1. RED SHOOTS BLOOM
We have reached the terminal crisis of capitalism.
It will not end this year or the next or the next, but its long overdue collapse has begun. Without doubt.
We are in a downturn that does not turn up. We see it all around us, in the foreclosures of homes, the loss of jobs, the gutting of public education, and the contraction of common access to healthcare, housing, and a decent living wage. We have watched finance rise to obscene heights and crash down in speculative bubbles, working families lose their savings while the rich laughed all the way to the bank.
We see the effects of this world system’s slow death on the most local of scales: our houses, our towns, our factories and farms, and, in this case, our universities. With plans to raise tuition 30% in a single year, programs and services slashed, class sizes increased, faculty and workers laid off or forced to take furloughs, it becomes certain that something has permanently changed, a deep tidal shift too enormous to grasp outside of its local consequences, consequences that threaten the education and livelihood of an entire state.
But we must be clear: this is not the fault of bad administration. Indeed, they have made atrocious choices, lining their pockets smugly while preaching sacrifice to us all. They ask us to tighten our belts until we are choked off at the middle. They even dare to propose privatizing the university. And believe us, they will pay for this. But we have no interest in a regime change, in asking for kinder administrators to enact the same cuts and hikes that we reject today. They are merely figureheads in a system that dictates and rewards this kind of behavior. Their unacceptable actions are symptoms of a deeper sickness, one that exceeds their feeble attempts to try and wrest away what belongs commonly to us all.
For this sickness is global. Capitalism is dying. Its death is slow and ongoing; it still has the blush of health. This fall-out had been postponed by banks, governments, and corporations. Yet the general trendline of the past 30 years, the move away from manufacturing profits toward an increased reliance on financial speculation, could only ever delay the inevitable. And now, it has hastened that end. The emergency measures taken to shock the weakened, tremulous heart of capital have flat-lined it.
We won’t fully realize or feel this for a long while: its mechanisms and circuits still function on autopilot, ceaselessly trying to generate wealth, and its champions desperately insist that the green shoots of recovery are coming. But we stand here at the beginning of the end, faced with a wound that cannot close. In that space, in that deep cut, we see new possibilities, real hope forged out of the dejection and hopelessness of so many workers, students, and those blocked from being either.
Red shoots bloom in these dark days.
2. ORGANIZE, INNOVATE, AND ESCALATE
Why do we occupy? What is the connection between this tactic of the militant repossession of space and the historical moment we have inherited?
Older strategies of political action and involvement have proven themselves entirely incapable of enacting change. We do not live in the ‘60s anymore, and we cannot return to them. Those were times of the deep plenitude of capital, its golden years of global profit and proliferation. And those were times in which mass protest appeared capable of effecting changes in the social, economic, and political structure of capitalism.
Those days are over: the very nature and events of those times have produced this very different situation. Capitalism bleeds out, desperate for horizons it cannot find. In these days of crisis and the urgency of our interventions, the older modes of protest and resistance most remembered and repeated are useless. We are expected to let a few protestors represent us, do a sanctioned march for a day, and then return home, knowing both that we “did all that we could” and that nothing will be different tomorrow.
We drive a stake through the dead heart of that past moment, the double death of global economic growth and global mass representational protest. We must truly kill those older modes in order to resurrect something fiercer, smarter, and capable of combating a world gone very wrong, a history gone off the rails.
Occupation is, therefore, a tactic resurrected, salvaged from an abandoned radical past and constructed anew for this moment.
We occupy to help break those older logics. We occupy to show that radical options are not just on the map again but are a way of redrawing the map, giving shape and form to the dissent and discontent that seethes around the world. We occupy to create a anti-capitalist and anti-privatized space, no matter how small or for how long, out of the institutional zones of capitalism. We occupy to produce sparks that draw awareness and attention to a situation that can no longer be tolerated. We occupy again and again, as long as it takes.
We occupy to show that it can be done, and that what must be done is both the occupation of more spaces around the globe and the creation of new tactics, innovative modes of resistance that we have yet to see. We cannot know where struggle goes from here. We cannot, and do not wish to, dictate its direction. Rather, we call on everyone to look coldly at the state of the world and to plan hotly how to reclaim what is ours and take what we have never been allowed.
We drive a stake to widen that wound of the present, to destroy the nostalgia that has held us back, and to insist that this situation will not go away.
We do not go back from here.
There is no movement now that is not forward. Organize, innovate, and escalate!
WE ARE THE CRISIS