Over the past century, the US has seen a series of direct-action movements, which spread like wildfire across the country. In the 1930s, for example, movements of industrial workers and the unemployed took over streets, factories, government offices and other spaces. In the 1960s and 70s, movements for civil rights, movements against the war–and of course, movements to defeat capital–did the same. In each case, direct-action contingents faced off, not only against the rich, not only against the police, but also against the established “leaders” of unions, parties and other organizations. Here and now–in CA and across the country–we are beginning to scare established “activists”, who are worried about losing their “following”, worried about the effects that a period of “uprising” and “turmoil” will have on them and their supposed “constituencies”–and especially on poor (as if we ever won anything by playing nice and following the rules). If history is any indication, we should take these denunciations as an sign that we are having some effect, that we are becoming “dangerous” to those who benefit from the present order–including those on the left.
On March 4th, at Hunter College in NY, a showdown occurred between those who wanted to have a disruptive indoor-demo and those who wanted to have a non-disruptive outdoor-rally. While the details are unclear, we are hearing some familiar insults, used to denounce those who favored disruption (the “privileged outside agitators”) over various forms of inactivity (desired, of course, by all the “local, peaceful activists”). We have heard all this before: the attempt to mask real fractures within communities by referring to all those who decide to act as dangerous outsiders. We have heard all this before: the attempt to silence the poor and less privileged by erasing them from actions. As always, neither side sounds like it is entirely blameless. But you know that our heart goes out, now and forever, to those who try to push struggles to their limits. Solidarity from occupyCA!
On March 4th 2010, a walkout was called for at Hunter College. This event was organized to coincide with the National Day of Action to “defend public education”. Inspired by walkouts, strikes, occupations and other acts of disobedience in public universities in California and here in NYC, Hunter students and allies decided on calling for a Walkout at CUNY Hunter. For a rundown of the day you can look here. This day has quickly become very controversial, with a multitude of accusations being thrown around the Internet. Pictures of participants of the action have even been emailed around activist circles at CUNY Hunter, and even published in articles in the Hunter Word by an ‘activist lawyer’ none the less. Based on this backlash from ‘activists’ who had little to no role in the organizing of the walkout and indoor demo that occurred, some of us involved in putting together and publicizing the walkout wish to clarify some points. We would also point out that, unlike those involved with the anti-walkout witch-hunt, we will not use photos of those involved with the rally or walkout or people’s names out of respect for their anonymity in the face of possible state repression …
[For the rest of the response, follow the link below]