Occupy Wall Street is a diverse group encompassing many
viewpoints. As stated in our founding documents we come together under a
unified purpose: to bring about a change in the world. Our movement is built on
a diversity of perspectives and experiences. Each of us brings forth notions as
to what strategic choices get the best results, therefore a diversity of
tactics can and will be employed to effect this change. Solidarity is the way
in which our diversity remains our strength.
We have much common ground to stand upon. We believe that global
corporate, political, military, prison, media, food supply, medical, and
educational institutions are serving only the interests of the richest 1% of
people. We all agree that it's time for fundamental and radical change to take
place. We are committed to putting what resources we have available towards
making this change a reality. We all want to dismantle systems of corporate
greed and inequity in a way that protects our bodies, lives, rights and the
As we take to the streets, airwaves and Internet together, let’s
prioritize solidarity, and agree to disagree with respect. Keep in mind that
the following are not rules, but rather guidelines we can agree to utilize to
build real solidarity with one another despite our differences.
I joined the Occupy Bushwick Morning Commute over the Williamsburg Bridge with about 300 others. My mobile billboard worked great. The cops shoved me a couple times, knocking me over, but the billboard held up! Yay for pvc pipe. Also big Ups to Xtracycle. You guys rock.
2. Something to carry the posters in: a large portfolio case big enough to accommodate a 24" x 24" poster is Ideal. However, One could be made out of cardboard and tape. Handles can be fashioned out of rope. Another option is a large diameter cardboard tube, but this is not ideal as access is a little difficult. What you want is something that will keep the posters from getting trashed before they make it to the Wall, but be easy to access in a hurry. This is where an assistant can be helpful.
3. A vessel to carry wheatpaste in. Some people like to use a bucket with a lid and a handle. Others prefer a squirt bottle such as a dish soap container. It depends on the volume of work you expect to distribute. And your personal style.
4. A means for applying the paste such as a wide paintbrush, the wider the better, but of course, silly, dont make it wider than the opening in your chosen vessel. Some people like to use a paint roller, in which case, you definitely would require a 5 gallon bucket to accommodate the roller. You could use a brush broom, the pole can help with reaching a higher spot on a wall, which makes it harder for the underpaid worker to remove it later, so they will get paid more because it will take longer. (down with Capitalism!)
5. Rags are great to have because it can get really messy, also you can use the rag to smooth the poster down after it's glued up. Sponges ditto, although it's harder to wipe your hands off on a sponge. I guess that's what jeans are for.
6. 6 in 1 painting tool is optional. I love this tool, though. Google it. You can use it to remove staples, screws, nails or other crap that will get in the way of a smooth surface for the Poster to adhere to.
7. Disposable Latex Gloves can be useful if you are a neat freak. I never use them. But my hands are shot already, Wheatpaste is terribly sticky and will make your hands ashy in a heartbeat.
8. Transportation. There are many methods of transporting ourselves. My favorite is a cargo bike. Walking is pretty great, though. You can use a push cart to carry the supplies. Or a car, but cars are not easy, parking is an issue. It's up to personal style, the important part is that you make a conscious choice, taking into consideration how much distance you want to travel, how can you carry the goods, what looks the least suspicious to GP. (general pubic)
Wheatpaste is Amazing.
There are many variations on ingredients.
Bleached White Flour
Wall paper Paste
I prefer Wall Paper Paste & Wood Glue Combo, but those are not the cheapest ingredients
I normally never measure anything, I go by intuition and consistency. For the sake of this Skill Share, however, I will suggest a recipe I just got off the interweb:
1 cup of Bleached flour 1/2 cup of rice flour 3 teaspoons of cornstarch 2 cups of water
I would highly recommend putting Wood Glue, like Elmer's in this mix. It makes the posters stronger and more weather resistant.
If this is not enough, double the proportions or triple them.
The important part if you are using flour is that you have to heat it up, cook it, really, in order for it to get really smooth and thoroughly dissolved. Find your jam, become one with the wheatpaste, man.
Use a metal whisk to get rid of the chunks and blobs. What you want is something like a rue if you are a chef, you know what I mean. You want it to be thick like a smoothie, but thin enough to paint with.
Clean out your pot before it dries or else you'll be out a cooking pot.
Where to Paste Up
Strangely enough, many people consider decorating the world to be "vandalism" We disagree. However, within this basic fundamental difference in values, we do discern from disrespectful and respectful choices of appropriate locations to paste.
1. Never go over other Artist's Work. This is just plain disrespectful. You will also start a war with that person, whether you intend to or not. Do Not Do This. Especially if the work you are Pasting up Is not Yours. The person who designed the poster, signed it, wishes to remain in the good graces of the community of street artists, so PLEASE DO NOT PASTE OVER OTHER'S ARTWORK. Exception: If there is other work already partially covering it, work with it. Think: Collaborative Collage
2. If there is a shit ton of Posters on a wall advertising an Event, this is the one exception to the above rule. That, is not exactly "Art", although one could make the argument that advertising is an artform, for the sake of this skill share, it is NOT
3. Do Not Paste on Businesses, Banks, Bus Stop Shelters, Cars, Trucks, People or small dogs. Again, think RESPECT. Also think: SURVELLIENCE CAMERAS
4. DO Paste onto Construction Walls, Condemned Buildings, Funky Doorways, Bridges have some cool spots. The best surface is WOOD. Second Best is METAL. Do not paste onto Glass or Plastic. Concrete sucks for wheatpasting. It's too bumpy, you wont get a good connection, the poster wont last as long.
5. Look for unscrubbed places with lots of layers of Graffiti. If it looks like it's been there awhile, that's a good sign. That means it doesn't get scrubbed very often and the Poster will stay up longer. The Goal is to find places to paste that has good visibility but also will last a long time.
6. If there are staples, nails or screws obstructing the smoothness of the surface, do Use the Metal Scraper. I can't recommend the 6 in 1 tool enough. It's the Shit.
HOW TO GET IT UP
This is my method. If you find a method that works better for you, DO IT! This is YOUR TIME TO SHINE!
I roll up to a spot, feel the wall, if there are staples, I take them out with the above mentioned 6 in 1 tool. Scrape the wall down to make it as smooth as possible. Take out a poster and lay it face down on the sidewalk. Paint the wheatpaste on the back of the poster generously and then paint onto the surface of the wall, in an area slightly larger than the Poster. Next, take the poster and position it on the wall, smoothing it out with your sponge or rag or bare hands depending on how feral you are feeling. Paint a layer of wheatpaste over the top of the Poster. That's right, right on the face of it. This helps to seal it. Make sure all the corners and edges are really well adhered, this is IMPORTANT to the longevity of the Poster! Smooth out all the air bubbles and hair bubbles. Hair bubbles dont exist, silly.
Give it the once over to make sure it's adhered well to the wall. Stand back and admire it, but not for too long! Move to the next location!
It's great to have a companion or two, to help with look out and prepping the wall, but don't get paranoid. Most important: Have Fun and be relaxed. Cops have a nervousness radar. Don't set their radar off.
Wheatpasting can be easily done alone. You don't have to worry too much.
Going to jail is not the worst thing that could happen, just remember that retina scans are voluntary! Carry pouches of mustard, ketchup, salt and pepper with you. Also write phone numbers on a piece of paper and stick it in your pocket.
If people start talking to you while you are working, either ignore them or politely ask them to move along, or invite them to wait on the other corner to speak with you when you are done.
Speed is important, but so is being meticulous. Find a Balance between the two.
Everyone these days around the Occupy Movement seems to be talking about diversity of tactics. Activists have heated debates late into the night about violent vs non-violent tactics, about a black bloc versus Kingian approach to Revolution. The thing that is not being discussed enough is what our goals are. This lack of real strategy makes the talk of diversity of tactics irrelevant if we don't have clarity yet on a clear set of goals.
The State, who we all can agree is no longer run by the people but rather by the "Ruling Elite", has a clear set of goals. If the Ruling Elite knows anything, they how to strategize. How else does one conclude that they've been so successful in taking over every aspect of society running it like a giant machine that benefits the Ruling Elites at the expense of the rest of us. It is because they know how to run a machine, they know what their end game is. Profit by any means necessary. Crush dissent. Imprison those that attempt to obstruct their goals to perpetuate their strangle hold and monopoly on perceived power in this country and across the globe.
If OWS thinks that the Ruling Elite will give up that strangle hold without one hell of a fight, on every level, by any means necessary, we are in denial. They will fight us with every tool they have. If this is to be the revolution that many of us feel the time has come for, we have to adopt a militaristic mindset to fight them with. When I say "militaristic" I do not mean violence, I mean strategy. This is where the thinking person will see clearly that if we hope to win, we have to utilize a completely different approach to this war with the dominant paradigm. We have to think outside their box using strategic planning.
When discussing tactics to achieve these ends, we must first know what these ends that we want to achieve are. If we get caught up in the discussion of what tactics are the most successful before we know what ends (or beginnings) we are trying to achieve with said tactics, we are putting the cart before the proverbial horse. Framing this pre-cart discussion in terms of violent vs. non-violent tactics is not exactly productive. What is more called for is for us to begin to frame tactics not in terms of violent & nonviolent but in terms of effectiveness. What is the most effective way to achieve the desired outcome? But first, What is our desired outcome or outcomes?
The Government works for the Ruling Elite.The government is, essentially, one of the arms of the Ruling Elite. Picture the Ruling Elite as a Giant Man whose sustenance depends upon the functionality of all of it's systems working in harmony to keep it alive. The appendages work in both offensive and defensive roles. For example, the Government creates laws that support the freedom of the body as a whole to maintain it's dominant role.
An awareness that the Ruling Elite are meeting in back rooms with senators and congresspeople to strategize how to put down all that threaten their position needs to be gained. They likely begin any strategy session with the desired End Game. So, for example, if their end game is to stop any form of dissent in this country, they could decide the best case scenario would be to lock up all who question their power in indefinite detention. Voila! NDAA. With this act, they have essentially established their End Game. They simply have to define anyone who disagrees with them as terrorists and then they can lock them away without official charges for as long as they see fit.
They can't jump from point A to point Z, however, and have the support of the public. They must establish a narrative to convince the American People that occupiers are actually violent terrorists threatening public safety and not what we actually are, concerned citizens who have many serious grievances against the corporate oligarchy. To do so successfully, without creating martyrs and stirring up the rest of the populace to rise up against them in solidarity, they must frame us as the thing the American People fear the most: Terrorists. They must use this fear to their advantage, to win this war against dissent and therefore maintain and perpetuate their current status as rulers of the world. This is a intricate narrative they are creating which requires a skillful and coordinated effort to achieve.
How do they write this narrative?
They use the corporate controlled media, who is essentially another arm of the body of the Giant Man who is the Ruling Elite. This man is no ordinary man, however, but a monstrosity with many arms and legs. The corporate media, or the media industrial complex is an affective offensive arm which waves around like a conductor leading an orchestra. The media industrial complex conducts the hearts and minds of the American People much as a symphony might be conducted in the Metropolitan Opera House. They are experts at molding and forming public opinion. They are the conductor that accelerates the cadences that bring us to the end of the march. They can take underlying fears and stoke those embers into a wildfire of fear. This propaganda arm works in concert with the rest of the mutant man to sustain itself at the cost of truth and the freedom of the press. (we must have a better propaganda arm than they do. We must use their tactics like an akido master that uses the force of their opponent to topple itself)
How do they manipulate us to participate in this narrative? That's where the next significant arm of the Mutant Man comes in. The Police Departments in cities across our great nation are just one of the military arms of the man. It's job is to distract and enrage us by continually poking at us until we give in finally to the violent impulse which is part of the human psyche to not only defend ourselves and others against attack but to strike back violently. The Federal Government with the help of the FBI, coordinated the national crackdown on occupations across the country. This coordinated effort was designed to censor dissent and prevent citizens from exercising their freedom to peaceably assemble. Another objective, one that is not being discussed enough, is to enrage and distract the occupy movement into channeling our energy into a major push back towards the police at the expense of working towards achieving ultimate goals which will strike directly to the heart of the system and bypass their pawns.
The Police brutality that has been well documented in the independent media while being suppressed in the media industrial complex, tells the narrative well. Cops wantonly beat, abuse, pepper spray, shoot, humiliate and torture innocent and peaceful activists every chance they get. (case in point: Oakland Activists tortured) This added to the decades of police brutality being perpetrated on people of color and poor people everywhere, creates intense hatred and enormous righteous anger within the communities most effected by this brutality. Many middle class activists are confronting this for the first time in their lives. Many people's eyes are being opened to what has been a matter of course for millions of Americans for as long as they can remember. Welcome to our world, those of us already living there say to the rest who have recently arrived. Welcome to our reality.
I submit to you, dear reader, that this brutality is done for a multiplicity of reasons. The one reason I would like to draw our attention to presently for this discussion, is the intent to infuriate us to the point of retaliation. The cleverness of this intentional egging on of a violent reaction is diabolical at the very least. I see it as diabolical because they are using human nature to work against ourselves. Hear me out. They have charted a course for us to run. They have set up the narrative for us to fall into. Because they assume we will react with violence and they wish for us to react with violence so that we can fall into the narrative they are already generating for us. They are literally banking on us being their puppets.
The narrative that they are creating for us, the roles in the screenplay they are writing, use a casting call where the most violent and undisciplined of us, get cast into the roles of the "violent activist/terrorist" by acting out this righteous rage by destroying property and throwing broken bottles and rocks at police. It is one of the symptoms of a diseased system that people value property higher than human life. The Ruling Elite knows this. They themselves value property over humans. They also dangle the promise known as the American Dream over the mainstream public's heads. "You too one day could join the Ruling Elite. You too could one day be fabulously wealthy" When these actors who have unbeknownst to themselves, been cast into these roles to support the Ruling Elite's narrative,decide to vent their righteous anger by smashing the windows at local businesses, they are cooperating with the system to bring about the eventual end game which the Ruling Elite have waiting for us, a little ways down the road.
This fight with the police ties up much of our energy battling with a symptom rather than the cause.It keeps us far away from the actual disease we wish to eradicate.
We've seen internal conflicts of this nature led by disruptors with dubious intentions who tie up incalculable amounts of energy during our meetings. We do not know who the provocateurs are but it is clear to many of us what their intentions are: To clog up and disrupt our meetings so we can't get anything accomplished. They too are a drain on our collective energy at the expense of our larger goals. They too get us caught up with battling the symptoms rather than the causes. When considering that we all have been conditioned by the system to think within classist, racist, sexist, and other ism frameworks, it is not surprising that before we get any real work done we have to confront this elephant in the room and get to the root of the problem and eradicate our own disease which we have been infected with by the very system we are rejecting.
But I digress.
I was talking about the one of the military arms of the Ruling Elite otherwise known as the Police Department in your City. One of their main purposes is ensuring our participation in establishing their story line that is then fed to the media arm to disseminate to the waiting hearts and minds of the public in order to justify to our fellow citizens our eventual indefinite detention in work camps across the country and therefore destroying our chances of actually achieving this new beginning we all are committed to creating.
By Participating in their narrative, we are cooperating with our own eventual downfall. It will end badly if we allow ourselves to be sucked into increasingly violent confrontations with the police. It will end with activists, including activists who are committed to the underlying principle of non-violence, being imprisoned without recourse for a trial. Those of us who are using marches, rallies and actions as a place to vent our frustration and righteous indignation over the obviously brutally violent crackdown on ows coupled with a history of violence towards people might well better train our anger into more effective means to bring about the complete down fall of the system that is perpetuating this violence in order to maintain it's control over us.
When we fall prey to their continued provocations, we join with them in their goal of crushing our movement before we gain enough momentum to overthrow their control over us.
This concerted and coordinated national campaign to crush our movement depends upon our cooperation with them to allow it to play out to their desired endgame.
Their efforts will increase in intensity until they get the desired outcome. They will increase the use of force and brutality until our resolve to maintain our principle of combating them in this very real war using non-violent tactics is dissolved. They are counting on us to rise up violently. They are placing bets as you read this on how long it will be before the more radical and reactionary comrades among us give in to this human reflex of fight or flight. They also manipulate us using the macho tactics of a schoolyard bully, taunting us with accusations that we are weak if we do not retaliate in kind.
Will we cooperate with the state by reacting violently? Or will we examine more effective tactics that will truly bring about the change we all desire.
We cannot retaliate in kind without arming ourselves with an equal arsenal of weaponry that they have at their disposal. To do so is beyond the scope of what we can amass even if we spent our entire general fund on AK47's. We cannot win a violent war against the system that invented war. To even entertain the notion is folly. Not to mention goes against everything we stand for as a movement. Do we want a bloody war? Do we want to kill and be killed? Be realistic and do not hide behind words what the actuality of war is. We in this country are privileged to not have known war intimately. Those who shout for it know it least of all, no doubt. Those who have experienced war first hand would never advocate for it. Don't be fooled that we can be "just a little bit" violent and win against the military industrial complex. Throwing bottles and breaking glass may be hella therapeutic for us, but it aint going to make the other side back down. No, it will only help to increase their retaliation resulting in actual casualties. Are you prepared to die? More importantly, are you prepared to kill? (i am not talking about a mother protecting her kids from thugs. some of us would kill in self defense or in defense of another's life. this is not the conversation. that is meta. I am talking about the BIG PICTURE)
One might also caution activists from being unduly influenced towards such meditations by people they do not know well. These people, presenting themselves as radicals who constantly advocate for increasing the use violent tactics, may be infiltrators. They also might simply be misguided and short sighted. Question who these people are and what their motives might be. Question what they themselves seek to gain by the use of such violence. Is it to gain notoriety? Is it to appear more revolutionary than others. Is it to impress potential lovers? Is it to simply dominate the message to the world with their anger? Do they not have a good understanding of the whole picture? Might you be able to help them to see the folly of their suggestions instead of allowing them to play on your own feelings of injustice and built up rage against the machine. Question what end result such tactics produce. Look at the larger picture. Utilize other means of expression to vent built up anger at the violent crackdown on occupy and the history of state sanctioned violence. Do not vent anger by smashing windows, throwing bottles and screaming obscenities at the police. Vent it by other means. Confrontation is important. Confront the Police. Say something so powerful to them that later, when they are alone, they will think about it. Try to get inside their heads. "Fuck the Police" is probably not going to make them think much and will only give them all the more incentive to brutalize people next time. We have to break the cycle of violence.
(for the record, I do not adhere to the view that to be non-violent in actions precludes the use of devices such as shields or protective gear. by all means, we are soldiers waging war, even if it is waging peace, and we must protect ourselves as best we can. I do not adhere to the viewpoint that destruction of property is not warranted. Even the discussion of what destruction of property means can get tricky. Street art and graffiti, for example, may be considered by the mainstream as vandalism. I, obviously, do not agree. The main point is that if people are going to participate in ows actions, that they do not destroy property when to do so will unduly endanger fellow activists who did not consense on joining in this activity but whose mere proximity may result in their arrest or beating. Additionally, there are other tactics that I would support or participate in that are not really mention able on this blog)
I will state here, as well, that those of us who believe that by marching peacefully, waving banners and carrying placards will bring down the ruling elite, are also not seeing the full picture nor embracing the true scope of how a successful non-violent war is won. When we speak of diversity of tactics, marching is but one avenue. For it to have any kind of cumulative and lasting affect, we must also utilize other tactics in concert such as boycotting, general strikes, creating alternative economies, skill sharing, squatting empty buildings, disrupting foreclosure auctions, creating social programs we think are needed, Tree sitting, Occupying public spaces, building community and turning our backs on the Ruling Elite in every way possible. If people tell you that a strong commitment to non-violence is weak ask them to define power. True power is not gained by coercion but rather by consent. True power is in numbers, especially when coupled with solidarity.
I propose, that in order for OWS to succeed in this revolution, that is, a shift in values and power in this country and the world, a 180 degree revolution away from it's current paradigm, we must emulate the Ruling Elite's intensive strategizing. We must strategize ways to occupy their narrative with our narrative and so turn the tide of public opinion to our favor. This battle is to win the hearts and minds of the 99%. This battle is a fight to present our narrative as superseding their narrative. This fight requires us to be smarter to be more creative than they are. This fight requires all of us to unite against this giant mutant man beast that is the Ruling Elite.
To do so effectively, we must study their tactics. We must make each other aware of their diversity of tactics. We need to share information freely across occupations to become unified in our narrative.
A really strong narrative will require all of our resources combined. We must first arrive at a common goal. Knowing the movement from the inside, I am aware that there are many goals. If we can narrow them down to ten goals we can all agree on, we can then establish our End Game. What does our end game look like? Is it truly a beginning game? What if, instead of succumbing to their End Game we imagine our Beginning Game and put all of our efforts into achieving that instead of fighting their battles? What if we refuse to fight on their terms. The home team has an advantage, they know the turf. If we draw them into our turf, they will be lost. If we allow them to draw us onto their turf, we are lost.
What would such a list of goals look like? Is it framed in a negative or positive context? What is our Beginning Game? What do we want the world to look like for the Seventh Generation to follow us?
1. Ensure the Inalienable Freedoms that are the birthright of every human on the planet are maintained and allowed to exist. 2. Building and inhabiting infrastructures that support a New Paradigm based on equality 3. Ensure the rights of humans to live freely on the land in sustainable ways 4. End the Oppression of people by Corporations by refusing to participate or buy in with our labor, finances, social capital and material goods 5. Honor Native People's rights to sovereignty 6. Create an autonomous and sovereign nation where all people are treated equally and where all the resources are distributed equally (aka everybody move to Vermont) 7.Establish that no person shall be able to exploit another person's labor for their own gain 8. Establish that environmental stewardship is prioritized above profit 9. Establish that people's safety and liberty to pursuit happiness is a priority over profit 10. Establish restorative justice practices
I am sure that there are many of you reading this that may write 10 entirely different goals. This one is just off the top of my head, presented as one possible list of achievable goals. Please, add yours to the mix. Hopefully we can arrive at some common ground and then move forward as a unified voice.
What I want to do is shift the conversation from diversity of tactics to achievable goals. The civil rights movement could never have achieved what they did without boycotts, civil disobedience direct actions and marches. Their narrative was clear. Currently it seems our marches and actions are all over the place, poorly strategized and conceived of without utilizing the brains of all of us who bring to the table many skill sets and types of resources. It seems, from my perspective, that the majority, not all, but the majority of the actions we have been engaging in are not clearly planned out with everyone's participation. So, the end result are actions which have us running all over the city, with no clear narrative and no clear message and no obtainable goals. Fighting with police, protesting the police distracts us from our original intention. To bring the focus to WALLSTREET. They are the real criminals, the police are just their army. Sidestep the army and figure out clever ways to get right to the heart of the matter.
Our narrative must be clear in order to win over the hearts and minds of the 99%
Where do we want to be a little further down the road. Do we want to be in internment camps working for the Ruling Elite or do we want to be living in this other world we all know is possible.
In my opinion, the Occupy Wallstreet Movement is about a fundamental shift of values. The shift needed is a complete 180 degree revolution from the present paradigm. We want economic emancipation for all people. When we say "Another World is Possible" we are committed to creating that shift. This Revolution is a nonviolent rotation away from exploitation back to equality. We are creating worker's co-ops with profit sharing. We want decisions made for the seventh generation. We want a sustainable future on the planet. The Ruling Elite are running a hungry machine that eats everything good and shits out pollution and ravaged lives while they get to live lives of luxury. We no longer wish to be a cog in this machine. They cannot run it without our cooperation. Our demands are not of the government. Making demands on a corrupt system legitimizes it's power. We no longer recognize that power. We have no demands but this rallying cry to the people to take our collective power back. Our call is to the ninety nine percent to Rise Up.
There are many diverse issues facing people in the world today. In my opinion, the most important first step to take in starting to tackle these problems is to have a conversation; to have many conversations between people from diverse backgrounds. Talk to your neighbors, form collectives, strengthen communities through holding Public General Assemblies. Work together to find solutions. DIY. That is why we occupy; to have this public discourse. This, to me, is the most important issue facing Occupy as an entire movement. It is essential for us to be able to peaceably assemble to invite all into the conversation on how to move forward outside of a corrupt and broken system. Yet, militant police forces across the country and globe have cracked down violently on peaceful assemblies of citizens. If the system will not respect the rights granted to us by the constitution and the bill of rights, than it is our duty to assert these rights. Freedom does not belong to the government to be handed out to those they deem worthy. Freedom is inalienable. It is our birthright.
@OWSBus getting some last minute paint before departing for Occupy Tour of the Northeast...
on the hood...
“There are going to be times when we can’t wait for somebody. Now, you’re either on the bus or off the bus. If you’re on the bus, and you get left behind, then you’ll find it again. If you’re off the bus in the first place — then it won’t make a damn.” – Ken Kesey
A group of 21 Occupiers from Occupy Wallstreet NYC are on a tour of the Northeast http://owsbus.tumblr.com/post/16636867130/occutrip-news-roundup