Oakland: Occupy movement seeks links with the working class

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Leo
Oakland: Occupy movement seeks links with the working class
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Oakland: Occupy movement seeks links with the working class. The discussion was initiated by Leo.
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Leo
Oakland Strike article

Just a note on the numbers from wikipedia: The number of protesters marching to the port has not been confirmed. While police estimate 7,000 people marched, local organizers [62] and participants [63] put the number somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_Oakland#November_2:_General_strike)

L

baboon
Very positive movement here.

Very positive movement here. To be frank I did not think that it would take off and would turn out to be a demoralising damp squid! But this is a good step forward as the intro says and indicative of the potential strengths and needs of the movement world-wide.

jk1921
I fear that this is a little
I fear that this is a little too enthusiastic, in particular the claim that the movement has "sought links with the working class." I am skeptical about that. I think that the general strike idea is seen as but one tactic among many, part of the movement's overall tactical pluralism. The working class is seen as just one possible subjectivity among many others (students, etc.) The flying picket is equated with "street parties." We should be careful not to impose our categories and understandings on this movement. Calling for a general strike might look to us like a real step towards the working-class, but I am not sure the movement seems it in these terms. Just as the critique of "capitalism" looks impressive to us, but not much when you realie that to many "captialism" just means the banks.

Its true the events in Oakland have a somewhat more "labor oriented" flavor than elsewhere, certainly more than New York, but I think this has to do more with local conditions, the weight of the unions in Oakland, more than any real recognition on the part of the Occupy movement that it needs to "go to the working class." The predominant sentiment is still anarcho-pluralism; there is still a real fetishism of action. If you read the call by the GA, you will notice that nowhere does it mention the need to discuss, reflect and analyze. Its all about "doing something:" Form an affinity circle, march with friends and family, etc. Its as if the need to figure out what we are marching for is secondary. There is a latent form of substitutionism lurking here.

Anyway, I think we need much more than "secondary criticisms." We also need a better understanding of the role of the unions in this "general strike." Could this have happened without the permission of the unions?

Pierre
WR349

I personally found a few contradictions within the text. I think those contradictions make the piece seem as though its trying to accomplish too much. I heard the cdes say we need to maintain the correct "critical distance" when we go to the press with these things.

I liked the part where it states, "We are only just glimpsing the potential for a real mass movement against capitalism, and it is dangerous to mistake the infant for the fully-grown adult.” But, I don't think this was expanded on to the degree it should have been. Although most of us understand it as granted, many are still confused about the class nature/orientation of these protests.

My understanding of Oakland is that it was a "mass demonstration" (~20,000-100,000 seems correct). In the US socio-economic rhetoric there was homeless to working poor to middle class worker and up. It was sort of a typical protest for the States, although it had a congealed political, economic and class orientation. I think we've seen evidence that its a reaction by the elements of the US working class, mostly. Noncontextual "class instinct" maybe. It happens here occasionally as a protest to government measures, usually bolstered by foreign wars. 

One thing that we should note is that 20% of the teachers in the area called in sick that day. This is a positive step. However, what basically happened looking back, is that the mass protest marched to the pier, which relieved the workers of their duties that day. Its apparently some union contract they negotiated some time ago. So because of this, and other things, we can't really come to the line that capitalism is being “widely identified as the source of poverty, wars, and ecological disasters."

If capitalism isn't being seen as the source of repression, we need to understand the scapegoats that are commonly viewed as responsible for social conditions. This is so we can better clarify why, of course, capitalism itself is the enemy as usual. We also need to make sure we give an accurate, internationalist perspective on these issues as it relates to the class globally. This I feel would help expose premature confrontation more clearly. Which workers are struggling? Whats motivating them? Whats the nature of the struggle? Is the struggle defensive? Just some questions we should be asking..

-[]D[]D*

 

soyonstout
steps forward, steps back

Unfortunately, the folks involved in the Oakland events have not said too much thus far since the first week in which the "general strike" took place.  Besides arguing about black block vandalism, there hasn't been much analysis on libcom or too many other places in terms of what sort of long-term effect this will have on the working class' confidence to struggle.

My own opinion about the general strike calls is that while expressing a somewhat more positive dynamic, the Occupy movement is still obsessed with confrontation, "revenge," and discovering some kind of single act that can "show them we mean business" even though, if we're only up for 1 day of action, we don't really "mean business."  The part of the US working class with experience of struggle and/or stable employement has so far only been "up for" effective strike action for a day or so, and usually retreats  when such action is ruled illegal, and revolutionaries and Occupy activists would do better, I think to ask why that is, more than focusing on economic disruption or shutting down ports.  If the general strike day had involved sending delegations to other workers under fire in Oakland (I don't know the specifics but the Post Office would be an obvious choice), to protest upcoming cuts, layoffs, contract attacks, I think this would have been much more positive than forcing a port shutdown (which in Oakland, as a cde who lives there frequently says on libcom, is done in a symbolic way using a contract loophole by leftists somewhat predictably).  Part of the problem JK identifies--even some of the 'anti-capitalists' in the Occupy movement are interested in the working class mostly for its disruptive, rather than its constructive power--by and large they are not posing the question of class power, even when they turn to the working class.  The working class is not seen as the establisher of a new social order but because only as the most effective restraint on the current one, or at least the best agent for revenge against the bourgeoisie.  But the working class as a whole is largely uninterested in revenge both at the current juncture and historically as a class--it's interest is in concretely defending its living and working conditions.  For whatever reason, the US working class does not see how to do this, and likewise, the Occupy movement (all but a tiny tiny tiny minority of even the 'revolutionaries' involved in it) don't have this same understanding of what motivates the working class to struggle, despite whatever instincts they may have about how much the working class could potentially hurt the bosses.

In MN, anti-eviction actions have sprung up (see http://vimeo.com/31770485), and recently the Dallas Occupy movement has called a general strike, but again, on the same voluntarist terms (see http://occupydallas.org/dallas-calls-general-strike-nov-30th ).  I think in response to these calls, while praising the instinct to turn to the working class, we need to insist somewhat sharply on how the voluntarist 1-day general strike decided by the Occupying movement is still quite far from the mark in terms of building the self-confidence of the working class to struggle.  In this respect, I think what we said during the WI general strike call still holds: "The US has not witnessed a general strike in years, making the slogan’s appearance in Wisconsin surprising at best and mystifying at worst. Despite the image of power the call for a general strike conjures, we must ask what a general strike would look like or accomplish if it allowed the unions, which had already agreed to carry out attacks on the working class’ living conditions, any leadership role. In the past two years throughout Europe, the unions have called national general strikes against austerity measures presented as solutions to state debts, and have led them all to defeat. Just last fall in France, 14 general strikes led by the “radical” CGT and other unions, as well as oil blockades, were unable to block the passage of pension reform, and the only significant movements for self-organization and class-wide struggle were all conducted in direct opposition to even the most radical of the unions. The trouble is that the ‘general strike,’ as a planned, mass walkout of all the workers, is a tremendously ambiguous slogan. Who is to call the strike? Who will run it and decide how long to stay out, how to picket, and how to spread it? If weeks of strikes and demonstrations throughout a France far more heavily unionized than the US were unable to stop pension attacks last fall, what would come of one-day general strikes or ‘Days of Action’ by American unionized workers, who make up less than 12% of the American workforce in the first place?  In contrast to the “general strike” slogan, for the workers to defend themselves they need to develop a dynamic similar to what Rosa Luxemburg called the “mass strike" a wave of strikes which is not planned for a single day or period of time. In the mass strike, both unionized and nonunionized workers from various sectors enter the struggle for their own demands and the demands of their brothers and sisters in struggle. The dynamic of the mass strike always seeks to widen the extent of the movement and collectively develop its goals and demands. Such a movement...would develop the combativeness, creativity, and confidence of the working class on an unprecedented scale, making workers all the more ready to defend themselves in the future..."

At the same time, I think the imagination of those present is moving in almost the right direction, but I think we should continue to say that focusing on solidarity first and moving the spotlight away from confrontation is the only way to really involve the working class at work as anything more than (disobedient and deserting) industrial footsoldiers.  What do others think of that?  The other question that brings up of course is the very likely fact that this part of the working class is at something of an impasse, having seen its strikes of the 80s end in defeats, downsizing, automation, and plant closures and is perhaps, on a gut level, as convinced as the ICC is of the impossiblity of lasting reform under this system.  Will it be possible for the working class, in this state, to break out into mass movements without first regaining the capacity to defend itself?  This is the question posed by the "general strike" call I think.  Whether the road for the working class is a return to combativity in defense of its living and working conditions and more and more massive class confrontations around this, or whether the working class can simply take charge of somewhat interclassist social movements after a decade of many defeats and an only recent emergence from the passivity of the 90s and early 2000s.  Does that make sense?

apologies for strange formatting issues

soyonstout
economism

I wanted to also say that I realize my questions perhaps might be accused of a kind of economism, but my feeling is that the economic struggles of the class have only recently restarted and most workers with much connection to the workplace and the reproduction of capitalism are still quite terrified of risking their jobs to struggle, whether for political or economic goals.  WR said somewhere (in an early ICC quote that left quite an impression on me), "a class that can't defend itself can't make a revolution."  I suppose this is the question I'm asking--how to build toward a balance of forces where the working class is actually able to hold back (at least temporarily) the attacks of the state and capital)

Crisanto
What we can expect from the Occupation movements?

What is positive of the occupy movents in USA is that it "inspired" hundreds of thousands of people of almost 100 countries. But "inspiration" to struggle is not enough. What is more important is to have a collective discussions of what really is the enemy of the "99%"? How to overthrow this enemy and what will be the alternative? There is no general unity among the occupiers of what are the answers. What unified them is to protest.

Working class movement can show them the way. Unfortunately this movement is generally still in the sideline or worst afraid to particpate, particularly in USA.

How about the revolutionary organizations? We are very small and scattered. Internationalist proletarian milieu still have to coordinate their interventions in the class struggle, particularly in the recent "social" movements. Nevertheless, all revolutionary organizations tried their very best to intervene, to help in showing the right direction of the struggle despite the fact that only a tiny minority listen to us seriously, and a small fraction of this minority might be convinced.

What we can expect from this movements? We can't expect more than what it is at the moment. Maybe in the next round of struggle we can get "more inspiration" for our intervention.

jk1921
The question of the class

The question of the class nature of these movements is important and it is not surprising that this causes a lot of confusion. We saw this also during the Arab Spring. Are these working-class movements? Movements of part of the class? "Generalized social revolts"? What does it say about the nature of the period that the movements we are seeing are taking these sorts of confusing forms?

jk1921
Good Point

internasyonalista wrote:

What we can expect from this movements? We can't expect more than what it is at the moment. Maybe in the next round of struggle we can get "more inspiration" for our intervention.

That's a good point. Should we even expect a movement this confused and this dominated by electic activism to "seek links with the working class"? Are we even at that moment yet?

kollwitz
hello there while i agree

hello there

while i agree with the obvious importance of keeping sober in face of a movement that has since th ebeginning showed dangers and weaknesses of a very important kind, and while i agree with the urgency of pointing out exactly what the dangers and weaknesses are (as we have done in this forum and in our press), i do not think that the initiative around the oakland general strike grants us to formulate the criticism some of us have about the occupiers motivations and view of the working class as a tactical instrument.  yes, it's true that the movemnt has not either started nor developed on a class terrain.  it's true that it rather turned to activists and organizers instead of creating lonks with the working class from the start, and it's true \, as soyonstout points out, that the call for a general strike is fraught with dangers when it is not in the hands of the working class.  but what do comrades make of the expression of solidarity that the occupy oakland wrote in case disciplinary actions occured at a workplace or school where someone wanted to be part of the strike?  they said they would interven in defense of the striker, in a similar style as the neighbor committees used to do against evictions during the great depression.  it seems to me that this is a show of solidarity, not a 'tactic' of sorts.  in the call by occupy oakland there is also a reference to the 'world-wide' dimension of these movements and the necessity to defend it, along with a call to no cuts to education and libraries.  and further, why would many of the workers in oakland decide to join the call to general strike?  is it possible that there is a beginning of an identification of a class terrain and class demands?  yes, it's necessary that we identify the limitations and dangers, but should we not also say that this is a step in the right direction, and point out how to capitalize on it (encourage neighborhood committees, the creation of discussion groups, strengthen th elinks with the working class)?  what would cdes write in a leaflet or open letter to the occupy movement to help it see its pitfalls and forge a way forward?

jk1921
Hmm, those are good points

Hmm, those are good points Kollowitz makes. I agree that this movement is important. The expressions of solidarity--no matter how "forced"--are indeed a very positive rejection of the increasing trend in society towards "each for himself." Its really important that this is happening in the U.S. where up until recently, the bourgeoisie was executing a concerted anti-solidarity ideological campaign through the Tea Party without much resistance. Still, I think my concern is that we try to keep a perspective and not impose our categories on what is a very complex phenomenon. To say that the events in Oakland marked a desire "to seek links with the working class" seems to read too much Marxism into a movement that for whatever it is, is not primarily concerned with the struggle between classes. Its about the 99 percent versus a parasitic caste of bankers and international financial institutions. That doesn't mean that this movement overrall is not a step in the right direction, but I don't think we can understand it through the same lens as other previous movements. This movement is marked by important differences (some of them coming from the U.S. context) from even the events in Spain, the anti-CPE movement, etc.

jk1921
Looks like the state is

Looks like the state is making another attempt to disperse the occupations in a number of cities.

soyonstout
I agree that when writing to

I agree that when writing to the movement it's important to be positive about the solidarity element in the Oakland movement, and perhaps the importance of making the kinds of distinctions I did above is more to emphasize what is positive (solidarity with workers at work) and what the counter-productive tendencies in the movement are (even in Oakland).  It also seems that, in response to the US ruling class' administrative federalism, the movement in the US can be drastically different from city to city.  In many cities now the movement seems to be entrenching itself over holding the original ground won, which most mayors are out of patience for, which is drawing the momentum back inwards and away from extension or solidarity with the working class.  Here is a report from a participant from the IDP that seems to capture some of these contradictions: http://libcom.org/news/oakland%E2%80%99s-third-attempt-general-strike-13112011

I suppose the movement has gone and continues (in some cities) to go in many different directions and what happens in one city is maybe poorly publicized or copied in another, albeit with a different focus, and maybe one of the best things revolutionaries can continue to do is ask what the strengths and weaknesses of each action and each orientation were.

Also: libcom.org/forums/north-america/occupy-oakland-general-strike-call-28102011 it seems that the unions are doing what they do best in taking over all the issues around "general strikes" and the like.

Pierre
So yesterday, late afternoon,

So yesterday, late afternoon, our cdes in Chapel Hill faced some of the worst repression I've seen yet. Fortunately, no one was injured. Chapel Hill is home to the University of North Carolina, and close to several other major universities. We've been sending our press to the bookstore on Franklin Street, the same street as the building in the above image.

The story is, on Saturday some anti-capitalist occupiers involved with the larger Occupy Chapel Hill camp decided to split off and take a unoccupied building. They did a few banner drops, started getting big pretty quickly, and were explicitly anti-capitalist (mostly self-described as anarchist). The press jumped all over the story. Is this the first attempt at occupying a building so far? Anyways, police proceeded to raid it yesterday, with assault rifles and the like, arresting journalists as well as occupiers.

Just wanted to share,

- []D[]D*

Leo
I think a group mostly made

I think a group mostly made up anarchists attempted to take over a building in Oakland on November the 2nd as well, and there were clashes with the police till the morning, over a hundred arrests and one person shot by the police.

Quote:
The question of the class nature of these movements is important and it is not surprising that this causes a lot of confusion. We saw this also during the Arab Spring. Are these working-class movements? Movements of part of the class? "Generalized social revolts"? What does it say about the nature of the period that the movements we are seeing are taking these sorts of confusing forms?

I think these questions are at the heart of the issue. Personally, I don't find the term "generalized social revolts" to be really very useful in understanding these events. It appears to me as a blanket term the meaning of which is quite vague. It attempts to categorize all these movements as the part of a same whole. In itself, a majority of these movements are of course a part of the same wave, however sort of coming up with a term like this and tying to explain the events coming afterwards with it resulted in some rather erroneous positions, such as likening the situation in Libya to the Spanish Civil War at one point. So I agree it is very important to ask what these movements have to offer as far as the working class struggles. This would eliminate movements which are presented as a part of the same international wave by the media although they are no more than power struggles between ruling factions of the bourgeoisie and the dissident bourgeois factions who summoned popular movements for their own interests.

After movements of the above type are eliminated, what remains is a series of mass movements which on an instinctive level mostly have proletarian demands, although in varying degrees and clarity and one thing that is in common between all these movements is that something is lacking.

In Tunisia, the mass movement almost explicitly had proletarian demands and what is more, the working class with its incredibly massive strikes and struggles was at the center of it, effectively organizing and leading the movement and yet the working class did not make an attempt to claim the control of its own struggle and thus to assert itself as a class and lead the movement politically. This resulted in the Tunisian General Labor Union being the most power bourgeois faction in the country for quite a while; quite a telling situation both in regards to the Tunisian movements strengths as well as its weaknesses.

In Egypt, the demands of the movement were less clear, and in a way not only was the working class far from politically shaping and leading the movement and trying to take control, but it also was not at all that near to the movements effective center as well, at least not as a class. However, due to its strength and experience due to its previous struggles, the mere shadow of the Egyptian workers' coming into the struggle sufficed to convince the bourgeoisie that Mubarak had to go. Unlike the Tunisian workers, the Egyptian workers used very little of their contemporary potential to do what they did.

In Spain and, to a lesser degree Greece, we saw that the working class, in regards to its participation in the movements as a class, was even less present than in the mass movements than it was in Tunisia and Egypt - however, on a political level, there was an attempt to challenge the bourgeois elements trying to take control of the movements and derail it beyond the instinctive level and an attempt to take control of the movements by the general assemblies.

The Occupy movement in the US has slightly different characteristics than all the others. Politically, it seems clearer than the movements in North Africa and not as clear as the ones in Western Europe. In regards to the active involvement of the working class, it is extremely far from the level reached in North Africa, still quite far from that in Greece and a bit less farther from that in Spain. Besides, proportionally, it is the least massive of all the mass movements. If we were to vulgarly take these movements individually and compare them by awarding them points, the Occupy movement would probably score less than most.

But I think the movement in America has merits far beyond such characterizations. First of all, although the other movements all were inspirational for other movements, the American movement turned out to be the one to make the most echo internationally. Because America is the belly of the beast, so to speak, these movements were the ones that had the most coverage internationally and were most influential. America is the world's number-one trend-setter, after all. More importantly though, the fact that something like this has been happening in America of all places has been quite encouraging for lots of people. When the events were still new, I remember my mother, after seeing the footage on television, remarking that the New York police seemed as vicious and violent against protests the ones in Turkey for example, and saying they are just like the ones here. And even the fact that the movement mostly describes itself as against capitalism, even though we know that most of these people don't understand what capitalism is, is something which is overall positive. The fact that the American movement and the Spanish movement jointly organized international demonstrations (and even though the call for organizing an international demonstration came from Spain, it was most significantly publicized by the American movement) is a concrete example of this impact. There are Occupy movements or at least people trying to set them up more or less openly inspired by the American movement in a large part of the world now. Even in Turkey (where the only people who called for mass assemblies in the last decades had been... well, us, really) almost 2,500 people signed up for the Occupy Istanbul event on facebook which is calling for general assemblies trying to introduce the concept (and I have to admit that I think our influence played no part in this). They haven't been able to organize anything successful so far as the idea is very new for Turkey, but they are at least trying.

I think the article on the Wall St. Demonstrations highlighted some very important aspects of the movement in America, which incidentally are in common with possibly a majority of these movements is that the pioneers of these movements are young proletarians who are either unemployed or precarious workers. This creates a situation which is, in my opinion basically good for the movements of the future and bad for the movements of today. The mostly young people pioneering these movements are gaining invaluable experience of mass struggles. The link soyonstout gave to the IDP article(s), for instance, mentions the massive banners reading "Death to Capitalism" and "The Oakland Commune". I personally think I would have been pretty excited had I seen them on the spot. Also, personally I don't see something wrong with describing this incident as the Occupy movement seeking links with the working class, I think it is clear that they are by calling for a strike. Whether the working class, ie the employed section of the proletariat is the main sort of people they are seeking links with and more importantly whether they are going to be able to forge such links is the more important question. If they succeed, it won't entirely be due to their merits, and if they succeed, it won't be entirely due to their weaknesses.

The employed section of the proletariat in Western Europe is still too weak and lacks the confidence to participate in these movements as a class and lead them. The same section of the class in the East, while more willing to participate in the movements as a class, has less of the historical experience which would help a great deal in taking control of the movements and orienting them.

So in the absence of a confident working class which would incite, control and lead mass movements around it's struggle centered in the workplace, the young unemployed or precarious proletarians who suffer the most and who are desperate to struggle pioneer these sort of mass movements as a substitute. Yet these mass movements in turn become steps in the road to the future struggles of the class.

I fully agree that they are very important experiences and schools for whoever is involved, as all struggles are and even if the final outcome of this round is defeat, "future victories will spring from this 'defeat'" as they will forge "a link in the chain of historic defeats, which is the pride and strength of international socialismto quote Rosa Luxemburg and that chain will be the first to be forged by the contemporary young generation.

I think if we take all the positive elements of these different movements all around the world and leave the weaknesses out, we would actually be left with something quite dangerous for world capitalism. One thing which I am sorta beginning to see when I think about it is that these different movements seem to have strengths which would complete each other quite well, like pieces of a puzzle or something. When I think about it, I notice I quite like the possibilities of the international homogenization of the different strengths and the elimination of the different weaknesses of the recent movements. If we are to look at it from the reverse perspective, perhaps what we are seeing today is different elements of something bigger appearing in different parts of the world.

Marin Jensen
Hits the nail on the head

Leo wrote:
If we were to vulgarly take these movements individually and compare them by awarding them points, the Occupy movement would probably score less than most.

I think Leo hits the nail on the head here. The essential thing to keep in mind in analyzing all these movements is context. They are not taking place in isolation, and they are taking place in a particular historic situation characterised by a massive downturn in the economic situation, a complete absence of perspective for the future for the working class as a whole (or indeed for society generally), and at the same time a terrible lack of self-confidence or indeed self-awareness in the working class generaly. Under such circumstances, a great deal of confusion is absolutely inevitable. What we need to do is to make visible what is positive for the future in these movements.

As regards the OWS movement, my impression also (though comrades in the US may want to comment on this) is that - like the movements in Europe - it is uneven. The original OWS in Wall Street seems not to have the same drive to connect up to the workers (whatever its shortcomings, which jk1921 has highlighted) as the movement in Oakland for example.

Red Hughs
I have been involved a fair

I have been involved a fair amount with Occupy Oakland.

The movement is complex, chaotic and infested with a variety of ideologies and would-be leaders from the left.

What Leo says is still a good overview.

I'd add that given a working class which been utterly crushed for a long period and an American economy that is heavily weighted towards "services", the swirling confusion you see is what you could expect, the best you could expect really, with the working class waking up.

On the one hand, it seems likely that these movements' weaknesses will make them self-limiting with their debates, actions and defeats forming the context for whatever comes next. On the other hand, things have kept up longer and been more intense than I would have expected so I won't be especially certain in any prediction.

 

 

Marin Jensen
More news please! We're all agog!

We all gained a lot from proper_propaganda's accounts from Greensboro (even down to the Fox News clip he posted). So tell us more! Both what happened and your own thoughts/analyses...

Red Hughs
Hmm, I've attended a number

Hmm,

I've attended a number of "General Assemblies" of Occupy Oakland, went to the "General Strike" and I've gone to the occupation site regularly when it was controlled by the occupiers as well as afterward when the police controlled it but there were regular events. I've been to some smaller park occupation and land occupations and I've tried to help/encourage it to support evictions, foreclosures and strikes.

I think the actually Occupation of Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza was the most unique part of the experience, even if I didn't get to spend a whole lot of time there. What felt powerful about this occupation was that it created public in a country, the US, which getting to have vanishingly little. It also provided resources to population whose desperation is much greater than the amount of visible homelessness would suggest.

The thing about "connecting with the working class" is complex and problematic. They "General Strike" march indeed marched to the port and shut it down. But much (though not all) of this was "popular action" in lieu of the workers themselves taking action. A more telling episode was the march to Whole Foods Market. Here, various individuals from the Black Bloc took the strategically moronic step of spray-painting the front windows and breaking a side-window. This impelled the majority of the marchers to leave and certainly didn't help any sense of solidarity with the workers inside. There was a smaller solidarity action, where the group of folks block a bakery until the manager gave the workers the day off with pay.

I'm better at writing grand Situationist-style summaries than lists of specific activity. So I will leave you with one (a recent Facebook post): 

"We can't confine ourselves to being positive or negative, optimistic or pessimistic, about the Occupation Movement.
When what Debord called the "Fragile Perfection" of the dominant order has hollowed out all concepts of "reform" so that all allowed changes are merely increased financialization, are merely dictates of public-private oligarchy, even an historically small and confused Occupations Mo...vement constitutes a real threat.
Beyond the simple occupation of space the movement has yet to offer a means of collective empowerment for a significant fraction of dispossessed - both Foreclosure defense and support of a one port strike dovetail with approaches of the margins of the left and haven't shown themselves as means of direct empowerment (well, we can keep trying). But the occupation of space without demands *is* better than the vacuum of normal demand...
The thing, though, is that this movement is fighting against a *totalitarian* capitalist society which, perhaps more than ever before, sustains through its suppression of the very concept of a *fundamental* opposition and an "outside". Stumbling and ambiguous steps can thus have impact beyond what they would previously have had - but still do not stop being stumbling and ambiguous."