Occupy Schools, Not Countries!

December 6, 2009

Last Tuesday Obama continued the policies of the previous administration by committing an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. The fact that an any war, especially such an unpopular one, can continue to escalate without massive social upheaval is a pathetic sign of the times. The politicians are still addicted to war, they still idiotically believe in the its myths: war for peace, the smart bomb, social order.The United States left may be so-duped but, but we know that as long there is State there will be constant War, and we must make it our own…

On Wednesday night about 50 New York City students gathered in Union Square outraged both by Obama’s escalation of war and the complacency of the anti-war left at its announcement. Chanting “1 2 3 4 We don’t want your fucking war! 2 4 6 8 Turn the war against the state!” we took the streets around 6:45 pm, walking uptown on Broadway into the heart of Manhattan’s tourist and shopping district.
The march had two targets: first, the United for Peace and Justice rally in Times Square, pathetically advertised as a candlelight vigil and Die-in. Playing dead is too close to the reality of the current anti-war movement in the United States, so we intended to wake up the liberals and bring them with us to our second target: the Rockefeller Center Christmas-tree lighting.

Chanting “while you’re shopping bombs are dropping!” the mob made it all the way to 42nd street with no police attention, but as soon as we penetrated Times Square a swarm of swine made two random arrests…

As we surrounded the sub-station the terrified cops called dozens of reinforcements. Responding to the spectacle many of the bored-looking liberals joined us as we continued to Rockefeller Center, but the area had already been well-barricaded and the terrified cops surrounded us as we approached 5th Avenue.

The element of surprise gone we made our way to the Midtown precinct to support our friends, who would later be charged with Resisting Arrest and Obstruction of Justice. (That night a journalist inquiring with the Police Department Public Relations bureau was given false information that they were only released with summonses.)

While the police attack caught us by surprise and effectively ended our momentum, this march proved a few things for the angry anti-authoritarian youth of New York. First, we can improvise loud and passionate resistence without the mediation of huge Troskyist/liberal front groups. UFPJ, ANSWER, Not in Our Name, etc are all failures, and their tactics have proven themselves irrelevant as they have faded away with the 2008 election. Although their leaders will constantly tell us that we must organize first, then fight, all this action needed was a few minutes of reaching out to our friends. They knew what do from there. Second, the police are terrified of any sort of disruption to tourism, shopping, and capitalist normality in general. We need to learn how to continue to exploit this without allowing their random attacks to slow us down. Next time, let’s attack first.

3 Responses to “Occupy Schools, Not Countries!”

  1. New School student Says:

    First, I think it is inaccurate (or worse, dishonest) to say there were 80 people in the Union Square rally and march. I think there were no more than 50, which is a rather high estimate, even for an upper-bound. Overstating the numbers only serves to perpetuate failed organizing.

    Second, I am very glad that the Union Square rally marched to join the Times Square rally. It is probably no coincidence that the police attacked the march only when it was about to join the larger rally. But both rallies started at the same time, and by the time the march made it to Times Square, people were packing up and leaving the demonstration. Having a second rally that marches to join the other is not a problem, but the times must be coordinated so as not to split and diminish our forces.

    No doubt, the main anti-war groups like UFPJ, IAC, ANSWER all quite often organize in a sectarian way. This is widely known. Yet we must not match their sectarianism with our own. We must fight to join forces in united actions, over the heads of the misleaders if need be. I see the march to join the Times Square rally a step toward this, but calling two demonstrations at two separate locations without staggering the time is an error.

    On the one hand, the “official” protests of the anti-war movement serve to channel frustration into pig-pens and bland chants, with no aim toward building momentum, substituting instead symbolic actions with no aim toward continued and growing actions against imperialism. On the other hand, small adventuristic protests (which are no doubt led, despite their claim to leaderlessness) provide police an excellent opportunity to use repression without threat of mass action in response. That is, small actions are dangerous (not to say, however, unnecessary) because they open us up to the full violence of the bourgeois state.

    We need more demonstrations in the face of police repression. We need not attack police first, as the article suggests, except in those rare moments when the balance of forces tells us that we can be safe and successful. We must fight to build a united front against Obama’s war in Afghanistan and all imperialism, against the growing attacks on workers and students amid what is perhaps capitalism’s greatest crisis. We must fight for more demonstrations, not for their symbolic value, but because they are the most effective way of unifying and examining our forces, and building momentum for more actions.

  2. likelostchildren Says:


  3. nice job getting in the streets!

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