After the Encampments: #OCCUPYMIGRATION and #OCCUPYHOMES
After the Encampments: #OCCUPYMIGRATION and #OCCUPYHOMES
By Micah White /

The history of activism is a cat-and-mouse game of surprising tactical innovations that spark an insurrectionary situation and the counterstrategies developed to put down the revolt. In 1848, the invention of the barricade toppled the King of France and sparked a Europe-wide people's uprising. In 1999, the unique mixture of a carnivalesque mood with human lockboxes disrupted the World Trade Organization's Seattle meeting and launched the alterglobalization movement. In 2003, the speed of the Internet empowered the world's first worldwide, synchronized antiwar protest. In each of these cases, the power structures were taken by surprise, were slow to respond but eventually, through trial-and-error, discovered a successful counterstrategy.  If there is one law of activism it is that every tactic which works initially will eventually be defeated if too often repeated.

From the perspective of the status quo putting down a revolution is a matter of buttressing oneself against unforeseen assaults and waiting out the initial storm while continually experimenting with responses. Once an effective response is hit upon it is replicated across society and used to suppress the revolt everywhere. In 1848, for example, the barricade was practically invulnerable because the military was unprepared for street fighting (they approached the barricades head-on, at its strongest point) and were constrained by the ethical code that cannons cannot be used against one's own people. Once this spell was broken, once the government grew desperate enough to use cannons to destroy citizen houses so that barricades could be attacked from their flank, the revolution of 1848 fizzled out. And yet, even after a tactic is neutralized it lingers on within the insurgent imagination. It wasn't until the 1871 Paris Commune that the barricade was finally shown to be utterly useless, perhaps even a detriment. Our task as revolutionary activists is thus quite difficult: we must continually innovate; we must perceive immediately when one tactic begins to fail; we must be ready to deploy another stratagem. 

#OCCUPY was birthed when the Tahrir Uprising was combined with the Spanish acampadas and transposed onto an unexpected place: the most potent symbol of casino capitalism: Wall Street. From a strictly tactical perspective, the first phase of #OCCUPY was comprised of a permanent encampment and a general assembly. The encampment claimed symbolic territory and the general assembly enabled organic, bottom-up self-governance. It was the quantity and autonomy of these encampments – that they grew despite an early media blackout, that locals showered them with financial and material support, that they functioned as a viable alternative to the corporate-State – which presented the greatest threat to the status quo. Thus, what happened next is not surprising: after several failed attempts nationally to foreclose the encampments, the corporate-State finally discovered this counterstrategy: first, announce an eviction deadline; then, amass a large show of force which provokes a corresponding mobilization of the encampment's local supporters, exhausting their resources; next, pretend as if you have decided not to enforce the eviction and let it seem like the encampment has won; finally, come back suddenly a day, week or month later and carry out a military-style raid when the encampment is sparsely populated and unable to "cry wolf." We can safely say that this successful technique will be used against every encampment from on.

Attacked on one front, our natural inclination is often to concentrate our energy on winning back lost ground. This may not be the wisest option. In this particular case, we could very easily get stuck in a game of diminishing returns by expending our resources to set up encampments once they've been taken down knowing they will be taken down once again. If we were not able to defend our encampment from eviction when we were strongest, why would we be able to defend it when we are weakest? 

This is not to say that we should abandon the encampments but rather that now might be the perfect moment to embrace the innovation that is already happening. Encampments are the site of new ways of being and new forms of revolutionary social organization. At a purely practical level, they provide the food, shelter and resources that are absolutely necessary to many of us. However, the creative re-imagining of the encampment model has already begun … we should encourage it. 

We can accelerate the #OCCUPYHOMES meme by making a concerted push on December 6 and beyond to set up squats in bank-owned, foreclosed homes. In addition, we can facilitate the #OCCUPYMIGRATION of occupiers from hostile to friendly cities. There are, for example, over ninety tents at #OCCUPYBERKELEY even though #OCCUPYOAKLAND's encampment a few miles away has been shut down. 

While the corporate-State chases symbolic tents, we can start consolidating and fortifying our outdoor encampments in friendly territory until we are strong enough to resist foreclosure. Meanwhile in cities everywhere, let's quietly set up local indoor Occupy Homes in every neighborhood. Both of these spaces just might become the bases for our Spring Offensive.

0.0 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 12,746 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 12,204 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire
Jake Johnson · 7,129 views today · When Arundhati Roy was preparing, in 2014, for a trip to Moscow to meet Edward Snowden, she was troubled by two things. One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged...
25 Mind-Twisting Optical Illusion Paintings by Rob Gonsalves
Dovas · 5,763 views today · The beautiful and mind-bending illusions in Canadian artist Robert Gonsalves’ paintings have a fun way of twisting your perception and causing you to question what in his...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 4,962 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 4,641 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
Men Loving Men
Bianca Vivion · 3,299 views today · When my father was seven he and his best friend Phil cut their index fingers open and placed them together to create a “blood pact” that they would always be brothers. To this...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 3,109 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
And After the Election, The Reaction
Ret Marut · 2,105 views today · Could there be any better illustration of the shortcomings of representative democracy than this year’s Presidential campaign? For months upon tiresome months, the whole world...
Writers Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein Talk About Journalism and Activism
27 min · 1,796 views today · Author, Activist and Former California State Senator Tom Hayden talks in depth with the author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, about the state of the fourth...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,783 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
These Incredible Stories Remind Us of Our Better Selves
36 min · 1,598 views today · #WhoWeAre is a campaign to share the stories of people whose actions show us compassion and to send a message of empathy, hope and optimism. These videos will automatically...
'The Climate of Fear Is Unacceptable' - Ken Loach on I, Daniel Blake
6 min · 1,588 views today · Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or-winning film I, Daniel Blake tells the story of a man who is denied disability benefit after a heart attack and who is then subsequently caught in a...
The Empire Vs. The People - Police Attack and Arrest Peaceful Protestors at the Dakota Access Pipeline
6 min · 1,439 views today · On October 22, just before dawn, hundreds of people, including many families, gathered and prepared to march toward the Dakota Access pipeline construction site near Standing...
The Burden of the New Story
Adebayo Akomolafe · 1,352 views today · The 'new story' - that longed for milieu when all is right with the world and things are set straight - seems to be taking its sweet time coming. Why?
Three Massive Mergers - Millions for One Bank and a Disaster for Food, Water, and Climate
Wenonah Hauter · 1,093 views today · In addition to advising on all three mega-mergers, Credit Suisse is playing a big role behind the scenes of the Dakota Access pipeline.
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 722 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 638 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Social Geographer Shows How Much of You is Determined by Where You're From
3 min · 535 views today · The Professor of Geography examines social inequality and the geodemographics of the UK, using maps created by Oliver O'Brien (UCL, CASA) in 2012 and updated in 2015. You can...
Grow Heathrow: Residents Resisting Eviction Over 3rd Runway
4 min · 506 views today · On March 1st 2010 Transition Heathrow members swooped on an abandoned market garden site in Sipson; one of the villages to be completely tarmacked to make way for a third...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
After the Encampments: #OCCUPYMIGRATION and #OCCUPYHOMES