dear all

01/02/2012 Comments Off on dear all

Fuck the OPD

All Power to our Comrades

All Power to the Commune

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Communiqué for a radical occupation

25/01/2012 Comments Off on Communiqué for a radical occupation

Everyday we are suffocated by the self-righteous liberals and hippies who endlessly chant the dual refrain of “non-violence” and “peace.” “The police are like us,” they say; “Gandhi!”

Everywhere we go—everywhere—and especially at Davis, home of the green washed consumer paradise of the Whole Earth Festival; the collaborationist cultural centers that “represent” marginalized communities, distribute condescending handouts to members of those communities, and suppress resistance to continued fee hikes that are quickly forcing those same communities out of the university; and the liberal, prevaricating co-operative houses and geodesic domes which suck in the “aware” children of the white upper middle class and expel sensitive middle managers eager to be involved with the murderous industries of micro-finance and charity work. Everywhere we go we need peace.

We need a peaceful place, a place free of the passive aggressive future servants of empire and capital who constantly accost us. Like small dogs, they nip at our ankles, trip us up, and prevent us from resisting.

Everyone already knows of the variously implicit and explicit racism of these clowns; everyone already knows that their insistence on recognition merely affirms the authority of the administration, of the state, and of the white man; everyone already knows that the peace police are not themselves peaceful—as we’ve seen them wield possibly fatal weapons against protesters on the apparent belief that causing death and serious injury are the appropriate means for defending the private property of this fucked up world.

Everyone already knows all these things, yet for some reason we still pity their heavy sighs, their sobs of terror, whenever we act “violent.”

For some reason we allow them to tell us what to do. They tell us what slogans to chant, what signs to carry, and what banners to hang.

These non-violent activists—who somehow believe that life-crushing debt is not violent, who believe that the existence of cops is not violent, who believe that an american flag, that capitalism and empire, that patriarchy and racism are not violent—these incredibly violent activists, these campaigners and defenders of white supremacy, heterosexism, patriarchy, capitalism, and the state, they inhabit our administration, our community resource centers, and even our occupied buildings. They can no longer be tolerated.

The most non-violent act is abolishing the structurally necessary violence of the status quo. In this effort any and all necessary tactics are comparatively non-violent.

We must begin by expelling these assholes from our midst.

Today a radical occupation is necessary. A space free of surveillance and cops is necessary. A space that prevents the university from functioning and in which further action can be planned is necessary.

It is this space that we attempted to take at UC Davis today.

Within hours of taking the space, the vacillators—those who cannot decide which side they are on—began to murmur.

We took the old Cross Cultural Center, and were accused of disrespecting its legacy because we are “white activists.” Never mind that this accusation is blatantly false.

The Cross Cultural Center senior employees reside on the Freedom of Expression response team which polices student resistance, monitoring and recording those dangerous elements who fight against fee hikes rather than merely saddle poor people of color with more loans to keep them in the University.

It is we who are faithful to the history of the Cross Cultural Center. In our radical action, we continue the legacy of the hunger strike which established it. We uphold the principles of its founding against the cowardly betrayal of all students by its current administrators.

Our banner bears the famous quote from Frantz Fanon, “Revolution is the only culture.” And we are criticized for homogenizing culture. Our critics do not realize that revolution is the only true culture. There is oppression and there is resistance.

The logic of the neoliberal university, of the imperialist, is that of a bookkeeper. The administrator and the imperialist both endlessly catalogue the various cultures and backgrounds of the subjugated. The neoliberal university, just like the neo-imperial occupying force, creates safe havens for the various cultures.

There is a LGBTRC at Davis for the same reason that National Organization of Women advocated bombing Afghanistan: “protecting” the culture of women while destroying them physically and economically.

There is a CCC at Davis for the same reason that the first act of the US Occupying force in Iraq protected the Kurds and other Iraqi minorities: to protect them to death.

We refuse to be categorized.

We refuse to be catalogued.

We will revolt.

Revolution is our culture, because it is a culture of us all, of us all fighting together to be equal. Revolution does not seek to be recognized by the white man, it does not seek to be accepted by the white man.

Revolution seeks material equality.

Revolution seeks a world free of poverty, free of jails, free of the structures of oppression—sexist, homophobic, and racist—that saturate our current world.

White, brown, male, female, queer, gay, straight, bi—It is this struggle that is our culture.

This struggle, this revolution is the only culture.

Others accused us of undermining the University’s ability to continue to enroll “at risk” students for, at some point, this empty building would be given over to the Educational Opportunity Program. This program, like the Cross Cultural Center, does nothing to challenge the risk of these students.

We do not fight to maintain students with “at risk” status. We seek to eliminate the “at risk” of those students.

We do not wish to maintain a university which merely increases the risk of students, increases their precarity non-stop, further entangles them in a lifetime of debt and shit jobs, and, in return, gives those who graduate a largely meaningless, entirely commodified degree.

We are all at risk.

We wish to not be at risk.

We do not wish to be “helped.”

We will help ourselves.

We will help ourselves by the most militant means necessary.

notes on political love

07/12/2011 Comments Off on notes on political love

i.

Politics is exhausting.

Lately I have been tired but I cannot sleep. I joke now that I will get a full night’s sleep only after the abolition of capitalism. I have been tired because when I am awake I am organizing, and because I am always or nearly always awake. I am tired because I am tired of arguing about what to do next, arguing about whether those who run the system against which we are fighting, or those who wear a badge and use a gun to defend it, can join us as equals. I am tired because not all speech is free speech. Not all speech is equal speech and when we pretend all speech is equal we accept as given the same domination against which we are fighting.

ii.

Politics is heartbreaking.

I love you all. But sometimes you break my heart. Sometimes I break your heart.

iii.

Politics is profound.

I want to tell you a story. It happened on November 2nd at the port of Oakland. I was marching towards the front. I was part of a group that was supposed to be at the front and frequently we had to stop and reassemble, because bicyclists or less encumbered protesters were ahead of us. At one point we stopped because we heard that the march was too disperse, and needed to reassemble itself. We had been marching for awhile, for a couple miles. And we, and I was exhausted. I turned to my friend next to me and complained. “We look so odd. 1/3 of the march ahead of those of us with banners and signs, 2/3 of the march behind us. I thought we were supposed to be in front not nearly in the middle.” My friend advised me to turn around.

As far as I could see were people marching. Their bodies filled the long, wide road leading into the port. Their bodies scaled the overpass of this road. I did not know it then, but the news helicopters latter showed that their bodies went further back than that. This was only the first of three waves. We were innumerable. I was overwhelmed.

iv.

Politics is terrifying.

We are here to win. And we are winning, but we have not yet won. The gamble we are making is terrifying. We have the world to win, it is said, and only our chains to lose. But we can lose much more than that. We have lost much more than that. Today we have no choice but to win. Losing is not an option, it is not an option because we are past the point of redemption, it is not an option because tens of thousands die daily, because the planet dies daily, because the rich get richer daily and everyone else is dying.

It is a terrifying gamble because we cannot know what the future holds. Entering a realm of total uncertainty, we must shake off the comfort of habit. Life is shit for all but a few, but the known has a way of entrancing. We must give up our attachments to this shit. We must leave the known behind as we seek out the radically new. The stupid sign says, “the beginning is nigh.” I prefer Karl Krauss, “the origin is the goal.” Or Karl Marx, “Capitalism is the pre-history of humanity. Only with communism will genuine human history begin.”

We are on the brink of history, my friends, and I am scared, crying, laughing, and totally falling in love with you.

v.

Politics is amorous

Everything I write is a love letter to my comrades, is a love letter to the revolution.

interview

05/12/2011 Comments Off on interview

People across the country are supportive of the Occupy Wall Street movement even if they don’t fully understand what the movement is about. How would you describe this movement? What do you stand for, what do you fight against?
The movement is not *about* any one thing. It is about a lot of things. While these things are certainly interconnected, many participate for different specific reasons.
The general thing against which the occupation positions itself is austerity. Austerity is the privatization of the public good, i.e. cuts to social services, privatizing public spaces like parks, cuts to education and healthcare, among others. At the UC we stress austerity’s effects on higher ed–for the obvious reason that we are getting serious cuts–but we should not separate *our* issue from, for instance, Occupy Oakland’s foregrounding of police brutality. The riot cops in Oakland, as in Davis, are used to quash those who fight back against austerity.
We stand for many various things, but again these things have a certain unity. I would describe this unity as “care.” The camps have become notorious for stressing that anyone is welcome, anyone can stay, everyone will eat, etc., this is logic opposed to austerity. We stand for reclaiming space and the good (healthcare, education…) and making them publicly available. At least that is my opinion.
Tell me what’s going on with the movement in your area/region/community?
We have several occupations on going in Davis. The first was set up several weeks ago in a park in downtown Davis. That occupation is repeatedly hassled by the police and city and now has been told that occupiers will be cited for vagrancy should they not depart.
The second occupation is on the lawn at UC Davis. This was set up after we were forcefully evicted–famously being pepper sprayed. After that instance of police brutality, both the police and the chancellor of UC Davis, Linda Katehi, received quite negative attention from local, national, and even international press. The continued media interest in our situation seems to have intimidated the police and university administration from again forcefully evicting us as they have so many times over the last several years.
With this situation in mind, we have now occupied Dutton Hall on campus, a central building near the quad which houses financial services’ offices. We are demanding the immediate resignation of the chancellor, for the UC Police Department to be disbanded, and for an immediate freeze on tuition rates.
Why did you get involved?
I got involved for a lot of reasons. While the concrete political goals of the movement are essential, one should not underestimate the many other aspects of occupations–those less condensible into formal demands. Occupations are a really fun place to be (and sometimes really difficult). It is profound to see strangers come together and care for each other. We have lived so long in an era that insists “there is no society” and “greed is good,” but the occupations are showing, proving that there *is* such thing as society. We are society. And we do not want to live that way any longer.
What do activists hope to accomplish from the protests?
Just being here is so important. We have demands–Katehi’s resignation, cops off campus, and tuition freeze–and our demands are important. But even having all three met will not satisfy us.
What is the goal or ultimate outcome of the movement? For instance, the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements wanted equality and justice across the board. The Labor movement has demanded recognition, collective bargaining rights and a voice at the table. What do the Occupiers want?
I cannot speak for everyone, but I want the end of capitalism.
How do people support the movement?
We need two things: bodies and stuff to support bodies. We have an Amazon wishlist for the latter, we have a building and tents for the former.
How do you sustain a leaderless movement?
It is not easy, and the model of General Assembly has significant problems. That said, every model of organization has problems. For a couple of years, the GA was not working very well. We would have long meetings discussing when we’d hold our next meeting. With the development of the occupation movement, the meetings have come to function much more effectively.
Momentum is built through repeated escalation of tactics. Rallies become protests, protests become tent cities, and tent cities become building occupations. Without expanding the movement, both in size and extent of activity, it will wither.
I’ve heard talk of communal type society being established and encouraged by the Occupy movement. Besides this course of action how does the movement hope to/expect to shape our society?
Well, establishing a “communal type society” is pretty impressive. So was shutting down the port of Oakland. The occupation movement is already having real social effects–noticeable in the popular culture.
The point of the occupations, at least as far as I understand them, is not particular political issues. There are lots of issues that we, at least it seems, are passionate about. However, precisely what differentiates this moment from the past–you’ve brought up the civil rights and women’s movements–what distinguishes us is that we are simultaneously about *everything* and *nothing*. I like to say that we occupy in order to change human nature. It is kind of dumb, I know. We are all educated postmoderns who know that there is no such *thing* as human nature and all that stuff. Also, as political activists, we know that human nature is a fuzzy concept, one the extent of change to which is hard to measure. All that said, I like this phrase because it describes what actually goes on at an occupation. Socially, these are profound and beautiful and heartbreaking and frustrating and wonderful places.
Another BIG question, Pls describe the day you got pepper sprayed and give readers a better understanding of how a peaceful protest became sullied by the cops when they attacked the students.
I got to the encampment at 3:15 on Friday, after seminar. My professor and friend saw the 35 riot police before they entered the quad, and joined the protest rather than get coffee. Linking arms in the circle, I and my friend chanted: “cops off campus!” The riot police marched onto the quad–at this point there was a circle of 70 protesters around the tents and about 200 onlookers–and the cops got in formation. After reading an order to disperse, the cops attacked us and threw us to the ground. At that point about 100 of the onlookers flooded into the circle and removed our tents while the cops made some arrests. We reassembled our circle and chanted for the cops to release those arrested. The cops told those of us seated on the side walk to disperse and we refused. At that point Lt. Pike, who was inside the circle, stepped over us seated on the cement walkway and he turned and pepper sprayed us. They were able to break apart the circle and take out those arrested, we then assembled, all now about 300 of us, and marched the cops off the quad chanting “you can go.”

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