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In the Streets

Specificity: Demands vs. Claims

Yet there is a strong undercurrent in these accounts, including some sympathizers as well as critics, that the movement’s demands are unspecified, unclear, lacking in useful formulation, uncertain of actual and concrete goals.

Is that criticism justified? I think not, with one exception. I think it results from a misinterpretation of the movement’s sources and has political consequences that undermine the movement’s potential for desired radical change.

Nobody Can Predict the Moment of Revolution
Martyna Starosta

My friend Iva Rad and I just finished a video about the ongoing Wall Street Occupation which started last Saturday, September 17:

We want to share insights into the formation of a new social movement as it is still taking shape in real time. The video was shot during the 5th and 6th day of the occupation.

This idea to take over a public square in New York's financial district was inspired by recent uprisings in Spain, Greece, Egypt, and Tunisia which most of us were following online. Despite of the corporate media's effort to silence the protests, and Yahoo's attempt to censor e-mail communication, the occupation is quickly growing in numbers and spreading to other cities in the US and abroad. Please forward our video to like-minded people via email, facebook, twitter - and make the voices of dissent circulate.

Sunday -- 07.31.11 -- For General Assemblies in Every Part of the World
16 Beaver - New York

Attempt 1 : (to summarize this event into one line)
Anti-austerity/pro-democracy groups and individuals meeting at 16Beaver

Attempt 2 : A day devoted to exploring the inter-relations of recent
global/local struggles through first-hand accounts

Attempt 3 : A day dedicated to create short-circuits in our imaginaries

Attempt 4 : (breaking the one line rule)

This Sunday is a special day at 16 Beaver, as we will be attempting to bring together reports on various struggles from North Africa, Spain and Greece, post-Fukushima Japan, and trying to connect them to contemporary struggles right here in New York and the US. The event comes together out of the interest of various individuals and groups here in New York to build upon some of these developments globally, learn from them, and put them into play here.

Austerity is Prison
Anticut 3?

Now, finally, the money is gone. The world has run out of future, used it up, wasted it on the grotesque fantasies of the rich, on technologies of death and alienation, on dead cities. Everywhere the same refrain, the same banners and headlines: there is nothing left for you. From the US to Greece, from Chile to Spain, whatever human face the State might have had: gone. The State is no longer a provider of education or care, jobs or housing. It is just a police force, a prison system, a bureaucracy with guns. . .

Sometimes, maybe, we get treated to some political theater: faked expressions of concern or outrage from the puffy, grimacing faces. But the result is always the same –in Oakland, in Sacramento, in Washington, in the offices of the IMF –whatever the owners of wealth want, they get. The rest of us are sacrificed on the altar of the bottom line. No money on which to retire after a lifetime of crushing work. No money to go to college. No money for the grade schools and high schools, which every day look more and more like prisons. No money for the people maimed, sickened and driven insane by this unbearable society.

We could go through the new California budget line by line, but you basically already know what it contains. It’s not a budget but a bludgeon. Every line says the same thing: Fuck you. Die.

The Tactics of Camping: Yes We Camp!
Eric Kluitenberg

Michel de Certeau observed that the tactics employed by the ‘weak’ are always on the watch for opportunities, and that these opportunities must be seized “on the wing”. Tactics, de Certeau writes, have no base at their disposal from where they can capitalise on their advantages, prepare their expansions, or secure their independence from circumstances. Instead tactics ‘insinuate’ themselves into the places of others. They operate on the terrain of strategic power, ‘fragmentarily’, without taking it over in its entirety. Whatever these tactics win, they cannot keep. [1]

Hence, tactics are always nomadic.

"The Revolt of a Generation"
Paolo Do

More than 200 people from different Italian cities, together with students and precarious workers from Vienna, Madrid, London and Tunisia animated the Euro-mediterrean happening "The Revolt of a Generation" at La Sapienza University on the 12th and 13th of May, in Rome. It was an important moment of discussion and elaboration: the revolution of Tunisia confronted with the experiences of the Italian universities; the Spanish network of Juventud sin futuro and the UK's Uncut discussed together with the antiracist student collectives from Vienna, while the experience of the Feminist university of Tunisia confronted with the challenge of the self-education and the critical knowledge.

Sol, or When the Impossible Becomes Unstoppable
Marta Malo

Write to orient oneself, at the velocity imposed by the moment. Between poetics and theory, write to offer something to the confabulation of the world, to contribute, from inside, to the creation of the square, to prolong the event which is Sol. Because yes, Sol has been an event: one of those unexpected occurrences that redraws the map and reopen the horizon of the possible.

In the demonstration the 15th of May, overflowing with joy at the size of the demonstration and its fresh atmosphere, a Radio Mobile Unit interviewed some of those present. “What does the future look like to you?” Despite all the energy circulating, many of the interviews were clearly pessimistic: “It looks grim.” On Monday, when news of the camp in Sol started to blow like gunpowder in the social networks, in a list for exchanging goods and services someone wrote: “What does it matter if some people are camping, as long as others are shopping at the department store next door?” It does matter, because this wasn’t just any camp: the bold gesture of a few became a signal to the many: it was “now or never” and the hunger for doing was set loose, the hunger to speak.

Arabs Are Democracy's New Pioneers
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

One challenge facing observers of the uprisings spreading across north Africa and the Middle East is to read them as not so many repetitions of the past but as original experiments that open new political possibilities, relevant well beyond the region, for freedom and democracy. Indeed, our hope is that through this cycle of struggles the Arab world becomes for the next decade what Latin America was for the last – that is, a laboratory of political experimentation between powerful social movements and progressive governments from Argentina to Venezuela, and from Brazil to Bolivia.

The Rebellion of the Poor Comes to Grahamstown

The rebellion of the poor has been spreading from town to town, from squatter camp to squatter camp, since 2004. Last week it arrived in Grahamstown.

There is no third force, political party or communist academic behind our struggle. It is oppression at the hands of the African National Congress that has driven us into the rebellion of the poor. We are in rebellion because we are being forced to live without dignity, safety or hope.

Bright Sky over North Africa
by Christopher Z. Hobson

The sky is bright over northern Africa, not only because of the burning government buildings and police stations, but because of the new dawn of mass struggle and potential liberation. Since Jan. 14, less than three weeks ago, the Ben Ali dictatorship in Tunisia has fallen and its successor regime has been shaken up several times, the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt has suffered a mighty blow from ever-growing protests seeking the president’s downfall, and more restrained demonstrations have started against the Saleh dictatorship in Yemen. The situation changes hour by hour and people all over the world hope for the protesters’ success. Here are a few notes in summary form.

1. It Can Be Done. No one would have said in December that the people would rise up, destroy one dictatorship, and threaten a second. The Tunisian overturn started with the protest by suicide of a single street vendor. Tens of thousands of ordinary people—workers, students and graduates, neighborhood residents, caravans from provincial cities—brought the government down within a month. Ordinary working and poor people, invisible and despised in “normal” times, are in fact the decisive force in history. Without their actions all reforms turn out empty. When they act, they can shake heaven. And they can win.


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