When the gods dance...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

TACTICAL BRIEFING #18 | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters


Hey you creatives, artists, environmentalists, workers, moms, dads, students, malcontents, do-gooders and aspiring martyrs in the snow:

The last four months have been hard fought, inspiring and delightfully revolutionary. We brought tents, hunkered down, held our assemblies, and lobbed a meme-bomb that continues to explode the world's imagination. Many of us have never felt so alive. We have fertilized the future with our revolutionary spirit … and a thousand flowers will surely bloom in the coming Spring.

But as winter approaches an ominous mood could set in … hope thwarted is in danger of turning sour, patience exhausted becoming anger, militant nonviolence losing its allure. It isn't just the mainstream media that says things could get ugly. What shall we do to keep the magic alive?

Here are a couple of emerging ideas:

STRATEGY #1: We summon our strength, grit our teeth and hang in there through winter … heroically we sleep in the snow … we impress the world with our determination and guts … and when the cops come, we put our bodies on the line and resist them nonviolently with everything we've got.

STRATEGY #2: We declare "victory" and throw a party … a festival … a potlatch … a jubilee … a grand gesture to celebrate, commemorate, rejoice in how far we've come, the comrades we've made, the glorious days ahead. Imagine, on a Saturday yet to be announced, perhaps our movement's three month anniversary on December 17, in every #OCCUPY in the world, we reclaim the streets for a weekend of triumphant hilarity and joyous revelry.

We dance like we've never danced before and invite the world to join us.

Then we clean up, scale back and most of us go indoors while the die-hards hold the camps. We use the winter to brainstorm, network, build momentum so that we may emerge rejuvenated with fresh tactics, philosophies, and a myriad projects ready to rumble next Spring.

Whatever we do, let's keep our revolutionary spirit alive … let's never stop living without dead time.

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

COMMENT: I think this Briefing is way off the mark. For the record, we are dancing in the streets in Oakland and San Francisco, but the fight goes on and we don't plan to stop. It doesn't snow here. There is much more to the Occupy movement than New York City.

I have never been in favor of the extended outdoor camping tactic. In New York and elsewhere I think the camps have been an end in themselves: experiments in intentional living fueled by academic anarchist thinkers. Further, as you have pointed out, camping on the streets in winter in the Northeast can be a horror. It makes much more sense to occupy unused or foreclosed buildings large enough to house those who wish to work in a communal environment. These should be "private" not government buildings. Removing squatters from private property can involve a web of legal complexity.

Here in the West the terror of foreclosure -- losing your home -- is a major concern for the 99%. We will seek to occupy properties that are going into foreclosure rather than having a big party as you suggest. Most important, however, the movement should now present itself as a compassionate community resource offering an example of how America could be if corporations and government were pushed aside and the People actually made the decisions. Other movements have done this. In Oakland, for example, the list of services the Black Panthers provided was amazing and often overlooked by the mainstream: http://www.stanford.edu/group/blackpanthers/programs.shtml

The 99% have pretty basic needs these days, at least outside New York: housing (foreclosures, homelessness), food, education, safety and genuine hope for a better future. We can model that future for them by our community outreach work while educating our brothers and sisters on the alternatives they have to the current corrupt corporate/government rule of the 1%.

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