UPDATE I'm leaving this sticky because (see chat) I still have brutal RL issues, but it's also feeling to me like we're reaching some sort of inflection point at #OccupyWallStreet and #OccupyOakland, precipitated both by the port closure accomplished by the Occupiers, and the events around the seizure of the Traveler's Aid Society building.**
From the Barcalounger:
The port closure is more damaging to the 1%; we don't care, after all, if some Wal-Mart shelves are empty of Chinese trinkets for a day or two, but to the Powers That Be, stalled shipping containers mean a blip in the free flow of capital. However, the Traveler's Aid imbroglio is more interesting, and in two ways:
First, tactically, Traveler's Aid reinforced the official narrative of "violence," as our famously free press promptly conflated the port closure with the building seizure. Strategically, as it turns out -- predictably, though I didn't predict it -- many of the spaces the Occupiers are occupying are already occupied: They are catchments for the homeless and the very poor (MsExPat caught this very early, though I'm too rushed to find the link).
However, from 30,000 feet, it's clear that the "free market" that is no free market has completely failed in its putative social function of allocating capital; there are empty buildings everywhere, and the banksters are not maintaining them, and are bulldozing them or trying to give them away; the Traveler's Aid Building is one such. Well, how stupid and/or evil is that? When you've got people who really are going to die, if not immediately, then prematurely, because they are without shelter (see under Maslow's Hierarchy, right down there at the base) why not solve the problem by giving them shelter nobody needs?
So, strategically, I see Traveler's Aid as a problem, and an opportunity: The problem: The newcomer Occupier movement -- which is, like it or not, "downwardly mobile"*** -- is trying to occupy the same space as a permanent, though floating population of people whose needs are very immediate, and not about the self-actualization of the GA at all. Worse, the GA, though critically important, is by its nature a process that cannot satisfy immediate needs. The opportunity: Why shouldn't the Occupations who have a good GA process in place (not all do) target some foreclosed or abandoned buildings for "allocation" to those who need shelter? That would (a) create solidarity with the homeless and the poor, (b) reinforce the GA as a parallel sovereign, and (c) remind the country of how badly the 1% is doing at running the country, and the need for people to seek alternative structures.**** Oh, and (d) such a policy would answer the question "What do we do in the winter?"
UPDATE The Guardian report. Footage of the march on the port; big crowd. More on the evening. On the one hand, the Black Bloc. On the other, those who occupied the Oakland building. I love it that the Oakland bulding is called "The Traveler's Aid Society." Irony, anyone? And here is a wrap-up with thoughts on how seasons and semesters may affect the Occupations.
Readers, my RL demands are so brutal I haven't been able to focus on the Oakland General strike or the larger picture of a second Occupation "Center of Excellence" [haw] emerging on the West Coast. Here's Yves; here's the Guardian; here's Gawker; here's some hysteria from our famously free press. I haven't had time to curate twitter. What's going on?
On a quick reading, it looks like the Occupiers succeeded in bringing the port to a halt during the day; but there were more events at night. Again, readers?
NOTE ** One of the talking points is that the Occupiers set fires in the building. But their idea was to live in the building, which was, after all, abandoned, so why a fire? And I'll leave the window-smashing out of it; it's a self-indulgent, Bower Bird-like display. No Scott Olsens, these.
NOTE *** We used to call the downwardly mobile "the middle class."
NOTE **** I know the NYCGA went to the "spokes" model, but I haven't had time to look into it, so I use GA as a shorthand for whatever decision-making structure the Occupations have evolved.