Radical media, politics and culture.

Monday - 11.28.11 -- What Makes a Movement Powerful -- A Conversation

What: A conversation organized with Brian Holmes
Where: 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
When: 7pm
Who: Free and open to all

This Monday's discussion begins with the question: What Makes a Movement Powerful?

The evening is an open invitation to join in a discussion at a critical juncture of the contemporary global struggles against processes of privatization, dispossession, financialization, and destruction of the common(s) in the name of austerity, ‘sound monetary policy’, ‘fiscal responsibility’ or ‘the free market.’

The tactics of occupation: Becoming cockroach
Nelli Kambouri and Pavlos Hatzopoulos

The global occupy protest movement is proliferating by “contagion, epidemics, battlefields, and catastrophes”.[1] Furthermore, it materialises and disperses in multiple ephemeral processes of transformation that construct a common for the multitude of protestors. The common produced by the global occupy movement is not a mutually shared opposition to the capitalist crisis, nor a collective identity (of the “indignados” or of the 99%), nor a consensual political project (for real, authentic democracy). The common does not even embody an identical strategy of occupying public space, but rather to a series of becomings that question established categorizations and taxonomies that normalize the production of subjectivities and the organisation of life.

More so, the common is not produced in a genealogical, linear fashion, evolving from past forms of mobilisation and protest but rather it emerges directly out of the exceptional material circumstances of crisis contagion and catastrophe that spread like an epidemic in different territorialisations.

In order to perform this argument, we will attempt to trace forms of becoming cockroach in the context of the global occupy movement.

An Esoteric Interpretation of the I.W.W. Preamble
Hakim Bey

People who think that they know our politics, who know that we are
individualists (or even worse, "neo-individualists"), will no doubt be
shocked to discover us taking an interest in the IWW. They'll be even
more flabbergasted to hear that Mark Sullivan & I joined the NY Artists
& Writers Job Branch of the IWW this January at the urging of Mel Most
(who subsequently went & died on us!). Actually, we're a bit shocked
ourselves. "Never complain, never explain" ......; but perhaps this time
we'll relax the rule a bit --- hence the apologia.

In Conversation with Hakim Bey
Hans Ulrich Obrist

Hans Ulrich Obrist: To begin at the beginning, how did you start writing?

Hakim Bey: I always wanted to be a writer, an artist, or possibly a cartoonist. Or a pirate. Those were my ambitions. But I didn’t have enough talent for cartooning. And I’ve discovered that art is very hard to do when you’re not sitting in one place. I don’t know if everybody finds this to be true. But when I took up a life of travel in the 1960s, I gave up art because writing is so much easier to do when you’re traveling. But I always felt equally called to all of these things. It’s a question of fate. Fate made me a writer more than anything else.HUO: And how did you begin traveling?

In Conversation with Julian Assange, Part I
Hans Ulrich Obrist

When I first met Julian Assange—thanks to lawyer and Chair of the Contemporary Art Society Mark Stephens and curator/lawyer Daniel McClean, both of the law firm Finers Stephens Innocent—we discussed ideas for various interview formats. Anton Vidokle and I had discussed the idea to conduct an interview with Assange in which questions would be posed not only by me, but also by a number of artists. This seemed only natural considering the extent to which so many artists have been interested in WikiLeaks, and we then invited seven artists and collectives to ask questions over video for the second part of the interview.

"Occupations" Conference
Toronto, Canada, April 27-29, 2012

11th Annual Communication and Culture Graduate Conference, York University/Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario

Abstracts due: February 1, 2012
Conference date: April 27-29, 2012.
Please email submissions and questions to: intersections.occupations@gmail.com

Occupare: (Latin.) To seize, capture

"Occupy but better yet, self manage…. The former option is basically passive—the latter is active and yields tasks and opportunities to contribute.… To occupy buildings, especially institutions like universities or media, isn’t just a matter of call it, or tweet it, and they will come. It is a matter of go get them, inform them, inspire them, enlist them, empower them, and they will come." – Michael Albert, “Occupy to Self Manage” (http://interactivist.autonomedia.org/node/33609)

"I think that our political structures are corrupt and we need to really think about what a democratic society would be like. People are learning how to do it now…. This is more than a protest, it’s a camp to debate an alternative civilization." – David Graeber, “The Man Behind Occupy Wall Street,” interviewed by Seth Fiegerman (http://interactivist.autonomedia.org/node/33897)

This is a critical moment, as “Occupy everywheres” present possibilities for new politics, and new forms of learning, engaging and living with each other. From the recurring occupations of the squares in Greece and Italy to the UK’s winter of discontent and the Arab Spring, to the summer of protest in Spain and the North American autumn—at general assemblies around the globe, people are running their own lives, influencing the media and discussing what is to be done without politicians. The recent occupations are an education in direct democracy and the solidarity necessary for action.

Occupy Wall Street, and the occupations around the world, are attempts to build the social compositions that are the precondition for action. They are the working-through of a problem that ‘politics-as-usual’ works to suppress—the massive exploitation that is capitalism, and the emergence of politics adequate to address it. At this stage, the occupations are the connection of people, ideas and machines—the cumulation of assemblages that might build something. What happens next depends on what is being built now.

Phase Two: Occupy Wall Street on November 17
Jason Read

Even if it were to disappear tomorrow, Occupy Wall Street would have already scored a massive victory. It has fundamentally altered one of the dominant narratives that underlies the majority political and economic thought in this country: that as much as Americans might be dissatisfied with politicians, they have no real complaint with inequality, or the economic system that makes it possible and perpetuates it – namely capitalism. Occupy Wall Street ruptured this narrative through the occupations and massive popular support. Before September the sentence, “Americans are dissatisfied with social inequality” would have been debatable to say the least, pertaining only to a small faction of leftists and academics. Now it can be stated as fact, a fact that the existing forces and powers do not know what to say about.

Who Are the One Percent?
Suzy Khimm

Occupy Wall Street says their movement represent the “99 percent” of Americans who’ve been left behind, while a tiny minority of wealthy earners pull ahead. So who are the 1 percenters?

Taken literally, the top 1 percent of American households had a minimum income of $516,633 in 2010 — a figure that includes wages, government transfers and money from capital gains, dividends and other investment income.

That number is down from peak of $646,195 in 2007, before the economic crisis hit, all adjusted to 2011 dollars, according to calculations by the Tax Policy Center. By contrast, the bottom 60 percent earned a maximum of $59,154 in 2010, the bottom 40 percent earned a max of $33,870, while the bottom 20 percent earned just $16,961 at maximum. As Annie Lowrey points out, that gap has grown wider over time: “The top 1 percent of households took a bigger share of overall income in 2007 than they did at any time since 1928.” (And in New York City, it’s even more skewed: the top 1 percent have an average of $3.7 million in income.)

Occupy Student Debt! National Campaign Launch

On Monday, November 21, Occupy Student Debt is launching a national campaign of student debt refusal. This campaign is a response to the student debt crisis and the dependency of U.S. higher education on debt-financing from the people it is supposed to serve. There is no justice in a system that openly invites profiteering on the part of lenders. Education is a right and a public good, and it should be properly funded as such.

The campaign will consist of three pledges:

Poet-Bashing Police
Robert Hass

Life, I found myself thinking as a line of Alameda County deputy sheriffs in Darth Vader riot gear formed a cordon in front of me on a recent night on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, is full of strange contingencies. The deputy sheriffs, all white men, except for one young woman, perhaps Filipino, who was trying to look severe but looked terrified, had black truncheons in their gloved hands that reporters later called batons and that were known, in the movies of my childhood, as billy clubs.


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