I am watching all this raw footage of Occupy Wall Street and I realized my chest start tightening and I had slowed my breathing. We need to start making demands.
Or burn down Wall Street.
The problem with demands is that it detracts from the central focus of the occupation— and that is to create a space in which we function without the negative aspects of capitalism. It’s better than sitting ambivalently at home under/unemployed, starving, or struggling to pay rent, as many of us have been doing— so now we’re making it public, and we’re taking “private property” and occupying it to make our point. We are a displaced generation with nothing that is our own. All we have is subject to crumble beneath the whims of Wall Street and the Fed. Although many people have proposed and made unofficial demands, this is ultimately what many of us have been set out to do.
And it’s aggravating me so much, the amount of passivity with which the protesters are reacting to cops. Everyone’s being urged to stay “peaceful,” specifically to make the NYPD look bad. But in turn, we look completely ineffective. The media keeps turning their cameras to the hippies in the drum circles, who just consider this a Merry Prankster convention. But this is class war. They’re locking up dehydrated teenagers with serious injuries in the backs of cop cars. They’re knocking the shit out of folks who cross the street. The NYPD is out for blood tonight. I’m scared, my legs feel like jello from running around town, but I’m still pissed off and in this for the long haul.
Sometimes I think that making “demands” is a really restrictive liberal notion. I mean, like, what the hell could you demand of Wall Street that would entail more than an exchange of goods anyway? People always want demands. People think that the ends of any means of protest should always be a quantifiable, documented response to a quantifiable, documented set of demands. Sometimes you’ll be like, “I’m making these stencils that say STOP MAKING RAPE JOKES” and then people will be like “right, but what are you going to enact into law??” Cultural interventions can’t exist within a liberal framework, right? Or at least, they are invisible.
To be honest, there is almost nothing I hate more than the dudes who bring acoustic instruments and/or drums to actions. One time I was at the state capital and we were on the megaphone, yelling at the cops. The cops were handcuffing and arresting some people who had occupied the capital building. It was a protest about the EFM law. Some brahs, right at the moment, when we were in the middle of who do you protect/who do you serve or whatever, broke out their guitars and started singing something about peace. What the fuck does that even mean? It was one of the first times when my desire to obliterate a civilian outweighed my desire to obliterate cops. And he was white and had dreads, natch.
Really, it’s not just about these white hippies turning “class war” into their own Merry Prankster convention, is it? Because that, in itself, is class war. Those motherfucking hippies are just as much a part of this class war as anything else.
At least you’re in the city. In Lansing, all the college
[socialists]students go home by dinner time. Fucking chumps.
haha omg I love you rgr-pop. When we occupied Trafalgar sq. there was a guy who brought his guitar along, and he would just play and sing constantly, and never let anyone else use his guitar and never leave a gap for anyone else to play. This was of course at night anyway when everyone was dancing and feeling good so it was acceptable to play a bit of music but it did get a bit annoying. On other days though, some people brought drums and we all danced and we had some guys doing a free-style rap battle (don’t worry they weren’t white). On the down side there was a lot of white people singing never-ending Bob Marley covers or people bringing their own soundsystems and playing repetitive drum and bass or something, one week there was also a band of posh boys who did jaunty ‘satirical songs’, very Cambridge-footlights, that made me cringe sooo much.
And about the ‘demands’ thing. YES. When in Traf sq. everyone kept on coming up to us ‘could you tell me your demands?’ ‘if you really want the government to listen to you you should write a manifesto’. We, as individuals, always refused because we were there under the broad umbrella of ‘against spending cuts’ but all had different reasons to be there as individuals and the protest, just being there is statement enough, making a space that is in direct opposition to what the media is telling you about ‘how the public are reacting to the cuts’ and a safe space at that. People only want you to have demands or a manifesto so they can compartmentalise you, dismiss you or say your demands are unreasonable.