Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

Here's the unofficial report back from last night's march on the banks/federal reserve.

Let me start by saying that these bi-weekly marches/demonstrations are first and foremost intended to be a tool for outreach to the local community. They are not direct actions aimed at causing any real or substantial disruption of business. They are meant to remind locals that we ARE still here, and we ARE still pissed.

Second, I want to give some background on how these demonstrations have been planned:


Several weeks ago, OA essentially hit the 'reset' button on the process of the GA. Many people (myself included) were of the opinion that OA and the General Assembly has deteriorated into a beaurocratic nightmare and was completely ineffectual and tedious. We came to the conclusion (and brought to GA) the proposal to reset the process with the intention of morphing the General Assembly into a planning session focused on demonstrating, marching, and possibly direct actions. So here's how the new process works:

One week we have General Assembly. The first half is mostly introductions, announcements, and report backs. The second half plans the next weeks demonstrations. Each week alternates between the General Assembly and the next weeks action/demonstration. During the planning session we try to decide on a cause, a destination, a 'demand', and acceptable tactics. We recognize that during a march we can't control what other people do, but we can give ourselves the opportunity to distance ourselves from tactics NOT agreed upon by the General Assembly, therefore not getting the support of the General Assembly if someone acts grossly outside of the agreed upon tactics. All of the decisions of the next weeks march are done in a democratic process where everyone gets to vote on as many causes as they want, and the tactics are discussed and agreed upon by a 90% majority of the assembly. We also try to make some 'wiggle room' for the demonstration as we recognize that the population of the assembly may change between the planning session and the actual demonstration. (ie: routes, destinations, return trips, and unforeseen circumstances such as arrests, weather, etc.)

So about last night's march (copied and pasted from another page)

First the good:

Lots showed up. Made lots of noise. Did lots of outreach. We passed out about 500-600 flyers about the banking institution's control over our lives and government, as well as some demands we had agreed on. I'd venture to say this was bigger than last week's transportation march. I'm really glad everyone made it through the trek (I'm estimating about 5 miles or so with all the zig-zagging.) I especially liked picking up the reinforcements halfway through the march. Our 'police escort' was, I believe, around 12 cars strong on our immediate path, plus the cars that were on the neighboring blocks, and 1 helicopter.
I especially liked the fact that everywhere we went, we mic-checked to the onlookers that this was how their tax money was being spent- 12 police cruisers and a helicopter monitoring a peaceful march when there were REAL crimes happening right around the block.
At the Fed we set up temporary camp (wish we'd brought a tent) and did an open mic speak out against the Federal reserve. Everyone who wanted to speak got a chance before we packed up and started the long trek back to the park for debriefing.

The bad:

It would have been nice to have more people. There were roughly 400 flyers hung in preparation of this event, and most of the folks who showed up are already involved in the movement. This tells me that we need to continue with the bi-weekly marches and focus more on outreach.
School is starting back up next week. We need to focus on the college campuses in Atlanta (MOREHOUSE) and get more students involved.

And the worst:

We had two arrests last night. Both of the people arrested were using tactics approved by the General Assembly. One was arrested for wearing a mask (apparently a felony in Georgia unless it's a medical mask) and the other was arrested for posting flyers on city property.
My speculation is that both charges are utter bullshit. The cops were trying to intimidate us. Otherwise they'd hunt down everyone who's hanging 'lost dog' flyers and all of the attendees at Dragon Con would be subject to a massive raid...
One of our friends has been located and the legal committee is doing everything they can to get him out. The other is still MIA. We don't know his last name so it is difficult to locate him. If anyone knows anything about Phillip from PNP please contact someone from the legal committee.

Some speculation:

As we marched closer and closer to the Fed, the police presence got larger and larger. I honestly thought they would try to kettle us at the fed, but as soon as we got on the property, most of the cars left. I don't know why that is... Maybe the Fed Reserve has their own 'contractors?' I don't know...

As a reminder- the first and third Saturday of every month there will be a General Assembly in Woodruff/Troy Davis park that focuses on outreach. We hope that all affinity groups/activist organizations in the city will begin to attend these to hand out literature and find like-minded people to organize. The assembly starts at 3pm and is less structured than the Tuesday GA.


Thanks to everyone who came out, and thanks to everyone who is providing support to our friends who are, as of writing this, still in jail.

 

Comments

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

8:48 here.  So i chime in to call out a strawman argument and now I need to learn to compromise? 

Okay. Whateeeeeever you say 

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

to 8:38-

We have to find a suitable compromise with the people you don't always agree with.

Believe it or not, there's a very large majority of our population that is ok with having a police force. Most of them would agree that it's gotten out of hand, but they like the idea of having someone to call if they're in trouble.

How do we take the streets back? Gradual shift to local community policing. Compromise with people who have different ideologies than you. Focus on things like agriculture, education, and health care. That's how we take the streets back.

(btw- we've NEVER owned the streets. They have controlled everything for thousands of years. They always win by pitting their enemies against each other and watching as we fight each other.)

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

is nothing more than a very easy to burn straw man.

Anarchist revolution is not a natural disaster or a zombie apocalypse.

Although...  I remeber during Katrina (before common ground) a few of my anarchist friends drove down to New Orleans to help organize relief and etc but were stopped by police and told that if they drove any further they'd make sure they'd dissappear...

True story.

 

 

Seriously though...  How do we take these streets back from them pigs?

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

I based my comments on Katrina from my EMS friends who went down there to help administer first aid and medications to people who were dying from the lack of state help that they'd all grown to rely on.

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

Anarchists have never believed in the notion that having a majority means your opinion is the right one. You attempt to deligitimize anarchist analysis by saying that they don't have the numbers, so they couldn't possibly be right. The idea that the number of people who show up to your events shows how "correct" your analysis is is ludicrous.  Attempts to reform the system have been made for centuries, and they have all failed. There is no reason to believe they will start working now. In order to establish a horizontal society we must destroy this hierarchical one. 

"Communities taking care of their people" is not another form of policing. Policing is a specialized role, in which certain people are placed in permanent positions of authority, armed, and with the full backing of the state to commit violent acts with no reprecussions. Community accountability is entirely different thing, in which there is no supreme authority.

And your analyis of Hurricane Katrina is completely off. The cops and army where the ones destroying the community that had spontaneously formed. Goods were looted and distributed to whoever needed them, teenagers taught themselves how to drive buses and drive around the city trying to save whoever they could.  Also there was a FUCKING HURRICANE AND HALF THE CITY WAS UNDERWATER. Of course people died. The cops and national guard came in and guarded water with guns while people screamed of thirst. The police also shot 6 unarmed people, in just one incident

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danziger_Bridge_shootings

This zine has a lot of short stories from immediately after katrina detailing how far people were willing to go to help one another, and what the cops were willing to do to stop people from providing for themselves. Its always good to check multtiple sources for information about events,and not just assume the mainstream narrative is a proper portrayal.

http://zinelibrary.info/big-easy-small-window

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

@5:56

Don't assume that just because people want a gradual progression into a more horizontal society (as opposed to just hitting the reset button and figuring things out later) they are against anarchists. Most 'liberals' I've known (not all) agree with most of the tenets of anarchism but believe in a gradual process to get us to that point. I'll never admit to being an anarchist these days, what with all the dumb shit that happened in Cleveland and the federal raids of anarchists homes, but I will say a few things about it...

Idealism is awesome as a starting point, but we have to face the reality of our situation. Our society is nowhere NEAR ready for a vast radical type of change. If the system collapsed today we'd descend into chaos by the end of the month. Remember Hurricane Katrina? When the trucks couldn't make it to New Orleans the place went crazy. People who rely on medications and grocery stores starved and died. Lots of folks started killing each other. Do you want to see that happen everywhere? Do you have so much faith in people that you believe communities would come together fast enough on a massive scale to protect and feed each other?

But here's an interesting concept far from the original post- What do you think would happen if the police forces DID suddenly crash? You DO realize that most of the organized militias in this country (especially around Georgia) have FAR more extreme and oppressive plans for us than what we face today, right? Most of those folks are military-trained and armed to the teeth. Plus, they have massive stockpiles of food already saved up. First they would sit out for a couple of weeks and let us kill ourselves, then they would begin to invade and perform a much more expansive 'racial cleansing' than our system currently perpetuates. Sure, they'd face some resistance, but I think most folks would already be weak and scattered and easy to overcome.

You mentioned communities taking care of their people... Isn't that a form of policing? Isn't that essentially the same thing we have right now, just without the government oversight? What would stop the police force in parts of  Arizona to begin shooting anyone of Mexican descent on sight? And what would stop idiots like George Zimmerman from going on a rampage and shooting every dark-skinned youth he saw? At least with the system we have now there is SOME accountability. (I don't think you would find ANY objection- even among 'liberals' if the demand was for MORE accountability when it comes to police.)

The system we have right now is fucked. Many of the cops that work in law enforcement are fucked. Most of our laws are fucked. But in order to establish a more horizontal society, we HAVE to have the support of the people.

When the rhetoric is 'Let's hit the reset button and figure things out later!' most folks will turn away from you. That's why none of our demonstrations have big turn-outs. People don't agree with extremist rhetoric.

When the rhetoric is 'Let's work for progressive change!' people start listening. And if that change you present to them is logical (such as tax the rich, end the wars, use that money to fund education, health care, and agriculture) people will get involved.

That is the path to a horizontal society.

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

Marlon.  The critique still stands.  It's one I've had about Occupy in general since day one.
That is, that there are some strong liberal tendencies within occupy atlanta that hold it back and keep it's tactics, goals, and outward appearance very limited to specific demographics and unwelcoming to others who wouldn't necessarily be at odds with what they're trying to accomplish.  Either way, I agree that the police will never (nor should they) keep us safe from the things we would like to be safe from (e.g. rape, murder, etc).
I should have been more broad but chose to focus on a specific.  My mistake. 

Dee

Same anon as before.  I'm not going to apologize because I don't feel as though I was derailing the conversation but rather adding something I felt was important.

Honestly, not trolling you or trying to come at you bro.  We can't always just erupt at criticism.  Especially in a horizontal movement.  I'm just as guilty.

On the rape, murder, assault question (because i'm not sure if this is coming either from bad faith or out of a gross misunderstanding):
Anarchism is not the kind of ideology that makes excuses for rape, murder, assault, etc.
I think anarchism would instead make it possible for the people directly affected and those around them (weather it be their collective, commune, intentional community, or etc) to be central in responding to whatever act violated their autonomy and self determination.
That could take the form of restorative circles (semi-lulz), accountability processes, some sort of communal intervention, communal shaming, disassociation, etc. (just to name a few although the options are limited only by our imagination.)
Sometimes it might even be necessary and more desirable to let intensities neutralize each other.
The point is to keep the handling of these things horizontal and avoid specializing these rolls to a small number of people delegated the right to use force on others.
I believe that a lot of the "crimes" you're talking about are products of this hierarchal society.
For example, I don't believe rape is about lust or passion but rather patriarchy, rape culture, etc.  It's about power and a result of power dynamics.  Murder, gang banging, assault, theft etc. all have material reasons behind why they happen with such frequency in this society (although I should point out that the majority of our prisoners are in there for non-violent offenses.  As you've said, you have already experienced this.)
Focusing on the root causes and the social institutions, and apparatuses in place that are at the heart of reproducing the impetus behind these crimes is important to me and I think it's the only way to fully break from them.  I don't believe the police are outside of that.

I do agree with you Dee that people who are vulnerable should not have to fear these things but, two things:
1. Be careful not make victims out of these people or prop up others to act and speak on their behalf.  I'm sure they are capable of expressing their own hurts and desires.
2. Fuck the police.  The few benefits we get from their activity when measured against the negatives is not worth it.  We are all just as capable of forming something more rational and effective to deal with our problems.
I think that's both possible and desirable.
I honestly believe that if we work to dismantle hierarchy, abolish private property, and allow people to determine their lives, that the majority of "crimes" defined by this society will either cease to exist or will no longer matter.

That said, I don't believe in heaven so I'd rather not make arguments for some future pie in the sky utopia either.  I've seen many anarchists and close friends deal with some very serious issues such as sexual assault, assault, rape etc. all without using the police or becoming cops themselves - prefiguring the  ways we intend to relate to one another outside of hierarchal social relations.

Dee, if you are honestly curious and not black baiting, I'd suggest looking into how the anarchists handled these issues during the spanish revolution or checking out all the shit Kropotkin had to say about it.  I don't mean to glorify them because as I said, every situation is different so they should be handled differently, but they might give you examples of how anarchists and other libertarians have delta with these problems. (I'm not even a syndicalist)
There are tuns of articles on Infoshop, there is the Anarchist FAQ on infoshop, there are articles on Libcom, anarchist news, and zine library that all touch on this.  
A quick google search will pull up lots of reading material.

I'm not going to promis that you will find a full proof plan.  In fact, that shouldn't even exist.  I don't pretend that anarchists have all the answers.  No one does.  No liberals, not communists, not fascists or republicans.  I don't think an anarchist society will be perfect but don't hold it against us when this society leaves so much more to be desired.  I can't guarontee against murder or rape but that's not an argument against anarchism as no body can.

Now…  On to 12:19pm:
How is that red baiting if it's true?
I mean, if maoists can form a cult of personality around a mass murderer what more do you want?  People aren't obligated to be nice about how they feel toward your ideology.

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

Maoists have used rape as a political weapon in the past as evidenced by Eldridge Cleaver's memoir. There are many other historical accounts of Maoists using rape as a political weapon.

Maoists continue to use rape as a political weapon today: http://news.oneindia.in/2010/05/01/jharkhandgirl-raped-for-fleeing-maois... These people will do anything, including rape, to attain power.

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

correction to 12:19 - lonely... not loney 

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

To the Agent, Sociopath, or loney anon that posted the Cleaver quote

We are aware of how COINTELPRO works. We know the tactics. The red baiting is seriously not affecting people's organizing anymore. I doubt saying that will end your attempts to divide.

But to anyone that would read that and think a communist posted it please take 2 seconds and think about that before you lose your mind and join in on the personal attacks.

it would be great if people could focus on the point of this article and maybe a strategy to work against police presence in ATL.

 

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

1:43am

I appreciate your animosity. In fact, I'm there with you. I think rapists should be delt with and "delt with" ain't anything pretty.  That said, I don't think the comment was advocating rape but rather pointing out that it's probably not true that "we all agree" with Dee's comment because unfortunately Maoism is making a come back in atl and those authoritarians are unfortunately tolerated in some organizing circles.  I read it as a jab at authoritarian communists and not a call for political rape. 

If I'm wrong, I promise that you have this anarchist on your side with a baseball bat and I know I'm not alone.

Maoism is dead and irrelavent anyway outside of a few self centered self important assholes who flock to that tendency.

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

@8:26

Mind = blown.

Are you seriously condoning rape as a form of protest against the state?

Try to defend that to me in person... I'll show you an example of what we used to call 'Lot Justice' where I'm from...

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

While Asking Jeeves about the authenticity of that Cleaver quote (it is authentic) I found out that Eldridge did a full 360 later in life. In the 1980s he joined the LDS church, became an outspoken conservative, and ran for office at least twice as a Republican.

Maoist or Republican, cult of personality or Mormon cult - when you are statist, rapist scum the already slight differences between ideologies just wither away.

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

"I think we can all agree that rape, murder, and assault are BAD things."

I wouldn't be so sure...

"Rape was an insurrectionary act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the white man's law, upon his system of values, and that I was defiling his women – and this point, I believe, was the most satisfying to me because I was very resentful over the historical fact of how the white man has used the black woman. I felt I was getting revenge.

I started out practicing on black girls in the ghetto where dark and vicious deeds appear not as aberrations or deviations from the norm, but as part of the sufficiency of the Evil of a day. When I considered myself smooth enough, I crossed the tracks and sought out white prey. I did this consciously, deliberately, willfully, methodically."

- Eldridge Cleaver, a Maoist, in his memoir Soul On Ice p. 106

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

Thank you Marlon. That's exactly what I'm saying.

Don't get me wrong- I'm not a fan of the police by ANY means. I've been to jail at least 5 times (twice doing activism related things, 3 times minding my own business but possessing plant matter) but there are a lot of folks in society who rely on them to protect them from violent crimes.

I think we can all agree that rape, murder, and assault are BAD things. I think we can all also recognize that there are lots of folks in today's society that are completely unprepared to defend themselves against people who wish to commit those atrocieties. For them, it is good that there is at least the THREAT of a police force that theoretically protects them. (whether or not they could actually protect them is another matter.)

But the point that was made last night during the march is that in Atlanta people get beaten, robbed, and raped all the time. Why were there 12 cop cars following a peaceful demonstration when they 'SHOULD' (in the eyes of the people whom we were mic checking to) be focusing on reducing the likelihood of victim-crimes?

As a side note- I get REALLY annoyed when I write a fairly long article and someone nit-picks one little specific detail from it because it's not step-in-line with someone's ideology. It throws the conversation WAY off course and wastes time and energy that SHOULD be used to build coalitions and strengthen the movement.

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

I interpret Dee as saying that the cops are oppressing us, and not keeping us safe from the things we would like to be safe from (e.g. rape, murder, etc).

I would add that the police never will (and actually cannot) keep us safe.  But those two ideas are not at odds.

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

@ 5:01-

Rape, murder, robberies, assaults...

You know- crimes that have a perpetrator AND a victim.

But nice job getting us off topic and focusing on one single little snippet of a long post. I forgot the audience I was speaking with here...

THIS is why it's so hard to communicate with 'Atlanta Anarchists.'

You know what I meant. Why must you ALWAYS being so fucking difficult?

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

If people are being singled out for wearing masks, that means more people should be complicit in wearing masks.

There are various reasons why we wear the mask. Some of us depend on jobs we would lose if we appeared on the local news or were arrested or harassed at our workplaces. Some of us seek to act and be outside of control and for us our identies are an impedement to our desires. Some of us have legal entanglements including issues surrounding our citizenship documentation and for us arrest, even for the misdameaonor of being masked, means prolonged incarceration or deportation.

We cover our faces and conceal our appearances for the simple reason that we have no need to be identified. In this world where cameras sit on every other street corner, where the police, FBI and CIA use every chance to profile us and to build up files on our activities, where participation in social struggle or public demonstrations can compromise our freedom and ability to act in the future, we see no reason to make their jobs easier for them.

Just as we refuse to cooperate with FBI interrogations and police investigations, we’re also going to make it as hard as we can for the systems of social control to crack down and break us. Developing a practice of (partial) anonymity in situations we choose opens up space for participating in actions for folks who would otherwise be risking too much be it legal status, immigration status, or employment.

Occupiers were visited at their homes and given cititations weeks after the action on the lawn of the DeKalb Sherriff. Using video surrveillance and Facebook, investigators matched unmasked faces to profiles and made IDs.

Not only does it make profiling more difficult, but it also helps to keep people out of police custody: the Atlanta police and community snitches are having a much harder time identifying masked faces that were present at the demos in Union City, on January 28th, and July 27th in response to the routinely horrifying police violence. Wearing masks won’t get us home safely all the time, but it does disrupt routine repression and social control.

Why wear a mask at a protest?

1. To avoid media exposure. Every media camera is also a police camera. Activists have lost their jobs and their liberty because of media footage that showed them at a protest.

It is known that the media in this city is yet another vector of social control. Channel 2 was present at the J28 demo and turned over unaired film to the police.

2. To counter surveillance. Police and intelligence agencies routinely film and photograph people at political actions. Activists have lost employment and housing and liberty due to harassment visits by police.

3. To display our resistance. Wearing a mask is a manifestation of our resistance: we are enemies of all states (well, the best of us are. Others scheme to seize state power so as to become the new boss, the same as the old boss. Others still defend states and seek to reform them).

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

Downtown seems to once again be contested territory.
It's clear now judging by the past few marches that we've all lost the streets.  The police will come down hard if anyone steps foot off of the sidewalk and they have.
Anarchists had a few marches that also saw unusually heavy police presence and arrests just recently.  Even the noise demo downtown got attention which I've never seen get hassled by cops.

Unfortunately, that to me says that not only are they trying to take the streets away from us...  I'm also starting to come to the conclusion (knowing OA marches don't leave the sidewalk) that the Atlanta police are doing everything they can to keep people from protesting at all.  To maintain a sense of normalcy and keep all discontent hidden if not heavily surveilled, and managed.  

I'd advocate for an escalation rather than retreat and concessions.  While I guess it's up to all of us to make sure we don't lose ground and show those pigs who's boss, I don't have any suggestions as to how to move forward because I also don't think a massive unpermitted street march to challenge the police on this is possible right now.

I do have one painful criticism to get out though.
You said "REAL crime"?

Was it really necessary to distinguish your defiance of the law to other people who for whatever reason defy the law?
Honestly, what does "REAL crime" mean and why in all caps?  Are you implying that there is a legitimate function served by the police but that they were simply neglecting it to follow yall around instead?  Out of curiosity, would you rather they be fucking with poor people?  Busting black kids for smoking pot?  Protecting and defending private property?  Throwing women who do sex work into cages?  Harassing the homeless for simply trying to live?
You know...  basically all the shit they do when they aren't hassling activists, students, and occupiers.
In fact, why no mention of the police as the real criminals?
Or even the banks or the Fed?
That maybe what you were trying to communicate but I certainly didn't read that in this.
Honestly, just raising a criticism because I think folks should be careful not to demonize others and reproduce the fear people have of those who've been "othered" when they uncritically say these sorts of things.
It's especially suspect when it's done to lend an air of legitimacy to the people raising the criticism.
kind of like a perverted 'good protester vs. bad protester' turned into 'good citizen vs. bad citizen'
But...  take that how you will..



Anyhow...
While it's very unlikely that I'll join yall next week or ever,
Keep it real and keep that shit up!

An Atlanta anarchist

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

(Dee again)

First arrest happened around the intersection of Spring St and Ivan Allen after a group began to separate from the larger march. The deviation was not part of the original route, but seeing as how most of the assembly was heading that way (with cops in tow) the march/banner followed.

The second arrest happened near the intersection of Peachtree St and 6th St (I think.) I believe we were across the street from the 'Taco Mac' when it happened.

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

Where did the arrests take place?

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

SHIT'S FUCKED UP / SHIT'S FUCKED UP AND BULLSHIT

SHIT'S FUCKED UP / (SO) LET'S FUCK UP THEIR BULLSHIT

IGTC 10/10

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

Good looking out, Dee. Thank you for the report back.

And thank you to everyone that is still going strong after all this time. It is clear that we're going to have to keep pushing it and devising new ways of acting. Last night certainly felt new to me. It felt fresh and good.

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

Cops are leaning more and more heavily on this anti-mask law as a pretext for crackdowns.  Sooner or later we're going to have to deal with it.  It seems to me that the way they're applying it is provably unconstitutional, but I'm no lawyer.

This is a good analysis of the state law from someone else who isn't a lawyer:

https://whyweprotest.net/community/threads/georgia-anti-mask-statute-and...

Re: Occupy Atlanta's March on the Banks report back

BTW- I tried to sign the article written above, but apparently I'm too dumb to figure out how. Dee wrote this article. I didn't intend for it to be anonymous.