On May 20, 2013, DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy released the results of a year-long investigation: "Dissent or Terror: How the Nation's Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.” The report, a distillation of thousands of pages of records obtained from counter terrorism/law enforcement agencies, details how state/regional "fusion center" personnel monitored the Occupy Wall Street movement over the course of 2011 and 2012.
C. Derick Varn: What are the basic links and limitations you see between art and radical praxis?
Daniel Spaulding: It’s senseless to answer this question except with reference to concrete instances of relations between the two. I’m not interested in defining the role of art in bourgeois society as such in the manner of, say, Peter Bürger. At the same time real instances of the interface between art and politics are unquestionably determined by the general forms of capitalist society – the commodity, the wage, exchange, and so on. From this basis one can indeed claim to deduce the category of art from the determinations of the value-form or more broadly from the whole complex of relations that make up the capitalist mode of production. The role of a Marxist art history as opposed to a Marxist aesthetic theory, however, must be to mediate between form-determination and form itself, between category and material artifact.
When my friends and I arrived on the corner of 113th St. and Rockaway Beach Blvd., less than 48 hours after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the peninsula of Queens, buildings were still on fire. A man told me that his whole house had just burned down and that his family had nowhere to go. I took a picture of him in front of his burned-down block and shared it with the network of activists I was working with. Food had begun to rot and water was running out — a sense of panic was in the air. That night, from within the flooded storefront we had occupied and transformed into a guerrilla distribution hub, we had our first community meeting.
Yesterday, a media outlet contacted us to be on a show about how Occupy had “fizzled coming into this year’s May 1.” The media keeps looking for encampments or last year’s protests and is missing how popular resistance is growing and demonstrating all over the country.
Not long ago, the Occupy Wall Street movement seemed poised to largely fade from the national conversation with few concrete accomplishments beyond introducing its hallmark phrase, “We are the 99 percent.”
That depends on how you define Occupy. If you see it as a single revolutionary movement starting with the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, then carrying through to Greece and Spain, then finally exploding when it hit America ... well, then I think you can even speak of a world revolutionary moment in many ways parallel to the world revolutions of 1848 and 1968. Everything has changed. And as in those cases, we won’t know what’s really changed for some time yet.
Just open a window or turn on the TV — the same old civilization is rotting all around us. Budget cuts, police shootings, endless and ever-broadening wars, the climate in full-scale, almost-end-times spasm, a Congress of hand puppets yelping on about the manufactured crisis of the moment, a president whose answer to every crisis is More of the Same. Analogous situations have, over the last four years, lighted the streets on fire in Britain, France, Spain, Ireland, Latvia, Italy, Greece, Chile, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Syria, to name a few.
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) has released new documents it obtained under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filing with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The documents show that DHS, the sprawling Federal agency ostensibly created to combat terrorism after the September 11 attacks, routinely spies on peaceful First Amendment activities and required daily briefing on the extent of media attention being given to Occupy Wall Street activities.
Three and a half months ago, the walls upstairs at the Church of the Prophecy in Far Rockaway, a low-income coastal neighborhood of New York City, were covered with maps of where help was most needed. The church was a hub for the Occupy Sandy relief effort after Hurricane Sandy. Now, nearly five months after the hurricane struck, the maps have been replaced by posters extolling the virtues of collective struggle and art made by neighborhood children enrolled in Occupy Sandy’s twice-weekly after-school program.
More than a year after tens of thousands of people aligned themselves with Occupy Wall Street to protest economic and social inequality and corporate influence on government, the public still does not have a complete picture of what role, if any, the federal government played in dismantling the nationwide encampments.
In several respects, Occupy Wall Street reminds me of the feminist movement. Corporate funded media has declared the women’s rights movement dead ad nauseam for four decades — and yet it thrives and reinvents itself. Similarly, corporate funded media has eulogized Occupy Wall Street from almost the moment of its nascent birth in the Fall of 2011.
If there is a common thread connecting these movements and the dire media prognostications of their demise, it is likely that when either one advances, entrenched power — and its iron grip on the wealth of a nation — loses.
Eighteen months after the phrase first entered the collective public consciousness, the plight of the 99 percent is coming to mainstream superhero comics — via a new series from the second biggest publisher in the American comic industry, which just happens to be a subsidiary of a multi-national corporation that makes around $12 billion a year. Irony, anybody?
Three months have passed since Hurricane Sandy battered New York and trashed the New Jersey coastline, and she hasn’t left. She’s still stalking the landscape strafed with mold and broken homes, and local activists worry that the government’s promises of tens of billions of dollars in federal funding will flood the storm-battered regions with further political turmoil.
Occupy Sandy has been lauded as more American than FEMA. Strike Debt, an Occupy offshoot, is pioneering the "Rolling Jubilee" of debt forgiveness to the adoration of publications like Business Insider. While popular in some circles, these initiatives have also led to bitter divisions that ultimately surround the narrative of the Occupy movement.
The FBI or DHS secretly meeting with Wall Street and bankers to discuss “anarchists” who were sometimes considered “terrorists”? Surely not, as the next thing you know Hollywood will be in control of ISPs and will be running a “pay up or disconnect” scheme. Oh, wait . . . that’s right, thanks to "Six Strikes" Copyright Alert System, “ISPs are obliged to hand over IP-addresses of repeat infringers to the MPAA and RIAA.”
WASHINGTON -- Was Tim Franzen stockpiling weapons? What was Tim Franzen's philosophy? What was his political affiliation? Did Tim Franzen ever talk about violent revolution? The Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted to know. In late 2011, an agent or agents -- Franzen still isn't quite sure -- began trying to find out. It was during this time that Franzen became a well-known and central presence in Occupy Atlanta. He helped start the Occupy Wall Street offshoot, and had been arrested when police razed their encampment in a downtown Atlanta park.
New documents obtained from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security by the Partnership for Civil Justice and released this past week show that the FBI and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies began a campaign of monitoring, spying and disrupting the Occupy Movement at least two months before the first occupation actions began in late September 2011. As early as August, while acknowledging that the incipient Occupy Movement was “peaceful” in nature, federal, state and local officials from the FBI, the DHS and the many Fusion Centers and Joint Terrorism Task Force centers around the country were meeting with local financial institutions and their private security organizations to plot out a strategy for countering the Occupy Movement’s campaign.
We periodically ask our readers and supporters to support us with a financial donation. We are hoping to raise $500 this Spring for our ongoing operations. We've been busy lately fixing technical problems, planning improvements for our tech infrastructure, and talking about how we can bring more original content in the future to our readers.
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What we've been up to lately:
Server improvements and optimization: You may have noticed that the website hasn't been down very much in the past month. Dave and Chuck have been busy cleaning up the server, slaying evil spambots and otherwise optimizing the server and websites. This is necessary so we can make further tech improvements and have a stable environment to publish more original content.
Infoshop News: We recently started a project which will upgrade Infoshop News to the latest version of Drupal, a popular content management system. This will allow us to do more interesting things with Infoshop News, from multimedia to subject tagging. This new software will also help us prevent downtime problems. We expect this project to be finished by the end of Summer 2013.
Infoshop Library: This week we will resume adding content to the Infoshop Library (http://www.infoshop.org/Library), which has been relocated to new software on our site. Content from the old library will be re-added to the library in the next couple of months. We will also be planning ways for more volunteers to get involved with this project.
Infoshop OpenWiki: The wiki is currently offline, but the old wiki content will be migrated to the website in the next couple of months.
Infoshop Forums: The Infoshop Forums will be migrated to our Drupal website this summer. We haven't decided yet if old content and user accounts will be migrated.
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