Pitch a tent, bring your suspenders: #OCCUPYWALLSTREET

Adbusters Occupy Wall Street poster

The "culture jammers" at Adbusters want 20,000 people to camp out on Wall Street in September to protest money in politics. Image: Adbusters.

Alright you 90,000 redeemers, rebels and radicals out there,

A worldwide shift in revolutionary tactics is underway right now that bodes well for the future. The spirit of this fresh tactic, a fusion of Tahrir with the acampadas of Spain, is captured in this quote:

The anti-globalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people.
— Raimundo Viejo, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain

The beauty of this new formula, and what makes this novel tactic exciting, is its pragmatic simplicity: we talk to each other in various physical gatherings and virtual people’s assemblies…we zero in on what our one demand will be, a demand that awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would propel us toward the radical democracy of the future…and then we go out and seize a square of singular symbolic significance and put our asses on the line to make it happen.

The time has come to deploy this emerging stratagem against the greatest corrupter of our democracy: Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.

On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.

Tahrir succeeded in large part because the people of Egypt made a straightforward ultimatum – that Mubarak must go – over and over again until they won. Following this model, what is our equally uncomplicated demand?

The most exciting candidate that we’ve heard so far is one that gets at the core of why the American political establishment is currently unworthy of being called a democracy: we demand that Barack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington. It’s time for DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY. We’re doomed without it.

This demand seems to capture the current national mood because cleaning up corruption in Washington is something all Americans, right and left, yearn for and can stand behind. If we hang in there, 20,000-strong, week after week against every police and National Guard effort to expel us from Wall Street, it would be impossible for Obama to ignore us. Our government would be forced to choose publicly between the will of the people and the lucre of the corporations.

This could be the beginning of a whole new social dynamic in America, a step beyond the Tea Party movement, where, instead of being caught helpless by the current power structure, we the people start getting what we want whether it be the dismantling of half the 1,000 military bases America has around the world to the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act or a three strikes and you’re out law for corporate criminals. Beginning from one simple demand – a presidential commission to separate money from politics – we start setting the agenda for a new America.

Go to adbusters.org and tell us what you think. Post a comment and help each other zero in on what our one demand will be.

And then let’s screw up our courage, pack our tents and head to Wall Street with a vengeance September 17.

Culture Jammers HQ, cross-posted from Adbusters

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  1. says

    I think the message should emphasize:

    People over profits — democracy over plutocracy.

    Democracy may not always go in the direction ‘we’ want (e.g., society-wide, radical sustainability), but it is the only legitimate starting point. And democracy will definitely not go in the direction of plutocracy (which would require a democratic majority of people to agree that a small minority of its members should dominate society and lord it over the majority in continuously-expanding ways).

    • says

      Very good reminder that democracy may go against some of the things that Transitioners like — lots of people do want to drill baby drill, after all — but that democracy is the only basis on which communities, not to mention nations, can hope to build resilience.

  2. Auntiegrav says

    Too late.
    One dollar, one vote. Where is the tent coming from? The suspenders? The food and vacation time? The transportation to Wall Street?
    It all is profitable for Wall Street.
    If one wants to protest the power of money, stop using money. Walk someplace with or without other people and spend some time (a day, a week, an hour) just not buying anything or working for someone who is buying something or using the System of systems.
    You do more to fight plutocracy by calling in sick than advertising NorthFace on national TV for free.

    • says

      It is expensive to travel to NYC even if you’ll be camping out. Not everyone can do it, but I do hope that Adbusters can find their 20,000 from those who can. Meantime, I also think it’s good to start dropping out of the money economy as much as you can. After reading Dmitry Orlov’s book last month, my wife and I are more than ever trying to spend less and less money and provide more of our own needs.

  3. NEWradical says

    What a great idea. This is my first post, but I’ve been following transition voice for a little while now, and this place is just a great resource for exercising any and every “radical” idea my little ol noggin sponges up. Thanks again for all of your enlightening conversations.

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