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.


Occupy xxx Critical Blogroll: debates, critique, and updates on Occupying wallstreet and etc.

07.10.2011 § Leave a comment

  • We are a group that has been participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement. We are part of the 99% and are united in solidarity with all those who are fighting to change the direction in this country.  As participants of this occupation, we also believe that solidarity and criticism go together. We are people of color and allies who want to ensure that the voices, experiences and issues of the most oppressed and marginalized communities are in the front and center of this movement.


  • A blog that seeks to destabilize the rampant white supremacy and other systems of domination that have manifested themselves in the Occupy movement.
  • Created in response to the lack of racial diversity at #OccupyWallStreet with the purpose of developing critical consciousness within the movement and extending its reach to include those most effected by the current crisis. It is open to all who identify as people of color.
    JOIN US at http://groups.google.com/group/POC-working-group



So Real it Hurts – Notes on Occupy Wallstreet by Manissa McCleave Maharawal

05.10.2011 § Leave a comment

(originally published here)

I first went down to Occupy Wall Street last Sunday, almost a week after it had started. I didn’t go down before because I, like many of my other brown friends, was wary of what we had heard or just intuited that it was mostly a young, white male scene. When I asked friends about it they said different things: that it was really white; that it was all people they didn’t know; and that they weren’t sure what was going on. But after hearing about the arrests and police brutality on Saturday, September 24th and after hearing that thousands of people had turned up for their march I decided I needed to see this thing for myself.

So I went down for the first time on Sunday, September 25th with my friend Sam. At first we couldn’t even find Occupy Wall Street. We biked over the Brooklyn Bridge around noon on Sunday, dodging the tourists and then the cars on Chambers Street. We ended up at Ground Zero and I felt the deep sense of sadness that that place now gives me: sadness over how, what is now in essence just a construction site, changed the world so much for the worse. I also felt a deep sense of sadness for all the tourists taking pictures of a place where many people died ten years ago which  is now a testament to capitalism, imperialism, torture, and oppression.

Sam and I get off our bikes and walk. We are looking for Liberty Plaza. We are looking for somewhere less alienating. For a moment we feel lost. We walk past the department store Century 21 and laugh about the killer combination of tourists, discount shopping and the World Trade Center.

The landscape is strange. I notice that. We are in the shadow of half built buildings. They glitter and twist into the sky. But they also seem so naked: rust colored steel poking its way out of their tops and their sides, their guts spilling out for all to see.

Liberty Plaza

We get to Liberty Plaza and at first it is almost unassuming. We didn’t entirely know what to do. We wandered around. We made posters and laid them on the ground (our posters read: “We are all Troy Davis”, “Whose streets? Our streets!”, and “Tired of Racism, Tired of Capitalism”). I didn’t know anyone down there. Not one person. And there were a lot of young white kids. But there weren’t only young white kids. There were older people, there were mothers with kids, and there were a lot more people of color than I expected, something that made me relieved. We sat on the stairs and watched everyone mill around us. There was the normal protest feeling of people moving around in different directions, not sure what to do with themselves, but within this there was also order: a food table, a library, a busy media area.

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