"We Occupy the Future" taken by Minne-Bruce Pratt. This photo was taken during the Occupy Oakland General Strike.
This is a compilation of inspiring media from the past five weeks of the 99% Movement. Some of it comes directly from long-time Allied Media Conference participants; some of it resonates with the ideas and practices of the AMC community. All of it helps us take in the immensity of this moment and channel it into transformative action.
In Front and Center is a collection of important analysis, tools and resources. They invite your contributions. How have you been engaging with the Occupy movement in your area? What alternate language to "Occupy" are you using and how did you develop it? How are you building mutual support between 'Occupy' organizers and long-time community organizers? How are you practicing community safety (safety from infiltration, police violence and interpersonal violence?) How are you dismantling oppression and practicing liberation? How are you making space for youth and children to participate? How are you staying warm?
At In Front and Center, you can share what you've learned in these and any other areas. This could be as simple as a proposal you passed at a general assembly, a workshop outline, an orientation manual, a diagram scribbled on a napkin, or a story of how something happened. Send contributions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
"So Real It Hurts"
Hena Ashraf >> Racialicious >> 10/03/2011
This is a powerful narrative of how transformation happens. "...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."
"Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now"
Naomi Klein >> NaomiKlein.org >> 10/06/2011
This is an articulation of common threads and important differences between this movement and the anti-corporate globalization movements. "Only when you stay put can you grow roots. This is crucial. It is a fact of the information age that too many movements spring up like beautiful flowers but quickly die off. It's because they don't have roots. And they don't have long term plans for how they are going to sustain themselves. So when storms come, they get washed away. Being horizontal and deeply democratic is wonderful. But these principles are compatible with the hard work of building structures and institutions that are sturdy enough to weather the storms ahead."
VIDEO: "Grace Lee Boggs' message to Occupy Wall Street"
Grace Lee Boggs >> 10/09/2011
96-year-old Detroit movement veteran says "thank you" and "you have a long way to go." "This enemy of ours is not just Wall Street, it's a whole culture; it's a way of valuing ourselves and each other. You have the opportunity to create something new based on entirely different values. But you're going to have to be thinking about values and not just abuses."
Tequila Sovereign >> 10/09/2011
A history of land fraud and treaty violation that made "Wall Street" possible. "In 1653, in fact, the Dutch built a wall attempting to block Lenape, other Native nations, and the English from attacking "their" settlement. By 1700, when the English assumed Dutch land holdings in the region, they tore down the wall and paved a street over its location that they called 'Wall Street.'"
"The Fight for 'Real Democracy' at the Heart of Occupy Wall Street"
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri >> Foreign Affairs >> 10/11/2011
Analysis of how OWS represents a call for a new political system, not just a new economic system. "One obvious and clear message of the protests, of course, is that the bankers and finance industries in no way represent us: What is good for Wall Street is certainly not good for the country (or the world). A more significant failure of representation, though, must be attributed to the politicians and political parties charged with representing the people's interests but in fact more clearly represent the banks and the creditors."
VIDEO: Interview with Kazembe Balagun
Leia MonDragon >>Mad TruthSeekR Multimedia Productions >> 10/11/2011
Writer and cultural activist, Kazembe Balagun on the fact of the past and the open-ended beauty of the present. "The first commodity sold on Wall Street was enslaved Africans... so to occupy Wall Streets is to take a historical analysis of how this particular area has oppressed the world...The thing that we have to learn, particularly as oppressed communities, is how to get these skills, these resources, this information and to use it in our communities. These facilitation skills, these technology skills, these gathering skills we have to get them and spread them across the world."
"The Space Being Occupied by Occupy Atlanta"
Kung Li >> Leaving Evidence >> 10/12/2011
A sweeping historical narrative of U.S. racism, told through the story of one park, now being occupied in Atlanta. "I am simply suggesting that in addition to questions of logistics and process during Occupy Atlanta's committee meetings and larger Assemblies, the questions of why and how race and racism figure into this fight are, I think, worth trying to think through and understand together. Because this is Georgia, after all. And because what happens in Woodruff Park Troy Davis Park in 2011 is being written now."
VIDEO: Climbing Poetree Performs at Times Square
Climbing Poetree >> 10/15/2011
The Human Mic in beautiful action. "If so much is controlled by so few / imagine how much / so many of us could all do/ if you consider this system / runs off of our fuel / if we stop running along / we see just who's ruling who / the game don't exist / if we don't play by its rules..."
"Letter to a Dead Man About the Occupation of Hope"
Rebecca Solnit >> Tom Dispatch >> 10/18/2011
A snapshot of how the world has changed since the death of Mohammed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on Dec. 17, 2010. "Young man whose despair gave birth to hope, no one knows what the future holds. When you set yourself afire almost ten months ago, you certainly didn't know, nor do any of us know now, what the long-term outcome of the Arab Spring will be, let alone this American Fall. Such a movement arrives in the world like a newborn. Who knows its fate, or even whether it will survive to grow up?"
Letter of Solidarity to OWS from Tahrir Square
In Front and Center >> 10/25/2011
Activists from Cairo offer lessons and encouragement. "So we stand with you not just in your attempts to bring down the old but to experiment with the new. We are not protesting. Who is there to protest to? What could we ask them for that they could grant? We are occupying. We are reclaiming those same spaces of public practice that have been commodified, privatized and locked into the hands of faceless bureaucracy, real estate portfolios, and police 'protection'. Hold on to these spaces, nurture them, and let the boundaries of your occupations grow. "
"Letter from the Middle of the Night"
Marcelo Garzo >> 10/26/2011
Profound reflections after the Oakland Police Department attacked and destroyed the encampment at Oscar Grant Park. "For the energy of 10 police precincts, Is now ours to take, / and transform. / That is, / If energy cannot be created nor destroyed, / But can only change its shape, / How are we, / As shape shifters in our own bodies, / Working to change the shape of this energía, / And in turn, / Changing the shape of this movement? / Of this world?"
VIDEO: "Grace Lee Boggs' message to Occupy Wall Street Part II"
Filmmaker, Grace Lee >> 11/2/2011
"You must not be satisfied with rebellion. We are at a point in history where we need revolution and revolution means re-inventing culture."
This letter to the organizers of Occupy Detroit, drafted by Jenny Lee from Allied Media Projects and Yusef Shakur from the Urban Network to the organizers of Occupy Detroit. It was circulated widely among dozens of other Detroit organizers and collectively edited and endorsed.
The letter formed the basis for a meeting of local organizers to brainstorm ways of engaging Occupy Detroit to make it more relevant and connected to ongoing grassroots organizing efforts. Proposals were generated during that meeting and brought to the General Assembly.
This proposal was written by members of Regeneración Childcare Collective proposed to and adopted by the POC Working Group of OWS:
We would like to provide safe and loving childcare that supports the participation of parents and caretakers in this space. We propose that while the meetings are still being held at Liberty Square where there is a large police presence, that we not separate kids from their caretakers and that instead we encourage folks to bring their kids to meetings and have our meetings be spaces where children feel welcomed and valued. This looks like being ok with child noise, meaning no side eying if a kid is laughing or crying or playing. This looks like folks, not just those who know the kid, but everyone taking responsibility for engaging kids in things like coloring, sign making, writing, drawing, and story telling and this looks like recognizing that kids that are in this space may have their own vision of what a truly decolonized space looks like. We also propose that as more parents and caretakers come to the meetings and as we possibly change our meeting locations that we continue to decide together and to reevaluate what childcare might look like for this meeting.
This is a Toolkit for Inclusion produced by disability activists in San Jose, filled with practical tips on how to make an occupation accessible for people with disabilities. And also this advice: "This toolkit is intended to be just that, a set of tools that can be used to help make the Occupy Movement inclusive of all members of the 99%. The strategies suggested here may or may not work for all people with disabilities. Use this toolkit as a starting point, but seek leadership and direction from the people with disabilities at your particular site to determine what will work best. The most important thing is to have an inclusive state of mind."
Contact us to suggest other resources to be included here.