Tag Archives: occupation

Reflections on ISO Critique: Response to Readers

We received a critical message regarding our piece on the SFSU occupation from a commentator named “Alejandra.”

"Liberation is a praxis: the action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it." - Paulo Freire

"Liberation is a praxis: the action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it." - Paulo Freire

As self-reflection and self criticism is just as important as criticism of others, we take these types of comments seriously and hope to continue receiving them from leftists in response to what we post on here.

Just to be clear, folks who participate and post on this blog work in coalition with ISO members (and various other tendencies we have written about) in movements against budget cuts and justice for Oscar Grant.  Our criticisms and reflections never preclude working together with these groups in the real world.

Here is the message we received from “Alejandra” (our response follows it)

Alejandra:

i´m not a member of the ISO, but i think it should be noted that this AS response fails on many accounts.

if you argued that what made Nov. 20th at Berkeley a success was a synthesis of the General Assembly with direct action, then why wasn´t the SFSU occupation proposed to a general assembly? do you acknowledge the turnout at SFSU in support of the occupation was pretty damn small? why can´t direct actions be done via the process of mass democracy (one person, one vote)?

The occupiers undercut the actual general assembly process at SFSU by making a unilateral decision. but rather than acknowledge this, you simply evade the question.

moreover, you pose a total strawman concerning democracy. nobody has every claimed that democracy means “every person has to approve something before it happens.” ridiculous! in the real world, a democratic process means a majority rules vote. couldn´t there and shouldn´t there have been a discussion and debate and vote on the occupation? if you don´t agree there should have been, you have the obligation to explain why.

lastly, it is a terrible means of debate to respond to a mild criticism with the inflamattory comparison of Corrigan´s critique and the ISO´s. what a great way to cut off discussion! if it´s true you are trying to learn from experience and not be sectarian, why have such a derisory tone and approach to other groups that,whatever your differences may be, are working in the struggle against the budget cuts?

despite all the talk about moving beyond the problems of the left, it seems to me that AS is mired in some of the worst old traditions: sectarianism and ultraleftism.

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Reflections on ISO Critique:  Response to Readers

I.  Possibility of Repression

II.  Democracy:  Theoretical Confusion

III.  Politicization

IV.  “Sectarianism” vs. Criticism

V.  Conclusion

Comrade Alejandra, first of all your response is very much appreciated!  In the spirit of comradely criticism, I’d like to point out where it’s problematic.  Primarily this emerges in two ways: a total lack of consideration for the possibility of repression and underlying theoretical confusion over the nature of democracy.  These problems, and the conflict between our two approaches in general, are important questions for this struggle; it would be much appreciated if you would continue to engage. Continue reading

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SF State CEO Corrigan and “Socialists” Attack SFSU Occupation

SF State CEO Corrigan and “Socialists” Attack SFSU Occupation

I. CEO and Socialists Share Bourgeois Notion of Democracy

II. Building March 4th Strikes: Synthesizing Diverse Approaches to Organizing

The wave of occupations at universities across California has raised the stakes of the anti-budget cut struggle while also raising questions about methods of struggle. On December 9th, SFSU students spoke with action that rang louder than any “speak-out” could as they occupied the Business building for 24 hours; in the process they galvanized a whole new layer of disgruntled students around a hopeful and inspiring

No more bourgeois control!!  This is a Class War

No more bourgeois control!! This is a Class War

project: fighting the budget cuts which attack the whole working class, starting where they are right now, at their own campus. Many students remarked that the occupation was the single most important experience of their political lives. In many cases this was the first day of their political lives.

CEO and Socialists Share Bourgeois Notion of Democracy

Teachers, faculty, campus workers, and the whole campus community are affected by these cuts. Yet some have seen it necessary to publicly condemn the occupation. Chief among these are the President of SFSU, Robert Corrigan (not a surprise), and the International Socialist Organization (kind of a surprise). Continue reading

Occupations Spread Across California

Occupations Spread Across California

Behind Every Fee Increase is a Line of Cops

Fully armed, a line of 10 swat team police marched up to the picket line. Half-stunned by their presence, the crowd of supporters hesitatingly jeered the cops. In unison and on command the pigs charged forward and shoved the picketers to the ground. Throughout the day there were various refusals to accept these attacks; they ranged from hurling verbal abuse at the cops with chants like “Fuck the Police,” to acts ofPolice Attack, Students Fight Back physical resistance such as refusing to sit down at the urging of cops and fellow protesters, to minor incidents of exchanging blows with the pigs.

Some of these bold acts of resistance were deplorable to those protestors whose go-to chants were “Peaceful protest! Peaceful protest!” as the pigs violently attacked students.  One chant was even directed to the cops themselves: “We are fighting for your kids! We are fighting for your kids!” This brings into sharp relief the widespread confusion about the role of the state in the anti-budget cut movement. Continue reading

Let’s Learn From Haiti – Occupy!

As the capitalist crisis continues, workplace occupations have been increasing in frequency. The most recent example is Haiti, where over 10,000 workers are currently occupying their workplaces in order to secure the right to a minimum wage.

In the spirit of learning from our sisters & brothers around the world, we’re posting some news reporting on the struggle in Haiti, along with an article outlining the increased number of worldwide occupations by workers, and finally a translation of an interview with Zanon factory workers in Argentina who are known for having taken over production against bosses during the Argentinian uprisings of 2001.

These examples begin to demonstrate what a developing militancy looks like – confronting the state, self-organizing production without bosses, and occupying workplaces without respect for capitalist property relations.

One can begin to imagine what a world would look like if these types of isolated examples were to be interconnected across national boundaries and combined with assemblies and councils in communities and across institutions likes hospitals and schools.

The importance of certain questions becomes clear: what type of work do we need to do to sow the seeds for this type of radically different future? What types of organization must be built to make this a reality? What type of work should revolutionaries engage in so that the struggles that currently exist may be advanced and directed towards these goals?

workplace occupation needs to become a trend

Workers Taking Over Chicago Plant

Workers Taking Over Chicago Plant

The Republic Windows factory occupation caused a stir of excitement among the left in the US. It seemed for a minute like we were going to witness a militant response from the working class to the economic crisis. Unfortunately, the workplace occupation tactic didn’t turn into a trend.

The important thing about the Republic Windows occupation is that it showed that certain methods of struggle are timeless, and that they can be embraced by people all over the world. This method was used in the 1930s with the sit down strikes and in Latin America after the 2001 crisis in Argentina.

Since almost all of the workers at Republic were Black and Latino, the occupation also showed that class antagonisms often underlie people of color’s struggles and that organizing on a class basis is a powerful strategy.

http://links.org.au/node/804