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Occupy Leicester and Warriors for Justice

15 Nov

Today we visited Occupy Leicester. These are incredibly brave young people beginning a conversation about the world that we live in. Beginning a conversation about a world that is fore-closed. There are some fotos here, here, here and here.

Anyway, we thought we might offer some thoughts on occupation and protest. Just to keep safe and warm, you know. They are not perfect. We are all learning.

1. On keeping warm

See Vinay Gupta’s lovely advice, because it will get cold http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/other/advice-for-occupy-avoid-winter-war-2881

2. On the Police’s Stop-and-Search powers

From the CAB: http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_rights/legal_system/police_powers.htm

Ifyou are marching on November 30, and thereafter, from GBC (trusted and on most marches): http://ldmg.org.uk/files/bustcard26march2011.pdf

The advice is print the second of these off and carry a few for yourself and friends. Write the phone numbers on your arm, and if you are in London on November 30 add-in solicitors ITN: 020 8522 7707

Check the GBC Legal website for more info: http://greenandblackcross.org/legal

3. On keeping safe

The Police’s kettling tactics are well known. Use Sukey to track what’s going on, and to contribute to the monitoring of the Police by protestors. See: http://sukey.org/

However, consider a SIM-only phone [web-enabled so you can track what’s happening assuming network availability]. The police may try to confiscate a smart-fone and take your data. Just keep basic info – legal numbers, friends on the march, home numbers etc. – either on that SIM or the fone, in case the SIM gets taken.

If you take a smart fone, consider a back-up power supply. See for instance: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Back-Battery-Power-Station-iPhone/dp/B001N527CU or

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Anker-1900mAh-Battery-Samsung-GT-I9100/dp/B00567Y7A6/ref=pd_cp_ce_1

Take video/fotos of incidents. Publicise them.

See if any Apps support your protest: http://www.movements.org/how-to/entry/how-to-organize-a-protest-using-the-protest4-app

For some free learning and information on demos/protests follow these guys and girls on Twitter:
@gbclegal
@occupylsx
@tentcityuni

@reallyopenuni
@bc_tmh
@mediocredave
@aaronjpeters
@fitwatch
@copwatcher

@agthompson

@thirduniversity [blushes]

Make sure that you follow/use the relevant hashtags: #sukey; #n30; #solidarity; #occupylsx; #occupyleicester etc.. You will get real-time updates about the police/kettles etc..

Beware people you do not know. Police infiltration is increasing and has historical precedent. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_kCB54oi04

4. On being kettled: keep mobile and try to avoid it, it’s a pain in the arse. Or maybe it gives us battle scars. However, advice at:

http://wespeakforfreedom.com/forums/specific-categories/action-activism/some-guidelines-protesting-students

http://www.thesite.org/homelawandmoney/activism/campaigning/your_right_to_protest

See also Fitwatch: http://www.fitwatch.org.uk/

If you are going to protests in a group avoid coaches if you can – the police stop them/search you; agree a strategy for keeping mobile, keeping in contact, agree meeting points and consider a buddying system. You need to keep in constant communication, including with home. If things feel like they are getting tense reconsider your options.

5. On occupations

There are a number of occupations now. They all need support/educational engagements. We can all teach. We can all learn.

http://occupywiki.org/
http://tentcityuniversity.occupylsx.org/
http://spaceproject.org.uk/
http://sociologicalimagination.org/a-work-in-progress
http://reallyopenuniversity.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/students-and-sparks-and-the-flame-that-never-was/

6. Some reading

On occupation and the University, see: http://www.scribd.com/doc/54768353/Roundhouse-Journal

On alternative education, see also: http://www.learnex.dmu.ac.uk/2011/11/10/a-teach-in-at-tent-city-university-and-the-struggle-for-alternatives/

On the crisis see http://Libcom.org

And http://tentcityuniversity.occupylsx.org/?page_id=30

John Holloway’s How to change the world without taking power: http://libcom.org/library/change-world-without-taking-power-john-holloway
Hardt and Negri’s Empire: http://www.angelfire.com/cantina/negri/
David Harvey’s Reading Capital Volume 1: http://davidharvey.org/reading-capital/

We also recommend Paul Mason’s blog: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/
Faisal Islam’s blog: http://blogs.channel4.com/faisal-islam-on-economics/
Zerohedge: http://www.zerohedge.com/
Automatic Earth: http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/
Opendemocracy: http://www.opendemocracy.net/

But most of all…

Stay safe. Remember that the work of change takes protest and activity, but also lots of conversations and deliberations and education. Over, and over, and over again.

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occupation, permission and freedom-as-overcoming

21 Oct

Last week we spent some time with the occupation on Wall Street. Then we wrote this. Then we read some other views about extending the occupation of LSX beyond its limits. Then we re-read about the power of the Space Project in Leeds and its hopes for a hub for radical education. Reclaiming these spaces takes courage. We have seen many acts of courage recently. We will need more as capital and those with power-to seek to re-enclose our world and re-inscribe our society with their power.

Then @willcommon wrote this on Twitter. The tweet stressed the importance of excess; of boundaries; of moving beyond limits; of disruption; of actions that are beyond permission. It reminded us of Moishe Postone’s critical re-reading of Marx, that our social constitution by labour is not transhistorical; it is historically situated and defined. It therefore underlies the automatic, and apparently normal/normalised/normalising, regulation of our social life in capitalism. This is then the object of our critique of capitalism. Emancipation, in Postone’s terms, is not found in the realisation of this mode of social constitution [of labour in capitalism] but by our overcoming of the capitalist relations of production, of value and of capital, and by our overcoming its automatic regulation of our society.

In. Against. Beyond. Inside our abstract domination. Against our abstract domination. Beyond our abstract domination. Overcoming abstract domination is a necessary presupposition for the realisation of self-determination.

Postone stresses overcoming and moving beyond limits imposed in states of normality and democracy and exception. This may be where spaces need to be theoretically-defined not in terms of their demands and their representations, but in terms of what they enable through excess. So in New York we witness Occupy Wall Street supporting moves against Stop and Frisk, which @newyorkist is tweeting about here. And in New York a march heads-off to the Village against fracking. And in New York there is a spin-off occupation of MoMA, because its sponsors are big finance and because art should be for all and not just oppressive.

And in this occupation as a space as a hub for radical education, we might ask, as @aaronjpeters did here, how do the current occupations connect to the lessons of the dispersed, demanding, student protests of last winter/spring. How do workerists, educators, students, support the variety of issues within and across our society that act as controls and constraints on our being? How do those students and workerists empower occupations to grow in excess of their spatial limits? As the Dean of St Paul’s, supported by transnational elites (the 1%) and in order to maintain capital’s reproduction of its power in our world, we might ask, in Postone’s terms, how do we use spaces as hubs of radical education, to overcome capital’s automatic regulation of our society? How do we develop the courage to reveal our freedom in acts of overcoming?