Beyond Occupy: liberating ourselves from debt slavery

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Joined: 11-02-07
Sep 17 2012 09:47
Beyond Occupy: liberating ourselves from debt slavery
Jerome Roos wrote:

A little over a year ago, my friend Pedro and I were sitting behind our laptops in the makeshift multimedia center at Syntagma Square in Athens. As volunteers in the Take The Square collective (the international brigades of the Spanish indignados), we had already been involved for several months in the transnational effort to build bridges between the various movements throughout Europe, putting key organizers in touch with one another, mobilizing an army of translators, reporting on important news and events, helping to coordinate international actions, and translating strategic documents of the 15-M movement into dozens languages and disseminating them across Europe.

We were already actively in touch with movements in Spain, Greece, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands, when suddenly we received an email from the United States. It was Micah White, co-editor of the widely-disseminated Canadian anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters. Something big was about to happen, Micah told us: Adbusters was about to launch the call for a Tahrir-style occupation of Wall Street and was looking for documents, information and experiences that could help with the complex promotion and organization of such a radical direct action. As we were just in the process of launching, Take The Square was in a unique position to share some of the key experiences of the Spanish and Greek movements with the aspiring occupiers of New York — and beyond.

While my friend Pedro jumped on the news like a lion, sensing a historical opportunity to contribute in a humble way to the occupation of the very heartland of globalized finance capital, I have to admit I had my reservations. Maybe it was my Dutch soberness, maybe a misplaced movements-related sense of “eurocentrism”, but for some reason I just felt the Americans wouldn’t be able to pull off what the Spanish and Greeks had just pulled off before them. First of all, I felt that the most important mobilizing factors behind the Spanish and Greek protests (a massive debt crisis coupled with draconian austerity measures and unprecedented levels of youth unemployment) simply weren’t that clearly present in the United States. Secondly, I told Pedro with full conviction, apart from a few small pockets of resistance like Oakland, the cultural hegemony of capitalist ideology in the US would simply render large-scale anti-capitalist action most unlikely. Thirdly, and most importantly, I feared, the NYPD — which had long since been bought and sold by the powerful Wall Street banks — would never allow the occupation of the most iconic site of American capitalism. Police repression would simply make an indignados-style camp impossible.

Thankfully, my skepticism turned out to be almost entirely unfounded…

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