Introduction by Workers Action Workers Action is posting the following article because of its excellent analysis of the flaws in how Occupy functions. While Workers Action disagrees with the author’s belief that Progressives should join the Green Party, we think the analysis of Occupy should be widely distributed. ______________ BACKGROUND: My name is Cynthia Alvarez. [...]
Shamus Cooke Sometimes reading a Chris Hedges’ article is like drinking a fine glass of wine; one that spills midway and ends in a nasty stain.
There has been much talk about attempts by various organizations such as the Democratic Party and some top officials in organized labor to co-opt Occupy in order to steer this movement in directions beneficial to themselves. Such attempts can hardly be surprising, given the use that many in the Republican Party made of the Tea [...]
Shamus Cooke If one were to honestly assess Occupy’s current strengths and weaknesses as a movement, confusion must be the inevitable result. This is because Occupy is not one movement, but an umbrella term that encompasses several different groups that have varied aims, organizational structures, and gaping theoretical differences.
Mark Vorpahl At the annual Wells Fargo shareholders’ meeting in San Francisco on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, at least 150 “shareholders” were denied their lawful right to attend by means of the use of police force and barricades. True, none of them were big shareholders and their priorities in attending were not to cheerlead the [...]
Save the Millionaires Tax: Rally/Press Conference March 20, Tuesday, 4 pm State Building, 1515 Clay, Oakland The fight to pass the Millionaires Tax this November continues. Occupy Education — the coalition responsible for the March 1 Day of Action, the 99 Mile March, and the March 5 Occupy the Capitol action — calls for a [...]
Shamus Cooke The Occupy movement’s national day of action — “Shut Down the Corporations” — is a difficult action to assess. Was the action a success or a failure? The first question that needs to be answered is, what were the action’s goals? Many of the activists who performed civil disobedience during the day likely acted [...]
Mark Vorpahl The current debate that has erupted within Occupy circles was built into this movement’s foundation. It has been sparked by much needed soul searching in the wake of a series of confrontations with the police, most notably in Oakland, that ended disastrously. It should be news to no one that the police easily [...]
Shamus Cooke A healthy debate has finally gripped the Occupy Movement: there is now a discussion over strategy. Most Occupiers have learned that raw enthusiasm alone cannot bring victory to a social movement; ideas matter too. Action divorced from strategy equals wasted energy, divisiveness, diversions and unnecessary mistakes. Not all tactics push the movement forward.
Thursday, March 1, 2012 4:00 – 6:00 pm San Francisco Civic Center (Polk Street and Grove Street)
Shamus Cooke For a movement that started with one strategy and a couple of slogans, Occupy has preformed brilliantly. Having based itself on the examples of Egypt and Wisconsin, the Occupy Movement has raised the political consciousness of millions and created a large layer of new activists. But the uninterrupted string of successes, for example, [...]
As this article indicates, he was clearly in a position to try to use the respectability of the police force to blame poor police response times on Occupy Portland. This has been the City’s strategy all along and with the nationwide consultation of other mayors, police groups and law enforcement agencies including President Obama’s U.S. Justice Department, the FBI and Homeland Security, the key has been from the beginning: tarnish the Occupy movement by isolating activists.
Shamus Cooke The Occupy Movement couldn’t have come along at a worse time, from the viewpoint of the Democrats. Election season is just getting started and Occupy has thrown a giant wrench into the political machinery. Some labor leaders too are sensing “politics as usual” shifting under their feet; the “get out the vote” for [...]
Social resistance to the status quo is a powerful inspiration to artists and musicians, at least those who aren’t sycophantic hanger-ons of the elite. The prolonged labor fightback in the 1930s, the civil rights struggle, and the protests against the war in Vietnam led to a plethora of popular protest music throughout these struggles.
Occupy Portland has been given a reprieve by working people, but it must learn from the above mistakes. “We are the 99%” is a powerful uniting slogan, but the various issue-based activism of years past directly contradict the uniting principles of the larger Occupy Movement. Most of the issue-based activists have not yet realized their ideas are not those that the 99% view as most important. The attempt at trying to re-assert their organizing around a hundred separate left issues, most of which working people know very little about, has fallen flat.
Action in this case means the dirty work of organizing working people, based on the issues that they care most about. Organizing a new union is a perfect example — on a smaller scale — of what needs to happen in the Occupy movement nationwide. When organizers come to a work site to form a union, they do not simply pass out pro-union propaganda in the parking lot until workers decide to join up. Instead, organizers use agitation based on the key problems of the work site — low wages, no rights, etc. — to spur the workplace to action. Only when workers are motivated in this way and united to achieve their common demands do they feel empowered enough to take on the boss and form a union, transforming themselves and their workplaces in the process.
Shamus Cooke In Portland, Oregon, all the promise and pitfalls of the Occupy Movement are on public display. Portland is second only to New York when it comes to sustained Occupy power, but in a newly born social movement strength is not something to take for granted. The vast amounts of public support in Portland, earned through [...]
The modern far-right’s populist demands can be discredited by the Occupy Movement with one stroke; if we make class-specific demands that clearly benefit working people at the expense of the wealthy and the big corporations, the right wing will be disarmed. For example, instead of simply being anti Wall Street, the Occupy Movement should demand that the wealthiest 1% be taxed at 90%, as they were under Republican President Eisenhower who dared not challenge the powerful labor/social movement at the time.
Emergency Labor Network We in the Emergency Labor Network salute the Occupy Wall Street movement in its demand for social justice. During the past several decades we have witnessed an historic growing inequality where wealth has been diverted from working people and channeled into the hands of bankers, corporate CEOs and the rich. Government policies [...]
Shamus Cooke As the Occupy Movement gains strength nationally and internationally, questions of “what next” are popping up. Although there are no easy answers or ready-to-order recipes for moving forward, there are general ideas that can help unite the Occupy Movements with the broader community of the 99% — which is the most urgent need [...]
Mark Vorpahl Fueled by a long simmering anger over the economic crisis, the continuing enrichment of a tiny corporate elite who brought this crisis on, and the lack of any political voice for the great majority of people, the Occupy Wall Street Movement has spread to hundreds of cities across the nation, mobilizing hundreds of [...]
Shamus Cooke It should be no surprise that a city dubbed “Little Beirut” by President Bush Senior — due to the large protests against him — began its “occupation” on a level on par with Wall Street. On October 6th, in Portland, Oregon, ten thousand people assembled at noon at Waterfront Park on a workday, [...]
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.