Chris Hedges: Occupy And Building Power Now To Confront Autocracy

In his recent article, “America’s Fate: Oligarchy or Autocracy,” Chris Hedges writes that bankrupt liberals have sold out to the oligarchic class to try to prevent an autocracy from rising but that is actually creating the conditions for autocracy. Hedges speaks with Clearing the FOG about the lessons from the Occupy movement – he was involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City and the occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC in 2011 – and why we must build a militant movement now to confront and hold power accountable. He explains how power works, including the role of politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden in protecting the interests of the wealthy classes. 

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Ten Years After Occupy Wall Street, Its Real Legacy Is Anarchism In Practice

Lenapehoking, Turtle Island (also known as New York City) – Since its demise in the Fall of 2012, various individuals, websites, social media accounts, and politicians have tried to claim the mantle of Occupy Wall Street. The associations are endless, from Bernie Sanders-aligned “socialists” to neoliberal Twitter accounts praising landlords for evicting people. Any journalist writing about the OWS movement should know its actual history, separated from the machinations of those who later tried to co-opt its message for themselves. OWS was anarchism in practice, and that is its legacy.

Several members of MACC were present for the early days of Occupy Wall Street, and, along with thousands of others, helped to build it into what it became.

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Occupy Wall Street Trained A Generation In Class War

When Occupy Wall Street was evicted from its home base in Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011, by the NYPD in a paramilitary-style operation under cover of the night with a press blackout, the obituaries were being written.

The day before, Occupy Oakland, which vied with New York as the leader of the leaderless movement, was evicted for the second and final time. A convergence to shut down the New York Stock Exchange on the two-month anniversary of OWS, on November 17, fizzled. Lacking a base of operations, two thousand Occupy protesters at most showed up and were bloodily swept away by police from Wall Street and an attempted reoccupation of the park. Over the next few months, Occupy camps were forcefully ousted in Portland, Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Seattle, New Orleans, and Los Angeles with hundreds of arrests.

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Remembering David Graeber

David Graeber, who died tragically last week at the age of 59, was, as everyone knows, an anarchist. He didn’t like to wear it as an identity, as should be very obvious from his Twitter bio (‘I see anarchism as something you do not an identity so don’t call me the anarchist anthropologist’), but anarchism was the foundation of his politics. 

He was also a friend of mine. When I was first introduced to him, I probably reacted like I was meeting Beyonce. I was a huge fan of his work – when I was doing my masters in African Studies I picked up a copy of Debt, and I credit reading it with renewing my interest in political economy (after spending my undergraduate years being told that economics meant utility functions and budget constraints).  

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Occupy Wall Street In The Age Of Trump

By Levar Alonzo for Downtown Express. New York City – It has been six years since the movement calling itself Occupy Wall Street took over Downtown’s Zuccotti Park for a weeks-long demonstration that spawned similar actions across the country protesting corporate greed, social and economic inequality, and the domination of the “One Percent.”

The encampments have long-since dispersed but dozens of die-hard Occupiers and activists gathered at the place where it all began on Sept. 17 in Zuccotti Park to declare that the movement still has work to do — now more than ever.

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Casting Call: Original Occupy Wall Street Zuccotti Occupiers

By Jerry Ashton for The Huffington Post – Imagine, if five years after penning the declaration of Independence the original signers were to meet back in Philadelphia to recreate that moment? Or, authentic members of Boston’s Tea Party were to re-convene and make themselves available to historians and reporters five years later? Would anyone want to be there? Listen in? Take careful notes? Snap some pictures?

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Where Will The Next Social Movement Come From?

By Tom Engelhardt for Tom Dispatch. Much of our future is reliably unpredictable, and what more so than the moments when mass movements suddenly break out and sweep across our world? Who expected, for example, that for perhaps the first time in history hundreds of thousands of people would hit the streets of U.S. cities and towns—and millions the global streets from London and Barcelona to Sydney and Jakarta—in early 2003 to protest the coming invasion of Iraq, a war, that is, that hadn’t even begun? Or that such a movement would essentially vanish not long after that war was predictably launched?

Who imagined that, in September 2011, a small group of youthful protesters, settling into Zuccotti Park, an obscure square near Wall Street in downtown Manhattan, would “occupy” it and so the American imagination in such a way that “the 1%” and “the 99%” became part of our everyday language; Wall Street (as it hadn’t been for decades) a reviled site; and “inequality” part of the national conversation rather than just the national reality? Who imagined in the moment before it happened that such a movement, such a moment, would then sweep the country and the world. . .

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Growing Dissent: The Coming Year Of Protest

By Derek Royden for Occupy – It was February of 1848 when what came to be called “The Spring of Nations” and “The Year of Revolution” began. The first revolt was in France, then the unrest spread to nearby countries and eventually as far afield as Latin America. The reasons for the uprisings varied, but an unaccountable aristocracy and increasing food shortages united the middle and lower classes in most of these places to demand change. When the smoke cleared, some progress had been made, but the alliance between the middle and lower classes soon broke in most areas as their interests diverged.

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Mic Check! Bernie Sanders Swallows Occupy’s Microphone

By Marisa Holmes for International Times – There are still barricades around Liberty Square. More than four years after the eviction, New York City and Brookfield Office Properties, the owners of the park, have physically enclosed the space. Cars parked on nearby streets bear the logo of the new NYPD special task force for handling protests, the Strategic Response Group. The government is still concerned about the possibility of occupation, and clearly intends to prevent it from happening ever again. Occupy Wall Street challenged the legitimacy of the American state.

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Two OWSers Awarded $52,000 For Arrest

By John Marzulli for Daily News – A pair of Occupy Wall Street jerks who sued the city after getting arrested for flipping off NYPD cops are a little closer to joining the one-percenters. The city has agreed to pay $52,500 to Nicholas Thommen and Channing Creager who put the First Amendment to the test so they could exercise their Constitutional right to be obnoxious. Thommen, 21, and Creager, 26, will split the payout evenly, according to court papers. They were arrested June 27, 2013 for gesturing with their middle finger at Officers Diane Bowman and John Harrigan on a Queens subway train.

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NYC Spent $1 Million To Fire OWS Teacher And Failed

By Susan Edelman for New York Post – The city has lost a four-year, $1 million battle to fire a teacher arrested in the Occupy Wall Street protests. David Suker, a US Army veteran who taught at-risk youths in The Bronx for 14 years, was removed from the classroom in December 2011. He was charged with riling up students during an NYPD presentation at a school town-hall meeting by complaining he had been roughed up by cops, showing a scar on his head, and exchanging high-fives and fist bumps with teens. Suker was also charged with failing to immediately report one of his five Occupy Wall Street arrests in Washington Square Park on Nov. 2. He notified the Department of Education three days after getting out of jail.

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An Occupy Wall Street Founder, Provides Advice To Student Protesters

By Micah White for Quartz – As one of the original co-creators of the Occupy Wall Street movement, I’ve watched student protests sweep across campuses in Cape Town, Missouri, London and Los Angeles with a growing sense of optimism. The history of protest suggests that students are often the first to sense the opportunity for revolutionary change.

I suspect that the new wave of campus protests could be the foreshock to the global social movement that activists have been hoping for since the end of Occupy. To increase the odds, here is some advice to student protesters, based on the lessons from my time with Occupy.

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Life For The 1% Has Gotten Worse Since Occupy

By Jana Kasperkevic for The Guardian – It’s a rainy Wednesday morning and Clay Cockrell is sitting in his office at Columbus Circle across the street from 1 Central Park West, which houses Trump International Hotel and Tower. In front of the tower is Central Park, where Cockrell holds his popular walk and talk therapy sessions. Dressed in comfortable pants and a flannel shirt, Cockrell, a former Wall Street worker turned therapist, spends large parts of his days walking through Central Park or the Battery Park in downtown Manhattan near Wall Street, as a confidant and counsellor to some of the New York’s wealthiest.

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Police Crackdown On Movement Cost NY $1.5 Million Over 4 Years

By Aaron Morrison in International Business Times – Paul Manheim strained Thursday to elicit excitement for a special occasion in Manhattan’s busy Financial District. “It’s our fourth birthday,” he told several passers-by, who didn’t seem bothered by the low-key afternoon gathering.

Manheim and other activists were expected to march Thursday night in celebration of the Occupy movement’s fourth anniversary at Zuccotti Park in New York City. The park was once the site of a two-month-long encampment staged by about 200 protesters whose anti-Wall Street message helped spawn similar groups around the world before it was driven out by city police.

Four years ago, activists’ calls for economic policy reforms that favor the 99 percent of Americans over the richest 1 percent started a national conversation about inequality. As some activists debate whether the movement harnessed immense media attention, it garnered real political influence.

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Message Of Occupy Still Occupies The Public Dialogue

Staff for Popular Resistance – Anya Parampil of RT America covers the Occupy encampments history and legacy on the 4th anniversary of the movement. She describes how occupy grew from a small part in New York to a national and international movement. She describes how the Occupy raised long festering issues of the unfair economy and put them on the national agenda – and how the media reported on the spectacle of the encampments but missed the message of the movement. The impact of the movement was to have income inequality mentioned in political discussions more than ever before and the national dialogue being restricted around the corruption of Wall Street and the unfair economy. The Occupy opened the door to discussion of these issues in politics and it is hard to imagine the Bernie Sanders Campaign without Occupy having occurred. While the encampments are long gone the message of the movement occupies the United States today.

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