shelter, hygiene, etc). The questions which could be posed here are endless. How can we best relate to and make use of this space?
- A study of previous occupations (for examples those during the Arab Spring), focused on the difficulties they faced and how they overcame they; this should be done with an eye to the unique conditions of Wall Street (or other environments, i.e. urban centers of finance in the West; these present unique challenges and opportunities)
- Following research, preliminary formulations of plans as to how basic needs will be met, food, shelter, medical, hygiene, etc.
- Forms of organization for specific purposes: preparation and distribution of food, supplies, etc.
- An idea of what supplies will be needed (clean water, food, shelter, medical, etc.) and how such supplies will be acquired prior to and during the occupation /(we believe the latter to be of particular importance, as police will likely act to prevent an easy flow of supplies).
- Transportation for those who wish to participate in occupation
- Support Structures. What exactly these will look like we don't know, but we know we will need them. This should include structures within the physical occupation, but also those offering organized assistance outside of it. For example, we imagine individuals who will have better access to resources to facilitate relations with the world outside the occupation; one idea, discussed further under the heading of "Communications" is a group of individuals who monitor relevant data relating to actions, movements etc. during the occupation, gather this data and transmit it to the appropriate parties. For example, different groups could monitor food, medical, etc. situations or concerns within the occupation, police movements, and so forth. This could be collected from individuals submitting updates from within the occupation, then organized and relayed to those who are serving to address such issues within the occupation itself. These communications should be as secure and resistant to interference as possible. What about more basic support for those who decide to commit themselves to living in this occupied areas for an extended period of time? What forms could this take?
- Create ways for those who cannot participate in occupation but would still like to participate can do so. This relates in particular to the support structures.How can others effectively show support and solidarity?
- A basic idea of how we will deal with the inevitable police (and or military) repression and various efforts to disband the occupiers (and to prevent it from even happening; form ideas impervious to tactics of infiltration etc; how have other large planned events successfully navigated these difficulties? Where have they failed?); these ideas should form be built upon tactics which have in the past been proven to work in such situations, as well as a careful consideration of the tactics used by police and others during such events (see links). They should also allow for dynamic adaption as realities change during the action.
- Plan for as many contingencies as possible; different forms of opposition, police and otherwise, illness, medical emergencies, water and food shortages, inadequate shelter, weather, etc. The opportunity to plan is one benefit of an action announced with well before its occurrence. Their are of course negatives to this approach as well, which we must consider and adjust tactics accordingly.
- Have clear and well-defined plans (again of the type which allow for adaption), presented in a form easy to understand. Make access to such plans easy to everyone.
- Supplies. A massive amount of supplies will be necessary, not for comfort but to meet basic needs. How will they be obtained, and how will they be regularly replenished? How much can be acquired (or re-purposed) on the scene? How can supplies be brought in before head, and acquired during the occupation? Should the environment be prepared in any way prior to the even to make it more inhabitable? If so, how, and to what extent is this possible?). These questions are to always be asked in light of the knowledge available to us from those who have in the past both succeeded and failed at similar endeavors.
- Donations or offers of assitance with supplies, etc. How can such things be organized and effectively channeled? Is anyone currently doing this?
- Involvement of existing organization with experience organizing large protests an events; this occupation could certainly benefit greatly from their experience, support, and assistance. How should we go about this?
- Should a forum be created, dedicated specifically to this type of preparing and organizing, where one could announce needs and offer assistance? If you know of one or create one yourself, please inform us.
In the course of this phase of preparation and organization, we believe one of the most effective steps we can take is to research and consult those who have undertaken similar actions, in order to better understand why they succeed and why they failed. Be open to all sources of experience and information; how has the Tea Party been so effective ( yes in part from contributions and support of established Republican institutions, etc.)? This is beyond politics, it is about that which forms the core of fear from which our faulty politics spring. Consider diverse acts as they relate to specific elements of the larger operation, i.e. how a certain group dealt with police presence at this time, how this group handled medical, etc. Also, we believe we should contact, for guidance and support, groups which have experience in the particulars of this occupation; for example, consult Food Not Bombs, medical volunteer groups, activist computer programmers, water purification specialists, survivalists, urban environment experts, members of intentional communities, squatters, etc. And of course those who have in the past participated in similar actions, among them our brothers and sisters who inspired us with their recent acts of courage acts throughout the Middle East. We believe there is much to be gained by doing this, that it will prove to be a crucial component of the form the action takes, and that to not to do is ill-advised and to our detriment. We should make the most of our collective experiences and knowledge; this is a sharing, a recognition, a celebration, a joyous collaboration in the name of all the possibilities and potentialities which exist in every one of us as human beings.
The the document we hope will result from these consideration would benefit from a clear organization with proper sections and subsections. Preparation such as this is crucial to the realizing of the potential this idea holds. Please make suggestions of past actions, uprisings, movements etc., as well as organizations or individuals to contact for information or support.
A quick note with regard to such plans: we are not suggesting that a code of conduct. a anything like it, be enforced on all those participating in the occupation, though many "codes" will in this community will inevitably arise spontaneous. We merely wish to prepare and present information which individuals might seek to facilitate their well-being during an extended occupation of an area not intended for such use, and which will be set upon by forces hostile to this occupation. However, we do believe it would be fruitful to investigate the potential forms such a code, or agreement, as to the day-to-day living arrangements, prior to September 17th; basic ideas which might serve to ease the organization to the voluntary relationships we will form in the course of close quarters living with thousands of others in the middle of a city street.
Links (to be expanded):
We understand that much has been previously written on the topics introduced by such questions by those who have already encountered and attempted to address them; guides and manuals on some of the topics mentioned, studies and analysis of movements and actions, and so forth. We are not yet familiar with this literature, and would appreciate if someone who has a greater knowledge of such things could assist us by citing some of the relevant material. We would prefer to learn from and build upon such work, as opposed to unnecessarily starting from scratch during this brief period of preparation.
It seems overwhelming when one begins to consider the thousands of questions posed by an undertaking such as this. We do not think they all must be answered right away, and many will not answer themselves until after September 17th. But we also feel it is important that we begin to think about these questions and suggest answers to the best of our abilities. We do not so much seek definite answers as the construction of a form for effectively responding to these questions as we encounter them.
To follow: Logistics, Communications, and Tactics.