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January 2012, Volume 63, Number 8

January 2012, Volume 63, Number 8
» Notes from the Editors

In a little more than two months at this writing (December 3, 2011) the Occupy Wall Street movement has ushered in a new dialectic of world revolt. Occupy movements now exist in more than 2,600 cities across the globe. The response of the system has been increased repression. Yet, everywhere the movement has come up with new means of revolt. Had we tried in early October to predict how things would be at the start of November we would never have succeeded. Likewise we cannot predict now at the start of December how things will look even at the start of January. And it is precisely this quality of emergence, i.e. of not being predictable from the current state of affairs, which suggests that we are at a turning point. This global rip in the cloth of imperial capital’s supposed inevitability is irreversible; that we are fully ready to predict. Looking back it will be clear that as of late 2011, we are much closer to the start of a great global revolt against the plutocracy, the “one percent,” than to its end.

A select chronology (following up on what was provided in this space last month) points to the Occupy movement’s continuing momentum. Nov. 2 General strike called by Occupy Oakland shuts down fifth busiest port in the United States, protestors estimated in the tens of thousands, over a hundred arrested. Harvard students engage in a mass walkout in Gregory Mankiw’s Econ 10, protesting narrow outlook of orthodox economics and supporting Occupy movement. Nov. 3 Police fire tear gas and flash-bang grenades at Occupy Oakland demonstrators, arrest over a hundred. Five Seattle occupiers arrested in Chase bank. Nov. 4 Occupation of Paris financial district. Nov. 5 Bank transfer day, over half a million people in the United States transfer bank accounts to credit unions. Nov. 6 Twelve thousand protesters ring White House in human chain protesting Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta tar sands to the Gulf. Police arrest twenty at Occupy Atlanta. Nov. 9 Occupy Cal protesters encamp at bottom of Mario Savio steps, Sproul Hall, Berkeley. Nov. 12 Occupy Denver evicted, twenty-three arrested. Occupy St. Louis evicted, nineteen arrested. Occupy Salt Lake City camp cleared, nineteen arrested. Occupy Frankfurt protest against the European Central Bank. Nov. 14 Twenty arrested in Occupy Oakland eviction. Nov. 15 At 1:00 A.M. NYPD clears Zuccotti Park at orders of Mayor Bloomberg. Long Range Acoustic Device (“sound cannon”) best known for its military use in Iraq employed against Occupy Wall Street protesters. Four hundred students occupy UC Davis administration building. Occupy Seattle marches downtown, police use pepper spray, arresting six. Occupy Zurich protesters evicted, thirty-one detained. Occupy Paris camp destroyed by police. Nov. 16 Occupy Paris rebuilds camp. Nov. 17 Occupy Wall Street rally in New York draws a crowd of 30,000, three hundred arrested. Police use pepper spray on Occupy Portland protestors on Steel Bridge, arrest twenty-five. Twenty-three Occupy Los Angeles protesters arrested at Bank of America Plaza. Police tear down tents at Occupy Cal, Berkeley, two arrested. Occupy Dallas evicted, eighteen arrested. Seventeen taken into custody as hundreds engage in bank protests at Occupy Eugene. Occupy St. Louis blocks entrance to Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge, fourteen arrested. Twenty-one arrested at Occupy Las Vegas. Occupy Boston wins legal victory allowing it to remain encamped. Nov. 18 Police pepper spray students at Occupy UC Davis while they sit arms intertwined. Occupy London takes over empty UBS investment bank building, establishes “Bank of Ideas.” Nov. 21 Occupy Oakland evicted from Snow Park in an early morning police raid, six arrested. Nov. 23 Occupy Columbia encamps on Statehouse ground in South Carolina. Nov. 25 Tens of thousands pack Cairo’s Tahrir Square in “Last Chance Friday” rally demanding the immediate end of military rule, capping a week of struggle that claimed the lives of forty-one protestors, and wounded 2,000. Nov. 30 Police dismantle Occupy Los Angeles camp, arrest two hundred. Occupy Philadelphia evicted from camp at City Hall, fifty arrested. Public Sector workers in Britain begin biggest strike in a generation, with two million workers engaged in one-day work stoppage.

At MR we are continuing to do what we can to assist this important movement. We are proud to say that among the 5,000-book People’s Library that was mostly destroyed by the police in the bulldozing of the Occupy Wall Street camp were copies of MR donated to the movement. On November 5 John Bellamy Foster delivered a keynote address, entitled “Occupy Denialism,” to the Power Shift West Conference (the youth climate movement) in Eugene, Oregon, in which he urged the youth climate activists to join the Occupy movement. On November 7 Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz (coauthor with John Womack of “Dreams of Revolution: Oklahoma, 1917MR, November 2010) spoke at Occupy Boston. Steve Early, author of Embedded with Organized Labor (Monthly Review Press, 2009) conducted a teach-in at Occupy Wall Street on November 11. On the same day, Farooque Chowdhury and Michael Yates published a series of interviews of U.S. labor activists, entitled “The Occupy Wall Street Uprising and the U.S. Labor Movement.” (See also Michael Yates’s October 23 article, “Occupy Wall Street and Celebrity Economists.”) Fred Magdoff gave a talk to the World Peace Forum Teach-In on November 12 in Vancouver, where he focused on the Occupy Movement. He then joined the Occupy Portland protests on the Steel Bridge on November 17. (See the video of Fred speaking at Occupy Boston on October 30.)