Tag Archives: #OccupyBloomington

Early days of summer / Days of solidarity

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Earlier this week, two small but important expressions of solidarity were organized here in Bloomington.  20 people took the streets on Tuesday demanding that all charges be dropped against Occupy participants, antifascists, and anarchists in the half-dozen ongoing local prosecutions.  Copies of the “1000 Paper-cuts” flyer were distributed and the streets were held for half an hour before the marchers settled in for a stationary demo at Kirkwood and Walnut.  Later that night, four bands played a benefit show for Pax, an anarchist arrested in Portland on the allegation that he had participated in sabotage against banks.

In the same spirit, we’re posting a new version of a poster that was just sent to us, signaling support for prisoners in struggle in the state prison system.

And for tabloid-size printing:  forgettingdownload.

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Microphone Demo Against Repression this Tuesday, May 15th

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We’re calling for a public demonstration in response to the series of arrests at Occupy demonstrations, of anarchist comrades, and those involved in various local struggles.  Rather than accept this flurry of legal cases and police harassment or shift responsibility to those individuals facing charges, we believe it’s vital to socially contest state repression.

Meet at noon at People’s Park (Kirkwood and Grant) for music, hanging out, and flyering.

Court dates are at 1.30 and 2 pm at the Courthouse.

A new poster and two-sided flyer about the recent repression and examining the police strategy can be found here and here.

Tweets from IU Student Detained in Egypt

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It sucks that these tweets will probably be used against Luke Gates, an IU student studying abroad in Cairo who was recently detained by Egyptian police for allegedly participating in recent riots, but they sure are great.  The detention of these three Americans seems like a weak attempt on the part of the Egyptian military to de-legitimize the protests, or blame the riots on “outside agitators.”  We’d like to subvert their intentions by using this opportunity to draw connections between the struggles in Egypt and our struggles here in Indiana and the U.S. more broadly.  Total solidarity with the accused!

From CBS news:

In his Twitter account, one of the three U.S. students detained by Egyptian military admits throwing rocks during the Tahrir Square protests and complains about his eyes stinging from tear gas, the shock of seeing dead bodies and hurting his knee and arm in a crowd surge.

Luke Gates, 21, an exchange student from Bloomington, Indiana, is one of three U.S. students detained by Egyptian military for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails during the protests at Egypt’s Tahrir Square. Gates is a junior with a double major in political science and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures.

In his tweets, which ended Nov. 21, Gates runs the gamut of youthful anguish – “College is such a joke,” “What are you doing seriously?” and “I just don’t want to feel anymore.”

He also appears to get swept up in the excitement of the protests:

    • Nov. 21: reports of tear gas being fired from AUC campus on Tahrir, university officials have started investigating
    • Nov. 20: back to tahrir tonight, as police set fires to everything, no doubt they will blame it on protesters
    • Nov. 20: earlier tonight rubber bullets a charge and then a retreat, my knee and elbow are f***ed up #toolegit seeing all of this #tahrir
    • Nov. 19: 6 hours at tahrir, enough tear gas for tonight
    • Nov. 19: we were throwing rocks and one guy accidentally threw his phone =(
    • Nov. 19: now class? ugh. my arm is sore and my eyes still burn a little
    • Nov. 19: saw them hanging from the bridge, and you realize death is the only thing thats immortal
    • Nov. 19: its only scary cuz i feel so reckless
    • Nov. 19: yes live bullets we have the shells, i was here!!
    • Nov. 19: wish the protests in new york looked like the ones in tahrir. #pu***es

The three Americans attend the American University in Cairo as exchange students. The school, which sits on Tahrir Square, the central protest site, confirmed the students’ arrest. In addition to Gates, the other two students are Derrik Sweeney, from Georgetown University and Greg Porter from Drexel University.

99 Problems

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Pronoun note: “We” here refers to us (the authors) and you (if you so choose to include yourself). “We” is NOT the occupation, the “movement,” or you (if you don’t choose to include yourself).

When Tea Partiers bad-mouth “welfare queens” or “border jumpers,” folks are quick to point out their racist stigmatizations, and that’s a good thing. However, everyone could do best to question their own assumptions as well, especially around the 99% rhetoric that large swaths of the occupy movement have claimed as a starting point. This rhetoric is antisemitic (definition: hatred or discrimination of Jews) and deserves to be called into question just as much as racist Tea Party rhetoric, and to be taken just as seriously as any other form of racism.

We’re not calling anyone out for personal acts of antisemitism, although we are concerned about these more broadly. Personal antisemitism does run rampant in this country; my own grandfather denies the holocaust happened, and we’ve had to correct co-workers who claim they’ve just been “jewed.” What we are concerned about here at the Bloomington Occupation (and the Occupy movement more broadly) is the underlying antisemitism that is laced through the “99% v. 1%” rhetoric and the critique of financial capital. We can say that this antisemitism is structural or institutional because is is part of a larger cultural phenomenon that has been in place for thousands of years.

Antisemitic arguments from the middle ages (ostensibly that Jews control the money / banks / world) have been in play continuously since then; the personification of the “rich banker” or “Wall Street trader” as class enemy #1 plays into this and proves that these arguments have moved through history seamlessly. This populist rage against Wall Street for “betraying” or “selling out” America amounts to a contemporary redux of the “stab in the back myth,” a staple of nazi lore that blames “Jews and other subversives” for the betrayal of the German people, the loss of WWI and subsequent floundering of the German economy. Just as there was no conspiracy that was singlehandedly responsible for undermining the German war effort (it was already done in), there isn’t a cabal of Wall Street bankers to blame for selfishly wrecking the economy for their own gain.

The left here is just as culpable as the extreme right, with popular criticism of the Israeli State, the IDF or Zionism manifesting as completely indistinguishable from antisemitism – CounterPunch’s article “Israeli Organ Harvesting- the New Blood Libel?” is just one particularly glaring example. Not to mention the postwar-Left’s nearly wholesale adoption of conspiracy theory – notably 9/11 truth – often explicitly or subtly antisemitic in it’s ludicrous claims that Jews completely control the U.S. government, media and business interests. We point these things out to challenge the idea that, because antisemitism is systemic, that it is out of our control or is just semantic; contrarily, these threads work their way into our language, our assumptions, and our movements in quite sinister and penetrative ways.

To accept the thesis that banks, the circulation of money, or “the rich” are the problem only accepts a halfway-critique of capitalism (remember, the National Socialists are anti-capitalist as well; the German Marxist August Bebel famously referred to antisemitism as “the socialism of fools”). Banks and “bankers” are an easy target because they stand as the visible monetary centers, but this analysis completely ignores the primary functions of capitalism: the production of commodities, the exploitation of human labor, and the extraction of surplus value. Capitalism is not a conspiracy.

And thus the sinister overtones of the 99% vs. 1% logic emerges; it becomes clear that historically, national bodies (Germany, for instance) have mobilized popular antagonism against constructed sociological minorities to strengthen their own positions. Needless to say, a political analysis based solely on this construction is deeply troubling in it’s implications.

Positively, we want to participate in an articulate, complex and multi-faceted struggle, one that does not fall into the traps of populist rhetoric for lowest-common-denominator sake. The simplification of the class struggle to asinine statistics and percentages completely steamrollers all the different complexities and forces at play, and ignores the subtle interplay of power that exists everywhere and between us all. We agree that the problems of environmental devastation, poverty, racism, militarization, patriarchy, education cuts, and austerity are serious ones, but we reject the idea that these misfortunes are thrust upon us from above, that we are somehow pure or that we have no part in perpetuating these things among ourselves; denying our own agency would be shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot. Hopefully, armed with solid critique, we can get past the consideration of who is or isn’t “part of the 99%” and begin to consider our relationships to one another in more personal and specific terms.

Solidarity, Some Anarchist Occupiers

Any thoughts about #OccupyBloomington?

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In case you haven’t noticed, the Occupation of People’s Park in downtown Bloomington Indiana is still going on!  The park is completely filled with tents at this point, and lots of interesting discussions are floating around.

If you haven’t yet, it’s worth popping by to check it out; there’s a general assembly (GA) at 6.30 pm each evening, so that’s always a good time to come and hear what people are talking about.

If you’ve been around Occupy Bloomington (or any other Occupations in Southern Indiana) and have any thoughts or anti-capitalist analysis of the occupation, please feel free to submit them to:

rififi [at] riseup [dot] net. 

(And, in general, we love tip-offs about Indiana-specific demonstrations, moments of rupture and exciting criminal capers.  Please send stuff!)

 

Bloomington: Consider it Occupied!

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The occupation(?) has begun!  Come down to People’s Park RIGHT NOW!  Or tomorrow!  Or anytime, really!  Bring ideas, signs, food, tents, sound system (anyone got a PA?), and whatever else you can think of, the park is an autonomous space to do with what you please.

Here are some more posters for your enjoyment.

Non-Violent Violence

Non-Violent Violence

Non-Violent Violence

Non-Violent Violence

Non-Violent Violence

Occupy Bloomington Assembly Tonight; Occupation Begins Sunday.

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There will be another ‘Occupy Bloomington’ general assembly tonight, Thursday October 6th at 7pm in People’s Park (Kirkwood and Dunn in downtown Bloomington).

Logistics will continue to be discussed for the planned occupation of People’s Park slated to begin this Sunday, October 9th at 6pm.  Be there!



Posters about the planned occupation. download1 a hi-resolution version for printing.

Occupy Bloomington hi-res for printing

Here’s one statement of position, submitted recently by some friends; cheers for a well-articulated anti-capitalist stance that stakes a position against the cop-loving, rule abiding rhetoric of other local occupy “organizations.”

hippie faggot circle jerk:

considerations towards a savage and directionless occupation
we do not necessarily think the idea of an occupation is a ‘good’ one. still, here are some honest summations…

1-blanket negativity- we are against everything in this fucked up world. capitalism is all encompassing. it creeps into every region of our lives. we reject these lives. there is no anti-capitalist position other than the rejection of its totality.

2-there is nothing but us- the daily experience of life is our only basis for critique and any conceivable hope. we are our own source of inspiration. we are what is meaningful.

3-thoughts are not the vanguard of the revolution- thoughts are not superimposed on material reality. they exist on the same plane and are not bases from which to launch attacks on the world.

4-fuck a liberal subject- assuming desirable outcomes based on a recognition of the liberal subject reflects a deep naivete. meetings with ‘like-minded’ individuals will only produce known and abhorrent situations.

5-beyond productivity- the need for control, the fetishization of results are specific manifestations of capitalist existence. effectivity is a trap.
despite these considerations, we could cherish certain potentials of an occupation:

– expressing joyful chaos through space and disorganization, instead of mirroring the structures of order and repression

– sharing for its own sake, instead of for consciousness raising

– surprising ourselves in intense situations, instead of chasing goals in planned ones

– doing what we want and not giving a fuck, instead of internalizing forces of policing and control

– trusting ourselves and growing exponentially stronger, instead of relying on experts and groveling at the feet of politicians