Tag Archives: occupywallstreet

Occupy Wall Street mentor Adbusters issues latest tactical briefing. Chicago. May. Occupy.

Vancouver’s Adbusters Magazine sent the initial callouts to occupy Wall Street, to be the natural successor to unfinished revolutions in Tahrir Square and Madrid. Quickly enough it escaped their grasp. Adusters has issued two dozen “Tactical Briefings” since before September 17 to advise the growing rebellion, to be interpreted coming from a valued mentor, albeit an outsider, technically now, a non-occupier. The distinction was never more obvious than when one of their briefings advised striking the camps and waiting out the winter. But their briefing #25 offers more than retreat, it sets OWS sights on the joint NATO-G8 summit to be held in Chicago this May, against which very large demonstrations are already being planned. No specific advice on the other hand for local occupies, wisely perhaps, where tacticians can add no more to the strategy than hold your ground, by definition, occupy.

ADBUSTERS TACTICAL BRIEFING #25

Hey you redeemers, rebels and radicals out there,

Against the backdrop of a global uprising that is simmering in dozens of countries and thousands of cities and towns, the G8 and NATO will hold a rare simultaneous summit in Chicago this May. The world’s military and political elites, heads of state, 7,500 officials from 80 nations, and more than 2,500 journalists will be there.

And so will we.

On May 1, 50,000 people from all over the world will flock to Chicago, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month. With a bit of luck, we’ll pull off the biggest multinational occupation of a summit meeting the world has ever seen.

And this time around we’re not going to put up with the kind of police repression that happened during the Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago, 1968 … nor will we abide by any phony restrictions the City of Chicago may want to impose on our first amendment rights. We’ll go there with our heads held high and assemble for a month-long people’s summit … we’ll march and chant and sing and shout and exercise our right to tell our elected representatives what we want … the constitution will be our guide.

And when the G8 and NATO meet behind closed doors on May 19, we’ll be ready with our demands: a Robin Hood Tax … a ban on high frequency ‘flash’ trading … a binding climate change accord … a three strikes and you’re out law for corporate criminals … an all out initiative for a nuclear-free Middle East … whatever we decide in our general assemblies and in our global internet brainstorm – we the people will set the agenda for the next few years and demand our leaders carry it out.

And if they don’t listen … if they ignore us and put our demands on the back burner like they’ve done so many times before … then, with Gandhian ferocity, we’ll flashmob the streets, shut down stock exchanges, campuses, corporate headquarters and cities across the globe … we’ll make the price of doing business as usual too much to bear.

Jammers, pack your tents, muster up your courage and prepare for a big bang in Chicago this Spring. If we don’t stand up now and fight now for a different kind of future we may not have much of a future … so let’s live without dead time for a month in May and see what happens …

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

Tea Partying with the Freak Brothers

Whew! These Occupy posts are far more difficult to pry from myself than their predecessors; the hands-on mechanics of putting the earlier stuff into practice in the present world, amongst the isolated pools of individuated consciousness we humans represent, each with his or her own vision of the whole, has been at the very least disorienting. I’ve lately revived an old motto i swiped from the good people at Oat Willie’s down in Austin, Texas: Onward Through the Fog! How odd is it that i’ve recently connected with some folks that hark back to that place in ways that are deeply surreal. Oat Willie’s and Fat Freddie will seem to be completely out of place in this bit, in which i mean to address the notion of cooperation amongst disparate factions, but not permanently i hope. By the end of this post, i hope to connect Occupy, The Tea Party, disparate passions, and yes, Hippies. It will be necessary to engage in some relatively surreal thinking.

Last night on a new Facebook page, “UNITE: OCCUPY,” (cap lock and all), i got into a conversation about this stuff started by a guy that asked whether anyone thought a joint event between Occupiers and Tea Partiers might be possible. Sure, i said, our Colorado Springs group had lots of Tea Partiers among its earliest enthusiasts, and although many have pulled away, there still exists a close association with many that veer sharply toward the Te Party camp, especially among Ron Paul supporters. The common ground Occupy shares with the Tea Party, at least t a grass root level, is substantial. There can be no doubt of the equally substantial differences. I suspect that it would take some pretty serious ideological barnstorming to bring the two camps together, but nothing prevents the groups from at least tentative discussion to find commonalities.

Tonight our Occupy group staged a talk by Tea Party stalwart, Constitutionalist Mike Holler. Mike seemed for all appearances to be an earnest and well-versed supporter of Constitutional “fundamentalism,” if you will. He peppered his talk with lots of my favorite quotes from my favorite founding fathers. He got a little testy about the revisionist history his kids bring home from college early on–perhaps indicative of one point of separation between Occupiers and Tea Partiers. Some of those are important. Occupy is international, where the Tea Party can display degrees of jingoism. I, personally, respect the earnest efforts of our Enlightenment founders, but recognize that they were flawed, and aver that their document was dated by racist, sexist, and elitist provisions and thinking that they might be excused from by noting their temporal milieu. We don’t have the same luxury. Occupy is legitimately grass root, supported by sweat and blood more than funded, where TP is, or at least became very quickly corporately funded “astroturf,” disingenuously proffering libertarian ideals as a smoke screen for corporate license to plunder. Occupiers are in my experience far more diverse than Tea Partiers. Socialist and Anarchist Occupiers are common, as are assorted races, genders, orientations, and religious persuasions, where Tea Partiers seem to my limited observation to be relatively homogeneously white Christian capitalist patriots. Mike interjected that both groups had been misrepresented by the media, and that seems likely to be so given that mainstream media seems content to misrepresent ’bout anything they report in this country, but Fox news and the rabid right like the Tea Party so much i have to wonder if he’s fallen victim to a personal soft spot.

Mike spoke eloquently enough in his effort to simplify the Constitution, focusing on issues of freedom, and state’s rights. He said very little with which i could find disagreement. He pointed out two major points of confluence between Occupy and the Tea Party–personal liberty, and a rally-cry, “No more Bailouts!” I suspect he fastidiously avoided some points he knew or at least feared might be contentious, like for example the ludicrous assertions i’ve heard often that environmental warnings from the scientific community stem from some kind of Satanic control scheme from the–well just whom is never too clear. The Vatican or something. Commies, i guess. That just maybe the best way for Tea Partiers and Occupiers to interact, though, for now, concentrating on the common aversion to what amounts to Fascism. Interacting from that perspective could exclude much conversation. It could put the Tea Party in the same position as the Occupy movement, after their Fascist sponsors withdraw in horror. Whatever. We Occupiers got on just fine with Tea Party Mike–“Mr. Constitution.”

Mike largely expressed notions we Occupiers could embrace. I suppose he could have done a bit of research and tailored his speech toward that end, but i think we just agree; he seemed a grassroot kind of guy, to me. He briefly alluded to schisms within the Tea Party, and there’s no sensible reason to avoid acknowledging the same within Occupy. Last night’s event was attended by Occupy people that have had such extreme altercations in their attempts to wrestle a semblance of ideological unity from a stubbornly liquid platform that it could easily enough have disintegrated into bedlam. I attended with my dear friend Thomas, with whom i often disagree. In fact, he and i often disagree so strongly that sometimes i feel like smacking him in back of the head. I expect he feels the same way about me at times. Maybe much of the time. Take note, war-mongers of the world: Thomas is a great guy, and even though we disagree with one another, sometimes strongly, neither of us has smacked the other in back of the head. Get it?

So here we were last night, disparate Occupiers engaging a Tea Party mouthpiece in a room full of people that have all experienced the vagaries of human interaction under a fairly pressurized circumstance over the past few months. No butterflies fluttered around the room, but no one worked up a bickering session, either. We worked together. All of us. One could recall the old adage that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” but that would be devolution. I prefer to imagine that those with arguments present recognized the futility of scrapping amongst friends, if only below the radar of their Egos. Whether my nobler hopes for those pained souls in the room last night are valid or not, the assertions i made in these non-pages well before Occupy began remain true. The system we wrestle against is collapsing around our heads. And the solution is spiritual, to a far greater extent than it is temporal.

Fat Freddy is a comic book character that lives in Denver. Seriously. I met him a little while ago. (This only seems out of place, i promise.) Mr. Constitution Mike Holler expressed the opinion last night that our American republic, our constitutional federation of states, is in its final throes; that we are in a position where, ” it’s too late to save the country, but too early to start shooting.” Mike seemed tentative in expressing his hope that God might pull some kind of supernatural rabbit from his celestial hat to resolve our monumental national woes. I expect he feared perturbing the often non-Christian sensibilities of the Occupiers. He needn’t have worried quite so much–we may be largely skeptical of literal interpretations, but we’re pretty tolerant of that sort of thing. When i met Fat Freddy–an icon of counter-cultural activism important to me since childhood, an old-school Hippie with connection to the most famous and infamous of that crowd–he singled me out and pulled me aside to explain in some detail his expectation for a spiritual upheaval in coming days. Freddy’s taken up with the Urantia Book, a tome i’ve heard Christians disparage as devilish. I couldn’t see anything devilish about what he showed me. He earnestly explained his expectation for resolution. Soon.

We had come to Denver to talk about foreclosures and bank jiggery-pokery with another guy, and pulled up at Freddy’s house without knowing it. It just happened that way. These old Hippies like Tea Party fave, Ron Paul. (Follow along, now, i know it’s weird, and yeah, i know a lot of Occupiers don’t like Paul; i’m not sure about him myself). Also in attendance at that meeting was a woman i had been conversing with on line for quite a while in the context of Occupy. It took me nearly through the whole meeting to recognize her, because i knew her to live down in the Four Corners neighborhood of Colorado. She lives at Freddy’s now. This juxtaposition is so weird that now i’m expecting the Mad Hatter, or Lewis Carroll himself to pop up at some meeting quoting from Jabberwocky. Mike Holler holds out for resolution to the country’s woes in a traditional Christian context. My own suspicion, shared with J.B.S. Haldane, is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. But somewhere in the mix i am convinced that some divine Thing many of us think of as God is deeply interested in the little proceedings here on our little blue marble and that our interactions are subsequently and necessarily thus influenced.

We live right here. We have no choice but to manage things on a coarse, physical level; but we also live, i think, on an overlapping and less tangible plane, where we have more influence than we might ordinarily imagine. At the same time, things seem to occur herethere without our conscious direction. We’ll need to keep plugging away at things like grasping the Constitution, and taking on massive, quixotic quests like fighting banks and a world full of renegade, intransigent governments and power brokers, not to mention our own internal battles, as finely defined as within our own Souls. We’ll need to recognize the Truth in one another, even when it’s obscured by a bunch of worldly disagreement and fog. And so far as i can tell, were learning. Whatever that means.

Reprinted from hipgnosis.

Occupy Congress? Who is that really keeping occupied? You.

A number of my friends want to OCCUPY CONGRESS. Jan 17 Opening Day. I suppose every day might be appropriate to read our representatives the riot act, but doesn’t such an action perpetuate the delusion that our legislators ever listen? Proponents, Dems typically, argue “well, it’s the only system we got.” They say that about elections, about incumbents, and about Capitalism. Well, ours are the only lives we have too. Why piss them away on old assumptions, which have delivered us from absolutely nothing? A corporate-trust, inherited-wealth hierarchy is designed to outpace ordinary lifespans. Occupy Congress? Who is that really keeping occupied?

Say goodbye to 2011 and bad bad Walmart


OCCUPIED COLORADO SPRINGS- Occupy Walmart continues today at Platte and Chelton. JOIN US. Why Walmart — where have you been?! If the 99% can come together on anything, it’s against capitalism’s most despotic retailer. Judging by the support from traffic passing on Platte Avenue, 99% agree, this new year will not sustain such a greedy business model. Here are photos from Friday’s protest.


Friday’s action attracted four CSPD cruisers right from the start, followed by periodic drive-bys, videotaping and parking nearby.


When the popo try to intimidate us, we occupy them.

SATURDAY UPDATE:

High winds were a challenge for everything but Jack’s snare drum.

The Last Girl Scout

Yesterday marked an invigorating shift for me.
 
I’ve been beset by the common malady among Occupiers, wherein the sheer weight of the task at hand and the sly, evasive Jung Fu practiced by the adherents of the Darkness has been a bit stifling. Given the way the City Court in Colorado springs has been summarily dismissing cases arising from the local Occupation, i genuinely feared they would simply drop my camping ticket as a way to sweep the whole business under their now incredibly lumpy rug. After all, when Nic G. was arrested for setting up an occupation at City Hall, his case was summarily dismissed for “lack of evidence.” Nic, Michael, and Kristie then drove to the police station to retrieve the three carloads of evidence they had confiscated and were storing there. It seems likely that the real reason the case was dropped was the lack of any legitimate crime. Nic has reported that none of the cops on the scene for his incident had any clue what they were doing. In fact they are recorded by their own equipment responding with befuddlement when asked for what he was being arrested. No shit. “What am I being arrested for; what are the charges?” “We don’t know.” Apparently even our city’s lawyers aren’t stupid enough to take that one, though it may well have been simply a harassment strategy. If so, its effectiveness is as yet undetermined. No one has set up any tables or anything at City Hall since, but we’ve been busy, many of us simply finding ways to avoid freezing to death. The idea is hardly off the table though, one might say.

Some weeks back we contacted the National Lawyers’ Guild office in Denver and Chuck Nadler from that office sent out a mass email, blah, blah, blah, and i was put in touch with local attorney Patty Perello. Perello had presented difficulty to connect, and in the weeks leading to the rescheduled pre-trial conference yesterday, i developed a sense that she may be of a mind to steer the procedure toward the simplest solution and try to get the charges dropped on technicalities or to persuade me to take one of the cheesy deals the city attorney offered. I was pleasantly disabused of my unwarranted impression when we finally met, 10 minutes past the scheduled moment for the conference to start.

We spoke hurriedly for a few minutes about more or less unrelated topics before they called my name and Perello motioned for me to wait while she conferred in the inner sanctum of banal constitutional deconstruction to be found at any courtroom. I held my previous view at this point, that Perello was likely not so different from other overworked and over-avaricious solicitors with whom i’d had previous experience. When she reappeared with not one but two potential lame-ass deals posited by the city, i knew the moment was at hand. “So,” i say, bracing for the worst, “just how deep into this pond do you want to wade.” “I want to do what you want to do,” Perello says. “I want to take this on as a Constitutional and human rights thing,” sez me. Perello then launches into an enthusiastic rant, peppered with my favorite sort of coarse language, touching on subject matter like appeals, constitutional motions, and hustling for one of our Occupy Colorado Springs T-shirts. Before we were called again, she’s Patty, and one of us.

Patty also agreed to take on Jack’s cases, and Amber’s, too, i think, although our conversation continued to proceed in a fashion too scattered for me to be sure. I still suffer under a preconception about lawyers deep enough to cause lingering doubt, but Patty’s demeanor is so out of place it’s kind of disorienting. After spending an hour and a half or so at the courthouse handling cases for which she actually pulled money from her own pocket for discovery, she offered to give me a ride home in the snow, 12 miles away. During the drive we continued to cement simpatico perceptions of one another. Any other lawyer i’ve ever interacted with would send me a bill for $1500 and then sue me for all my coveted nothing when i couldn’t pay. Patty’s ready to fight the genuine base issues, “All the way to the Pope’s office.”

We’ll keep you posted!

Why I Occupy Walmart

MY ENDGAME in occupying Walmart is to rally union members to the Occupy Movement. Union members, not unions. Taking the fight straight to Walmart, one of the most despicable, exploitative despoilers of the world’s people and economy is something the big unions should have been doing thirty years ago. Maybe their members will finally see that they’ve been sold up the river by their supposed representatives. That neither local nor national unions are expressing solidarity with us on the sidewalks of these super centers is proof that the only wages and working conditions they’ve been protecting are their own.

Tent monster who occupied Walmart


OCCUPIED COLORADO SPRINGS- The occupation continued this weekend at the Walmart on Powers & Palmer Park. We took special care not to make shoppers feel guilty, who’d already turned in, or coming out of the store, hurriedly checking items off their to-do lists. Instead we directed our BOYCOTT WALMART banners at the rush of consumers driving by, many of whom gave us honks of support.

PICS: Occupy Walmart 12/12 First of our Twelve Walmart Days of Christmas

OCCUPIED COLORADO SPRINGS- Occupy CSprings occupied the Walmart on 8TH STREET for our first of 12 Walmart Days of Christmas. Slogans you can use for your own superstore boycott: WALMART: ROLLING BACK UNION GAINS, ALWAYSWALMART KILLS MOM & POPSSHOP LOCAL, NOT WALMART and HEALTHCARE FOR CHRISTMAS. Up next: POWERS BLVD!

More posters: WALMART SUCKS THE LIFE OUT OF OUR TOWNWALMART: BAD JOBS, BAD KARMAWALMART: LOW WAGES, NO HEALTH CAREDON’T SUPPORT SLAVE LABORBOYCOTT WALMART: COMPANY STORE OF THE GLOBAL PLANTATION.


Photos by Roger, Robin, Loring and OCS.

On #D12 #OccupyCS takes on Walmart, company store of the global plantation.

Occupy Colorado Springs in Acacia Park, Sunday December 11, 2011
OCCUPIED COLORADO SPRINGS- Showing the flag today on the Occupy corner of Acacia Park in advance of tomorrow’s 12/12 WALMART BOYCOTT. You might well ask why we passed on a sunny, pre-Chrismas shopping weekend to picket the 8th Street Walmart on a MONDAY. Easy. Our boycott is timed with other OCCUPY actions on #D12, the shutdown of Oakland’s port by #OccupyOakland and #OccupyDenver’s blocking of the Loveland Colorado Walmart distribution center. Solidarity. So we thought we’d dry our new signs today and recruit for tomorrow’s event. The cops came early.


In the interest of FULL DISCLOSURE, here’s the entirety of what was happening on the corner today. Something Native American, related to Hispanic American culture, involving to a troubling degree a number of Catholic clergy, having to do with what, the first occupation? The motorcycle cops were there to escort their procession along Tejon.

Cost to Occupy Denver: Honking: $50, Illegal stop to donate: $200, Knowing how much we scare them: priceless.

Honking 50, Donating Food 200-300, Knowing how much we scare them, priceless.
OCCUPIED DENVER- DKNY Know-Nothings have labelled them “BOBs,” but the “Bums On Broadway” occupiers are planning actions with reach well beyond the capitol, mobilizing en mass this Saturday to defend their occupation from a supposed Tea Party assault.

Hey Mike!

After last week, it seemed this entry would be a pep talk for disheartened Colorado Springs Occupiers. Instead it seems it will need to be my own mind meandering around in an attempt to make sense of the new dynamic rising from the ashes of the original manifestation we had going here, which has surely been destroyed. It feels something like a kids cabin make of Lincoln Logs or something after he knocks it over to build something else.

It’s been over a week since the City shut our permit down and confiscated our ramshackle, wind-ragged tents down at Acacia Park. After a few days of curious and somewhat disconcerting quiet, Occupiers in Colorado Springs are reconnected, reinvigorated, and in many cases really pissed off. Yesterday a contingency of us made our way to the old Venetucci Farm south of CSprings to harass Colorado’s Gov. Hickenlooper at the groundbreaking ceremony for a solar garden project of the city’s publicly owned utilities company. About 20 Occupiers of Colorado Springs mic-checked the governor and briefly disrupted the speechifying before a group that was made largely of Occupy’s natural allies, raising the ire of some attendees, but most assuredly reminding Hickenlooper that he won’t be allowed to ignore the movement simply by leaving Denver.

Some Occupiers present , including i, were ambivalent about our project. Hickenlooper is something of a liberal darling, having supported projects like the SunShare solar garden in the past, and the crowd at the event was populated by many of Colorado Springs’s “liberal” elite. The business of interrupting at these proceedings is a little sticky, and may have cost some in support for Occupy among this crowd. On the other hand, some of the issues addressed by Occupy were aptly illustrated within the very brief span of our attendance. Jerry Forte, who wrangles close to $300,000 a year for himself without considering bonuses as CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities, spent a few smooth-talking minutes going on about how cool the city’s utility non-profit is, noting the great advance the two or three dozen solar panels undergoing installation at Venetucci Farm toward his goal of deriving 20% of city power from renewable resources by 2020 represents. Gee whiz! At today’s use rates, by 2020, the world’s inhabitants, especially in the U.S., will be stabbing one another over firewood if we can survive the toxic byproducts of the petroleum industry, or the potentially nuclear wars we are preparing for our next trick in the Middle East. Hmm–wonder what gas prices will look like if the Levant and its environs are sealed under a “sea of glass.”

Forte also sits on the board at the local branch of the United Way, where Bob Holmes’s Homeward Pikes Peak brought in around $650,000 last year, and still can’t figure out how to house or manage the low-ball ,(and variable), estimate of around 1,100 homeless residents in Colorado Springs. Hickenlooper, a million dollar winner in the American sweepstakes who loves to project an aw-shucks, up-by-the-bootstrap, populist kind of image came to his ability to start restaurant empires via the petroleum industry. He presides over a state that panders shamelessly to the U.S. military and its attendant industrial complex, both of which entities these days seem to be no more than acquisition arms of the energy and financial elite about which you may have heard Occupiers railing in recent months. Mike Hannigan of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation was there, and i’m sure he was butt-hurt by the Occupiers implication by their mere presence that his organization might be elitist or something. The CC student i spoke with on the way off the farm grounds was perplexed and hurt herself, expressing solidarity with Occupy, but begging that we not “do it again, ” referring to our admittedly rather obnoxious interruption. She will likely go on from CC to join the cultured pseudo-liberal aristocracy of our guilt-laden Western catechism spinning its wheels till the Apocalypse. Hannigan manages some $50m in assets, and to be sure the foundation does some good work, but all the back-slapping and genteel coffee-sipping over a couple of ultimately meaningless solar panels sure feels a lot like John Rockefeller’s habit of passing out dimes to street urchins late in his life.

I am not accusing Hannigan, Forte, or others of comparability with Rockefeller, who made his initial fortune by arson and murder. Consider this, though. No one seems interested in whether the numbers in the mix add up to anything substantive or not. None of the serious players mentioned above have ever questioned the 1,000% spread between some of the salaries involved at CS Utilities, and when and if they do it’s generally to argue that we have to pay such ridiculous amounts to attract the “best and the brightest,” even though recent history shows plainly enough that it’s painfully obvious huge salaries hardly translate into top performance. No one scratches his head over the disconnect between the high-minded goal of CS Utilities for 20% renewable energy within minutes of the utter collapse of projected petroleum reserves. And aren’t we Americans, including especially those of us with the clout big money wields, responsible for our own politics? Are we really a bastion of freedom and intelligent, realistically utilitarian process or is all that rhetoric just a roll of dimes to cover up our guilt every time we go down to Wal-Mart to perpetuate our slave economy, without which we have never lived? What’s the disparity between Forte’s salary and the annual income of the guy that made his spiffy shoes?

Occupiers love solar projects. But nothing’s ever about just one thing, and it seems to me it’s about as rarely mostly about the thing at the top of the presentation program. We Occupiers are often accused of stupidly purveying no solid agenda. it may be apparent that at least my Occupy agenda is complicated. The above connects Big Oil, Third World labor, charitable impulse, income disparity, under-girding Western guilt, competitive job markets, and spiritual malaise, among other things, including much that remains implied. Many Occupiers i have met personally are still perturbed at the scanty portion of the American Pie they find available on their own plate. We’ve brought this whole scenario upon ourselves, though, and the current program will remain fully unsustainable whether the polite society of charity in the Pikes Peak region dismisses us over our antics or not. That’s why Occupy in general will be not so easily dislodged from its place in history.

The bitch about saying all this is i really, really like most of the people i recognized at Venetucci Farms yesterday. I like Americans in general–but man, we’ve got problems, just like the homeless guys Bob Holmes and his philosophical brethren like to try to control all the time. When i talk to those guys in line at the soup kitchen, i tell them, “Man, ya really ought to leave that dope alone a little.” They know me, and they know i love them. Really. I do–and really, they know it. They know they’re fucked up, too. Sometimes i’ll tell the most torn down that they need to leave the dope alone completely, before it kills them. That’s what i’m saying about our society here in Colorado Springs, in Colorado, the U.S.A., and the whole world. I really don’t have a beef with the bankers, politicians, and half-assed, dime-roll charities of the world, or the foolish scrabblers grasping at the American Nightmare. They’re working a system designed by haphazard evolutionary processes to favor ruthless competition. But i am saying that we need to get serious about fixing all these interwoven problems that stem from deep down in human souls, because we’re running out of time. If we lose, and everything goes to Hell in a handbasket, if none of us learn a genuinely cooperative technique for living together with ourselves, and with the Earth before she rejects us, we Occupiers will be able to tell our kids we fought the deadly processes that brought us down with everything at our disposal. Even if it’s with our dying breaths. What will those of us that insist on competing our species to death be telling theirs?

Occupy is not going away, here in Colorado Springs, or anywhere else. We’re planning more and escalating prodding at the fat, lazy system and its symbiotic remorae. We hope the World listens closely to what we’re saying and its members genuinely look inward to find that bit of truth that remains, concealed behind layers of self-deception and avarice. Because, sure, we’re pissed off about injustice–who wouldn’t be? But we also really like humans, and other living things, and we don’t want to see them all go away.

City Hall of Mirrors

As cities around the US bully Occupy groups around on park verges and college campuses, we here in Colorado Springs have not remained unscathed. Monday morning saw our friendly neighborhood “Homeless Outreach Team,” (HOT), and a much less friendly contingent from the city’s code enforcement office dismantle the previously permitted Occupy site at Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs. A surprisingly good-sized group materialized after midnight to vocally express displeasure at the actions of the city as rendered by the police and what appeared to be a rather callous batch of contracted laborers hired to accomplish the actual dismantling. No one got beat up or gassed. The permit surrounding which had developed controversy in our little microcosm is gone and we will now be required to redefine, restructure, and proceed without it. Personally, i feel it to be a good riddance even though we here in Colorado Springs seem to be experiencing a bit of disorientation as a result.

Dan and M.J. of the HOT team, (a redundancy, i know, but common parlance), were present for the dismantling of the tents that had been a fixture at our protest site. Some 50 or so protesters managed to flood the scene, even at the late hour of the event. Despite the relative peace between authorities and Occupiers here, the police present were fully prepared to inflict harm if we protesters had engaged in any form other than the sometimes obnoxious yelling. The whole scene, not unlike other aspects of our unusual local manifestation of the Movement, produced and continues to produce a sense of extreme ambiguity in my own psyche. I like to think of Dan and M.J. as friends, at least in a provisional sense, but i have no choice but to acknowledge that none of my closest friends would ever even think of putting me in jail or beating me up, even if i piss them off.

Tuesday a fairly large group of Occupiers attended a City Council meeting with a previously established agenda, none of which was to address Occupy directly, though it would be difficult to conjure a government meeting with an agenda that pertained to no issue encompassed by Occupy at this juncture. My own experience at the council meeting felt very much like an exercise in futility. A gentleman preceded us Occupiers with a request to restore city funding to his non-profit that helps supply transportation to disabled city residents. As the council and mayor did with our objections next, they seemed to tolerate the man’s speech and then perfunctorily ignore it. No indication of interest or intention to act was in evidence. Aimee Cox, serving as some sort of city liaison, distributed a few sheets describing the city’s appeal process in a few sentences. The remainder of the council meeting involved investment strategy and plans to extract additional money from residents in the form of utility rate hikes.

The minutiae to all this wrangling is just about as pointless to describe as anything i can picture. The clearest vision afforded by the whole scene is still one of a struggle to get things from those that control them on the one hand, while struggling to keep people from getting things on the other. There remains a sense of entitlement held both by those with little, and by those generally smug players with much. I remain convinced that the current state of affairs is fully unsustainable. The global takeover of industry and commerce by factions that appear fully unconcerned by any consideration other than personal enrichment has led to a scenario in which those at the winning end of that paradigm are in as much trouble as anyone else. Sure, if our supply of food, energy, shelter, and so on becomes insufficient those with more clout in hand may well be able to hold out rather longer than those otherwise equipped. A few survivalists will likely outlast inner city dope fiends; but what’s the point? Is the object of human interaction to feel smugger than the next guy? Who gets to feel the smuggest?

Directly attacking the intractable problems of human interaction seems as futile as ever. No amount of negotiation seems effective enough to overcome the entrenched cultural aversion to cooperation and insistence on coming out on top that has produced such a three ring circus of a society. Observe that Colorado Springs’s Mayor Bach is in office after a campaign financed largely by real estate and development interests. Really, now, do we need more buildings around here, or aren’t these activities really just the outcome of individual efforts to scrabble up money? Think about that a moment. How much human activity is nothing more than bullshit make-work designed not to be productive, but to shift money around? How much useless crap does Madison Avenue convince us we need for no better reason than to supply income to its players. I’m suggesting that most of the stupid jobs we Occupiers hear we should get so often are self-destructive bullshit. That the great majority of laws and regulations we have allowed to overwhelm our hard-won liberty, spawning the parasitic legal industry, the real estate industry, the huge regulatory bureaucracies of governments all around, and in fact most of the “work” we humans do is utterly pointless. I’m suggesting that we humans will, in fact, need to rethink our entire interaction with one another if we are to survive our own more ridiculous tendencies.

I’m hardly the first person to posit this notion. Jeremy Rifkin, for one, discussed the ideas i merely hint at above in rather more depth in his 1995 book, The End of Work. Of course, suspicious religious folk have raised an uproar at the mere mention of Rifkin for decades now, claiming him to be a Devil-worshiper, among other things. The sad truth seems to be that fundamentalists in this country and others, of Christian orientation and others, seem content to allow their Creator’s handiwork to burn to ash rather than to work together with anyone else to resolve the problems we humans have cobbled together to our own collective detriment. As little as i relish the sort of fight that generally ensues from arguing about spiritual matters, i’ll be finding it necessary to head in that direction in upcoming posts. Hold on tight, and please feel free to engage….

Occupiers can learn from Anarchists

Here’s one of the more popular pamphlets distributed at Occupy Colorado Springs, courtesy of the DABC. DEAR OCCUPIERS: A LETTER FROM ANARCHISTS
 
Support and solidarity! We’re inspired by the occupations on Wall Street and elsewhere around the country. Finally, people are taking to the streets again! The momentum around these actions has the potential to reinvigorate protest and resistance in this country. We hope these occupations will increase both in numbers and in substance, and we’ll do our best to contribute to that.
 
Why should you listen to us? In short, because we’ve been at this a long time already. We’ve spent decades struggling against capitalism, organizing occupations, and making decisions by consensus. If this new movement doesn’t learn from the mistakes of previous ones, we run the risk of repeating them. We’ve summarized some of our hard-won lessons here.

Occupation is nothing new. The land we stand on is already occupied territory. The United States was founded upon the extermination of indigenous peoples and the colonization of their land, not to mention centuries of slavery and exploitation. For a counter-occupation to be meaningful, it has to begin from this history. Better yet, it should embrace the history of resistance extending from indigenous self-defense and slave revolts through the various workers’ and anti-war movements right up to the recent anti-globalization movement.

The “99%” is not one social body, but many. Some occupiers have presented a narrative in which the “99%” is characterized as a homogenous mass. The faces intended to represent “ordinary people” often look suspiciously like the predominantly white, law-abiding middle-class citizens we’re used to seeing on television programs, even though such people make up a minority of the general population.

It’s a mistake to whitewash over our diversity. Not everyone is waking up to the injustices of capitalism for the first time now; some populations have been targeted by the power structure for years or generations. Middle-class workers who are just now losing their social standing can learn a lot from those who have been on the receiving end of injustice for much longer.

The problem isn’t just a few “bad apples.” The crisis is not the result of the selfishness of a few investment bankers; it is the inevitable consequence of an economic system that rewards cutthroat competition at every level of society. Capitalism is not a static way of life but a dynamic process that consumes everything, transforming the world into profit and wreckage. Now that everything has been fed into the fire, the system is collapsing, leaving even its former beneficiaries out in the cold. The answer is not to revert to some earlier stage of capitalism—to go back to the gold standard, for example; not only is that impossible, those earlier stages didn’t benefit the “99%” either. To get out of this mess, we’ll have to rediscover other ways of relating to each other and the world around us.

Police can’t be trusted. They may be “ordinary workers,” but their job is to protect the interests of the ruling class. As long as they remain employed as police, we can’t count on them, however friendly they might act. Occupiers who don’t know this already will learn it firsthand as soon as they threaten the imbalances of wealth and power our society is based on. Anyone who insists that the police exist to protect and serve the common people has probably lived a privileged life, and an obedient one.

Don’t fetishize obedience to the law. Laws serve to protect the privileges of the wealthy and powerful; obeying them is not necessarily morally right—it may even be immoral. Slavery was legal. The Nazis had laws too. We have to develop the strength of conscience to do what we know is best, regardless of the laws.

To have a diversity of participants, a movement must make space for a diversity of tactics. It’s controlling and self-important to think you know how everyone should act in pursuit of a better world. Denouncing others only equips the authorities to delegitimize, divide, and destroy the movement as a whole. Criticism and debate propel a movement forward, but power grabs cripple it. The goal should not be to compel everyone to adopt one set of tactics, but to discover how different approaches can be mutually beneficial.

Don’t assume those who break the law or confront police are agents provocateurs. A lot of people have good reason to be angry. Not everyone is resigned to legalistic pacifism; some people still remember how to stand up for themselves. Police violence isn’t just meant to provoke us, it’s meant to hurt and scare us into inaction. In this context, self-defense is essential.

Assuming that those at the front of clashes with the authorities are somehow in league with the authorities is not only illogical—it delegitimizes the spirit it takes to challenge the status quo, and dismisses the courage of those who are prepared to do so. This allegation is typical of privileged people who have been taught to trust the authorities and fear everyone who disobeys them.

No government—that is to say, no centralized power—will ever willingly put the needs of common people before the needs of the powerful. It’s naïve to hope for this. The center of gravity in this movement has to be our freedom and autonomy, and the mutual aid that can sustain those—not the desire for an “accountable” centralized power. No such thing has ever existed; even in 1789, the revolutionaries presided over a “democracy” with slaves, not to mention rich and poor.

That means the important thing is not just to make demands upon our rulers, but to build up the power to realize our demands ourselves. If we do this effectively, the powerful will have to take our demands seriously, if only in order to try to keep our attention and allegiance. We attain leverage by developing our own strength.

Likewise, countless past movements learned the hard way that establishing their own bureaucracy, however “democratic,” only undermined their original goals. We shouldn’t invest new leaders with authority, nor even new decision-making structures; we should find ways to defend and extend our freedom, while abolishing the inequalities that have been forced on us.

The occupations will thrive on the actions we take. We’re not just here to “speak truth to power”—when we only speak, the powerful turn a deaf ear to us. Let’s make space for autonomous initiatives and organize direct action that confronts the source of social inequalities and injustices.

Thanks for reading and scheming and acting.

May your every dream come true.

Occupy Colo. Springs evicted last night, loses permit and shelter, wins standoff.


OCCUPIED COLORADO SPRINGS- At 11pm came a two-hour warning, at 1am the wrecking crew. By 3am Colorado Springs Occupiers had no place to sleep or warm up in the cold, but carried on their protest. Loring Wirbel has the best local OWS op-ed yet.


Here’s video footage from Patrick Jay.

Occupy chants

OCCUPIED DENVER- So we got a little bored with Saturday’s march, the white-bread marchers being kept to three chants, (99%, Democracy & Our Streets). Parade marshals insisted procession not overtake a fat woman in a wheelchair, preventing the march from stretching out and disrupting any more than two blocks at a time, effectively handicapping the march! For respite we got some giggles by greeting some third story well-wishers with this variant: “OUT OF THE WINDOW, INTO THE STREET!” Absent on Saturday were anti-imperialists to mix it up, which prompted me to inventory chants to remember to bring to the next events.

Ain’t no power like the power of the people
’cause the power of the people don’t stop! –Say what?

Si, se puede! (Because “Yes we can!” is now Obama’s)

WE ARE the ninety-nine percent, (and so are)
YOU ARE the ninety-nine percent, (and so are)

Show me what Democracy looks like.
This is what Democracy looks like!

Off of the sidewalk into the street!

Stop watching, start marching!

Whose streets?!
Our streets!

Hey Wall Street, it’s not a pretty picture
The poor get poorer and the rich get richer

The POLICE ARE the army of the rich.

More anti-police:

From Denver to Greece, Fuck the Police!

Oink oink bang bang, everyday the same old thang.

One bullet, one pig. One bullet one pig.

African-American Voice

Occupy! is a movement that has arisen “in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice.” It’s a phenomenon, perhaps more that a movement. The state of the world, and of the human race has grown so imbalanced, so deeply dysfunctional, so painfully self-absorbed by malign tendencies that suddenly we humans passed a threshold beyond which our tolerance could not continue. So we spilled out into the street to demand attention to the aggressive imbalances we’re all forced to live with every day, be they economic, racial, nationalistic, religious–the nature of these distinctions is far less important than our weariness of the game we’re caught up in involving the necessity to grind down our fellows in order to keep our own heads above water.

We Occupiers are as diverse as the face of the entirety of humanity. And we’re tired of fighting a losing battle against the self-centered ideology gripping so many of the world’s institutions and interaction. We’ve come together to do something about it , even before we have any clue just what to do. We American Occupiers are coming at this thing within our established framework as a nation committed to law and Constitution, and struggling to absorb the idea that Occupy is not an American phenomenon, even though it stems from ideas we’ve been accustomed to supporting as Americans for a long time. We’re weary of the gap between our ideals, the underlying philosophies of equanimity expressed in our founding documents, and our collective expression in the real world. We’ve come together, now, to splay all our discontent out in the open, to figure out our commonalities, and to demand both a reckoning and a rectification. We Occupiers are convinced that the time has come, that we Humans stand at a crossroad in our history, and that we must finally learn to live cooperatively, or lose our place in the history of a small planet in a cosmic sea….

As NYPD destroys Occupy Wall Street, Americans get their own 9-11 moment, a state terrorist attack on their liberty.

UNOCCUPIED WALL STREET- NYPD goons put an end to the Zuccotti Park OWS rebel base tonight. Shall we declare it official, this night of the Occupy Wall Street Smack-down, that images of riot police are now ubiquitous as American Pie? Officer unfriendly closed the airspace, created a no-witnesses buffer zone, drove news crews away under threat of revoking their press passes, and razed the camp, tents, electronics and all, Occupy Denver Thunderdome smash shit up style.
 
Calls are going out for YOU to occupy your streets. And the day after tomorrow, November 17, is a General Strike. Unless principles of nonviolence [to Capitalism] dictate you may not resist consumerism.

Birth Pains

Apologies to readers not at hand or interested so deeply in Colorado Springs’s silly affairs.
 
Last night , it appears more cops were called in to arrest or press charges against one of our own, Jack Semple, by one of our own, the identity of which latter individual seems muddled to some extent. It’s simple enough to determine that Jason W. and Kristie W. are the only individuals that have any sort of legitimacy, however dubious, for cop-calling, but we all know from experience that the cops possess a grasp of nuances like this one below a genuinely operable threshold. Some have been bandying about terms like “tyranny,” “hater'” and other such inflammations. I’ll note that, though Jack and Jason will serve as specific personifications for this piece, others have made alignments according to the differences described. More than one observer has noted the inanity of all this, both from here in Colorado Springs, and from afar. Holy mackerel.

Our unique, permitted status has presented problems left to fate at other Occupy locations. Jack Semple has, no doubt, insisted on performing behaviors of at least somewhat scurrilous foundation. To the best of my knowledge, no “rules,” or even “guidelines” have been adopted by the overall group “Occupy Colorado Springs, ” which i must insist on noting to be separate by definition if not in spirit from “Occupy Colorado Springs,” the permitted entity. Last Thursday, (9 Nov), a rather large and representative group of us agreed to adjust wording in our set of rules to reflect their nature as guidelines. Neither rules nor guidelines have been accepted by any consensus, to my knowledge. Jason has proffered the notion that other groups are more stringent in enforcement actions than ours has been, though no set of guidelines for either enforcement or encouragement have been adopted. Most of the sets of guidelines i have been able to dredge up from other sites online have been heavy on terms like”respect,” and “mindfulness.” Jason’s assertions that “the group” reached a consensus on the permit are unfounded, which i know because i myself with others in agreement objected to the permit on the grounds that the law it was meant to skirt is bad in the first place. There was and remains a group of like opinion in opposition to supporters of the permit–a predictable scenario, in light of the hasty disregard for consensus building at the start.

Jack has, in fact, “pushed the envelope” in his approaches both in GAs and in independent action, as have other group members, including at times, me. Jason has also pushed envelopes, and though his responsibility is unclear at certain points, he has it seems signed tickets and pressed charges in the two incidents involving mavericks in “his” tents. No small number of OCS participants have observed the detrimental effect of the behavior of both Jack and Jason. Jack has stubbornly insisted on proceeding without consensus, and given the leaderless, undefined nature of Occupy! worldwide and here, no real authority exists to prevent his behavior. Jason has stubbornly insisted on proceeding without consensus, and given the leaderless, undefined nature of Occupy! worldwide and here, no real authority exists to prevent his behavior. Hmm.

Jack has proceeded from his insistence on peace and love to his own occupation of places and resources to which his claim is at best undecided. There exist legitimate questions concerning what belongs to whom on our street corner, and it seems to me Jack’s self-installation as the Robin Hood of Acacia Park has been a detriment to his own stated motivation. At the same time, Jason’s insistence on a rather dictatorial approach based on his status as permitted signatory is at odds with the consensus model in general, and the overall spirit of Occupy!

Other than vituperative ad hominem attacks between both parties and their adherents, hardly communicative of either loving or peaceful sentiment, very few of the actual issues have been addressed. It must be granted that Raven, yet another aggressively expressive player in this little conflict, has the backing of fact in that those few consensus agreements to have been adopted have been soundly ignored by Jason, who must be named personally in this given that his name at the top of the permit and that he has apparently issued questionable edicts and instructions to “security” people. Some bits of definition have remained untouched to our detriment, for example, the fact that the tents in question were demonstrably in place well prior to the magical creation of the permitted entity, “Occupy Colorado Springs” by the City’s placing that name on the permit. Another example is Jason’s admonition to some complaining against his actions to come participate in the securing of the site. I can speak only for myself on this, but even though i have regularly helped build, supply, secure, clean, etc, i have not signed a waiver, so my welcome is in some ways disingenuous, leaving me to believe “permission” to enter tents is a matter of fiat. I’d love to spend regular nights at the Park, but as much as i’ve promised to do so, i’ve been stymied by the fact that it becomes necessary to abandon sleep entirely and pace the sidewalk all night, with no option for relief. I’ve found the prospect more detrimental to motivation than i’d initially imagined.

With or without this foundational uncertainty, it’s clear that the permit, or at least its handling in our group, has been the focus of a great deal of friction, as may well have been anticipated. The permit can be a good thing if utilized correctly. It allows us, for the time being, to Occupy the corner without fear of pepper gas wielding police bulldozing the site with their spiffy new urban assault vehicles we all know they simply must find some justification for owning. It’s also been the source of an authoritarianism bearing an awfully clear resemblance to at least one strong aspect of the problems that brought Occupiers to the streets in the first place. It’s also clear that the one truly solid consensus–to avoid calling cops in non-violent scenarios–has been ignored. There seems to be a lack of awareness of the fact that chair-swinging wrasslin’ moves and police action are no more prone to building consensus than impulsive disruption of group thought processes. The permit itself may well be a casualty of insistence on bad behavior from each quarter.

I simply can’t believe we in CSprings are the only Occupy outpost wrestling with these very fundamental matters, even if we have an unusual factor in the mix, especially with the introduction of a “security” guy from out of town crowing about tent-slashing escapades.

None of this will kill the Occupy Movement. We all seem to be in agreement that our time for ignoring the issues that brought us together has come to an end. The abrupt gathering of millions–no shit–of disgruntled citizens across the entire planet is an expression of the expiration of patience over an unjust, unkind, and self-servingly dictatorial status quo. A renewal of perseverance and, yes, patience while we learn to manage some very intractable problems with our common natures is necessary if we are to avoid actual bloodshed in this existentially unavoidable conflict. We’ll learn this, or we’ll die.

Practically speaking, no amount of voting or “telling” will solve the problems at hand. To an extent, events are proceeding in a predictable fashion. I suggest we consider with grave lucidity what a consensus process really is, and learn to abide by those few clear points of consensus at which we’ve come to agreement. Some discussion of broadening the list of permit-holders took place at the Thursday GA. If the permit holders in place are too burdened by liability to allow themselves to be governed by consensus, this question should be examined in detail, with consideration for alternatives. If the permit represents its own final word, then it seems unlikely consensus is attainable, and it will likely become a moot issue when it disappears, which will occur on our present course. If permit holders insist on arbitrary decision-making based on the dictates of the permit, we must recognize the equally sovereign nature of OCS (Permitted) in juxtaposition with OCS the leaderless movement gathered in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. That is to say, if consensus is ignored, it is done so on an individual basis, and the permitted OCS separates itself from the Movement to the extent to which it is able. We’re still forced by the fact that we have no choice but to learn to cooperate. In the meantime, let us not neglect the many deeply compelling reasons for being together, or the various projects our self-identified membership have undertaken, particularly internal educational projects which appear especially crucial.

Nothing about this is going to be simple. We will not be solving the problems of the World in a couple of weeks from our Acacia Park vantage. These issues represent the selfsame internally conflicted bits of human nature that have caused us to develop the drastically and fatally flawed social constructs we have come together to oppose. Breathe deep, kids. Learn to love Jack Temple and his half-cocked impulses while he learns how to manifest peace and love without starting a fight. Learn to love Jason Warf, C.J., and Rick the Tent-Slasher as they learn whatever it is they’re learning. Learn to love even me as i continually throw thought-wrenches in the cogs. Turn your most critical eye inward, because as i well know of myself, the only way to change the world is to enlighten ourselves to our own flaws and start right there.

Or stock up on bullets. You can find me standing in the Light without any if they start to fly.

Defined:
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/consensus?region=us
A start at the notion of consensus-building:
https://www.msu.edu/~corcora5/org/consensus.html?pagewanted=all
A couple sets of Occupy guidelines:
http://occupydc.org/about-us/guidelines/
http://c1ecolocalizercom.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2011/10/occupyguidelines.jpg

Self-named snake in grass Jason Warf presses charges against Occupy Jack

Jason Warf
OCCUPY COLORADO SPRINGS has an asshole problem, fortunately it’s just one asshole, and it’s not Occupy Jack Semple. Colorado Springs Occupiers passed a no-snitch policy Tuesday, in line with Occupies nationwide, but that doesn’t stop Jason Warf, as permit holder for his personal “occupy” franchise, from calling the police on activists trying to make the Acacia Park encampment about more than Warf’s media-whore ego. Fellow occupiers are forbidden to speak and act as anything other than solitary individuals, whether addressing City Council about the 1st Amendment, or answering media questions about what they hope to achieve with OWS. Whereas Jason Warf, self-officialized spokesman talks only about divisions and who’s not part of his movement.

So now Warf has called the police on four-times arrested Jack Semple and is personally pressing charges of trespass, for infringing on his city permit, the same charges he’s filed against Raven Martinez, and an unverified number of others. If the GA can’t fire Warf from his own permitted movement, we can repeal his Occupy license. The city may be okay with granting Jason Warf a permit to muck up real protest, but I’m certain that Occupy Wall Street would pull any permit he thinks he has for his pro-Capitalism, pro-war, pro-police snitch camp.

PS. BTW, the asshole reference was to Mr. Warf’s circulating a memo of instructions of how to rid protest movements of assholes. It was a guideline for snitching basically, but some of the methods of confrontation seemed like they could be used to address Warf, especially if HE thinks they are commendable. Unfortunately the ultimate “intervention” step was already attempted without success, his shit smells that good. BTW P2, Jason Warf dubbed himself a “snake in the grass” when observed sulking far off in the park, videotaping what he considered the transgressions of others. Can someone send me a large photo of Mr. Warf which we can use for a warning poster? And please no pics of anuses.