If you have "no place to go," come here!

Rhizomic growth

Gotta run, but it looks like the police "swept" Salt Lake City, Denver, and Portland. I'm not sure how much that matters with horizontal scaling. When you cut a rhizomic plant in two (like the highly invasive Japanese bamboo) you get two plants. And if you rip the plant up and scatter the bits, each bit grows into a new plant.

I think that's what's going to happen. 2012 is going to be a very interesting year.

NOTE On the other hand, the ME and IA Occupations seem to be going just fine. It's a big, big continent.


No votes yet


affinis's picture
Submitted by affinis on

Watching Portland via livestream. Felt ecstatic this morning.
Then raid against little resistance after most people left - kind of analogous to what happened in Madison with the Capitol occuption earlier this year. A lot of folks had committed to civil disobedience - planning to get arrested. But no police action was taken. People went home. Then in the early hours, it took a while for folks to realize that people were leaving, but not coming back in. There were a small set of holdouts - but some had to leave for work, etc. Eventually a one-in-one-out system was established and it dragged on for a few days - but with a minimal number left. Then they cajoled and squeezed the last few of us out.

(Actually - the remaining few of us were convinced to leave in part under the argument that we'd won a lawsuit to keep the building open, at least during its normal hours of operation. But Walker just ignored that ruling.)

On the Rhizomic growth topic - I saw online that two smaller Oakland satellites had sprouted up near Lake Merritt. One seems tiny, but the other (Snow Park) is reportedly growing. Also saw a tweet from a Bay-area OWS supporter not currently at OO saying that he'd be up for a nonviolence-committed Lake Merritt satellite.

Submitted by lambert on

That similar feeling needs to be named -- it seems clear to me it's the outcome of a succesful tactic by the authorities, which also needs to be named.

affinis's picture
Submitted by affinis on

Yeah - that's why I brought it up. I don't have a good name for the tactic myself. But a name would facilitate awareness/discussion of it and implementation of effective counterstrategies. The fall from the ecstatic resistance peak to the whimpering acquiescence endpoint can be uniquely discouraging/demotivating (there's self-flagellation for having fallen for the tactic, the feeling of powerlessness that feeds resistance-is-futile sentiments, etc.). If frontal resistance loses (e.g. with mass civil disobedience arrests) there can still be a sense of honor and inspiration - but this tactic cleverly removes that possibility (making it doubly effective). In that context - it feels fantastic to now watch the continued resistance/resolve in Portland.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

I think it demonstrates that the state obviously has the power through violence to disband a non-violent resistance or occupancy or demonstration. It's therefore necessary to devise a temporary "end-game" which removes their weapons of violent force with our own weapons of moral force.

Plus, people do have to eat, they do have to provide for their families, take care of their health, keep their job or their home. They do have other priorities, that they may need to care for from time to time.

Plus, the news cycle likes developments, the beast must be fed. Occupations drawn out can't feed the beast on the principle, so "events" fill the bill. These events are not often going to be in control of Occupy, so Occupy becomes defined in reaction to them. Not a good overall strategy.

Plus, if the ending isn't seen as being dictated on Occupies terms, then it diminishes the movement.


Occupy GA's should address this issue. I think a good way to go is proposals to offer the government temporary "reprieves" or "probationary periods", where Occupy, for it's own purposes, decides to temporarily withdraw for a set period of time. I would frame it in the same way a court offers temporary probation or clemency, sieze the framwork of soveriegnty in other words, justice, probation, clemency, reprieves, etc.. That is the spirit in which Occupy is based, that the government has failed in its trust and the people are withdrawing sovereignty. A firm date is also a media event, as well as something anyone with experience of the court understands.

The government loves deadlines, so give them one.

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

At the AEPC financial "gala" last night - including Obama...."During the gala dinner, renowned Hawaiian guitarist Makana, who performed at the White House in 2009, opened his suit jacket to reveal a home-made “Occupy with Aloha” T-shirt. Then, instead of playing the expected instrumental background music, he spent almost 45 minutes repeatedly singing his protest ballad released earlier that day. The ballad, called “We Are the Many,” includes lines such as “The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw.... And until they are purged, we won't withdraw,” and ends with the refrain: “We'll occupy the streets, we'll occupy the courts, we'll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few.”

AND, his song is great!!

goinsouth's picture
Submitted by goinsouth on

Occupy has already accomplished a lot by creating a real space for free speech and modeling truly democratic decision making.

It may be time for the next phase, one that focuses on future-oriented actions that actually establish glimpses of the "new world" we want to see.

These will probably have something to do with foreclosures and their aftermath. After all, one of my first thoughts back in '08 upon seeing "$1 Houses in Detroit" was that those would make good places to seed new communities based on new values. Since then, the 1%, realizing both the threat and the opportunity for profit of $1 houses, have done their best to utilize the State at various levels to thwart those impulses, but Occupy can easily throw a wrench in the gears of those efforts.

affinis's picture
Submitted by affinis on


Non violence affinity group is flashmobbing at snow park. #geodata #occupyoakland #oo

Occupy Oakland Peacefully Group started nov 13th at Snow Park #OOP. A pro peace group of old school #OccupyOakland #ows

The #OO peace network is finally getting organized. Small groups are meeting all across oakland today. #

Peace Occupier tents are drifting over from #occupyOakland city center. People are processing and reaching out. We have been isolated #ows

OccupyOakland Peacefully #OOP facebook page 'OccupyOakland Peacefully'. Location Snow Park. See tweet for map #oo

#OccupyOaklandPeacefully is having its founding meeting tomorrow at noon at snow park. #ows #OccupyOakand

Submitted by Fran on

I don't know the best way to title this. It has been on my mind since Friday night when I attended the GA with friends, all older people.

A Resolution was to be voted on that night. OP uses a 2/3 majority to vote, rather than consensus. The meeting went on from 7pm to 11 or 12 midnight. I had to leave after 3 hours because of the cold and the realization that the discussions would be going on for a long time.

This is what I gathered from being there and looking at OP Facebook, and looking at news reports and comments:

The Resolution, later amended, was whether OP should expand to another plaza across the street. It is currently situated at City Hall. The amendment made it an all or nothing choice - stay or move.

The group has a permit to be where they are, and the city has been good about having them. However, a construction project has long been planned, to improve the plaza around City Hall, and the projected date to begin was 11/15. However, that was only a possible date. No work has started, and the group had not been asked to move at this time. The original permit does not state an end date, only that the permit will end when the construction begins. Meanwhile, the city offered the plaza across the street to move to at that time. This is my understanding. It has been a VERY confused issue and discussion - both there and on Facebook.

The vote was to stay where they are no matter what, even when the permit runs out and construction begins.

My friends (who have been there a lot and have provided much material support), and I felt that the group should move when construction begins. A lot of people feel the same. There is clearly a group who do not want to honor the permit, and they won the vote.

The reason we feel this way is because OP is now setting itself at odds with a Major who has been very tolerant, and it is doing so unnecessarily. This now makes it a fight with City Hall instead of with Wall Street.

I was wondering whether these 'agitators' were 'anarchists', 'infiltrators', etc. After being there, I concluded that most, if not all, were young people who were basically immature and wanting to act out. A lot of them were the same ones who I felt were rather rude to the group and to the older people there - they were talking so much I could not hear and smoking so much that one of my friends had to leave and go home.

There were also many very dedicated, hard working, thoughtful people involved. I don't want to tar the group.

Mayor Nutter gave a Press Conference this morning, and he has already started to change his tone. I am not surprised. The city does not want a confrontation, but apparently the group does. (btw, The only police I saw Friday night were 2 plainclothes, probably civil police. I only noticed them because I wondered what their armbands said.)

The occupation does appear to have attracted a lot of homeless people. They would be foolish not to come - they are treated respectfully and given clothes, food and a place to wash up, etc. The problem, and I do not know the answer, is that many of these people have mental problems. One was sitting right next to me and calling out and swearing all through the first part of the discussion. (I also smelled alcohol on him, as well as alcohol on someone else when I first arrived, and then another kind of smoke.) This particular person appeared to be upset that his new 'home' was to be disrupted by moving.

Older people and people who work could not stay for the vote. It really was a matter of who had the stamina and the people who were living there. All of the groups that I work with go down there every week to provide support, but do not live there. Their voices were not counted.

Also, judging by the comments in the news reports, OP is not winning friends with this choice. There are people they will never win over, but they are also losing people who have been supportive of them by planning to block a project that will benefit people who live in the city.

I believe that these are issues that other groups will have to face, as some already are. I am guessing now, that this group will also splinter, with a new group forming at the site across the street which is OK with the city, although they have not yet promised a permit there. I felt very sad all weekend, but maybe, after reading this post, I should not worry so much.

Submitted by lambert on

This is great. More, please!

(And where's the coverage from all those great Philly bloggers on this?)


Also, I'm not so sure a split is bad. Rhizomes split. Maybe this is a scaling issue. Dunno. Bold, persistent experimentation!

Submitted by hipparchia on

this is why i don't like or want anarchism, and you cover some of the many reasons why i hate "consensus".

affinis's picture
Submitted by affinis on

In theory, consensus can generate higher-quality decisions (e.g. in various studies that look at objective solution quality for consensus vs majority-type decisionmaking). And it does work better in practice under particular circumstances - e.g. with a smallish group where all view one another as co-equal, everyone actively listens to each other, and everyone really consider each other's feelings and interests. In that situation true creative dialogue and genuine shifts in perspective are possible (as opposed to mere compromise). The best living situation I ever experienced was an 8 person coop household using consensus decisionmaking. It was amazing (and I should mention that while I lived there, the best house dynamics were during years when the gender ratio was tilted toward women by 5:3 - make of that what you will). But consensus decisionmaking has scaling issues (large meetings - drag on indefinitely, most intransigent tend to force through their preferences, etc.). I've also seen it critiqued as tending to foster groupthink - though I'm not certain of the actual validity of that critique. On the other hand, majority rule causes problems when used to force through decisions without genuine consideration for strongly-held preferences of the minority.

affinis's picture
Submitted by affinis on

OO GA voted on modified St Paul Principles tonight. One of the provisions would have prohibited OO members from publicly criticizing any tactics (e.g. Black Bloc) used by others in OO (i.e. "any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events"). Proposal failed with 60% approval.

There's increasing expectation in the media that the raid will occur tonight/early Monday morning. E.g. see here and here.

Submitted by lambert on

It looks to me like the Black Block violated rule #2*:

2. the actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of
time or space.

and then tries to play STFU with those who call bullshit with rule #3:

3. any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any
public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.

So I'm pleased the motion failed. Well done, OO. I figured that the police raid would come in time for the next weekend news cycle so the mayor could go on the teebee.

NOTE By pissing all over the port closure and (worse) the building occupation with vandalism.