Below is the text of a leaflet issued by News and Letters Committees members in New York.
News & Letters Committees stands in solidarity with the Occupy movements. We denounce the 1%-orchestrated forceful actions to stop our protests, from evictions at home to state-sponsored murders of innocent Syrian youth!
To help this young movement develop to its fullest, News & Letter Committees, an organization of Marxist-Humanists, offers News & Letters newspaper, created so that the voices “from below” may be heard — unseparated from a philosophy of liberation.
The viewpoints and analyses are here as much to elicit your reactions and ideas as to share ours.
Citing his priority as “health and public safety,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg justified the NYPD early morning raid on November 15 on the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park. Police removed protesters and hauled their belongings and a vast quantity of donated communal property: library books, food and sanitary and medical supplies to a warehouse. One participant carried a sign: “Sorry for the inconvenience, but we are trying to change the world.” Everywhere, others are saying: “The whole world is watching—you can’t kill an idea whose time has come!”
“Concern for public health and safety” is the weapon of choice of mayors all over the country, including Oakland, Portland and Detroit. Residents of poor and minority neighborhoods in any of these cities know first-hand that this concern is rarely applied to their daily conditions of life.By citing laws governing public space, health and safety, Bloomberg only reveals his ruling class interests.
In New York, Zuccotti Park sits in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city. Residents whined to the Mayor about inconvenience and noise, giving him the excuse to act. Meanwhile, for years NYC parents fought to make the public schools safer for their children, with little result. The city’s public housing, hospitals, child protective services, homeless shelters, jails and neighborhood parks have all been cited for gross flagrant violations and scandalous abuses in recent months. Where is the concern for public health and safety here?
From Day One, OWS – community relations have been a priority:
In a park packed like sardines, the flower beds were undisturbed.
Protesters themselves scrubbed the park and arranged for a commercial laundry to wash and dry rain-soaked sleeping bags and clothing.
They set up portable toilets and provided security for them.
When the fire marshals seized their generators, volunteers pedaled stationary bicycles to generate power.
Drumming and chanting hours were reduced out of respect for neighborhood residents.
And, importantly, they talked directly to the sanitation workers to facilitate trash pick-up from the park.
The alignment of NYC administration with the class interests of the “1%” is further revealed by its blatant abuse of power against the encampment, despite claiming that it supports their First-Amendment rights. (Will it fine itself for using loudspeakers at 1 AM? Or for inconveniencing commuters when it rerouted subways near the site?)
The city could have used its resources to help OWS keep the park clean, or could have granted ordinance exceptions for the use of alternative sites.
The strengths of OWS: its diversity, participatory direct democracy, connection to other social justice movements, and the support of hundreds of thousands outside the camp in marches, teach-ins, donations, and discussions, will not allow the movement to knuckle under to the class interests represented by the “1%.” We should entertain no illusions that the capitalist system will give up easily. Despite its power, we, too have power: numbers, experience, principles and ideas about what kind of world we want to create. Understanding that “corporate greed” arises from capitalism’s logic of transforming human relations into relations among things and to drive for more and more profit will focus our energy. Let the discussions continue!
SEND IN YOUR STORIES AND/OR JOIN OUR CLASS SERIES: Discussions on the writings of Raya Dunayevskaya, (1910-1987) Founder of Marxist-Humanism. @ Space on White, 81 White Street (S. of Canal nr. Broadway) Wednesdays, 7 PM.
Dec. 7: Organization, Philosophy, Marx’s Last Decade, and Revolution Today.
For more on the Occupy movement, please see the Lead article in the November-December 2012 issue of News & Letters: