Tag Archives: #OccupyBtown

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