Resist. Insist. Stand together. Build. Never Surrender.

On September 17th, 2011 Occupy Wall Street was born. A hundred people occupied Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan and opened a space for imagination. We began to share food, clothing, and shelter. We sought refuge in the shell of a concrete jungle and found community. Inspired by our actions, occupations began throughout the globe. In a matter of months nearly all of them were crushed by the weight of repression and co-optation, but occupy cannot be stopped. It is a collective unleashing of anger and frustration at a dying capitalist system and points toward a new world. Let us create this world together. Read. Share. Distribute. Tidal.

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I recently traveled with a team of radical reporters to Greece. There, longstanding illusions of Europe as a “progressive and democratic” force in the world are being dashed as the neo-liberal and imperialist projects that are European Union and the International Monetary Fund bare their fangs.

Thousands upon thousands of public sector jobs have disappeared. Half of Greece’s hospitals are slated to close. We met doctors who had not received their pay in over 6 months. Free access to healthcare is being replaced by free market chaos in which people must rely on bribes and brokers in order to even secure basic services. The old social contract of the European welfare state has come to an end.

Factories are closing shop and moving to other countries where production is more profitable. Uncounted numbers of immigrants from Eastern Europe, South Asia, and North Africa who came to Greece seeking papers to enter the European Union now find themselves stuck in a society where the jobs have disappeared – and where swaggering neo-Nazis are mobilized to attack them on the street.

Public agricultural lands that once provided for the people are being privatized. With those privatizations, agriculture is being replaced with whatever industries are profitable to foreign imperialist powers. Greece is entering a process of neo-liberal specialization, in which its economy is to be warped and disfigured to produce whatever is profitable for global capitalism.

These measures have been met with wave after wave of rebellion. Millions are saying no to this trajectory. Institutions, arrangements and assumptions that once appeared permanent and unquestionable have been thrown into the air. The country is in such profound crises that many sense revolutionary potential. Communism is re-emerging as a name of an emancipatory possibility and road that people can take. Perhaps instead of breakdown, the people will breakthrough.Today, an electoral crisis and the emergence of the radical left have come to characterize Greece in the minds of many people. This is actually the most recent of four moments of intense radicalization in Greek society.

December of 2008 was a winter that forever changed Greece, setting it on fire. The global financial crisis was the kindling, but the match was actually the murder of a young boy, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, by the police. What started as demonstrations and riots in the small sub-cultural community of Exarcheia quickly spread to become a national rebellion. The legitimacy of Greece’s ruling parties was called into question for the first time in decades. The left was polarized, with the anarchists and the more creative sections of the communist movement playing a very important role. Meanwhile, forces that claimed to be on the side of the people, such as the old Communist Party of Greece (KKE), found themselves exposed and isolated. This KKE declared that (in their minds) any “genuine popular revolt will not smash even a single pane of glass.”

The rebellion among Greek people reverberated and grew. In response to loan and austerity programs being imposed on Greece by the European Union, 2010 became a year of mass protests and general strikes with crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands. General strikes occurred in industries where labor unions had historically been dominated by the PASOK, a mainstream party that postures as social-democratic as it carries out austerity, and that has played a role of co-option for decades in Greece. The political forces of Greek society were realigning.

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Read more: Greece: Where occupations speak, and governments fall

People are not helpless against the storm. While the winds howl, the thunder rages, and the waters rise, people can find shelter when they act together in the face of collapsing economies and ecological crises. Shelter can take the form of robust mutual aid networks and solidarity economies by which people empower and support one another to sustain
themselves outside the constraints of the capitalist system.

Those within the community can share their knowledge and talents, letting people know what they are willing and able to do, and what sorts of non-market goods and services they are willing to accept in exchange. Plumbing and repairs in a home reclaimed from a bank or a building liberated from a landlord; gleaning and sharing unsellable goods cast off stores and markets. Learning to grow and distribute our own food as we traffic between the urban and the rural through community gardens, nieghborhood potlucks, Occupy Farms. Legal and tactical skill-shares among those being hunted down by the debt-collectors and Repo Men. Forming industrial co-ops in which managerial decisions are made by workers in their own collective interest rather than for the profit of a Boss. Medical care provided to those who have put their body on the line in a protest or encampment. Self-generated energy-systems for those who want to opt out of the fossil-fuel economy that is destroying the very basis of life on earth.

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Read more: Mutual Aid in the Face of the Storm

Capitalism is killing us, killing the planet, and killing itself. We, the living, must work to facilitate the selfinduced death of capitalism while surviving and thriving together. A new commonwealth of life and care is on the horizon; it was glimpsed in Zuccotti park, and in peoples’ movements across the globe.

Our first step is to ask: how do you live? What do you do when the basis of your life is taken away? The water you drink, the soil you farm, the air you breathe, the rivers you fish, the atmosphere you inhabit — imagine it plundered and destroyed by an imperial tyrant operating with impunity. For most people in the world — especially in the Global South — this colonization and decimation of life is not so difficult to imagine. It has been happening in real time for centuries and the deathdealing tyrant has a name: Wall Street.

OWS has been privileged to launch our attacks directly at the doorstep of capitalism, at the heart of the empire. Storming the financial district, confronting its troops in the NYPD, we map sites of injustice with our bodies, voices, our affirmation of the commons. We connect the dots between the crime scene of Wall Street and the melting of glaciers, the rising of seas, the spreading of deserts, the clearing of forests, the poisoning of water, the failing of crops, the displacement of people.

 

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Read more: Beyond Climate, Beyond Capitalism - Politics of the Living

October 29, 2012, 8:30 PM

The city has been shut down. Bridges and subways and airports are closed. There is no school, no shopping, no business as usual. The stock exchange is shuttered. The circuits of capital are disrupted indefinitely. A state of emergency--but not the sort we had hoped for on May Day.

This is not a General Strike but a Climate Strike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Read more: Climate Strike: All Storms Lead to Wall Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Published on Mute (http://www.metamute.org) on 24th May 2006. Occupy Theory is re-publishing this essay for its relevance in helping to think about Post-Sandy reconstruction and organizing efforts.
 
The relief effort in New Orleans has had far graver implications for the city’s inhabitants than the physical devastation of hurricane Katrina – it represents one of the ‘largest and swiftest urban enclosures’ in US history. Far from returning things to normal, Bush’s neoliberal administration is using the disaster as an opportunity to evict its black working class residents, hand land over to big business and drive down wages – argues George Caffentzis

 
Dedicated to Megan Perry,who died in New Orleans while in struggle against the New Enclosures[1]
 
When Hurricane Katrina blew through New Orleans on 28 August 2005, the levees broke and a large part of the city was flooded. Hundreds of New Orleanians drowned and hundreds of thousands fled the city. Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in US history, but what made it so disastrous was the governmental response to it. Inevitably, this response became a prism to critically analyse the politics of the Bush Administration. The main motives that have emerged to explain its complicity in the disaster are racism and hostility to ecological considerations. The critics agree that if New Orleans was not a majority black city, then the Bush administration’s assistance would have been swifter and more generous and that Bush’s pro-corporate agenda impeded efforts to preserve the Mississippi Delta wetlands that could have blunted the impact of the storm.
These analyses of the causes of the New Orleans disaster in the Bush Administration’s ‘right-wing’ ideology are sound, but they do not get at the stark meaning of Katrina on New Orleans in class terms. Below I claim that capital will have to stop or ameliorate natural disasters such as Katrina (whose aggravation by capitalist development makes the distinction between natural and man-made disasters moot) unless it can use them to accumulate!

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Read more: Acts of God and Enclosures in New Orleans

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"On Living" - Nazim Hikmet

FEBRUARY, 1948

I

Living is no laughing matter: 

you must live with great seriousness 

like a squirrel, for example— 

I mean without looking for something beyond and above living, 

I mean living must be your whole occupation. 

Living is no laughing matter: 

you must take it seriously, 

so much so and to such a degree 

that, for example, your hands tied behind your back, 

your back to the wall, 

or else in a laboratory 

in your white coat and safety glasses, 

you can die for people— 

even for people whose faces you’ve never seen, 

even though you know living 

is the most real, the most beautiful thing. 

I mean, you must take living so seriously 

that even at seventy, for example, you’ll plant olive trees-

and not for your children, either, 

but because although you fear death you don’t believe it, 

because living, I mean, weighs heavier. 

II 

Let’s say you’re seriously ill, need surgery - 

which is to say we might not get 

from the white table. 

Even though it’s impossible not to feel sad 

about going a little too soon, 

we’ll still laugh at the jokes being told, 

we’ll look out the window to see it’s raining, 

or still wait anxiously 

for the latest newscast ... 

Let’s say we’re at the front-

for something worth fighting for, say. 

There, in the first offensive, on that very day, 

we might fall on our face, dead. 

We’ll know this with a curious anger, 

but we’ll still worry ourselves to death 

about the outcome of the war, which could last years. 

Let’s say we’re in prison 

and close to fifty, 

and we have eighteen more years, say, 

before the iron doors will open. 

We’ll still live with the outside, 

with its people and animals, struggle and wind- 

I mean with the outside beyond the walls. 

I mean, however and wherever we are, 

we must live as if we will never die. 

III 

This earth will grow cold, 

a star among stars 

and one of the smallest, 

a gilded mote on blue velvet— 

I mean this, our great earth. 

This earth will grow cold one day, 

not like a block of ice 

or a dead cloud even 

but like an empty walnut it will roll along 

in pitch-black space . . . 

You must grieve for this right now 

-you have to feel this sorrow now-

for the world must be loved this much 

if you’re going to say “I lived” . . .