Tag: Occupy

A Generation Gaining its Voice

My generation is finding its voice in an uprising that is unique, a voice that is autonomous from systems and governments.I ended 2013 listening to Glen Greenwald’s keynote address at the Chaos Computer Club’s 30c3 conference in Hamburg. Though Greenwald was convinced that change is possible, he was certain it would not arise through political…

Liberation through Occupation: Italian Property Outlaws

Occupiers will win their struggle only when, in the collective imaginary, an occupied space becomes one that cannot be ‘dis-occupied’ This short reflection stems from my recent experience at the Ex Colorificio Liberato (Ex Paint Factory Liberated) in Pisa, a 14,000 square meter factory which had been abandoned for eight years before being occupied eleven…

Occupy Policing: The Eviction of Occupy Melbourne

Inspired by the global call for action by the Indignados movement in Spain, the protests and revolutions across the Arab World and the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City, activists organised to launch Occupy Melbourne in City Square on 15 October 2011. Occupy Melbourne sought to transform City Square into a ‘common’ space…

Saying ‘We’ Again: A Conversation with Jodi Dean on Democracy, Occupy and Communism

Biebricher & Celikates (‘B&C’): You argue that democracy is so intimately tied up with what you call ‘communicative capitalism’ that every attempt from the left to re-appropriate the term, to give it a more radical meaning and to distinguish it from the electoral regimes of representative democracy has to fail. This seems difficult to accept for many people on the left.

Jodi Dean (‘JD’): There are a couple of reasons why I take this position. First, and most broadly, democracy is not a category of contestation anymore. Right and left agree on democracy and use a democratic rhetoric to justify their positions. George Bush claimed to be defending democracy all over the world by bombing all sorts of people. If that is democracy, then that is not a language that the left can use to formulate an egalitarian and emancipatory potential or hope. A second reason, which is a repercussion of the first one, is that democracy is a kind of ambient milieu, it’s the air we breathe, everything is put in terms of democracy nowadays. And this relates to the third reason: the rhetoric of democracy is particularly strong now in the way in which it is combined with the form of capitalism I call ‘communicative capitalism’, where ideals of inclusion and participation, of making one’s voice heard and one’s opinion known are also used by TMobile and Apple. Participation ends up being the answer to everything. If that’s the case, referring to it is not making a cut with our dominant frame, it’s just reinforcing it. If governments and corporations are encouraging one to participate then leftists don’t add one thing that’s not already present if they say that what we need is to make sure that everyone is participating and included—that’s already what we have. For the left to be able to make a break we have to speak a language that is not already the one we’re in.

Occupying Gender in the Singular Plural

Call me a sissy, but I’ve never particularly cared for being referred to as cisgender. Still, the work of transgendered activists within Occupy Wall Street has been one of things that keep me optimistic. At a November 13th teach-in at Zuccotti Park, just days before the brutal eviction, trans activists took over the people’s mic…

Occupy Wall Street and the Left

Occupy Wall Street, for all its talk of horizontality, autonomy, and decentralized process, is recentering the economy, engaging in class warfare without naming the working class as one of two great hostile forces but instead by presenting capitalism as a wrong against the people. It’s putting capitalism back at center of left politics—no wonder, then,…

Consensus

I have been critical of the consensus-based, horizontal practices associated with contemporary anarchism. My criticism has been based on what I’ve viewed as an underlying individualism–no one has the right to speak for any other, each person must speak for themselves, etc. Graeber sometimes describes the virtues of anarchism in terms of an underlying individualism…

Occupy Utrecht Statement

This statement expresses the vision and goals set by Occupy Utrecht (The Netherlands) in solidarity with all Occupy movements across the globe. Occupy The global Occupy movement consists of people who have spontaneously come into action for worldwide economical and social-societal change. The movement has no central organisation or leaders. Occupiers, as in their name,…

Image as Interest: Occupy & the Pepper Spray Cop

In his Times column this morning, David Carr wonders about the future of the Occupy Wall Street movement and, specifically, its fate as an ongoing topic of mass-media conversation. “Occupy Wall Street left many all revved up with no place to go,” he writes. Which is a problem, traditional-press-coverage wise, because: “In addition to the…

Occupy Wall Street as a Node of Resonance

The North American insurrection began when a handful of people occupied public space and began producing resonance. This is the material force that toppled three political regimes in North Africa and can only be produced by multitudes coming together on the streets. Liberty Square became a human assemblage that debates, eats, sings, drums, marches, sleeps,…

Heirs of Marx

The 1996 book The End of Capitalism (as we knew it): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy authored by the duo (as one) of Katherine Gibson and Julie Graham (J.K. Gibson-Graham) spelt out the ways in which certain types of thinking have warped our thoughts on capitalism, and hidden its intrinsic ‘noncapitalist’ components (its ‘other’).…

Letter to Occupy Together Movement

I wish I could start with the ritual “I love you” which the Occupy Movement is supposed to inspire. To be honest, it has been a space of turmoil. But also, virulent optimism. What I outline below are not criticisms of the Occupy movement. I am inspired that the dynamic of the movement thus far…

Occupying Uncertainty

There is a clear link between the coffee I drink in the morning and the opportunity of the daughter (or son) of the coffee farmer of being able to go to school or being left to work the fields for subsistence. It makes me wonder whether I should drink coffee or rather (as I do…

The Occupy protests, #GlobalDemocracy and … Cosmopolitanism?

“Today we call the cit­izens of the world: let us glob­alise Tahrir Square! Let us glob­alise Puerta del Sol!” October 15th saw more than 950 protests in more than 80 countries take place against the injustices of the global financial system. This may be just the beginning. Drawing inspiration from Tahrir Square, Puerta del Sol…

United for Global Democracy: A Manifesto

On 15 October 2011, united in our diversity, united for global change, we demand global democracy: global governance by the people, for the people. Inspired by our sisters and brothers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, New York, Palestine-Israel, Spain and Greece, we too call for a regime change: a global regime change. In the words…

The Most Important Thing in the World

I was honored to be invited to speak at Occupy Wall Street on Thursday night. Since amplification is (disgracefully) banned, and everything I say will have to be repeated by hundreds of people so others can hear (a?k?a “the human microphone”), what I actually say at Liberty Plaza will have to be very short. With…