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Posts Tagged ‘occupywallst’

“This Is What Democracy Looks Like”

In #GlobalRevolution, Belgium, Brussels, March on Brussels on 15 October 2011 at 23:59
October 15
Global Revolution Day


Dear people,

During this week at Revolutionary HQ I have gradually moved my sleeping space up the building. From the skybox over the aula magna, to a corner in the library, and finally, on the last night, to the ‘Comisión Me la pela / Me la suda’, home of the Meseta hard core.

The commission had recently transfered its quarters from the third floor to the fifth, because of shit invading the hallway. Comrade Brina called it a ‘problem of convivencia’, people who continue to use the toilets even when they’re out of order. They have been shoveling crap every day, but in the end they gave up and moved away from the center of gravity.

“This building is killing us. You hardly know any of the people you encounter. This is not a community, it’s bloody chaos.”


I too moved up because of the invasion. Graffiti has been appearing since a couple of days. The problem with the drain was never fixed and people finally had to use dry bathrooms in the garden, accessable through the window. In the first few days, much of the electronical equipment had been plundered and interpersonal theft became a common practice.

It’s the other side of the ‘free space’ where no one decides and where no one bears responsability.

The first rumour I heard this morning was that police were going to close the university while everyone would be in the demonstration. As a precaution, many campers picked up their bags and left.

I was a bit disappointed that nobody wanted to defend the free space. But it also meant that all of us were decided to take the streets. We can occupy another headquarters whenever we want to.

Media Center 2

The people from the hard core don’t shed a tear for Revolutionary HQ. Faces are flourishing when we walk to Media Center to drop off our bags. We take our time to reunite, and by tradition we’re late. When we walk up to Gare du Nord it seems that no one is there. For a moment, in between the skyscrapers, it appears to me that all this revolution thing has only been a silly dream.

Then we hear the drums.

It’s going on. This is what we have come here for, marching all the way from Spain. Global Revolution Day, October 15. Today we are Brussels, we have to play our part on the world stage.

Fans of mine 😉

The vibe of the crowd is good. There are many people. All types, all ages, and many different languages. I see slogans in French, English, Spanish, Dutch, German. These people are citizens of Europe, demonstrating joyfully against the lack of European democracy, right here in the capital of the empire. The sun is giving us a glorious late summer salute.

Arrival at Beus

We go to the Stock Exchange, our first stop. It’s an excellent photographic venue, but this particular place doesn’t count in the world of 21st century capitalism. The real power is down the road, in an anonymous skyscraper near our departure point. It is the headquarters of Euroclear, the ‘bank of the banksters’.

You probably have never heard of this enterprise. That’s because you are part of the 99%. You are not eligible to have an account there. You don’t need to know that they exist and that they shift billions of dollars per day in obscure financial transactions. We circle the skyscrapers, holding hands. One of our comrades had prepared a dossier on Euroclear, which was presented to the press, and flyers to inform the public. This anonymous institution probably knows a lot more about the causes of the crisis than we do.

In front a Dexia office

The crowd moves east, towards the European Quarter. At one of the Dexia offices riot police protects the building after sporadic acts of vandalism. There’s a bit of tension, but soon the march goes peacefully and happily forth.

Police don’t let us pass by the Wetstraat, the Street of the Law, which leads straight to the European roundabout. We are led around the institutions, and at sunset we enter the Jubelpark, right under the triumphant arch of the Belgian military museum. This is public space now. Park regulations are overruled by the people. We make fire, we make music, and we camp.

Esta noche acampamos! Esta noche acampamos!” It’s the Meseta hard core. Many of us had brought tents, and those are the first to go up. In the meantime sound and internet are being installed near the Media Center van, and food is being prepared on camp fires. We made it. It has become a success. “Abrazo colectivo! Abrazo colectivo!

Comrade Anna

“Well over two thousand people,” a police officer reports into his walkie talkie. He and his collegue retreat to the exit. The burgomaster of Brussels had ordered a complete camping ban in the whole city. But police give in, they won’t interfere with us camping tonight.

I walk down to Media Center. The rooms over there are full of people receiving and distributing the news. This is the Brussels information hub of the movement. I see pictures from Japan this morning, from Corea, from India. I see pictures from Puerta del Sol. There are half million people occupying the center of Madrid, my revolutionary home.

The barricades

I take my tent and my bagpack and I walk back, passing by the red zone for a change. To my right there is the European Council, the legislative. To my left there is the European Commission, the executive. I walk on, past barbed wire barricades, into the park. We camp here in the heart of Europe, in this theatrical scenario. We have achieved something. But only when the live connection starts, I know what it is.

Pictures from someone streaming in Berlin. A group of people is sitting down in front of the Reichstag. The police is trying to arrest them, but they are ignored. This is not television, this is us, broadcasting ourselves. I feel a shiver. History is happening everywhere, right now. We hear that 8000 demonstrators have gathered in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. People are camping.

We switch to New York. There are crowds in Wall Street, there are crowds uptown. Images of Time Square, taken over by the people. “Whose streets?! Our streets!! Whose streets?! Our streets!!”.

I join a group of comrades around a fire. It’s one of those gratifying tribal pleasures. And while we’re there, looking into the flames together we hear the rhythmic sound of the crowd in Times Square chanting, live, “This is what democracy looks like!”

I look up from the fire and I see the arches, and the moon rising. It’s an amazing feeling. We have become citizens of the world.

Cat on printer in Media Center

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