This struggle is global! This occupation is alive!

The nature of this struggle is inevitably, unavoidably, indivisibly global. No longer do we have the luxury of thinking that there is such a thing as domestic politics. No longer do we have the luxury of thinking that there is such a thing as the middle class. No longer do we have the luxury of thinking that what happens on the other side of the world isn’t happening to us at the same time. This struggle has no country, no borders, no name, and no limits. It has one and only one theme: people have rights, bank accounts do not. This struggle is what it means to be a person living now.

The method of this struggle is living occupation. This method takes the concept of occupation from the playbook of colonialism but adds an extra ingredient that makes all the difference in the world: daily life. There is one thing which the colonizer will never give up: his private life. As a consequence, the colonizer’s only means of occupying space is by turning it into private property, i.e., a place of collective and individual death.

The deadly occupation of colonialism works by circumscribing daily life. The lives of the occupiers are circumscribed from the lives of the occupied. The circumscription of persons from one another in turn becomes the first and most fundamental step in the circumscription of life from itself. Whenever the haves are circumscribed from the have-nots: work life is circumscribed from social life, labor is circumscribed from pleasure, family is circumscribed from community, politics are circumscribed from justice, education is circumscribed from truth, and each of us cannot help but be circumscribed from ourselves.

This process of circumscribing life, which is the strategy of deadly occupation, is suicide for the occupier every bit as much as it is homicide for the occupied. Because life’s desires know no division. Because bosses need their workers more than workers need their bosses. Because even the threat of death can only delay the settling of waters to an equal level for so long.

Living occupation is the antithesis to colonialism’s deadly occupation. Living occupation works by bringing daily life back to circumscribed spaces. More than simply putting our bodies where they don’t belong, as living occupiers we live our lives where they don’t belong. We take private space and we use it for doing everything that we do in the course of our lives: talking, reading, acting, thinking, arguing, laughing, dreaming, dancing, urinating, defecating, loving, cooking, eating, building, playing, sleeping. By giving up our private lives, we return space to the public and we make room for the possibility of a life worth living. In living occupation, not only do we do everything in public; more than that, what we do, we do together as a public.

Living occupation returns us to the basic struggles that occupied persons all over the globe face as everyday facts of life. Living occupation takes the space used in the servicing of money and death and returns that space to the service of human life. Living occupation returns the community back to the center of daily life.

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About 11again

Used to be an academic... now I'm a washed up academic. I like cooking, blues music, black writers, and morally compromised people of all persuasions.
This entry was posted in Economy, Education, Food, Love, Theory. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to This struggle is global! This occupation is alive!

  1. Simpol-UK says:

    What a brilliant way to look at it. I must admit I had thought of these occupations mostly as a form of protest – to be, as you put it nicely, where we don’t belong. But you are absolutely right that it is also a form of commons occupation.

    I t is no exaggeration to say you have completely changed my perspective on the whole event. I will be sharing this with some friends who I know will be very interested in it. 🙂

  2. 11again says:

    Thanks so much! Feel free to disseminate this message in any form whatsoever! I’m not looking for attribution–I just want to help people contextualize the radical potential of this movement!

  3. Simpol-UK says:

    I have shared it around. In particular I shared it with the ‘school of commoning’ who I thought, rightly, would appreciate it. You’ve also inspired me to write my own blog piece on a similar subject. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Politics – A dirty word? «

  5. prodigiesandmonsters says:

    I think this is an interesting way of conceiving of what is actually happening on the ground in Zuccotti park, however, I do wonder how far we might think of Occupy Wall Street as an anti-/decolonial struggle. I am also wondering if you have seen this open letter/ interested in your thoughts: http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=2011100312.

  6. 11again says:

    Thank you so much for the above link! This sort of criticism is exactly what the movement needs–and I think the movement itself knows that! I don’t want to sound like a simple cheerleader; I want to sound like a nuanced, (self-)critical cheerleader!

    I totally see where the indigenous brother who wrote the piece (JohnPaul Montano) is coming from, and I completely agree with his demands. To keep going, this movement needs to keep including the excluded and our indigenous brothers and sisters have been excluded a long time! In the words of our dearly departed brother Jean-Francois Lyotard: Il faut enchaîner! We must link our movements, our bodies, and our lives together at all costs.

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