Bansky expõe artes com colaboração de Os Gemeos embaixo de ponte em NY

Como parte do projeto “Better Out Than In” que o Banksy está realizando em Nova York – envolvendo criações que já renderam bastante repercursão nos últimos dias – um novo trabalho agora toma as ruas do Chelsea.

Desta vez, são duas pinturas que tiveram a colaboração da dupla brasileira Os Gemeos.

Inspiradas no movimento Occupy , estas artes foram recentemente capa do jornal Village Voice, acompanhadas de uma entrevista exclusiva cedida pelo Banksy por email. O jornal em questão é distribuído gratuitamente em Nova York e não foi escolhido por acaso pelo artista, que comentou ”sentir uma afinidade com pessoas que oferecem conteúdo de qualidade de graça pelas ruas”.


“People ask why I want to have an exhibition in the streets, but have you been to an art gallery recently? They’re full.” – Bansky, sobre sua “exposição“ temporária

As pinturas estão penduradas na West 24th Street, embaixo de uma ponte e com um banco de frente para elas, satirizando as galerias de arte e seus espaços superficiais de contemplação e reclusos círculos sociais.

O local escolhido pelo artista desta vez é o mais “amigável” dentre os anteriores, um bairro residencial e também tido como “centro de arte”, com uma tradicional concentração de galerias e afins.

As artes ficarão expostas de hoje até domingo, das 11 da manhã à meia noite.


Brainstorm9Post originalmente publicado no Brainstorm #9
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We Don’t Pay

Could Occupy catalyze a wildcat consumer revolt in May?

From Adbusters Blog

Last week, occupiers in New York City chained open subway entrances and posted official looking notices inviting the public to ride for free. Their innovative action caused an immediate sensation in the Occupy movement suggesting that similar jams will be carried out worldwide in May.

Jammers explained that the fare strike was done to show the connection between the de-funding of public transportation and the financial takeover of democracy: “Instead of using our tax money to properly fund transit, Albany and City Hall have intentionally starved transit of public funds for over twenty years; the MTA must resort to bonds (loans from Wall Street) to pay for projects and costs … more than $2 billion a year goes to debt service … by 2018 more than one out of every five dollars of MTA revenue will head to a banker’s pockets.” Union leadership agreed.

Authorities in New York City were swift to condemn, even going so far as to release surveillance footage of the occupiers calmly pulling off this audacious jam. It is no surprise that they are worried. This is perhaps the first time that the fare strike tactic has been successfully deployed in America and it is a sign that the I Don’t Pay movement which has been flourishing in Europe is finally leaping to North America. In Greece, jammers routinely occupy toll booths and public transportation entrances allowing everyone to pass for free.

As Occupy matures, it is beginning to learn a few new tricks. If Occupy adopts the I Don’t Pay movement’s fare strike tactic, we just might see May’s uprising snowball into a wildcat consumer revolt–a mass refusal to pay–the likes of which the world has never seen.


Tactical Briefing #28.

From Adbusters Blog

Hey you nimble dreamers, wild cats and horizontals out there,

Our Spring offensive is building toward a climactic May uprising… time to come out of winter hibernation and play jazz like we’ve never played it before.

May 1 we leap into the new world with a mighty multinational General Strike. Wherever you are, No Work; No School; No Shopping. No illusions. No apologies. No business as usual. Into The Streets!

May 12, we intensify with three days of global action. Jammers in London, Lisbon, Paris, Marseilles, Helsinki, Cuzco, Barcelona, Quebec are already on board with more on the way. We’ll hold our assemblies, hash out our demands and start building a parallel society that can sustain autonomous, horizontal, revolutionary communities outside of corpo-consumerism … we stop begging and we start creating … we begin the change we want to see.

We scared the G8 away from Chicago and now some occupiers are planning #OCCUPYCAMPDAVID – a cacophonous carnival of tree-sits, lockdowns and nomadic encampments in the woods and nearby Thurmont. Bon Voyage! Others are upping the ante with #OCCUPYCHICAGO – a mobilization of anarchic swarms to shutdown the NATO summit.


And then one of the softer aesthetic moments of our Spring offensive could well be the #LAUGHRIOT on May 18, the day the G8 leaders meet in Camp David. There is something totally ludicrous, absurd, even insane about the eight most powerful people in the world deciding to do the people’s business people behind closed doors and razor wire fences. This veneer of legitimacy is our tragedy turned to farce.

As Aristotle observed, to laugh is uniquely human… Imagine the scene: first a few hundred of us, then a few thousand, then millions of people across the world — each in their own way, some individually, some collectively in flash mobs, offices, parks, encampments — all breaking out in uproarious laughter on May 18. This could be a delicious defining moment – the day when the people of the world have a good laugh together and, from that point on, start thinking differently about how the world should be governed.

Then we get ready for our next big challenge: How to Occupy the U.S. Presidential Election on November 6.

Time to play wild, spontaneous jazz as Miles Davis intended,

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ / Tactical Briefing #25, #26 and #27 / / / / / / / / / Facebook / Twitter / Reddit

Surviving An Existential Winter

See video

Al Jazeera follows Occupy through the winter as the movement continues to build after violent evictions across the country.

Police Brutality Increasing Against Occupy

From Oakland to St. Louis, police are breaking bones.

From Adbusters Blog

Police across the country are increasingly using extreme violence against occupiers. The weekly SF Bay Guardian recently revealed that Oakland police have received numerous complaints of excessive force. In a complaint from Oct. 25, an occupier says that “officers found a person alone, beat him, and broke his knee.” A complaint from a Jan. 7 march says that a police officer kneed an occupier in the back “causing his spine to break.” In New York City, media reports that an occupier’s rib was broken on the six-month anniversary of OWS. When the wounded occupier began having a seizure, she was denied medical attention while a crowd watched in horror. When occupiers from across the middle of America gathered in St. Louis, Missouri for the Occupy the Midwest regional summit, they too were also brutally beat back. Tazers were used, a dozen arrests were made, and several occupiers were led away with their faces covered in blood.

In the following eyewitness account, an occupier describes how it feels to be in confronted by extreme police brutality:

“For those that have never witnessed police violence, I want to make something clear. Nothing about this situation followed the prescription of an arrest – this media image of a “You are under arrest. You have the right…” is not what happens in real life. A friend said it best, what happened Thursday night was some gangsta shit. It was angry, vicious people jumping unarmed protesters and bystanders. It was an attack. It was intentional brutality. They did not follow any procedure of kettling, “less lethal” tactics, etc. Their actions were directly targeting individuals and beating the shit out of them. It was so fucked up.

I am traumatized. I am having flashbacks, and the more I try to make the motions of my mundane life the more vivid they become. Work, school, friendly conversations all seem completely devoid of meaning. All I can do is tell the story of my experience and force the people I surround myself with to question the society we participate in. I am so fucking angry.”

Read the whole story at… and join the discussion below on how Occupy can overcome increasing police brutality.

Occupy’s Spring Return

See video

Six month anniversary of Occupy signals new movement intensity.

Occupy’s Bank Blockade Victory

UC Davis occupiers innovate powerful new tactic.

From Adbusters Blog

For the last two months, Occupy UC Davis has been blockading a campus branch of U.S. Bank. Now, in a victory for Occupy that potentially gives birth to a new movement tactic, U.S. Bank has capitulated and permanently closed the branch.

U.S. Bank has been a visible symbol on campus of the corporatization and monied corruption of education in part because, as The Aggie campus newspaper explains, “in 2010, all students were required to get new ID cards with the U.S. Bank logo on the back.”

The tactic of the occupiers was simple, nonviolent and highly effective. The Aggie describes the scene: “the blockade became a daily ritual. Protesters — typically numbering around 15 — would arrive around noon, followed by an officer from the campus police department. Thirty minutes later, bank employees would leave and the entire process would be repeated the next day.”

A celebratory statement posted on Occupy UC Davis’s website said, “the blockade of the U.S. Bank was a real battle against the privatization agenda, and its closure is a victory… This is not enough, this is not the end.”

The victory at Davis opens a new tactical horizon for Occupy. Can the bank blockade tactic be replicated across the nation? Could shutting down big banks every day for a month be the tactical breakthrough we need for May?

Test Run of #OCCUPYCHICAGO Attacked

Regional Occupy the Midwest summit broken up by police in prelude to May uprising.

From Adbusters Blog

Occupiers from across the middle of America are gathering in St. Louis, Missouri this weekend for an Occupy the Midwest regional summit that will build connections and lay the foundation for May’s #OCCUPYCHICAGO swarms and #LAUGHRIOT jams. Yesterday, on the first day of the summit occupiers attempted to set up an encampment in a local park. It was a bold move, and one that sets the stage for attempts that will be made in Chicago. The police reacted swiftly and brutally. Eyewitnesses report that tazers were used, a dozen arrests were made, and several occupiers were led away with their faces covered in blood. The video below shows a mob of billy-club wielding, disorganized cops descending on the encampment, ripping up tents and arresting people.

Watch this video summary of the day’s events and discuss below your strategies for how the movement can overcome police repression in May.

Police Try To Intimidate Occupy

Are authorities preparing to suppress May uprising?

From Adbusters Blog

This article is available in:

The earliest evidence that federal authorities in the United States were aware of Occupy Wall Street and preparing to squash it comes from a September 1 Department of Homeland Security briefing. Warning of an upcoming protest on Wall Street, the leaked memo explained that the unique conjunction of culture jammers with politicized hackers was cause for alarm. “The ideologies set forth by Adbusters seem to align at a basic level with the stated intent of Anonymous’ newly adopted Hacktivist agenda … These protests are highly likely to occur,” the report declared. We also know now that the FBI was investigating Occupy at least two days before occupiers seized Zuccotti. In a leaked chat log Sabu, an FBI informant and prominent member of LulzSec, a hacktivist affinity group, pumped for information about Anonymous’s plans for Occupy. He is recorded asking: “Lets talk about OpWallStreet. I plan on going to Wall Street, do we have anything planned?” Shortly after, despite these counterintelligence efforts, Occupy Wall Street was born and Zuccotti Park became the spiritual center of an international movement.

Now, as the international movement gears up for a major escalation in May with myriad big bangs – a May Day General Strike, anarchic swarms in #OCCUPYCHICAGO, an international blast on May 12 and an effort to retake the squares on May 15, a #LAUGHRIOT on May 18, #OCCUPYCAMPDAVID the next day along with major protests against NATO on May 20 and 21 – stories of aggressive intimidation tactics are beginning to emerge from New York City. In a recent article in the New York Times, occupiers described frequent harassment and interrogation by NYPD intelligence and FBI: “police officers or detectives have been posted outside buildings where private meetings were taking place, have visited the homes of organizers and have questioned protesters arrested on minor charges … one protester says he was questioned by a police detective and an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” Meanwhile, authorities are demanding access to the Twitter accounts of prominent occupiers like Jeff Rae and logs of occupy websites. And in Florida, Occupy Miami was raided without cause by paramilitary police on March 13.

On reddit, one activist argued the situation is far worse than is being reported in the news, claiming to have encountered:”DHS bugging of common meeting grounds; DHS paying individuals to attend our meetings and cause disruption; police breaking into property, creating fire hazards, then getting protestors living there evicted for said fire hazard; police breaking into private property and installing surveillance equipment in people’s homes. In at least one instance they left it obvious enough to leave a message; police arresting individuals solely to have them identify photographs of other occupiers; manipulating our personal bank accounts, such as canceling our access to our own accounts.”

Taken together with news of the authoritarian new law H.R. 347, these sinister stories suggest that authorities in the United States are preparing to aggressively disrupt Occupy’s May spring offensive.

Weigh in below and tell us how you think the movement can outmaneuver these authoritarian efforts to shut down our people-power.

America’s Authoritarian Turn

Speaking truth to power becomes a crime.

From Adbusters Blog

Ever since the rise of Occupy, corporatist authorities have been trying to figure how to squash our emerging social movement. First they tried a media blackout, but when over 700 nonviolent meme warriors were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge our Gandhian ferocity catalyzed a thousand encampments and the 1% could ignore us no more. Next elites tried the Bloomberg model of midnight paramilitary raids backed up by excessive force and sometimes-lethal munitions. That worked well to evict encampments in New York City, Oakland and nationwide … but it backfired when occupiers became diffuse, appearing at scripted events and interrupting the spectacle of corporate-funded politics with mic checks of truth. Now they are trying the new tactic of “lawfare” – using draconian laws to squash free speech in a last ditch effort to put an end to people power.

A week before the G8 Backdown, the US House of Representatives voted in near unanimous consensus in favor of an authoritarian law, H.R. 347, that makes it a federal crime to disrupt “Government business or official functions” or to enter any building where a “person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting.” In other words, to mic check Obama is now a federal crime punishable by a year in prison. And so too is the banner drop if it takes place in any building that a “protected” person might be visiting in the future, even if jammers don’t know it. And so is the anti-globalization tactic of blocking road access to a meeting of world elites, there is a special clause about that too. Obama signed the bill into law on March 9.

History shows that using authoritarian laws to silence the authentic, legitimate concerns of the people always boomerangs into a fatal loss of legitimacy. Governments derive their authority and right to exist from the people and when the people are ignored and beaten back regimes fall.

Read more about H.R. 347 at the and the and then brainstorm below on how Occupy can outmaneuver this new tactic of repression.


Or shall we move into uncharted territory?

From Adbusters Blog

The G8 retreat from Chicago to Camp David brings a new tactical dilemma to Occupy. Do we carry on with the old model, locating contested space and establishing a physical encampment? Or do we sojourn into an uncharted vector of resistance where symbolic space is transient, fluid and less-significant? Here’s the view of Occupier Sean Nolan. Have a read and weigh in.

After months of gestation, confusion, internal conflict, regrouping and rethinking, the Occupy movement has come through the winter, in my mind at least, for the better. Those of us who are focused on changing the way that this country’s “elected” (or shall I say, bought and paid for) officials do business are more focused than a diamond cutting laser. Those of us who are focused on making a true American Spring are prepared.

As many of you now may very well know, the G8 meeting in Chicago that was scheduled for the 18th of May, has been moved to Camp David, a secure military compound guarded by US Marines that houses the President for private formal or informal occasions. Now let me be clear, the G8 is a meeting between the eight most powerful leaders in the world to discuss “key issues” facing the geopolitical sphere. There is a G12 meeting, a G20, and so on.



See video

Before Barcelona, before Tahrir, before New York, thousands of landless farmers in Honduras began to occupy vast stretches of ill-gotten plantations in the Aguan River Valley. The government has torched their settlements, evicted their encampments and allowed wealthy landowners to murder them at will. But against all odds, the resistance grows. Help get the message out!


Will Donor Money Destroy Occupy Wall Street?

An emerging existential debate in the movement.

From Adbusters Blog

In recent weeks, a series of existential debates have erupted within the Occupy movement. Soul-searching discussions on violence vs. non-violence and leaders vs. leaderless and autonomy vs. consensus are happening everywhere… welcome signs that the core principles of phase two of Occupy are being hashed out organically. Now, a conversation is beginning in New York City with profound implications for the entire movement. Jeff Smith, a member of the Occupy Wall Street press team, explains the situation:

A crowd of about 100 gathered at the West Park Church on the Upper West Side Sunday for an open meeting dedicated to the unveiling of the newly re-named Movement Resource Group. The 501c3 is the latest incarnation of a group of wealthy donors who have been trying to plug into OWS for months…. Six months after OWS began and three months after the NYPD violently “cleaned” Zuccotti Park, there are a lot of occupiers struggling to make ends meet—especially those who are new to activism and are relying on the money coming through the New York City General Assembly, which has nearly run through its remaining funds. The protesters are hungry. And when these latest money men moved in, it felt like a two-way con. The rich people were trying to buy a piece of OWS on the cheap. Desperate protesters were there to see if they could get one over on the rich guys by taking their money without sacrificing anything of value, namely their values.

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast and weigh in below. Do you think Marisa Holmes, a founding Zuccotti, is right that accepting Ben & Jerry’s money will “destroy the very foundation of the movement”?


Anarchic Swarms – The Emerging Model.

From Adbusters Blog

Hey you wild cats, dreamers, redeemers, horizontals,

The stage is set for a climactic showdown in Chicago.

The crisis of capitalism is deepening. Youth unemployment has reached 50% in Spain and Greece… 30% in Portugal and Italy… 22% in the UK… almost 20% in the US. Hundreds of millions of people around the world are waking up to the fact that their future does not compute… that their lives will be a never ending series of ecological, financial, political and personal crises… and that if we don’t rise up and start fighting for a different kind of future, we won’t have a future.

That struggle ignites again May 1.

#OCCUPYCHICAGO will be the focal point of this global spiritual insurrection… 50,000 of us will converge on the windy city and confront the G8 and NATO leaders with an ultimatum. We will set up impromptu encampments throughout the city and wage a full-spectrum memewar backed up by new tactics of anarchic swarming. Our militant in-your-face nonviolence will inspire thousands of towns, cities and campuses around the world to rise up in solidarity just like they did last October.

This is a worldwide, multi-front mutiny against the way our economic and military leaders are running the world.

On the CULTURAL FRONT we confront the corpo-commercial lie machine – we shift the way information flows and meaning is produced. We train a new breed of livestreamers, citizen journos and p2p visionaries and unleash them in the streets to be the eyes of the world during the month of May.

On the ENVIRONMENTAL FRONT we demand the G8 reach consensus on drastically reducing their carbon footprints and immediately ratifying a binding international accord on climate change.

On the ECONOMIC FRONT we throw our movement’s weight behind one simple demand: the implementation of a 1% Robin Hood Tax on all financial transactions and currency trades.

On the GEOPOLITICAL FRONT we tell Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, Putin, Merkel, Noda, Monti, Harper and the NATO military leaders to stop the warmongering and start fighting for peace. We block the looming Iran war with a preemptive global initiative that just about everyone in the world can get behind: a nuclear-free world starting with a nuclear-free Middle East that includes both Israel and Iran.

On the PERSONAL FRONT, hundreds of millions of us vow to live the month of May without dead time… to experience joyous camaraderie… to open ourselves to an imminent life changing epiphany. We follow Miles Davis’ advice on how to play jazz: be spontaneously alive and “play what’s not there.”

Occupy has taught us all. It innovates, fractures, grows resilient and more diverse. In this spirit we celebrate the Gandhian ferocity of the Zuccottis who launched this movement with their magical assemblies and nonviolent ways … we extol the growing crop of working groups with their desire for a positive program of social and political change. And on the wild side we honor those in Oakland who have lost their fear against all odds. With this rainbow coalition, we hold our heads high and embrace the heady days of Spring.

Jammers pack your tents, phone your friends, get your affinity groups together and prepare to put your ass on the line for a worldwide people’s uprising starting May 1.

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ / Tactical Briefing #25 / / / / / / / NYCGA / Facebook / Twitter / Reddit

A Shift in Consciousness

It’s not that hard.

From Adbusters Blog

The status quo has us at each other’s throats. Mainstream economics sees this as the social ideal. More for you is less for me. Antagonism keeps the cash flowing. Maximize each moment lest someone else gain the market advantage on you. This sounds miserable, and it is, and yet it remains the system that most of us live every day. It’s time for a new model. Occupy economics reaches to a much more historical and spiritual precept. An idea rooted in the concept of love and cooperation: that more for you is more for me. Author of Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein, explains Occupy’s new logic of the heart.

Stream Sacred Economics short film in its entirety on March 1.

Chris Hedges On Nonviolence

Why truth, not fear, is Occupy’s greatest weapon.

From Adbusters Blog

Part of an ongoing debate within the Occupy community, author Chris Hedges says that our lessons should be drawn from the visionary philosophy of Czech revolutionary Vaclav Havel, not the “diversity of tactics” of the Black Bloc. “Living in Truth,” Havel’s ideal of refusal to fear, begins when we create alternative means of existence and deny the impulse to expected responses. States are well equipped to deal with the loss of order and violence but are inept at dealing with loss of faith and mass non-violence, Hedges argues. That is why government agitators and provocateurs are actively involved in the movement – to divide it and conquer its 99% appeal.

There is a recipe for breaking popular movements. I watched it play out over five years in the war in El Salvador. I now see these familiar patterns in the assault against the Occupy movement. It goes like this. Physically eradicate the insurgents’ logistical base of operations to disrupt communication and organization. Dry up financial and material support. Create rival organizations—the group Stand for Oakland seems to be one of these attempts—to discredit and purge the rebel leadership. Infiltrate the movement to foster internal divisions and rivalries, a tactic carried out consciously, or perhaps unconsciously, by an anonymous West Coast group known as OLAASM—Occupy Los Angeles Anti Social Media. Provoke the movement—or front groups acting in the name of the movement—to carry out actions such as vandalism and physical confrontations with the police that alienate the wider populace from the insurgency. Invent atrocities and repugnant acts supposedly carried out by the movement and plant these stories in the media. Finally, offer up a political alternative. In the war in El Salvador it was Jose Napoleon Duarte. For the Occupy movement it is someone like Van Jones. And use this “reformist” to co-opt the language of the movement and promise to promote the movement’s core aims through the electoral process.

Read the entire piece on

The Fight Against Capitalism

In the spring we must rediscover insurrectionary forms of care.

Nicole Demby

From Adbusters #100: Are We Happy Yet?

In the spring we must rediscover insurrectionary forms of care


While #OWS still encompasses within it a multiplicity of tactics, opinions, and degrees of political radicalism, the evidence is all too clear that the soul of Occupy is anticapitalist, and the desire for a different system is a desire for a protest movement whose grasp on our lives is more holistic. There has already been inspiring work done to organize in different communities, and one can envision the emergence of a dispersed network not only of general assemblies but of communes and cooperatives as well.

The old pessimism of theory beats at our backs, telling us that any developed and sustained form of communal organization can only exist as an autonomous pocket whose threat to capitalism is nil. Yet sustaining autonomous, communal forms of care is not a shift away from direct, active forms of resistance. The positive and the negative aspects of the fight against capitalism must work in conjunction with one another to mutually reinforce each other. Communes, cooperatives and other structures of social support provide a material safety net that facilitates more radical action, enabling people to strike from work and from debt obligations with the assurance that their material needs will be met when they do. Moreover, such forms of organization can begin the incredibly difficult process of building trust between those with radically different backgrounds and experiences, providing support for whoever needs it, especially those who have borne the brunt of the economic collapse.

These forms of organization will enervate the status quo by drawing participants’ time and energy away from their roles as wage laborers, salaried workers, and consumers. Of course, #OWS has already begun to do this; many of us without the luxury of highly flexible (read precarious) employment, or who haven’t already committed ourselves as full-time occupiers (and are now sleeping in churches, synagogues and generously offered private homes – and organizing during the day) already spend our office hours surreptitiously reading working group emails or occupy-related articles. Yet we aim to achieve a less schizophrenic mode of existence in which the totalizing effect of Occupy on our thoughts is reflected in the degree to which it predominates our actions, one in which our politics accords with the way in which we support ourselves. For those against capitalism this will mean testing our own boldness and examining our own perceived futures. As Daniel Marcus observed: “There can be no movement of communes if protest is merely an extracurricular activity of wage-earners: workers will have to choose whether they stand with the communes or with the bosses and administrators.”

The need for new structures of care is emotional as well as material. Many of us are beginning to realize the extent of our own dissatisfaction. We spend time with friends and lovers, but these encounters are transitory counterpoints to the anomie induced by a culture of individualism. We work towards success, but what constitutes success seems increasingly empty. Perhaps it’s unfashionable to speak of “alienation,” naïve to make claims about what forms of work or activities might begin to overcome it, utopian to believe that we could create a society in which a better life is possible. And yet we already see the possibility of these things in the near future of this movement and are already beginning to build the necessary infrastructure.

Affect isn’t just an effect, but a decisive tool of revolution. Just as the catharsis of resistance we experienced in the fall bolstered community and emboldened us to go further, more communal, self-sustaining and holistic instantiations of Occupy will further entrench and strengthen the movement. We are strongest when our resistance draws on our outrage but also harnesses our vital forces, extending to the very material and psychological basis of our lives.

In the spring we must rediscover together that there are militant kinds of community and insurrectionary forms of care.

Nicole Demby is a writer and critic living in Brooklyn. She is a member of the Arts & Labor group of Occupy Wall Street.

A Question Of Tactics

David Graeber responds to Chris Hedges.

From Adbusters Blog

David Graeber has been involved with Occupy Wall Street since the early days of September, when he partook in the first ad hoc general assemblies in New York City and helped articulate the movements’ nonviolent ethos. He is also a self-professed anarchist and Black Bloc supporter.

In response to Chris Hedges Feb 6 article on, The Cancer in Occupy, Graeber drafted the following open letter challenging the Pulitzer Prize winning authors’ characterization of the Black Bloc and the movement itself.

I am writing this on the premise that you are a well-meaning person who wishes Occupy Wall Street to succeed. I am also writing as someone who was deeply involved in the early stages of planning Occupy in New York.

I am also an anarchist who has participated in many Black Blocs. While I have never personally engaged in acts of property destruction, I have on more than one occasion taken part in Blocs where property damage has occurred. (I have taken part in even more Blocs that did not engage in such tactics. It is a common fallacy that this is what Black Blocs are all about. It isn’t.)

I was hardly the only Black Bloc veteran who took part in planning the initial strategy for Occupy Wall Street. In fact, anarchists like myself were the real core of the group that came up with the idea of occupying Zuccotti Park, the “99%” slogan, the General Assembly process, and, in fact, who collectively decided that we would adopt a strategy of Gandhian non-violence and eschew acts of property damage. Many of us had taken part in Black Blocs. We just didn’t feel that was an appropriate tactic for the situation we were in.


Mirrors: |

Black Bloc

Violence or nonviolence: where do you draw the line?

From Adbusters Blog

On Feb 6, America author and Occupy activist Chris Hedges wrote a piece for titled “The Cancer in Occupy.” In it he criticized the violent actions of Black Bloc operatives within the movement, saying they are the greatest threat to the future of Occupy. The article has generated a heated debate online about non-violence, political strategy and protest in America, and has garnered a response by Anarchist thinker Dr. Zakk Flash.

Read both articles and weigh-in.

The Cancer in Occupy by Chris Hedges

The Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. The presence of Black Bloc anarchists—so named because they dress in black, obscure their faces, move as a unified mass, seek physical confrontations with police and destroy property—is a gift from heaven to the security and surveillance state. The Occupy encampments in various cities were shut down precisely because they were nonviolent. They were shut down because the state realized the potential of their broad appeal even to those within the systems of power. They were shut down because they articulated a truth about our economic and political system that cut across political and cultural lines. And they were shut down because they were places mothers and fathers with strollers felt safe.


Hedging Our Bets on the Black Bloc by Dr. Zakk Flash

Chris Hedges has written some of the most insightful analysis of the U.S. war machine in recent years. His 2009 book “The Empire of Illusion” was an exploration of how exhibition has eclipsed truth and meaningful connection in American society. His acknowledgment of the ease in which one can buy into such spectacles is a small part of why it was so odd to read his article on Truthdig attacking both anarchists and black bloc tactics entitled “The Cancer in Occupy.”


What will happen at #OCCUPYCHICAGO?

Autonomous action and the fracturing of consensus.

From Blackspot Blog

Three days after Adbusters put out a call to #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month during the May G8/NATO summits, spectacular clashes erupted between #OCCUPYOAKLAND militants and armored police. Attempts to occupy an abandoned building were put down with tear gas, less-lethal munitions and baton charges. What was new, and surprising, this time around was that some Oakland occupiers came equipped as altermodern Hoplites with plastic and tin shields. And to everyone’s amazement they performed an eerie quasi-military discipline and phalanx formation that had clearly been worked out beforehand. They came ready and willing to confront police. On a symbolic level, the Oakland street battle struck a chord in the movement because its theatrical staging functioned as an inverted repetition of the Brooklyn Bridge arrests that electrified the first phase of Occupy.

In both cases, a group of protesters engaged in the ostensibly illegal behavior (blocking traffic, occupying space) courageously faced down police while spectators, journalists, photographers recorded the scene from the left flank on higher ground. Both events are watershed moments that define phases of the movement. #OCCUPYOAKLAND’s phalanx and #OCCUPYWALLSTREET’s mass arrest represent different, at times compatible and sometimes conflicting, futures of #OCCUPY. That is why #OCCUPYOAKLAND’s public performance of a West Coast anarchist ethos has sent a chill down the international spine of #OCCUPY, sparking raging debates on many movement email lists.

At stake is not who will determine the future of #OCCUPYWALLSTREET. At stake is who will determine the future of #OCCUPY… which is to say what vision of the movement will emerge during the next big showdown, #OCCUPYCHICAGO in May?

Until now many people have believed that #OCCUPYWALLSTREET is synonymous with #OCCUPY and that the beautiful spirit of Zuccotti will forever dictate how the movement unfolds. But this assumption is fracturing as it becomes clear that the movement is actually comprised of dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of autonomous forces acting in concert. The perfect example is, the flagship website of the movement which is not itself of, or beholden to, the movement. Coding for the site began weeks before any on-the-ground meetings were held in NYC. explains that they are an autonomous “affinity group” that is not “a subcommittee of the NYCGA nor affiliated with Adbusters, Anonymous or any other organization” which means that they do not receive orders from nor accept the authority of any of these organizations, including the General Assembly of NYC. They are allies but nonetheless autonomous. Of course, this is the same position that Adbusters, Anonymous and the NYCGA take in regards to each other as well. And, when you think about it, it is also the same position that your local #OCCUPY might take towards the dictates of #OCCUPYOAKLAND, #OCCUPYCHICAGO or even #OCCUPYWALLSTREET.

With today’s hindsight it is obvious that what have been called the core principles of the #OCCUPY movement have been overdetermined by an East Coast vibe inherited from the pre-September 17 meetings of the NYC General Assembly, another organization that predates #OCCUPY but has been considered synonymous with it. It was in these meetings that consensus-based general assemblies were agreed upon as the model. It is interesting to read the various declarations of the NYC General Assembly in light of the waning influence that New York occupiers over #OCCUPY as a whole. In these declarations, for example, one detects a frequent slippage between the NYCGA speaking for itself and speaking for the movement as a whole. This used to make sense but it no longer does as murmurs on the West Coast suggest a growing sentiment that the folks on the East Coast have gotten a bit too comfortable with the NGOs, unions and behind-the-scenes power-brokers in DC that the movement explicitly rejected before September 17. #OCCUPYOAKLAND’s powerful emergence is a symptom of the fracturing of the movement as various autonomous forces push-and-pull the movement in new, surprising directions.

The consensus of the movement over itself has been lost. It will take weeks, perhaps months, for these debates to simmer into discussions and then be settled within the movement. Ultimately, the matter will not be decided until we see what plays out in Chicago when the world’s supposed leaders meet and 2,500 journalists are watching. The situation is made all the more difficult because consensus decisions in New York City cannot dictate the consensus in Oakland, Los Angeles, Portland or Chicago. Inter-occupy conference calls are now happening to address this reality. And perhaps even more significant is the looming possibility of multiple #OCCUPYs in the same city. If there are two #OCCUPYOAKLAND general assemblies, one which embraces militant street battles and one which does not, who is to say which has greater authority over the name? Or, what if there is a defunct #OCCUPYX and a new crop of people move in and claim to speak for #OCCUPYX? What is the relationship between a preexisting #OCCUPY and an autonomous group who comes in later, acts autonomously and claims the right to also speak in the name of that city’s #OCCUPY? The old answer would have been that all #OCCUPYs must abide by the declarations of the NYC General Assembly… but this no longer seems tenable.

Behind this soul searching is the unresolved question of whether a movement that fractures into smaller autonomous groups can still build and maintain a consensus larger than its individual parts. The answer is probably yes… after all, we’ve been doing it unconsciously up until now. What is different is that we’re being forced to acknowledge that autonomy is a core principle of the movement, for better or worse.

Micah White