Unity, Solidarity, and Debate

Occupy Seattle has many different politics and visions within it. This is our strength. We will not allow any in our movement to be singled out and attacked for their politics whether they be anarchist, progressive, communist, liberal, socialist, radical, etc. We welcome healthy debate among and between each of these groups, but debate is very different from irrational attacks and fear-mongering. We will defend each other and our movement.

If people are partaking in actions which are damaging to the movement or risk the safety of its members unnecessarily, this should be dealt with as a separate matter, outside the purview of this statement of principle. But no one will be allowed to ostracize or demonize our fellow occupiers for their world views or goals. Unless that be a world view or goal which is decisively against the general unity and aspirations of the movement, such as: fascists, the openly racist, sexist, or homophobic, white-nationalist populists, ageist, ableist, etc. No action, except those passed by the General Assembly, represent Occupy Seattle as a whole. We do, however, stand in solidarity with actions taken against the powers that be by any group or individual within this movement.

passed in General Assembly 11/16/11

18 Responses to Unity, Solidarity, and Debate

  • donny1020 says:

    Anyone that that has been involved in a movement or organization where groups such as the ISO, SEP, RCP, etc have orchestrated hegemonistic tactics to co-opt the energy and mechanics recognizes this type of motion.

    Now that the hipster, hoody wearing Trotskyites and self styled anarchist have driven people of good intention away from Decolonize Seattle a backlash against them has begone.Hopefully it is not to late. Now they remind everyone that they have a right to destroy the movement.

    They see the OWS movement as a vehicle for global revolution. On their own they have very little support and because of this it is vital that they catch a ride to the revolution in someone other persons car and then kick the driver and the rest of the passengers out.

    Don’t be fooled, for the Occupy movement to gain traction and grow groups such as the ISO, SEP, RCP etc must be marginalized and there influence diminished.

  • donny1020 says:

    If there is any doubt that the Seattle Occupy movement has been hijacked by the son’s and daughters of the wealthy so they can play revolutionary one needs to simply read their material;
    http://insurgentnotes.com/2012/01/guest-article-the-radicalization-of-decolonizeoccupy-seattle/

    In their view, if you do not hold to the model put forward by the ISO, SEP, RCP, pretend Anarchist you are the enemy. What is really at stake is the ability to have an opinion. If you object to their agenda you are either exiled or shut up.

    I say no thanks, we all know what these folks do if the get power. There are numerous examples. It has become necessary for good people who are motivated by the issue of income equality to forcefully reject the co-option of the Occupy movement by bored and spoiled upper middle class children who have no skin in this struggle other than the promotion of a faerie tale “revolution”.

    • Wake Up God Dammit says:

      Revolutionaries are the MAJORITY in Occupy Seattle. This has been so since DAY ONE. Clearly, you were NOT there.

      Tell your handlers at the FBI you need ‘more training’.

      • donny1020 says:

        Revolutionary?, Vanguard?

        Whats with this party elitism, you think you have ownership because you believe you have more time in?

        OWS is a leaderless convergence, so what gives you the right to dictate terms and conditions of membership in the working class. This what the sons and daughters of the bourgeois believe their role is. They will tell the working class how to act and what to say and think. This isn’t a “revolution” I care to support.

        I believe the media story about those arrested over May Day in Seattle are telling. The majority of those arrested were the sons and daughters of the capitalist elites. Their parents, some who were lawyers in large firms and others hired attorneys for their kids all said that the actions of Suzy and Johny didn’t truly reflect who they actually are and the State should forgive them..

        The self appointed vanguard revolutionary’s are nothing more than bored youth of the privileged making a fashion statement and who’s goals include dictating to the working class what they should think and how they should act.

  • John Drabble says:

    Your analysis is correct.

    Let me put it simply: The Occupy movement was established as a non-violent movement to stop the corruption and influence of corporate money on our Government. It does not support either mainstream party.

    Occupy Seattle has been co-opted by those you mention and should do one of two things.

    1) Work toward the goals of the Occupy movement using non-violent means

    OR

    2) Drop the Occupy brand altogether because as things are now it is being severely tainted by these so called radicals as they pursue the same tactics that have been failing them for decades. just read that link you provided and the rhetoric is right out of the 1930s.

  • OccupyMarkD says:

    I find it disingenuous that, in the same post that donny1020 agrees with a statement of unity between all leftist groups, he attacks specific socialist, communist, and anarchist groups that have been involved in Occupy Seattle from its beginning. I’m one of those “hoody wearing Trotskites” that has been scaring people away with talk about exploitation and racism and the need for the left to work together. You obviously aren’t a Marxist, so I bet history isn’t your thing, but let’s review some anyway.

    Should the Occupy movement listen to radicals? Well, it’s not like the working class won much because of the militant struggles of the 30s and 40s. Except Social Security. And worker’s compensation. And unemployment insurance. And the New Deal. Wait, it sure seems like those politics and tactics did work! Now, compare that to the politics and tactics used after those militant struggles won the social safety net we all take for granted: A dismantled manufacturing sector, mass unemployment, spiraling healthcare costs, and a slew of new restrictive voting legislation, all the while union membership is dropping like a rock. Sounds like radical politics and militant tactics actually won some solid gains for normal folks whereas liberal politics and tactics succeeded only in keeping wages flat.

    You cannot stand for unity in Occupy Seattle and in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street without accepting and working in good faith with more radical leftist groups. This is a principle that we should have voted on at the first General Assembly. Occupy Seattle should invite all left organizations to the struggle in order to share ideas.

  • donny1020 says:

    It’s not that these groups have been involved from the beginning, rather that from the beginning these groups saw an opportunity to exploit and gain control over the Occupy movement. I believe their own article demonstrates this with the disparaging description that was articulated regarding what they call “dumppies”. The description of how this group was used and manipulated to the ends of the self described “vanguard” should also be a lesson. The only agenda that has value to these folks is the agenda of destruction.

    The truth is that none of the groups such as the ISO, SEP, RCP, neo-anarchist have achieved or assisted in achieving any gains for the working class in their entire history. Because they live in make believe world they make this claim loudly and hope that if they just say the lie long enough and loud enough enough, people will believe they had a hand in achieving real gains for Americans.

    I participated in the first and second Labor Party convention and saw these groups in action with a plan to hijack the movement from the working class. They live in a make believe world that assumes that if the American worker hears their message they will side with them in promoting radical Trotskyite or Maoist or neo-anarchist ideology. What these groups achieved was the destruction of Labor Party. The reason why these groups are small is that the American Worker overwhelmingly rejects their agenda.

    The American worker has firmly rejected these ideologies, This leaves the political opportunist with a very limited audience of themselves. The definition of a leader is someone that can move masses and the occupy movement touched something in the average American by addressing the issue of income inequality. In Seattle, this message was hi-jacked by marginalized self serving political opportunist. To call them left is to give them to much credit, they are actually such a small minority that the only thing they can accomplish is to destroy things not build movements. They may as well be advocating for a trade agreement with radical neo-anarchist with a political belief based in modified Trotskyite/Maoist trends from the planet Neptune.

    The sooner that the participants of Occupy Seattle understand this and reject the influence exercised over Occupy Seattle by a handful of opportunist the better. I would state that there is only a limited amount of time for this correction to take place. The Occupy Seattle movement has all ready lost significant support and is viewed with suspicion and distrust by other progressive entities. Like other opportunist these groups that have gained control over Occupy Seattle will suck the life blood from the Occupy Seattle movement and discard it to side of the road.

  • Dale Johnson says:

    “I don’t have a problem with escalating tactics to some sort of militant resistance if it is appropriate morally, strategically and tactically,” Jensen continued. “This is true if one is going to pick up a sign, a rock or a gun. But you need to have thought it through. The Black Bloc spends more time attempting to destroy movements than they do attacking those in power. They hate the left more than they hate capitalists.”

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_cancer_of_occupy_20120206/

  • Dale Johnson says:

    Question: What then is the solution to the problem? What is the prognosis for the cancer?

    CH: There has to be a rigid adherence to nonviolence. That does not mean that the black bloc can’t exist. We saw a multiplicity of groups in the 1960s – from the Yippies to the Panthers to the Weather Underground – but the movement itself has to continue to operate in a way that it does not alienate the mainstream. If the security and surveillance state is able to alienate the mainstream from OWS, then OWS will be far more vulnerable to being destroyed. That’s very similar to the civil rights movement. I’m a huge admirer of Malcolm X. And, yet, the establishment didn’t really fear Malcolm X; they feared King. That’s true here. They fear OWS. They don’t fear the black bloc.

    http://www.truth-out.org/interview-chris-hedges-about-black-bloc/1328799148

  • Dale Johnson says:

    Occupation of Freedom Plaza in DC still occupying since October 2011.

    “We would not have a movement if violence or property damage were used from the outset,” Kevin Zeese, one of the first activists to call for an Occupy movement, told me. “People are not drawn to violent movement. Such tactics will shrink rather than expand our base of support. Property damage justifies police violence to many Americans. There is a wide range of diversity of tactics within a nonviolent strategy. Disciplined nonviolence is often more difficult because anger and emotion lead people to want to strike back at the police when they are violent, but disciplined nonviolence is the tactic that is most effective against the violence of the state.”

  • cate says:

    Go home, get up every morning like I do and get a job! I refuse to pay for your laziness. I am not rich and I work hard for a living and I treasure my freedoms. Your movement is unAmerican and social justice is marxism. When you wake up in a death camp somewhere without freedom, your cause will not matter anymore. Government will not take care of you and will not provide for you. You must learn to earn your way just like the 50% of Americans that pay taxes, who are paying for your social welfare system. You are not part of the 99%, you are part of the 49% that wants it all free and wants hard working people to pay for it. Go to work or go back in the hole you crawled out of.

    • BoogaBooga says:

      One of my favorite things about this movement is that it irritates simpletons like you. Keep crying. It gets me hard.

    • SparroHawc says:

      Troll harder.

      I get up every morning and go to my job. I am not rich, I work hard for a living, I treasure my freedoms, and I SUPPORT OCCUPY. I am part of the 50% that pays taxes, and I have been considering becoming an expatriate for one very important reason.

      I do not think I will make enough money to permit my children to have the opportunities they need to live comfortably when they are grown.

      America is no longer the land of opportunity; instead, it is yet another land of socioeconomic disparity where the have-nots are second-class citizens. You have to throw absurd amounts of money at the system in order to simply have the chance to make a decent wage.

      At the same time, corporate interests are eroding our freedoms at a record pace.

      These are the real reasons behind the Occupy protests, not bums looking for handouts.

  • donny1020 says:

    Though this proposal rightly went down I believed it necessary to bring some clarity to a statement made in the proposal.

    The proposal stated inaccurately “May 1st is an anarchist holiday”. Though an individual who promoted anarcho-syndicalist ideas at the Chicago event, the event was sponsored by the Chicago Central Labor Council.While 5 Anarchist wear executed due to an issue surrounding a bomb, four trade unionist were killed by police and many more trade unionist were injured by gun fire from the police. As for the creation establishment of May 1 as International Workers Day, this was done by the Second International which excluded any anarcho-syndicalist participation.

    What the self described Seattle anarchist are celebrating and claim as their holiday must be something entirely different from what others associate May 1st with.

    I also found the proposers statement made in frustration “A general strike in the 21st century is necessarily very different from the one that happened in seattle in 1919 – we will do the best we can in organizing this” amusing. Is the proposer stating that a general strike in the 21st century is a general strike that lacks the support of labor? Or is the proposer stating that a general strike in the 21st century a general strike in which nobody participates other than a handful of dogmatic stalwarts? In either situation this could simply be described as a general strike that failed.

  • elijahc says:

    It seems to me like there’s actually some inkling in the proposer’s mind that the majority of people out there trying to earn a buck don’t agree with smashing windows and starting fires. But I’m just guessing. When in Rome…

  • Steve Leigh says:

    At yesterday’s “Future of Occupy” event at UW, there was a presentation by the Economic Opportunity Institute.The EOI is a center that does research into economic inequality and proposes policy solutions from a progressive viewpoint. One example of its efforts is the Washington State minimum wage law passed by voters a few years ago . This indexes the minimum wage to inflation—one of the few in the U.S. that does this. The work of the EOI is very helpful to building opposition to exploitation. It’s statistics , charts and graphs are useful in organizing :

    http://www.eoionline.org/

    During the discussion , another panelist from Occupy asked in a very critical tone “ But how does your work help bring down the American Empire?” Unfortunately , the discussion that followed didn’t really answer the question. The underlying assumption of the hostile questioner had been expressed earlier: The U.S. population is “ bought off” with high living standards. Even redistributing the wealth in the U.S. will only move it around among the already affluent.

    Of course the assumptions of the questioner completely miss the mark. The whole Occupy movement was a response to the downward push on the living standards of the vast majority and the increasing concentration of wealth. Far from being “bought off”, the vast majority of people in the U.S. suffer increased exploitation and oppression.—brilliantly captured in Occupy’s slogan “We are the 99%”.

    Just as importantly , the questioner missed the point strategically. Who is it that can “bring down the American Empire?” If we look at one of the biggest defeats suffered by U.S. Imperialism—the Vietnam War, we find an answer to that question. There were 3 main forces that got the U.S. out of Vietnam: The resistance of the Vietnamese themselves; the anti-war movement within the U.S. military which prevented the U.S. from continuing to rely on ground troops and the domestic anti-war movement which facilitated the anti-war movement in the military. In other words, a big part of the answer to the question is “ It is people in the U.S. that defeated the U.S. Empire”. Likewise it must ultimately be people in the U.S. that can “bring down the American Empire.”

    How can this happen? When people are fighting against the 1% that are exploiting them and oppressing them here , they can begin to broaden that fight against what the U.S. is doing abroad.—just as Occupy was inspired by Egypt,Greece and Spain and in turn inspired other movements around the world.

    If people are not fighting in large numbers against the issues they face every day, it is a safe bet that they will not be fighting in large numbers against U.S. policies abroad. The anti-war movement in the 60’s for example was embedded in other mass movements against oppression and exploitation—the civil rights movement, the Women’s Liberation movement , the LGBT movement, the student movement and a rank and file workers revolt.

    In the long run the only way to “bring down the American Empire” is to bring down American capitalism. The major force that can do that is the working class which produces all the wealth of capitalism. Workers can cut off the flow of profit, effectively fight capitalist priorities through strikes, and ultimately take over the economy and reorganize it to meet human needs. U.S. imperialism serves the profit and power of the 1%. When we overthrow the 1% and their system there will be no need for U.S. domination and intervention around the world.

    The limited fights against aspects of oppression and exploitation can grow, deepen and develop into a revolutionary challenge to capitalism. Only this challenge can ultimately bring down the American capitalism and therefore Empire. If workers do not challenge exploitation and oppression they will never successfully challenge “American Empire”.
    This means that the work of the EOI need not be separate from the fight against Imperialism. Anything that stokes the fight against exploitation can help build the basis for a fight against imperialism. Of course not all fights against exploitation will end up directly confronting imperialism—but without the fight against exploitation there can never be a successful fight against imperialism.

    The attitude of the questioner leads to a moralistic strategy.( Since we cannot appeal to people’s material interests , we can only appeal to their morality). But even widespread moral opposition to U.S. Empire can never tap the power necessary to bring it down. Only taking the economic power away from the 1% can accomplish this task. The fight against exploitation, poverty and mal-distribution of wealth is a key part of beginning to tap into that power.

    Far from being a diversion or in competition to anti-imperialism, the exposure of exploitation, poverty and extreme concentration of wealth is necessary to bringing down the American Empire!


    Steve Leigh
    616-7406
    UW Tower, 15th Floor, # 415
    Box 359461
    Biostatistics Payroll Coordinator

    ” If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to
    favour freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops
    without ploughing up the ground; they want rain without thunder
    and lightning; they want the ocean without the awful roar of
    its mighty waters.
    Power concedes nothing without a demand! ”
    Frederick Douglass


    You didn’t see me on television, you didn’t see news stories about me. The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders.

    -Ella Baker

    __________

  • Steve Leigh says:

    At the UW event yesterday on ” The Future of Occupy”, there was a presentation by the Economic Opportunity Institute.The EOI is a center that does research into economic inequality and proposes policy solutions from a progressive viewpoint. One example of its efforts is the Washington State minimum wage law passed by voters a few years ago . This indexes the minimum wage to inflation—one of the few in the U.S. that does this. The work of the EOI is very helpful to building opposition to exploitation. It’s statistics , charts and graphs are useful in organizing :

    http://www.eoionline.org/

    During the discussion , another panelist from Occupy asked in a very critical tone “ But how does your work help bring down the American Empire?” Unfortunately , the discussion that followed didn’t really answer the question. The underlying assumption of the hostile questioner had been expressed earlier: The U.S. population is “ bought off” with high living standards. Even redistributing the wealth in the U.S. will only move it around among the already affluent.

    Of course the assumptions of the questioner completely miss the mark. The whole Occupy movement was a response to the downward push on the living standards of the vast majority and the increasing concentration of wealth. Far from being “bought off”, the vast majority of people in the U.S. suffer increased exploitation and oppression.—brilliantly captured in Occupy’s slogan “We are the 99%”.

    Just as importantly , the questioner missed the point strategically. Who is it that can “bring down the American Empire?” If we look at one of the biggest defeats suffered by U.S. Imperialism—the Vietnam War, we find an answer to that question. There were 3 main forces that got the U.S. out of Vietnam: The resistance of the Vietnamese themselves; the anti-war movement within the U.S. military which prevented the U.S. from continuing to rely on ground troops and the domestic anti-war movement which facilitated the anti-war movement in the military. In other words, a big part of the answer to the question is “ It is people in the U.S. that defeated the U.S. Empire”. Likewise it must ultimately be people in the U.S. that can “bring down the American Empire.”

    How can this happen? When people are fighting against the 1% that are exploiting them and oppressing them here , they can begin to broaden that fight against what the U.S. is doing abroad.—just as Occupy was inspired by Egypt,Greece and Spain and in turn inspired other movements around the world.

    If people are not fighting in large numbers against the issues they face every day, it is a safe bet that they will not be fighting in large numbers against U.S. policies abroad. The anti-war movement in the 60’s for example was embedded in other mass movements against oppression and exploitation—the civil rights movement, the Women’s Liberation movement , the LGBT movement, the student movement and a rank and file workers revolt.

    In the long run the only way to “bring down the American Empire” is to bring down American capitalism. The major force that can do that is the working class which produces all the wealth of capitalism. Workers can cut off the flow of profit, effectively fight capitalist priorities through strikes, and ultimately take over the economy and reorganize it to meet human needs. U.S. imperialism serves the profit and power of the 1%. When we overthrow the 1% and their system there will be no need for U.S. domination and intervention around the world.

    The limited fights against aspects of oppression and exploitation can grow, deepen and develop into a revolutionary challenge to capitalism. Only this challenge can ultimately bring down the American capitalism and therefore Empire. If workers do not challenge exploitation and oppression they will never successfully challenge “American Empire”.
    This means that the work of the EOI need not be separate from the fight against Imperialism. Anything that stokes the fight against exploitation can help build the basis for a fight against imperialism. Of course not all fights against exploitation will end up directly confronting imperialism—but without the fight against exploitation there can never be a successful fight against imperialism.

    The attitude of the questioner leads to a moralistic strategy.( Since we cannot appeal to people’s material interests , we can only appeal to their morality). But even widespread moral opposition to U.S. Empire can never tap the power necessary to bring it down. Only taking the economic power away from the 1% can accomplish this task. The fight against exploitation, poverty and mal-distribution of wealth is a key part of beginning to tap into that power.

    Far from being a diversion or in competition to anti-imperialism, the exposure of exploitation, poverty and extreme concentration of wealth is necessary to bringing down the American Empire!

  • donny1020 says:

    Just thought it was amusing that people who call themselves Anarchist would physically and violently attack a book vendor on May 1 because they objected to his fringe left politics (Maoist feminist communist of the Revolutionary Communist Party).

    The real funny part is they had a neutrality and cooperation deal with the RCP early on to take over Occupy Seattle. It was also strange that people who were not neo-anarchist just stood around and watched. They did pass a motion at the next GA but were to squishy to actually say who the ass bites were.