A palpable undercurrent of the occupation: people want to work, contribute, make things with others.

09.10.2011 § Leave a comment

Notes from Jesse doing screenprinting on wallstreet, full article here on justseeds.org. This Nothing may lean away from such a laudatory account of the potential for revolution with others on wallstreet, but the account below does hone in on the one thing that seems to be making OCW stick – its a space where people are feeling like they’re making something  meaningful with others, and they want that bad.

One of the very palpable undercurrents of the occupation is a prevailing sense that people want to work. to feel productive. to contribute. to make things with others. This is what capitalism has stolen from us – this is what people want returned to them – some semblance of a collective humanity. When you think about it, its actually pretty simple.

There’s this annoyingly amorphous critique floating around about a lack of clarity on what the occupiers want, or stand for. You’ve heard it by now I’m sure, or even feel this way yourself. Speaking for myself, it only takes a day or two of participation to understand exactly what the occupation is about – and the problem is that for those who aren’t present and who rely on media accounts (which tend to focus on violence and confrontation) its easy to lose site of the less visible social reproduction practices that are providing cohesion to the occupation and really, in so many ways – ARE the occupation.

The occupation is not an occupation unless there are people coordinating food, sleeping supplies, clothes, a library, yoga classes, the last time I was there I saw a grey water system and someone walking around with a tray of hygiene products. Another person approached me and three others giving us a pitch to get involved in his working group – sanitation. These are the things that make it an occupation. Without some cohesive and singular demands, this is still an occupation, but without all of this care work – it is nothing.

Liberty Plaza has become a space that is reclaimed FOR something – and that something is a world where we don’t have to demand anything of any state or any corporation, but a world where we can live with one another, and enjoy social relations that are unmediated by socially constructed scarcity. The demands are still there – and they are plural and even contradictory at times – but what unites them all is a social practice of occupying together, a demonstration yelling in one clear, united voice: WE DON’T NEED YOU.

We don’t need capitalism, corporations, profit motives to organize our collective and creative production. That’s the punchline. And people are starting to get it.

If you want to have a feel good moment – troll the comments on the occupy wall st blog – not the political discussions, but the spaces for donations and other smaller matters… Support for this occupation movement runs very, very deep – even if FOX News reports otherwise.

The issue of reproductive work and care work is raised – but something is obscured if these concepts are articulated without analyzing their patriarchal motor and its peculiar functions in a given instance.  If it is in fact the patriarchy which delineates some work as reproductive/care/women’s work.


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