[Marxism] Left Forum 2012

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Mar 20 08:27:42 MDT 2012

On 3/20/2012 10:19 AM, Robin Horne wrote:
> He was calling Bloombergville, not the ISO, crucial.

And that's exactly what I was questioning, whether Bloombergville 
was that crucial.


Bloombergville had sleeping bags, a library, teach-ins and a 
nightly assembly open to all. All of those elements would be 
familiar to anyone who's ever strolled through Zuccotti Park. But 
some participants felt it fell short in other areas.

"There is a straight line from Bloombergville to Occupy Wall 
Street," says Justin Wedes, a 25-year-old part-time teacher who 
took part in Bloombergville. "It's a straight line, but it's also 
full of a lot of lessons learned."

For one, Wedes believes, the campers played by the rules too much. 
On the advice of lawyers, they took advantage of a loophole in New 
York law that allowed them to sleep on the edges of sidewalks, 
which kept them out of jail, but also made the place look a little 
pathetic. Bloombergville also appointed negotiators to speak to 
the authorities, which Wedes argues "created essentially police 
within our group that were like mouthpieces for the NYPD."

What's more, focusing on the single issue of budget cuts allowed 
the protest to be co-opted. Injustice and inequity were reduced to 
budget lines.

"In the messaging, it was really a one-issue thing," Wedes says. 
"It was like, we're going to sleep out here until the City Council 
stops these budget cuts, these unfair budget cuts."

When the council passed a budget that managed to avoid most 
layoffs, the activists packed up. Still, like Wedes, many of them 
saw fiscal austerity as more than just a local issue, and one 
without an expiration date.

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