We're coming up on the second anniversary of Occupy Wall Street -- really? Only that long ago? Wow. -- and for some time now, I've been hearing the chatter that "Occupy is dead." or "it was a tragic failure" or what have you.
The fact is Occupy doesn't get a lot of mainstream media attention these days, and it doesn't get very much alternative media attention either. So it may seem to have disappeared, but that is hardly the case.
My email inbox now has many thousands of messages from and about various and ongoing Occupy endeavors all over the country. Recently, there was the Second Occupy National Gathering in Michigan. There is an almost unlimited number of Occupy related activities in dozens of cities nearly every day.
I'm amazed, really, that after the brutality of the Occupy suppression during the fall and winter of 2011-2012 and the absurd level of public animosity toward anarchists and the Black Bloc led by Chris Hedges following the J28 actions in Oakland, anything of the movement survived.
But it did.
I received this from the Occupy Network the other day. It gives a taste of what has been going on and what is to come:
Dear Ché Pasa,
_____________________________________________________________________________As the second anniversary of Occupy Wall Street approaches on September 17th, it couldn’t be a better time to take stock.
Over the past two years Occupy has evolved into a network of many loosely tied, sometimes rather autonomous, groups and projects. This is why the Occupy Network aspires to use these very newsletters to keep us apprised of what others are doing, and to help keep those of us working so hard to build a better world together.
But what has changed in the environment around us, and what are our efforts yielding?
Locally in NYC, Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio came away the victor in the Democratic primary after running a race explicitly on inequality. As Nathan Schneider at Waging Nonviolence asks, Will Mayor-to-be de Blasio make good on his offer to Occupy?
Nationally, President Obama gave a speech about Syria on Tuesday night that at least pressed the pause button on the rush to war. Although the vast pushback from a newly revitalized anti-war movement was borne out of necessity, it certainly seems to hold great potential still to come. We were proud to have taken part in that initial pushback by organizing various actions over the past few weeks. If you haven’t already, join us and pledge to fight back against bombing Syria, which will help bring those of us most focused on this cause together.
This opening front for Occupy also comes as we approach another important date -- October 29th -- the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. We believe that last September 17th was a crucial harbinger of energy culminating in the launching of Occupy Sandy and Strike Debt, and are hopeful for similar newfound offshoots this year.
In that vein, on S17, we hope to once again be able to convert lessons learned into tangible actions moving forward. Join us next Tuesday in spirit or in body at any of the events listed below, as well as on the broader journey beyond.
-- from your Occupy Network team
Coming to S17 from out of town
Do you need a couch to crash on? OccupyWallSt.org is organizing places to stay.
Featured S17 Actions
Join the People’s Puppets for a morning bell procession around Wall Street!
Starting at 8am we will have a song teach-in for anyone that would like to participate in our musical, color-filled visual procession. This includes bringing to life the Declaration of the Occupation of NYC flowchart, which you can help build in our studio this Thursday, September 12th from 7:30 - and again on Monday the 16th.
Join Occupy and allies for an action in support of the Robin Hood Tax, a transactional tax that will bill Wall Street for what they owe the American public, at 5 pm at the UN.
The Robin Hood Tax is a financial transaction tax that takes .05% of all financial transactions and puts that money towards essential social services like health care, student debt, global health, AIDS prevention and more
The action is assembling at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the United Nations as the UN General Assembly Opens to protest the global connections to local austerity, before marching to JP Morgan Chase and various other poignant locations to demand that Wall Street pay back the money they stole from us.
Occupiers and community groups are heading to Pace University at 6pm to speak out against the influence of Wall Street cash on our democracy.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption has begun its statewide sweep of campaign finance abuses, with the the first hearing fortuitously being held on September 17 in the financial district.
The decision makers will be right there, and you will be heard. Join us.
Occupy these S17 actions and events
Friday, September 15th:
Join Ballet at the Barricades at the Wall Street Bull for a free ballet class at 5 pm. Raise awareness for the upcoming S17 events and get some exercise. No experience necessary, either in ballet or rabble-rousing.
Participate in a walking tour and cartography party, starting from Bowling Green Park at 4 pm, that honors your own memories of the Occupy movement. Take time to remember your own experiences, hear those of others, and plan for the future.
Tuesday, September 17th:
On the morning of S17, the OWS Alternative Banking working group is releasing a new book entitled Occupy Finance.
The OWS Labor Outreach working group is also holding a solidarity action in Support of Fast Food Workers.
Then there is a protest of the Trans Pacific Pipeline, as well as a TPP Puppet Theater Spectacle. Want to help? Check out the performer call at OccupyWallSt.org.
You can further join the People's exchange, and keep tabs on on-going plans for action, a citywide assembly, and a people's assembly to end the day.
For more on S17
Go to http://s17ows.org/ to learn about ongoing plans.
Find additional S17 actions and information at InterOccupy, NYCGA.net, OccuEvolve, and on the OWS S17 2013 Facebook event page.
Occupy in the News
99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film was released this week, screening in LA and NYC until tomorrow. This documentary, made up of footage from amateur and professional cameras, is said to capture the spirit of that moment in 2011.
Fast Company took lessons from the extreme collaboration inherent to how the 107 filmmakers were able to put this together. The New York Times further depicted how “Such pluralism is a metaphor for its subject, as the variety of physical perspectives lends a vivid you-are-there aspect to this record of the Zuccotti Park protest in New York in 2011.”
“The film is not unlike Occupy itself--fascinating, intensely photogenic, frenzied and occasionally maddening”, remarked the The Daily Beast.
Occupy Network team member Kristian Nammack reviews it by reporting that: “It is an amazing document, especially for those of us who were not in The Park. Lots of familiar faces, and it really ties back well to the original OWS focus on the personal and social destruction inherent in gross income inequality.”
Lastly: “Almost two years to the day that the Occupy Wall Street movement started, a report confirms that the rich are getting even richer.”
Indeed, the top one percent took record 19.3% of US income last year - the LARGEST share of pre-tax income since 1927. We clearly have much more work to do.
Every one of the Occupy links I host in the right hand column is still operating -- except for O15 United for Global Change, which seems to have vanished.... If anything, the Syria Clusterfuck has re-invigorated the movement. Every one of the Occupy links leads to something going on, either very recently or right now or in the near future. The Movement never went away. The thousands of emails I've received from Occupy sources (and they represent just a small fraction of what-all is going on) over the past two years are vital testimony to that fact.
Sustainability, getting money out of politics, restoring a functioning democracy, "ending capitalism," commitments to making the world a better place, building intentional communities, reining in the banksters, taxing Wall Street, Strike Debt cancellations, Hurricane Sandy and other disaster relief, are all part of a myriad of actions and activities that have grown directly out of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. It seems impossible that's it's only been two years...