Archive for October, 2011

October 27, 2011

Reflections on Muslim Prayer at OWS

By Linda Sarsour

What do we have to do with Occupy Wall Street? What’s so Islamic about Occupy Wall Street? Are we just going to show up or were we actually invited to be there? These were just some of the posts on the facebook event’s page for the Friday Prayer at Occupy Wall Street last week. I was shocked that there was so much doubt, uncertainty and lack of clarity as to what was the role of Muslim New Yorkers in Occupy Wall Street.

First off, Muslims have been part of and many have supported OWS since day one. Second of all, we were invited to have Friday prayer at OWS and graciously accepted that invitation. Friday prayer is the most sacred part of our lives to share with our fellow Americans. Muslims all over the world congregate in mosques to pray together, shoulder to shoulder, rich and poor, educated and non-educated to bring themselves closer to God. Third of all, it is our obligation as Muslims to stand up against injustice and to defend those who are defenseless.

photo by Naqeeb Memon

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October 26, 2011

To the first General Assembly of Occupy Detroit

Editor’s Note: We received this statement from some friends and comrades in Detroit who are bringing a critical and crucial analysis to the Occupy Detroit organizing efforts.  Their perspective is inspiring to us in New York City, and we hope it will be helpful to those who are making important interventions in this movement across the country. 

To the first General Assembly of Occupy Detroit,

We are inspired by the actions of Occupy Wall Street and the opportunity it has given so many people to stand up and get involved in shaping the fate of this country.

We are inspired by the protocol of consensus decision-making and inclusivity being used on Wall Street, where anyone who shows up is asked: “what can you contribute to this movement?”  In return, participants are supported to bring their best selves to the work of creating a new world.  We propose that Detroit embrace that same protocol.

In the spirit of bringing our best selves to this process, we offer this background knowledge, which anyone attempting to organize in Detroit must first understand before taking any action that aims to speak for Detroit.  We all have a lot to learn from each other.  Nothing said here should be  taken as a claim to “know more” or “better” than anyone else.  As just  mentioned it’s about all of us bringing our best selves to this historic uprising, and doing it creatively, nonviolently and together.

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October 25, 2011

Letter of solidarity to OWS from Tahrir

Editor’s note: We are sharing and re-printing this statement of solidarity written by activists in Cairo, as we think it is crucial to acknowledge the connections between our movements. 

To all those in the United States currently occupying parks, squares and other spaces, your comrades in Cairo are watching you in solidarity. Having received so much advice from you about transitioning to democracy, we thought it’s our turn to pass on some advice.

Indeed, we are now in many ways involved in the same struggle. What most pundits call “The Arab Spring” has its roots in the demonstrations, riots, strikes and occupations taking place all around the world, its foundations lie in years­-long struggles by people and popular movements. The moment that we find ourselves in is nothing new, as we in Egypt and others have been fighting against systems of repression, disenfranchisement and the unchecked ravages of global capitalism (yes, we said it, capitalism): a System that has made a world that is dangerous and cruel to its inhabitants. As the interests of government increasingly cater to the interests and comforts of private, transnational capital, our cities and homes have become progressively more abstract and violent places, subject to the casual ravages of the next economic development or urban renewal scheme.

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October 24, 2011

Revolutionary Movements

By Hena Ashraf

As a filmmaker my eye has always been drawn to the movements present in breakdancing; they are beautiful, fluid, and inspiring. This video released in March, “Spring Movements” by Justin Mashouf, combines this form of dance with footage that shows some of the millions who have fought for democracy in 2011 in the Arab world, and is an example of arts/media/culture as empowering forms of resistance. This week marks the first elections that are taking place amongst the Arab countries undergoing revolution, in Tunisia.

Arab Spring, European Summer, American Fall.


October 20, 2011

Reflections on Organizing Towards Collective Liberation at Occupy NOLA

By Lydia Pelot-Hobbs

Over the past few weeks, I have been invigorated and moved by the energy surrounding Occupy Wall Street and it’s offshoots across the nation. Yet, at the same time I’ve been faced with the tensions being articulated by so many folks on the Left: how can this energy be connected to and further long-standing organizing work for social and economic justice?

Here at Occupy NOLA, I have been excited about the potential of making these bridges through the project of the anti-racism working group.  In less than two weeks, this working group has been developing a collective analysis and strategy that I think has the possibility of contributing towards long-term movement building.

From Difficult Moments to Moments of Promise

This is not to say this work has been easy. Many of these conversations are painful and difficult. At the second General Assembly (GA), a debate emerged regarding the use of the livestream at the GA. Since the initial planning meeting, Occupy NOLA had been posting photos and videos on Facebook without those in attendance’s permission. Myself alongside several others from the anti-racism working group raised the concern that having the entire area video taped led to the space not being safe or secure for a variety of folks: immigrants, trans folks, queer folks, etc. and offered the proposal that 1/3 of the space not be included in the livestream.

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