Sunday, September 25, 2011

Notes on the Tolman Occupation [Updated]
From Indybay:
As with the inaugural event of the California occupation movement two years ago -- when students barricaded themselves inside the Graduate Student Commons at UC Santa Cruz -- the occupation of Tolman Hall was both an act of material expropriation (or attempted expropriation) and an act of communication, meant to signal, to warn, to threaten and raise the alarm. . . It was both a declaration of resumed hostilities against the university and a form of communication with comrades here and elsewhere, both inside and outside the university. It was a warning directed at the small clique of arrogant, befuddled bureaucrats who run the university, as well as their armed thugs. But also a message sent to our comrades. For our comrades, the occupation was meant to communicate first and foremost a kind of excitement: Let's do this! Let's occupy everything! But behind the initial thrill it should communicate, also, a few critical lessons:

1) The first lesson is as clear as a geometric proof: Violence works. As with the threat of a two thousand person riot which freed the Wheeler occupiers on Nov. 20, defensive violence works particularly well. Faced with a group of largely passive occupiers, a group which seemed in no way prepared to resist a dispersal order, the police decided to enjoy their own capacity for arbitrary displays of power and bar the doors without giving any verbal warning. The occupiers, correctly, rushed the doors and tried to get out, pushing the cops out of the way and dearresting those whom the police grabbed. With over half of the crowd outside, the police finally secured the doors, throwing one of the last people to try and flee to the floor, bloodying his face and nearly dislocating his shoulder. They had started a riot. Outside, fewer than five officers faced off against a crowd of 30 or more in total darkness. Someone threw a metal chair at the cops. Others threw chunks of concrete and traffic cones. They chanted “Pigs just fucking try it. There's gonna be a fucking riot.” The cops were forced back into the building, at which point it seemed like only a matter of time before the crowd tore down some fencing and smashed open the doors (someone had already smashed one door). Realizing the volatility of the situation, the cops released the detainees on the inside. QED: violence works. Violence, in this case, is one of the most intense forms of solidarity. Only because of the mystification that surrounds the police, can this appear as anything other than an act of mutual aid. When a group of thugs kidnaps your friends and starts beating them, you fight back. This is common sense.

2) Second lesson: the police are the enemy. They cannot be convinced, cajoled, manipulated. They have been given orders to treat every demonstration as a criminal matter, an act of burglary and vandalism. The administration has indicated in explicit terms that only the police will deal with such situations. There will be no discussion, no phone calls or visits from the Deans. It does not matter if we have the support of the inhabitants of the building. Police are the proxy owners of the campus; they will go in and militarize occupations immediately. Unlike other places where the police might wait outside for hours or days or weeks until given orders to attack an occupation, police at Berkeley act on their own initiative, autonomously, attempting to take control of a space even before they contact their superiors. The image of officers rushing into the crowd as if they were running backs pushing through defensive line would be absurd elsewhere, but here it is par for the course. This makes the “open occupation” -- the occupation which attempts to claim space but allow for easy circulation in and out, creating a functioning autonomous space in which all kinds of activities take place -- rather difficult. It is pretty obvious at this point: we cannot be free with cops in the room. There is no struggle against fees and debt, no struggle against austerity that is not, at the same time, a struggle against the cops. We will have to find ways to physically prevent the entry of police into our occupations, unless they are politically prevented from doing so. This is our message to the administration: restrain your attack dogs or expect more riots.

3) A final lesson. This occupation failed for many reasons -- an inability to keep police out of the building, a lack of “planning for success” (ie, having clear ideas about what we wanted to do once we were inside). All of this meant, ultimately, that there were too few people to survive the first night without courting arrest. Still, as brief and disorganized as it was, the number of people entirely new to protest and occupation was incredibly encouraging. These new folks, of course, displayed a naivete that is no doubt frustrating -- wondering, for instance, why the presence of cops in the building was even an issue (they learned the answer quite quickly). But instead of engaging them, and attempting to explain what was happening, instead of attempting to help them understand the practice they were engaged in, many comrades simply left them alone, preferring to congregate with the likeminded. This is a real weakness, one we note in ourselves. It evidences a lack of patience, and a desire to avoid uncomfortable experiences that strikes us as rather prevalent in the Bay Area milieu (and prevalent, we note, in our own behavior). Our contempt for those who stand in our way, and who do so repeatedly, is good and important. But it seems we resort to contempt even when confronted with people who oppose us not out of some deep-seated ideological conviction but out of sheer lack of experience. Let's be clear: insurrection will not occur solely as the result of intentional action by a group of already committed radicals, a group of people who already display the “correct” thoughts and actions. It will occur as the result of transformative experiences -- experiences that always involve new forms of knowledge and political discourse -- and which drive people to do things they never imagined doing before. In short, we need to get better at talking. We're pretty good at fighting. We're pretty good at writing. We're pretty good at taking care of each other. But we're not so good at speaking publicly, it seems, under pressure, at the right moment. As a friend noted to us afterwards, perhaps this is because we hate leaders and fear becoming them, fear the banal acts of persuasion and oratory upon which the left thrives, and despise those who try to dominate others through such proselytizing. But saying what you think is not necessarily domination. Sometimes it's an act of friendship.
[Updated Monday 10:10am]: Check out "A Small Critique on Rhetoric," over at Gazuedro:
Perhaps it’s just rhetorical poisoning that my mind has suffered through the years by the media and the movement police, but it seems reckless to say, carte blanche, that “violence works.” This is not an ethical criticism of the argument, but rather a concern for the lack of clarity portrayed by this rather brief statement. I would take it, the “critical lesson” is that given the imminent political force of the crowd outside, and the aggressiveness of the police, the use of violent force to circumvent further atrociousness from the police was effective, worth the risk, and justified. Perhaps more importantly, that as a tactic, it’s easily justifiable to a community critical of police brutality against students who were merely demonstrating, and was thus something that might help bring a community together. I bring this up only to say that this argument isn’t given a fair chance by the brevity of the original statement (i.e. violence works) or by the dramatic and defiance-infused description of events that took place. In short, does all “violence work?” No of course not, it depends on the situation. It’s clear that this statement is a reaction to the moral condemnation of what happened, but as you realize, the problem with moral condemnation is its outright ignorance of how nuanced the issue is; and how general sweeping statements (i.e. moralisms) are aggravating excuses for failing to think critically. The approach of this argument falls under that same trap of being too general.

Similarly, stating “the police are the enemy,” seems a little extravagant. Certainly they often hold the role as the enemy, and are physically present to disable you from being effective. But the police are not the capitalists. The police are (massive) obstacles that must be dealt with. They are often the racist fuckers that shoot unarmed black men face down on the platform, but they are not the ones that solely perpetuate the system of oppression. If you’re purpose is to explain to the uninitiated that the police are not our friends, then you’re a folly of your own third lesson: failing to engage a diverse crowd the right way. An argument like this won’t reach folks. This kind of message, by far, is a lesson best learned through direct action: through the realization that your attempts to make the world better (and thus by extension communize) will be struck down with a baton every time if you fail to organize yourself to resist. This statement does help justify the event for those who were present, but it stops short of contextualizing the power structure thats at fault. It’s most certainly frustrating to have people constantly defend the police and absolve them of any wrongdoing, but the medium to change that won’t be in a brief communique.

I think generally, insurrectionary rhetoric like this overuses hyperbolic language and exaggeration. It usually comes off as grating rather than evocative of romantic adventurism and adrenaline-infused, humbled righteousness. I really appreciate the perspective and analysis though -- for which y’all should be much lauded.


  1. The series of occupations that pride themselves on spontaneity and present no coherent political message to anybody beyond the "anti-everything anarchist petty-bourgeois" are destined to fail. In fact, as this article correctly points out, they already have.

    In this sense, it seems as if the Occupy Everything movement is TRYING to fail. By refusing outright any attempts at organization, it is digging its own fetters. Administration and UCPD officials across the state are no doubt thrilled that the movement is steadfast in its confused, naive opposition to winning.

    The enemy is well-organized. They have deep-pockets, the support of the twin big-business political parties, immense physical coercive power in UCPD (not to mention the national guard, if it ever comes to that, which it certainly will), a network of spin-doctors that maintain close ties to corporate-controlled media to ensure that all media coverage is hostile to the plight of students/working people, and a myriad number of other advantages over the student movement of which we are all aware.

    History has shown that there is only one way to overcome these seemingly insurmountable difficulties: establish an effective, democratic organizing committee structure in which representatives are chosen to carry out the day-to-day requirements of building an effective movement but are directed by participants in public assemblies, in which decisions of political importance are made democratically and effectively.

    Only when we organize can we stop this terrible roll-back of all social gains that had been won by our parents and our grandparents since the Last Great Depression. We are, as we all recognize, watching our world change quickly and for the worst. Are we going to let our (legitimate and necessary) anti-establishment hatred prevent us from recognizing that the only way to halt the violent, inhumane waves of austerity and privatization is to create a new, democratic organ through which we can effectively coordinate and lead the struggle?

    This is what we need. Through this organ, we can present non-participating students and working people with a radical, pragmatic, non-opportunistic example of effectiveness. Through this organ, we can win.

    This is a necessary understanding: If we do not win a battle soon, we will be drowned out and lose our opportunity to serve as barriers in the urgent fight against austerity.

    Tired of losing and being humiliated by the murderers in blue and bureaucrats in ties?

    It's time to organize.

  2. I really have no idea what you mean with your war language. It's as contentless and vapid as your notions of democracy. Sure we are at war, but what battles do you think we need to win soon? The Dream Act? Getting someone fired? "Refunding California"? The only battle to be won is the war.

  3. I'm not ethically opposed to violence and certainly tactically support it in plenty of situations (including this one), but your Sorelian fixation on violence here is quite dangerous and, I might add, petty bourgeois as fuck. There has yet to be a riot on any UC campus in the current round of struggles. If you think what happened at Tolman was a riot, then we have verrrrry different conceptions of what that term denotes.

  4. Do you have any idea what you're advocating when you call for violence? This is dangerous, dangerous talk. You're going to get your friends maimed or killed. This moneyed elite that controls UC now has no heart. They would like nothing more than to bash heads to show their investors that their assets are safe.

    To "reclaim uc": It was truly irresponsible to run this piece.

  5. @BronwenRowlands:

    The piece was posted on Indybay and we thought it was interesting, so we reposted it. Reclaim UC is a collective project that tries to incorporate multiple points of view, as long as their position is one of confrontation against the UC administration. For example, we've posted insurrectionist stuff like this, but also were following the UAW elections. Also, it's worth pointing out that the piece is not a "call for violence" but an analysis that tries to work through what happened the other day at Tolman hall. If you're so upset with it, why not propose an alternative one instead of calling us "irresponsible"? As you know, that's exactly how the UC administration sees and treats student protesters.

  6. Violence does NOT work. It is the language the corporate state understands, and it's what they want from us. The language of peaceful protest (like occupying Tolman Hall) is utterly alien to them; it drives them batshit, which is exactly where we want them. (Paraphrasing Chris Hedges in his interview at the Wall Street occupation yesterday. Watch the full interview.)

  7. Chris Hedges at Occupy Wall Street:

  8. A few points. . .

    to the first commenter. What makes you think the occupation of Tolman Hall wasn't organized? The events of the day came out of multiple meetings between all kinds of groups, tons of work propagandizing, making flyers, organizing meetings, forums, etc. It's typical for people to point at occupations and say: those people don't do any work organizing! But, in fact, the occupiers are the same people who do the work of running meetings and stapling flyers. They may disagree with you about a "democractic body"

    As for the Gazuedro response -- I'm not sure we have the same understanding of English grammar. "Violence works" is not the same as "all violence is good" or "all violence works." Similarly, saying "the police are the enemy" does not mean "they are the only enemy" or "they are the real enemy." If you want to argue with your own idiosyncratic interpretations of words, that's cool. Not sure how useful it is, though.

    As for the Sorelian comment, haha. You've obviuosly never read any Sorel. I have, and can recognize how different betweeen this argument -- which is about the tactical effectiveness of violence in a particular situation -- and his. Also, you might look up riot in the dictionary. . .

  9. Also, Bronwen, are you fucking serious? Did you pay attention to the pacifist plaza occupations of Madrid, which accomplished absolutely nothing whatsoever? I'm glad that this is happenin, and I think it promises the possibility of something important. But sitting around in a park and getting peppersprayed by the cops while sending out tweets about how we're really all on the same side is unlikely to accomplish much. . . The comparisons to Tahrir square are more than ludicrous I guess the American amnesia-machine makes it impossible to remember the part where they fought off the state's armed thugs with rocks and barricades. Talk about petit-bourgeois.

  10. "Violence alone, violence committed by the people, violence organized and educated by its leaders, makes it possible for the masses to understand social truths and gives the key to them. Without that struggle, without that knowledge of the practice of action, there's nothing but a fancy-dress parade and the blare of trumpets. There's nothing save a minimum of readaptation, a few reforms at the top, a flag waving: and down there at the bottom an undivided mass, still living in the middle ages, endlessly, marking time." Frantz Fanon The Wretched of the Earth "Spontaneity: Its Strength and Weaknesses"

  11. Rebel 2: Students hardly qualify as the "masses" as Fanon defined them.

    To the Sorel authority: obviously I was being hyperbolic, but this piece does dangerously skirt the line between tactical considerations in a concrete situation and valorization of violence tout court.

  12. Dear Bronwen,

    I feel pretty confident that the language that the corporate state understands best is voting, petitions, and stirring appeals, since they seem to object to those not at all. Indeed, the language they understand best, in so far as it is their native language and they use it every hour, is the language which delegitimates any violence but their own, assuring their absolute monopoly. Which is to say, alas, that you are the language of the corporate state.

    But perhaps we had best inquire as to whether it is desirable to speak a language that the corporate state doesn't understand? After all, if I declare in an untranslatable tongue that I am free, am I then liberated? Do I need not go to work tomorrow if I am able to speak in a language unknown to the corporate state? I would suggest that rather than some utterly vaporous and vapid vision of alterity with no material grounding, we may indeed need to be very well understood by the corporate state; they will need to understand, after all, that they can't continue to do what they have been doing.

    The Paris Commune made two mistakes. They did not seize the banks, nor did they send their forces straightaway to attack the Versaillaise before they were able to rally their own and Prussian forces. That is to say: it is precisely by failing to speak the language the state understands that the Commune was lost. These are different times, but not a different world.

  13. Of course the UC students don't "qualify" the masses as Fanon described them, especially since the University is continuing to make it more and more difficult for minority and poor students to get there (and remain there until graduation and get employment). This does not mean that they are unable to recognize this inequality, nor that they need not do anything about it. If you do read this article by Fanon, ask yourself once again why I posted this quote.

  14. (this is my first post on this thread)

    "As for the Gazuedro response -- I'm not sure we have the same understanding of English grammar. "Violence works" is not the same as "all violence is good" or "all violence works." Similarly, saying "the police are the enemy" does not mean "they are the only enemy" or "they are the real enemy." If you want to argue with your own idiosyncratic interpretations of words, that's cool. Not sure how useful it is, though."

    Actually, what I think it idiosyncratic is your understanding of how people understand what they read. Personally, my gut reaction to reading this post was exactly as was described at Gauedro: violent works = we should use more violence, generally speaking; the police are the enemy = they are the one's toward whom we should direct our violence.

    Few people read phrases like "Violence works" and say to themselves, "Does this mean violence always works? Works sometimes? Works in certain situations? Worked in this situation?" They go with whatever meaning occurred to them first. And the meaning that occurred to me first is exactly the one described by Gazuedro. And, even if this reflects insufficient understanding of grammar, as you allege, that actually is beside Gazuedro's point. The point is that you have to know how to communicate effectively, and that means knowing how people are going to understand what you've written, regardless of your intentions, and regardless of whether you think their reading of what you've written was careful enough.

  15. Wow, the politics of this piece are horrendous. In response to the assertion that the people who "organized" the occupation helped to the organizing for the 22nd (posting fliers, etc.):

    Actually, in fact to my knowledge none of the people who led the Tolman action did any significant outreach at all for the 22nd. I was on the outreach committee and didn't see them sign up for one classroom announcement, show up even once to the dozens of nights we went fliering, pass out fliers at Sproul even once.

    In short, as usual, a small group of people unilaterally organized a premature action that alienated the hundreds and thousands of UC workers and students that we should be organizing if we want to build up to real direct action: i.e. a statewide strike to win our demands.

    The only people that could label the 22nd a success are people who never talk to non-radicals, and thus have completely failed to realize that the UC administration LOVES IT when there are confrontations with small groups of activists because it is precisely this that allows them to isolate the struggle by PAINTING US AS VIOLENT (which, of course, is bullshit. but most people don't see it this way, and wearing bandanas and carrying shields and organizing small occupations doesn't help combat this perception).

    At this point, I would argue that the tiny clique of people who look at occupations not as a tactic to advance mass struggle, but as a necessary step at every single protest, independently of existing conditions, are one of the central reasons why the movement at UCB has not moved beyond a small group of radicalized students (plus a few workers).

    People who are serious about class struggle should stop thinking that they are going to magically spark a movement through spectacular actions, and should start doing the unsexy, but necessary work of outreach, (democratic!) organization, and (mass!) mobilization that can actually win.

  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  17. Actually, the "resistance social" was NOT able to democratically decide on what the exact plan/content of the action would be, but was was only generously allowed to approve giving the "action committee" (which was a self-selected group to which not everyone was invited) approval to organize an "open occupation." So there was no democratic decision over choosing Tolman hall (what a terrible tactical location!) or whether there should be a bunch of people in bandanas leading the march, or whether we should actually go inside given the heavy police presence, which made an open occupation impossible. In short, the decision of "resistance social" was NOT respected -- there was no open occupation. True, this was due to the police, but by now we should expect the UC police to act the way they did, and should make necessary tactical adjustments, don't you think? I don't think "security/secrecy" should continue to be privileged over democracy in the movement.

    moreover, your last post completely failed to respond to the key point I made: actions like the 22nd ALIENATE instead of MOBILIZE the exact hundreds and thousands people who at this moment should be active and conscious participants in the struggle. Feel free to respond.

    I think problem is that most people who fetishize "reclaiming space" simply do not have perspective of actually organizing a mass movement, so it doesn't matter to them if their actions are counter-productive in this respect.

    lastly, thank you for posting fliers.

  18. We had these arguments in 2009. Your side claimed that occupations were adventurist opportunisms which alienated the mass of students. Then came the success of the library occupations, and finally Wheeler Hall on Nov. 20th, now inarguably the key moment in the entire political sequence, which proved, definitively, that these actions motivate and galvanize. Everyone agrees in retrospect that not only was this one of the greatest moments of solidarity and visibility for the movement, but the reason why the UC was spared the axe in the next round of budgeting. And of course, afterward, those who had opposed the Wheeler occupation changed their tune and took credit for it. (I'm sure you'll do the same this semester as well).

    As you know, the intention with Tolman was to open up a space for organizing and "mobilization" (though I dislike this term) a space from which we could bring in new people. (Because, despite your repeated assertions, there has never been an argument about a mass movement vs. a non-mass argument, only disagreements about how one does this). This failed, of course, because we did not have enough people to hold the space overnight. But do you think some other action would have been more successful at mobilizing -- please be specific? I talked to many people from the occupation the next day, especially the students new to our movement-- they were not alienated by what happened at all but upset it and ready to keep fighting.

  19. I will say that there is an important disagreement here. You think that the "resistance social" should have made the decision about whether or not to go inside. But why? Why shouldn't that decision be made by those who were there, as it was? Do you want the organizing meetings to hand down a set of commandments about how people should act, what decisions they should make? And, again, tactical discussions were had, and tactical adjustments *were* made, both before and during. The people who were actually in the occupation spent the last couple of hours discussing the tactical situation. Would you have preferred they worked with a playbook established by the organizing meetings? Careful, your predilection for bureacratic (er, I mean "democratic") centralism is showing.

  20. A few thoughts:

    1) So your assertion that "our side" always opposed occupations is, at best, misinformed and, at worst, a conscious attempt at slander. The socialists, without exception, voted for at the general assembly the day before, supported, and actively built Nov. 20 all day, against the cops. And in the case of the Library actions and Live Week, we also participated inside (same goes for UCSC). Our view is that occupations are a tactic, which is why we support some, and have voted against others. We are in favor of mass direct action, not "direct action" of tiny groups, which open us up to needless repression.

    It was the "other" occupations and "direct actions" of small groups (the chancellor's house, etc.) that we opposed and, for good reason: these were largely responsible for ending the momentum/mass support built on Sept. 24 and Nov. 20th...

    2) I'm all for democratic decisions in the moment of actions. So why wasn't it put up to a vote whether to enter Tolman or not, given the police presence? In that case, we could have discussed it out, given the people participating a chance to decide, etc. I'm sure your response will be that we can't vote these things out because then the cops will block the doors, etc. But the cops were blocking the doors anyways... I don't think secrecy should take precedence over democracy. Our force is in numbers.

    Moreover, by breaking with the decision to have an open occupation (which was impossible from the second the cops were blocking the doors) you split up the 200 people on march, into about 50-75 who were inside (at first), from the similar amount outside who didn't feel comfortable risking arrest or support charging past the police. why should the 50 folks inside get to decide everything in the place of, and instead of, everyone else? how is that democratic? by the way, in case you didn't notice, many of the rank and file workers were obliged to stay outside, thus dividing students (including grad students) from other workers.

    3) I do think it is a basic democratic method to let organizing bodies decide ahead of time what plans/actions they are organizing for the day. What's the point of having votes and plans if other people will consciously disrespect them? Of course, plans need to be flexible and, in those cases, changes/decisions should be put up to a vote of the crowd (before it splits), don't you think?

    4) What other action would have been better on Sept. 22? Break out groups on some peaceful lawn to start planning for a strike in November would have been certainly the most useful thing to have happened. Unfortunately, we were not given an opportunity to even make this proposal, given that the actual plans for the day were not allowed to be discussed by the organizing body as a whole.

  21. Well, it's obvious that you weren't even there (for instance, the cops weren't blocking the doors: watch the videos). If you're interested in having a conversation about some fantasized series of events, I can't help you.

    You seem to have a weird sense of what "open occupation" means. All it means is that people can come in and go out -- as they did all day. . .The building was open to staff, faculty and students and the cops never blocked the door until the very last minutes. I'm sorry if you hallucinated some impediment to entry but we were there all day talking, having meetings, eating food. Where were you? At home preparing your banal speeches?

    Breakout groups on the lawn, ok. Really? You think more people would have participated in that than participated in the meeting inside the occupation (where, yes, people discussed November). Pretty doubtful. . .

  22. First off, there were more than 50-75 people at the beginning of the occupation. But your question is a good one -- why should these people get to decide whether or not to occupy? In this case, the answer is simple: *because they are the ones doing it*, and because the occupation had no harmful effect on those who chose not to participate (and, furthermore, it was agreed upon by the resistance social -- whether it was a satisfactory agreement is beside the point; the decision was clear). In any case, I don't believe in majority rule. Majorities support all kinds of stupid, offensive and violent things -- things I will continue to oppose, even I'm the last one. Majoritarianism isn't socialist. It's liberalism.

  23. i was at the meeting before the wheeler occupation of nov 20. the above poster is right. most of the socialists in the room opposed the occupation but they lost the vote. the next day, after it was a success, they claimed credit for it. typical opportunism.

  24. as someone who carried a book shield, has participated in a lot of the organizing and planning with the resistance social, and who doesn't agree with all of the assertions of the original post, i want to respond to some of the more inflammatory (and well rehearsed) criticisms against those who organized the tolman occupation.

    first, on the question of doing outreach. part of why those of us in the action committee did less outreach than those in the outreach committee was that we weren't in that committee.... we had a lot of work to do w/ the rally, march and occupation (all of which were agreed to at the resistance social). but it's not true to say that we didn't give any classroom presentations (i gave two), that we didn't flier (many of us did), or that we didn't speak to non-radical students (an absurd thing to say -- we do every day, about fee hikes, the demos, etc.). some of us are also organizing classroom presentations through the grad student union, and organizing with grad students (many of whom are not inclined towards protest in any form).

    about the decision to go in the building when the cops were there. of course the cops were there. this is to be assumed at all actions on campus; and, given the UCPD's current approach to policing, it's hard to imagine an open occupation on campus not involving a heavy police presence inside and out. of course, we can try in various ways to compel the police from our spaces, but there are certain challenges associated with such attempts...

    about the question of democracy vis-a-vis the occupation. we had these discussions directly and openly in the resistance social, and the group overwhelmingly voted for an open occupation, and for allowing the action committee to take into account the concerns of the group but to decide on the location. all were invited to action committee meetings, and many came.

    about the decision to go to tolman. given the support that materialized from staff and grad students in the building on the day of, it would seem to have been a good choice.

    on the question of alienation. this is one of those wholly unverifiable assertions that always gets brought out when the one making the criticism felt alienated from the action. judging from the responses from the faculty (many liked the book shields), from the grad union (all of whom endorsed a solidarity statement yesterday), and other sectors, this seems like it might not be such a problem for us at this moment... but saying that it is will do more to make it a reality than will holding an inspiring occupation, in which political discussion takes place, people care for each other, we talk with student activists in chile, we make open, collective decisions, we get decent media attention (and far more than would a rally), etc.

    finally, i just want to say that i hope some of these dissatisfactions are brought directly to this wednesday's resistance social meeting, and we are able to talk through them as a group, in addition to anonymously on comment threads. there is a lot that went right last thursday, and there are forms of cross-sectoral and cross-factional coordination that didn't really seem possible two years ago, but that are going on right now. i hope we can continue, and build mass, militant, actions through the rest of the fall and beyond.