little criminals: occupy modify commodify

The ingenious part of our system, our “culture” is its ability to absorb and renew the top twenty percent of the population. These newbies, if you could call them, what Pierre Vallieres might term the new “white niggers of America” do the heavy lifting for the one percent that owns almost everything. To borrow from the New York Times, its All the shit that’s fit to stink. So, the nineteen percent, the facilitator class, the coordinator class is doing fine; and in turn they become, as its shiny newest recruits,mercenaries, the most ardent defenders of the system that has provided such illusory bounty.The rhetoric of bling. Its the “miracle” of the American dream, that every neighborhood knows of someone who has acceded to the higher reaches in the tree and gets a whiff of the sweetest fruit. Even if its a sham it creates “desire.”

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Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman were not far of in their work Manufacturing Consent in asserting that the game is to manipulate, indoctrinate, the top quintile of the population which is most likely to reaffirm and expand existing conditions,swallow pundit dogma, maintain status and distinction, and promote invidious comparison throughout the societal pecking order. The question is whether all this new found reformulation of dissent is simply a bourgeois pastime, little pleasures of the luxury of hypocrisy that will ultimately encourage what it sets out to oppose. We will see…

…But after hearing about the arrests and police brutality on Saturday, September 24th and after hearing that thousands of people had turned up for their march I decided I needed to see this thing for myself.

---Maybe this is how movements need to maintain themselves, by recognizing that political change is also fundamentally about everyday life and that everyday life needs to encompass all of this. There needs to be a space for a talent show across from anti-patriarchy meetings. There needs to be a food table, medics, and a library. Everyone needs to stop for a second and look around for someone's phone. And that within all this we will keep talking about Troy Davis and how everyone is affected by a broken, racist, oppressive system. Maybe, maybe this is the way? --- Read More: image:

So I went down for the first time on Sunday, September 25th with my friend Sam. At first we couldn’t even find Occupy Wall Street. We biked over the Brooklyn Bridge around noon on Sunday, dodging the tourists and then the cars on Chambers Street. We ended up at Ground Zero and I felt the deep sense of sadness that that place now gives me: sadness over how, what is now in essence just a construction site, changed the world so much for the worse. I also felt a deep sense of sadness for all the tourists taking pictures of a place where many people died ten years ago which is now a testament to capitalism, imperialism, torture, and oppression. …Read More:

---The “Duchesneau Report”—after former Montreal police chief Jacques Duchesneau, head of the Charest government’s own anti-collusion task force—is unrelenting and unequivocal in its language, detailing a “clandestine, deeply rooted universe” of corruption and criminality that is “harmful to our society in terms of security, the economy, justice and democracy.” It details tip-to-tail corruption and collusion that starts with a ginned-up tenders process and ends with engineering and construction firms using donations to leverage their way into the political process.--- Read More: image:

So, we are presently in a polarized state, fueled by ideology, between liberals and conservatives. Add to this mix the upper middle classes in possession, and wanting more, and the little mobile petit bourgeois wanting in on the action. Essentially a re-creation of classic American middle class violence. The really destitute and needy, the ones who actually vote on reason and not political faith… well who cares about them anyway.They always get by right? The standoff is that the higher classes- presently affluent- sees that their position depends on maintaining things as is; the other, many of them wannabees,views their position depending on more on classic liberal freedom, more votes encouraged, greater freedom for private property to be alienated, acquired, and owned, more free competition, less privilege, all with slight variations of course. But how many want to crash the market economy and the wage system?

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The liberal is always the active force.The water hauler. But, distant from being the revolutionary, as imagined, they are evolutionary. In striving for liberal freedom and equal opportunity competition, they produces by their activities an eventual augmentation in the social restraints and confinement they dislike. Essentially, they build up the big affluent sectors in ostensibly trying to support the little, although they may make themselves a big stick in the process. The dynamic is increasing unfairness by trying to codify fairness. Free trade of the elite gives rise to tariffs- such as Buy American clauses- imperialism and oligopoly,since it is accelerating the development of bourgeois economy and lifestyle, and these results are the necessary end game of upwardly mobile liberal economic development. The typical white liberal avoids structural and radical change and calls into being those ideals they loathe, because, as long as they are in the vice of illusion, the seduction of the middle-class, that liberty entails the absence of social planning, they must put themselves, by liberalizing social connection, more powerfully and inextricably in the jaw of coercive social forces driven by ideology….

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Robert ParkeHarrison. Visitation. Read More:

So, the revolutionary liberal, this individual appalled by coercion, moral suasion and violence, these self-confessed lover of free competition,in a twisted sense of exportable bourgeois ethics, these promoters of liberty and human rights,can, plausibly be the very individuals damned by history not merely to be powerless to stop these things, but to be forced by their own efforts to produce coercion and violence and unfair competition and economic slavery. They do not merely refrain from opposing bourgeois middle-class violence, they generates it, by unconsciously helping on the development of the economic and social values presently informing public opinion. The birth of neo-cons and Straussians who came form left liberal households cannot be evaluated as isolated, but rather an evolution of a circular and self-defeating process, exercises in identity feeding the same moloch.

…And there were a lot of young white kids. But there weren’t only young white kids. There were older people, there were mothers with kids, and there were a lot more people of color than I expected, something that made me relieved. We sat on the stairs and watched everyone mill around us. There was the normal protest feeling of people moving around in different directions, not sure what to do with themselves, but within this there was also order: a food table, a library, a busy media area….

Basquiat. ---Let me tell you what it feels like to stand in front of a white man and explain privilege to him. It hurts. It makes you tired. Sometimes it makes you want to cry. Sometimes it is exhilarating. Every single time it is hard. Every single time I get angry that I have to do this, that this is my job, and that it shouldn't be my job. Every single time I am proud of myself that I've been able to say these things because I used to not be able to and because some days I just don't want to. ---Read More: image:

…Actually, there was order and disorder, organization and confusion. I watched as a man carefully changed his clothing, folding each piece he took off and placing them carefully under a tarp. I used the bathroom at the McDonalds up Broadway and there were two booths of people from the protest carrying out meetings, eating food from Liberty Plaza, sipping water out of water bottles, their laptops out. They seemed obvious yet also just part of the normal financial district hustle and bustle.

But even though at first I didn’t know what to do while I was at Liberty Plaza, I stayed there for a few hours. I was generally impressed and energized by what I saw. People seemed to be taking care of each other. There seemed to be a general feeling of solidarity, good ways of communicating with each other, less disorganization than I expected and everyone was very, very friendly. The whole thing was quite bizarre: the confused tourists not knowing what was going on; the police officers lining the perimeter; the mixture of young white kids with dreadlocks, anarchist punks, mainstream looking college kids, but also the awesome black women who were organizing the food station; the older man who walked around with his peace sign stopping and talking to everyone; a young black man named Chris from New Jersey who told me he had been there all week and he was tired but that he had come not knowing anyone, had made friends and now didn’t want to leave….

---According to the Duchesneau report, much of this capital is liquid; it is a prime target for Quebec’s organized crime cartels. One businessman, quoted anonymously in the report, says an associate of the Hells Angels told him the biker gang was certainly in on the action: “Anything that has to do with asphalt in Montreal and the suburbs, it’s us.” The industry is lucrative for another reason: the contracts themselves are often inflated. According to Transport Canada figures, it costs Quebec taxpayers 30 per cent more to build a stretch of road than anywhere else in the country. “People within, in the know, speak of the gangrenous nature of the industry . . . that is under the thumb of a small circle of professionals and contractors who have made it their specialty to dodge the rules and to enrich themselves to the taxpayers’ detriment,” the report reads. --- image:

And when I left, walking my bike back through the streets of the financial district, fighting the crowds of tourists and men in suits, I felt something pulling me back to that space. It was that it felt like a space of possibility, a space of radical imagination. And it was energizing to feel like such a space existed. …

On Wednesday night I attended my first General Assembly. Seeing 300 people using consensus method was powerful. Knowing that a lot of people there had never been part of a consensus process and were learning about it for the first time was powerful. We consensed on using the money that was being donated to the movement to bail out the people who had been arrested. I was impressed that such a large group made a financial decision in a relatively painless way…. Read More:

---It says the criminals act as enforcers for friendly construction companies, preventing rival firms from getting work done with threats or by pulling strings to create red tape. The benefits for the Mob are two-fold: not only is there extra profit to be made in construction but it's also a chance to turn old cash profits, from the drug trade, into cleanly laundered money set to be funnelled into respectable businesses. "If organized crime has infiltrated the construction industry it's because there's a lot of cash money flowing through it," the report says. "It's interesting to note that, in essence, the principal source of revenue for organized crime is drug-trafficking but that construction contracts represent, to criminal organizations, a coveted tool for laundering money. Revenues are then injected into legitimate projects — but not before a percentage gets paid to those who facilitated the manoeuvre." Reports of corruption are not new in Quebec; the province has been awash in allegations of impropriety for the last two years.--- Read More: image:


This is important because I think this is what Occupy Wall Street is right now: less of a movement and more of a space. It is a space in which people who feel a similar frustration with the world as it is and as it has been are coming together and thinking about ways to recreate it. For some people this is the first time they have thought about how the world needs to be recreated. But some of us have been thinking about this for a while now. Does this mean that those of us who have been thinking about it for a while now should discredit this movement? No. It just means that there is a lot of learning going on down there and that there is a lot of teaching to be done. Read More:

…And this is the thing: that there in that circle, on that street-corner we did a crash course on racism, white privilege, structural racism, oppression. We did a course on history and the declaration of independence and colonialism and slavery. It was hard. It was real. It hurt. But people listened. We had to fight for it. I’m going to say that again: we had to fight for it. But it felt worth it. It felt worth it to sit down on a street corner in the Financial District at 11:30 pm on a Thursday night, after working all day long and argue for the changing of the first line of Occupy Wall Street’s official Declaration of the Occupation of New York City. It felt worth it not only because we got the line changed but also because while standing in a circle of 20, mostly white men, and explaining racism to them, carefully and slowly spelling out that I as a woman of color experience the world way differently than the author of the Declaration, a white man; that this was not about him being personally racist but about relations of power; and that he urgently needed to listen to and believe me about this…this moment felt like a victory for the movement on its own. Read More:

Andrew Coyne:The report further adds that, contrary to popular belief, the shift away from in-house expertise hasn’t generated any savings—far from it. In the case of excavation work, for instance, the total cost of preparing plans and specifications, as well as supervising the work site, is 72 per cent higher when done by private-sector firms; for road surface work, the costs are 131 per cent higher. One engineer, quoted anonymously in the report, says engineering firm managers have cash to reimburse employees who make donations to political parties—circumventing Quebec’s electoral laws banning corporate donations.

“Imagine that the engineer with the firm that’s in charge of supervising the project needs to authorize an extra $100,000 in supplemental work. He finds a way to get double that from the Ministry of Transport. When that happens, there’s a laundered $100,000 to share: the firm can use it to contribute to election campaigns and to pay its workers under the table.” Read More:

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