US Occupy Movement at the Front Lines of the Crisis




An essay by ISE alum, Rob Ogman, available in full at

Three years after the financial meltdown of 2008, the U.S. Occupy movement opened the possibility for a left regroupment against resurgent neoliberalism. Yet the forceful eviction from the squares just two months after the movement emerged, cut short the development of such a constituting power, of a historic bloc of the “99%.”

… Since the evictions, multiple initiatives were formed to carry forward the struggles: The “Occupy Our Homes” network combats foreclosures; campaigns to support workers’ struggles against precaritization; projects push for debt relief; and “Occupy Sandy” provided grassroots relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy, neglected by a hollowed out federal safety net. All of these post-eviction projects intervene into the broken circuits of a precarious social reproduction.

But these new projects also bring new challenges with them. Occupy had already been struggling to negotiate the tension between horizontal and vertical coordination, between strategies of rupture and those of political reform, between autonomous activity and coalition-work, and between struggles situated in civil society and those within the state. But now Occupy has a new dynamic to negotiate. How will it on the one hand, repair the broken circuits of social reproduction, while simultaneously forging a political opposition to transform the societal foundations underpinning them?

Rob goes on to explore four specific projects that emerged out of Occupy in the US: Occupy Labour, Occupy Homes, Occupy Debt, and Occupy Sandy. This article will be published in the December edition of LuXemburg, (website is in German) and is a summary of a longer study that will be published by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.