Photos from Occupy Congress this past Tuesday!
The cover story for the Village Voice this week is pretty great. I’m not going to say much about it, just going to repost a few of my favorites. Everybody loves a good list at the beginning of the year, right?
To see the full list and their reasons, check out the original article…
6. Registered Republicans
7. The person holding the sign at the end of the Trader Joe’s line
14. Mary Lee Ward, an 82-year-old being evicted in Bed-Stuy
23. Tina Brown, editor, Newsweek/The Daily Beast
*This one is interesting because she has managed to turn Newsweek into a gossip rag and somehow it isn’t working out…
31. Press-pass-less members of the press
32. Press-pass-carrying members of the press
34. The librarians of the Occupy Wall Street “People’s Library”
35. Citibank customers trying to close their accounts
45. Pay-telephone users
46. Verizon workers who went on strike and then back to work without a contract
49. City University of New York students
55. Bill Thompson, former mayoral candidate
88. Anyone who voted for term limits
Still not sure what to do on New Year’s? Occupy Wall Street is celebrating with a march to our favorite New York City Privately Owned Public Space…
December 29, 2011 | by Chad Rochkind
We stand now at the moment of confrontation between two great, ever-expanding forces: that of freedom and that of capital. The challenges we face today are the result of the impasse that occurs at the meeting point between these forces.
The last century saw not only the enfranchisement of all men and women in the political process regardless of color, but also the simultaneous commodification of all spheres of human life. How can freedom expand when moneyed interests seek to thwart the progress of liberty for personal gain at ever turn?
It is the nature of both systems, democracy and capitalism, if they are to be true to their ideals, to expand ceaselessly. For instance, it is the job of a business to do better this quarter than it did the last. Businesses, after all, must grow to survive. For the capitalist system as a whole this means there must always be some new market to exploit, and where none exists, a market must be created. The commodification of our public lands and natural resources–the basic necessities that sustain life on this planet–are but symptoms of this inherently expansionist principle of capital, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Yet so too democracy, if it is true democracy, must expand. Once a person tastes liberty, the pursuit of it is unending. Once a community of people becomes truly free in one sense, they crave freedom in every other sense. No free people ever chooses to wear shackles. And further, no free people can tolerate the oppression of others.
That is, unless the people are deceived, as is the case today. In the economic sphere of life, we have been led to believe that freedom boils down to the choices one makes as a consumer in a marketplace, or the ability to sell one’s labor as a commodity to the highest bidder.
This is not freedom. It is the false choice of a neo-feudal order.
When a politically free individual enters into the vagaries of the marketplace, he loses the ability to shape his own destiny, deferring the most important decisions that impact his life to the boss, the board of directors, and the banks.
Yet it is in the economic sphere of life–in its productive and consumptive capacities–that we spend the vast majority of our waking hours, and it is here, also, where we are least free.
In the past 30 or so years, the marketplace has expanded into the sphere of democratic life. Corporate campaign contributions have devalued the precious right to vote for which we fought so hard to achieve. When it comes to all the important decisions, voting has been reduced to an empty relic of a bygone era of self-governance. This has nearly suffocated the principles of liberty upon which this country was founded.
To counter this trend, now is democracy’s time to make its next logical, necessary expansion. It’s very survival depends on it.
But where to expand if the ballot box has been secured?
The answer, of course, is the economy.
Economic Democracy is the next great frontier in the fight for freedom. The office, the factory, the farm, the bank, and the marketplace, have been led by the forces of tyranny for too long. As such, we demand the reinstatement of our societal role as CITIZENS in these arenas of social life.
Our watchword shall be Democracy at Work. Our guiding principle: Democracy for Life. And as with the great battles for freedom that have ensued since the ink dried on the Constitution, we shall emerge from the struggle truer to our founding principles, more American in the spirit that Jefferson expressed in the great poetry of our Declaration, and ultimately our national life–as Lincoln expressed during the battle which almost split our nation asunder–governed of, for and by the people, shall emerge, as ever, victorious.
Here are some images from Occupy DC, which has two locations: McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza. Unfortunately I was not there long enough to attend a General Assembly or get a good understanding of how the two groups operate, but it was quite remarkable to see anyhow.
McPherson Square Park is controlled by the National Park Service, which stated on November 15 that it does not intend to evict occupiers.
From McPherson Square…
From Freedom Plaza…
And for fun, a couple pictures of the Bonus Army, which occupied DC twice, once in 1932 and again in 1933, with thousands seeking immediate payment for military service during the deepening depression.
I had a chance to see both camps at Occupy DC this holiday, and it was re-invigorating! I went by on Christmas day, so needless to say it was a bit quiet, but nonetheless it was refreshing to see both camps flourishing, without the sight of police or private security standing guard, nor any barricades to freedom of speech to be found.
Tuesday, December 6th has been declared a Day of Action by Occupy Wall Street, focusing on solidarity with those whose homes have been foreclosed on. The actions are to include “eviction defense at foreclosed properties, takeovers of vacant properties by homeless families, and foreclosure action disruptions” and are scheduled in over 25 cities across the country.
Protesters are planning to meet at 1pm at Pennsylvania and Livonia in East New York.
For more information go here: http://occupywallst.org/article/occupy-wall-street-goes-home/
and here: http://occupyourhomes.org/