December 5, 2011
On the one hand, critical theory condemns the occupation. (see letter below)
On the other hand, critical theory defends the occupation. (see letter below)
Can it do both and still be itself? As an old dialectician once said,
CRITICAL THEORY has to be communicated in its own language — the language of contradiction, dialectical in form as well as in content: the language of the critique of the totality, of the critique of history. Not some “writing degree zero” — just the opposite. Not a negation of style, but the style of negation.
November 27, 2011
211. IN THE LANGUAGE of contradiction, the critique of culture manifests itself as unified: unified in that it dominates the whole of culture — culture as knowledge as well as culture as poetry; unified, too, in that it is no longer separable from the critique of the social totality. It is this unified theoretical critique that goes alone to its rendezvous with a unified social practice.
Occupiers Evicted From the New School; Graffiti Is Left Behind
November 26, 2011, 3:49 PM
A weeklong occupation at the New School in Greenwich Village ended with a whimper on Friday morning when university officials evicted the handful of remaining protesters from a campus gallery that was defaced sometime before they left.
But the events leading up to that point were uncertain, as some of those who had participated in the occupation said they did not know who the evicted demonstrators were or why slogans were scrawled on the walls of the ground-floor gallery. (One read, “Spoiled New School Anarchists.”)
November 25, 2011
808. However, the other aspect of spirit’s coming-to-be, history, is that mindful self- mediating coming-to-be – the spirit emptied into time. However, this emptying is likewise the self-emptying of itself; the negative is the negative of itself. This coming-to-be exhibits a languid movement and succession of spirits, a gallery of pictures, of which each, endowed with the entire wealth of spirit, moves itself so slowly because the self has to take hold of and assimilate the whole of this wealth of its substance.
November 25, 2011
A lively new polemic about the concepts ‘one divides into two’ and ‘two fuse into one’ is unfolding on the philosophical front in this country. This debate is a struggle between those who are for and those who are against the materialist dialectic, a struggle between two conceptions of the world: the proletarian conception and the bourgeois conception. Those who maintain that ‘one divides into two’ is the fundamental law of things are on the side of the materialist dialectic; those who maintain that the fundamental law of things is that ‘two fuse into one’ are against the materialist dialectic. The two sides have drawn a clear line of demarcation between them, and their arguments are diametrically opposed. This polemic is a reflection, on the ideological level, of the acute and complex class struggle taking place in China and in the world.” —Red Flag (Beijing), 21 September 1964
Autonomous - http://ninetyfifthavenueoccupation.wordpress.com/
General - http://allcitystudentoccupation.com/
Which one will you choose?
November 23, 2011
The planning for this “action”, for logistical and pragmatically necessary reasons was, in its initial stages, kept as quiet as possible. For this reason it was frequently referred to as “the action” in correspondence and conversation. Now we have acted and the abstract concept is apparently no less determined. What does it mean to have engaged in or accomplished this “action”? The “action”, of course, is not accomplished, not terminated with the taking of space, but not for that reason, any less an action. In taking the space, in acting, we have created the condition for further instantiations of “action.” In creating a space for the further development of the movement we create space and opportunity for “action” previously lacking. The “action” is, in this way, a continuous development out of and beyond itself. It does not bleed into something different, but is itself further determined by what it becomes. Only through the process of progressively unfolding in ever richer determinations can we come to understand the meaning of the action we have taken. The determination of all actions is future oriented, that is, they are essentially the possibilities they open by what becomes thinkable and doable as their result. In this radical break from normal relations, we advance in an as yet undetermined dialectic. In recognizing our constitutive role in the process of determination we simultaneously acknowledge our freedom, our freedom to create freely. To continue acting is to continue in the manifestation of free meaning by increasing the horizon of possibilities, and in this way we simultaneously challenge both reified consciousness and the persistent foreclosure of opportunities for a truly rational, socially integrated society.
“No chaos resulted from the actions of people without leadership and without previously formulated program…instead of mob rule there appeared immediately the same organization which for more than a hundred years now has emerged whenever the people have been permitted for a few days, or a few weeks or months, to follow their own political devices without a government (or a party program) imposed from above.” So said Arendt, over fifty years ago, about the Hungarian revolution. She went on, in that article, to point out tat “the councils were born exclusively out of the actions and spontaneous demands of the people, and they were not deduced from an ideology, nor foreseen, let alone preconceived, by any theory about the best form of government. Wherever they appeared they were met with utmost hostility from leaders from right to left ant with the unanimous neglect of political theorists and political scientists. The point is that these councils have always been undoubtedly democratic, but in a sense never seen before and never thought about.” Such is our General Assembly. It is the next form of politics and freedom – one coming blessedly, just in time.
November 23, 2011
There’s been a lot of talk about identity at the occupation.
May we propose a formula from an old philosopher?
The truth of identity is the identity of identity and non-identity.
November 22, 2011
Will the occupation last?
Should it last?
We suggest some pithy lines from the addendum to Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History:
Historicism contents itself with establishing a causal nexus of various moments of history. But no state of affairs is, as a cause, already a historical one. It becomes this, posthumously, through eventualities which may be separated from it by millennia. The historian who starts from this, ceases to permit the consequences of eventualities to run through the fingers like the beads of a rosary. He records [erfasst] the constellation in which his own epoch comes into contact with that of an earlier one. He thereby establishes a concept of the present as that of the here-and-now, in which splinters of messianic time are shot through.
Surely the time of the soothsayers, who divined what lay hidden in the lap of the future, was experienced neither as homogenous nor as empty. Whoever keeps this in mind will perhaps have an idea of how past time was experienced as remembrance: namely, just the same way. It is well-known that the Jews were forbidden to look into the future. The Torah and the prayers instructed them, by contrast, in remembrance. This disenchanted those who fell prey to the future, who sought advice from the soothsayers. For that reason the future did not, however, turn into a homogenous and empty time for the Jews. For in it every second was the narrow gate, through which the Messiah could enter.
November 21, 2011
A vampire chops garlic in a Creole kitchen. The masked Michael Myers checks his email: no new messages. Such are the subtle antagonisms of our daily dread.
Yet without this banality of conflict we lose the plot. Fancy-freedom is the life of a coward.
It has been nearly three years since the false dawn of the student occupations. Meantime we have kept abreast of political happenings. None has merited our input. Just before we insinuated ourselves into the affairs of the Middle East, their groundhog saw its own shadow, ushering in a longer Arab Winter than previously expected.
We were pleased to see that the first project of the Libyan Transitional Council, for example, was to set up a national bank, but, honestly, we prefer our revolutionaries with a little more stink. A respectable nose-bone ratio. Gamey taste.
Elsewhere, American politicians have been learning to play musical instruments at astronomical rates, Anarchists have insisted on debating whether a hermaphrodite who becomes intoxicated before an episode of self-intimacy is operating by consensus, and Jim Miller has continued to have more hang-ups than a mute telemarketer.
Like our mortal enemies of the vortex left, we disagree with Comrade Miller in his latest piece in the New York Times: “Will Extremists Hijack Occupy Wall Street?” Three years ago we defended the tract on which the New School in Exilers publically defecated. Democracy is not in the latrine.
The famous 99% that have been occupying Wall Street and other abstractions need to keep rule-by-consensus. It is the best way to ensure they are fettered by their own ideology. Fingers wiggling all the way to the cell block.
Rule-by-party or a herd of progressive non-profits would be equally desirable from our end, but that is not the beast we are encountering, by and large. The present creature has a billion heads and a black hole for an anus. We enjoy seeing all those heads up its ass, fingers wiggling.
In fact, we saw them coming a mile away. Allowed them a box to soap, a twitter to feed, a stream to live. It makes no difference to us. Every crisis at their doorstep only makes them weaker. Their self-appointed managers are as good as ours. Their police are better.
“Can we join a working group? Can we voice our frustration?” they ask themselves.
No need to infiltrate what is already ours.
“I’d like a tofu and arugula sandwich, please. Spread the democracy evenly. Hold the arugula. See you at the Assembly tonight? Nah, I have to do my econ homework. Don’t worry, the minutes will be online. Alright, tweet me later. Wait, what? Can you update the Facebook page? We got some wingnuts posting comments about you-know-who again. You got it. And make sure to record Tom Morello’s acoustic piece tonight. He’s so down.”
Our hopes are not high for a good old-fashioned melee, though for the record we would like to collaborate on some motherfuckers. Colder weather will soon hush the uproar, and our lives will return to the minute creativities of small business ideas, like hangOVER, an intravenous saline slurpee that heals even the most vulnerable morning after.
30 bucks a pop. Enya’s Greatest Hits on the speakers. Storefront in a hip neighborhood. Eggshell white interior. Enya. You want B Vitamins in that? 50 cents extra. Smoothies and shots of wheatgrass at the counter. Brochures for the new co-op that’s opening up around the corner. The Resident Nurse? She’s a person of color. Are “you” in?
November 19, 2011
the wall street journal By Sumathi Reddy
A group of protesters have occupied a student study center at the New School, where they slept Thursday night and remained on Friday with the permission of the university’s administration.
Jeff Smith, an assistant professor of politics and advocacy at the New School, said about 100 protesters connected to Occupy Wall Street had gathered inside the study center. The space, on the second floor of 90 Fifth Avenue, is leased by the university.
Smith, who is following the movement and sympathizes with some of its concerns, said protesters are currently working on bringing in more people. He said the protesters believe the school rents the space from Wells Fargo & Co., a factor that influenced their decision to occupy that facility.
A university spokesman said he did not immediately know who owns the building.
Peter Taback, assistant vice president of communications at the New School, said only university students — from any university — were being allowed into the 6,699-square-foot study center. ”They’ve agreed to keep themselves at 140 which is the occupancy of the space,” he said.
According to an email sent to the New School community from President David Van Zandt, the protesters entered the building shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday.
The protesters posted signs on the window in support of Occupy Wall Street. Van Zandt and Tim Marshall, provost of the school, went to speak with the protesters. The group refused to leave but made it clear that the occupation was not an action taken against the school.
“In a courteous exchange, we reached an agreement that The New School would not have the protesters forcibly removed at this time,” said Van Zandt in the email. “In turn they agreed that they would not disrupt classes, interfere with other tenants in the building, or violate its legal occupancy limit.”
The New School has a history of occupations, which sometimes have resulted in confrontations with the administration. Van Zandt said the school was not taking a position on the Occupy Wall Street moveme
November 18, 2011
As we are continually and violently pushed out of public spaces, the people of this city must find new spaces in which to foster dialogue, learn and engage politically. Private spaces must be liberated; the movement must expand. We students, educators and members of the broader public have come together to occupy this space, seeking to transform it into a place of public education, safe and open to all.
Much of the repression of this movement has been conducted under the pretense of public health and safety. We, the occupiers, declare that our primary concern lies in the safety and well-being of this occupation and its participants. New School President David Van Zandt and the New School Administration have expressed concerns that we observe the building’s fire code. We share these concerns. Licensed fire guards are included among the occupiers and we will continue to take the necessary steps to prevent harm from coming to anyone.
We reiterate that this occupation is not a New School action; this building actually belongs to Wells Fargo, whose role in the current economic crisis is well-known. We are occupying a building: and we, as occupiers, are not solely students – we are workers, teachers, students, unemployed, under-employed, indebted and exploited. We are creating a common space that will eventually be open to all. In addition to the people’s university, the CUNY adjunct project, and the all-city student assembly, we are in the process of planning a series of open teach-ins and events. Schedule forthcoming.
November 18, 2011
Today, the university is a supreme symbol of social and economic inequality. Skyrocketing tuition costs at public and private institutions deny us access to higher education and saddle us with crushing debt. We will reclaim this elite space and make it open to all. We will foster dialogue and build solidarity between students, workers, and others excluded or marginalized by economic and social inequalities. We will build community through the commonality of occupation. We will offer free education – this is systematically forbidden. We join a long tradition of student activism and struggle. We the indebted and the future unemployed and underemployed stand committed to this movement for our collective lives. We invite all to join us in this open occupation.
Workers, students, and the millions of this city unite!
Together we will be victorious.
ESCALATE the Struggle. EXPAND the Movement. OCCUPY!
April 19, 2010
This short text was written by an occupier on the third day (Saturday 13 March 2010) of an 8-day occupation of Arts A2 building at Sussex University. It was borne out of frustration with the way a radical act – a mass contempt of court (an imprisonable offence) by hundreds of students and even some staff – so quickly returned to the safe leftist territory of listening to Party hacks (and at least one non-affiliated local militant) urging us to unite against the “fascist BNP”. But it was also urging against the safe anarchist territory of small group activism. The text is a call for both the popular frontism of the leftists and the substitutionist activism of many anarchists to be superseded by a process of ‘massification.’
April 8, 2010
Takethecity.org – Recent events have raised many important questions: What does a real and vital movement look like? What is the nature of leadership in struggle? Is there a ‘correct’ way for us to fight against our conditions? Below is a statement from some friends addressing theoretical and practical concerns that have arisen in the last month or so.
“The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language…. The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot take its poetry from the past but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped away all superstition about the past. The former revolutions required recollections of past world history in order to smother their own content. The revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury their dead in order to arrive at its own content. There the phrase went beyond the content – here the content goes beyond the phrase.” Karl Marx – 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
The above quote is just as integral to revolutionary struggle in the 21st century as it was for France in 1852. Across the vast human topography of class society, clear lines are being drawn between those who parody and fetishize the movements of dead generations in order to dominate the movements of today, and those who seek to expand forms of praxis and theory created in the current cycle of struggle, through the self-directed struggle of workers and students themselves.
After several weeks of smears, ad hominem attacks and political diatribes, the conversation surrounding the events of March 4th has finally shifted to the terrain of tactics and ideology. The small segment of humanity actually paying attention to this debate has been gifted with lapidary critiques of Anarcho-Imperialism, Anarcho-Situ-Autonomism, Demand-Nothingism, and – most recently — dangerous, “anger-based” Anarcha-Feminism. While these critiques are coming from various activist quarters, they all focus their attention on the supposed Take The City “Organization.” Each of these critiques (even if accurate) could land only a glancing blow, because the people who comprise their opposition are neither a party, nor an association nor even a website. In fact, the alleged saboteurs of March 4th, the occupiers of last April, the self-proclaimed “bitches,” the militant feminists, and many others are merely tendencies within a larger, informal network. This group has no party-line, no hierarchical structure and little theoretical unity. The only thing that unites us is camaraderie and solidarity on the one hand and an understanding of direct action and self-organization on the other. The following is a partial critique, by one tendency within this group, of the tactical and theoretical composition of what has been called the ‘student movement’.
Can a couple hundred students at an outdoor rally at Hunter be considered a movement? Can six or seven hundred people standing in a Midtown police pen be considered a movement? The reason the NYC ‘student movement’ must be put in quotations is because the label is largely self-flattery. We hope to show below that the tactics of the coalition of movement-builders are, at best, unhelpful to the development of a strong and vital movement and, at worst, preventative of one.
March 9, 2010
In California, they face the same shit. Critiques of the so-called “white anarchist male outside agitator” emerge and simultaneously erase all the power and agency of the inside agitators, of all the nonwhite nonmale nonanarchists who know how to fight and don’t play by the activist rulebook. In solidarity with our comrades in Cali, we post the following three letters below, letters which take such critiques to task. Enjoy!
Response to a Critic of the “White” Student Movement by The Invisible Women Committee
Rebuttal to “Why Did the March onto the 980 Freeway Happen” by Melissa Merin
Following Thursday, March 4th’s Berkeley to Oakland march and rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza for the statewide strike and day of action against budget cuts, layoffs and furloughs to public education, a second march commenced. 200-250 students, educators, and activists marched from the close of the rally to the exterior of Mark Yudof’s office for a street dance party. The group then made their way toward the I-880 freeway, where 150-200 elected to enter on foot to shut down traffic.
All traffic slowed to a stop, and no individuals were in in any danger of being struck by automobiles. The riot police pursued them as they hopped over barriers in an attempt to make their way to the Jackson street off-ramp. As police closed in, most of the group sat down in anticipation of being arrested.
The police were violent with many of the protesters, using excessive force with their riot batons. None of the arrested were reported to be carrying weapons of any kind, and none were attempting to attack any of the officers. The police shut down the freeway in both directions, handcuffed and escorted the marchers to the Jackson street offramp where police busses slowly arrived to take the prisoners to North County and Sana Rita Jail facilities.
155 individuals were reported to have been arrested, in addition to some minors who were released into the custody of their parents. Francois Zimany was taken to the hospital after either falling, jumping, or being pushed by police off of the freeway, and is now at home with his family. The group was held over night, and released periodically throughout the day on Friday.
You can learn more by visiting indybay.org. All photos were taken by BLR DJ Paisley Cuttlefish who was among those arrested. She sustained a bad fracture to her elbow after being hit with a police baton.
March 3, 2010
Rally at Gov. Paterson’s Office, 4 pm
(633 Third Ave. @ 41st St.)
Then March to the MTA Hearings at FIT
(Seventh Ave. @ 27th St.)
- Stop the school closings and privatization of public education
- Stop the cuts to K-12 and higher education
- Restore the free student MetroCard
- Full funding for all educational needs
- Education is a right – Free, high-quality education for all