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Posts Tagged ‘new york’

OWS to the Rescue!

In #GlobalRevolution on 3 November 2012 at 23:01

Photo via Facebook/SandyReliefNYC

November 3

Dear people,

Last September 17, the newspapers unanimously wrote their obituaries of Occupy Wall Street in occasion of the movement’s first anniversary. Six weeks later New York was hit by hurricane Sandy, the worst natural disaster in its history. In the wake of the tragedy, neither the government, nor the Red Cross, showed the same reflexes as OWS.

All over the five boroughs of New York, Occupy Wall Street activists organised a grassroots relief effort which collected food and supplies, and distributed them to those who needed it most. Not only is OWS alive and kicking, but the movement also gave a superb demonstration of the fact that spontaneous self organisation can beat any hierarchical system if needed.

In Queens, two days after the disaster, desperate residents came close to rioting when representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) failed to show up as promised.

On Staten Island, the president of the borough, disgusted with the organisation’s inadequate response, urged citizens to stop making donations to the Red Cross.

At the same time, OWS was setting up shelters, establishing communications between the boroughs with bikes, serving meals, distributing blankets, etc. The operation is hashtagged #OccupySandy and #SandyRelief. It’s ongoing and coordinated through the InterOccupy website, which features lists of what is needed, where it can be dropped off in which part of which borough, and how people can plug in.

By now, five days on, the government is still having trouble restoring power to the city. After the hurricane passed, the skyline of Manhattan was all blackened out, except for one building. Goldman Sachs.

Photo via occupywallst.org

A curious story was developing in the immediate aftermath of Sandy. There were fears that some people would take advantage of the situation to go looting. Those fears seemed to materialise when #SandyLootCrew went trending on Twitter and people began posting pictures of flatscreen tv’s, playstations, subwoofers and other stuff said to have been taken from abandoned houses and shops.

Someone supposedly stole a cat, and uploaded a photo of his booty happily grooming himself.

The Sandy Loot Crew story soon turned out to be a hoax, organised by the dedicated trollers of the ‘Gay Nigger Association of America’ (GNAA). The Daily Mail fell for it.

At the end of the day, the hurricane showed the power of people as opposed to the weakness of institutions. It also highlighted the devastating effects that may or may not be attributed to climate change. It doesn’t matter if it’s one or the other. We lost thirty years in this discussion already. It’s time for ‘change’. Four years ago, as it turned out, it was only a slogan. It wasn’t the first black president who proved that it can really happen.

It was Occupy Wall Street.

Global Noise

In #GlobalRevolution, Madrid, Spain on 14 October 2012 at 15:25

Global Noise on Times Square, NYC. Photo via @icicommence

October 14

Dear people,

I’ve been looking at the pictures coming in via Twitter from many a corner of the planet. I love it, the feeling of unity without borders, from timezone to timezone. This is us, a globalised public opinion that is fed up with a globalised system of exploitation.

On the other hand, it was but a mere reflection of last year’s unprecedented demonstrations of tens of millions of people in a thousand cities worldwide.

Back then it spewed forth waves of occupations, actions, consciousness. This year it was an anniversary happening. And I agree with a comrade from OWS when he told me that these things don’t make a lot of sense. ‘We’re still here’, seems to be the message.

But as far as Global Noise went, debt was another message. In Tokyo people gathered to protest against a meeting of the International Monetary Fund. Other concentrations that I know of took place in New Zealand, Australia, Berlin, Frankfurt, Budapest, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, London, Stockholm, Paris, Spain and Portugal, New York, Mexico and the West Coast.

Global Noise London. Photo via @15mLondon

I witnessed the parade in Madrid. It was probably one of the biggest. But there was nothing much to say about it. Three words sum it up pretty well. Loud, civilised, boring.

There were about ten to twenty thousand people banging on drums and pans. The opening banner was ‘We don’t owe, we don’t pay’. While moving over the Paseo de la Castellana, people neatly keep to one side of the boulevard, leaving the other open for traffic.

Police presence was insignificant. There were far less lecheras and officers to control this crowd than there had been the day before to evict sixty people from Casablanca Social Centre.

In a few hours, the march arrives in Sol. People make some more noise, and then they disperse into the Saturday evening movida without leaving a trace. I take a walk, and I’m sad. At first sight, nothing seems to be wrong. Bars are filled, people are showing off. The only visible stain on this happy panorama are the men and women sleeping in the entrances of the shops. I have a feeling their numbers are growing and growing.

And while there are ever more people living on the streets, authorities keep evicting their citizens from abandoned buildings. Yesterday I witnessed how the masons, under police protection, walled up the entrance of Casablanca.

It’s not going to be the end of it. Already I can read the writings on the wall… “La lucha es el unico camino

‘Struggle is the only way.’

Madrid, Puerta del Sol. Photo via @kokekun

The World at Large

In #GlobalRevolution, France, March on Brussels, Paris on 18 September 2011 at 23:48
Champigny, September 18

Day 55 of the March on Brussels. Paris.

Dear people,

Our attempt to camp in Paris has failed. After our retreat from the Bastille we have settled along the Marne in a suburban sports facility. And today we lost the occasion to make a rebound.

The rain was a serious blow to morale. We are disoriented and divided. We had long been planning actions and thematical assemblies for today, the French had been preparing something as well, supposedly. But the march got up late, and spent the greater part of the afternoon in the metro, surrounded by police after they had been passing the gates of the station without paying. In the end, they took the gates, and police let them go. It’s a positive point in an otherwise disappointing weekend. If we all stick together we can be civily disobedient, and get away with it. Even in Paris.

I went off on my own, to upload information, and to meet my mum, who has come over here as a proud mother to see her revolutionary son arrive at the Bastille. We walk the streets of Paris, and it’s not a pleasant experience. The people here have the air of being suspicous, unfriendly and snob. No wonder our arrival here can hardly be called a triumph.

It could have been though. The same day we were parading through the streets, there was also a Tecno Parade which attracted many more people than our march, and there was the “Fête de l’Humanité”, organised by France’s major communist newspaper. More than enough occasion to join up into one big manifestation and exchange of ideas.

I don’t think there’s any reason why we couldn’t have coordinated something. The lack of this happening can be accounted to the Paris indignados and the people from our march who have spent weeks in Paris to organise things that never materialised.

But this doesn’t mean that the 17S Day against the Banks has not become a succes. It only goes to show that Paris is no longer a revolutionary capital.

After we had walked straight into the trap of the Bastille and were shivering away under the rain, some news dripped through of tens of thousands of people protesting in New York and hundreds of people camping near Wall Street. There was a report that even in Amsterdam there was an acampada in front of the stock exchange. In Barcelona people were camping in Paseo de la Gracia out of solidarity with us.

Worldwide, things are moving. Encouraging news comes from all over the West. Massive demonstrations in Italy, renewed actions and initiatives in Greece, oceanic protests of Arabs and Jews together, all over Israel.

Our march is an inspiration to many, but we are not the spearhead of the revolution any more. The seeds have already spread over the continents. It’s everywhere. Paris used to be the avanguarde, but now, in 2011, she missed out on what is going to be the Big One. If there is any revolutionary spirit left in this city, it must have emigrated to the suburbs.

I leave you today without photos, but with a message from the General Assembly of New York City, dated 11 September 2011.

Dear Friend,

We are the citizens and non-citizens of the General Assembly of New York City. We come from every walk of life, a variety of cultural, political, and religious backgrounds. Yet we share the same indignation for the common wealth that has been pillaged by the global institutions of finance with the complacency of the world’s governments — a looting that has led to massive unemployment, generalized cuts to public services, despair and resignation.
It is the same indignation that has prompted the people of Greece and Spain to occupy streets and squares on a permanent basis, the people of Egypt and Tunisia to overthrow their governments, the people of Iceland to nationalize their bank system and rewrite the constitution.

Over the past few weeks we have begun to share this indignation and listen to each other in a series of public meetings open to everyone. Freely inspired by the general assemblies that are mushrooming in every corner of the planet we have begun to bring our differences together through a consensual decision-making process. Such process does not aim at erasing differences. On the contrary it wants to multiply them so that we may begin to rebuild this nation and this world anew.

 One of the first concrete steps we have decided to take is to participate in a global day of action against financial capital on September 17, 2011. We invite you to join us in this action by peacefully occupying the streets and squares surrounding the Wall Street area in New York City beginning on September 17. At the moment we do not have a specific list of demands. However, the Assembly initiated a conversation through which a number of proposals and perspectives unfolded.

Some of us think that the imposition of a Robin Hood Tax on all financial transactions, tax increases on capital gains, and the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act are three essential measures to reestablish a minimum of fiscal sanity in the United States and abroad.

Some of us think that true autonomy and independence cannot be achieved through fiscal reform.

Some of us believe that we ought to reboot the system, rewrite the constitution, recuse a system of government employed by the rich for the
rich.

Many of us think that what truly matters at this stage is to create a shared framework which may enable everyone to speak out, be heard, co-evolve and advance with others. If you look through this framework you may not see one defined picture. If you walk through it you will be amazed at the strange world on the other side. It is time to take back our lives. We ask you to join us now in New York City or to start your own General Assembly in your own town.

In solidarity and struggle,

The General Assembly of New York City