|From:||shaista husain <email@example.com>|
|Sent time:||Wednesday, October 26, 2011 2:03:05 PM|
|Subject:||SPAM-MED: Re: [september17discuss] Letter from Cairo to #OccupyOakland|
Love, Justin!!! And so fiercely proud of our peace loving folks in
Oakland and Atlanta--spread far and wide.
On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 3:59 PM, Justin Wedes <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Letter from Cairo
> By *
> A bit delayed due to the #OccupyOakland raid, here is a letter we received
> from some folks in Cairo, Egypt:
> 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 econo mic development or urban renewal scheme.
> An entire generation across the globe has grown up realizing, rationally and
> emotionally, that we have no future in the current order of things. Living
> under structural adjustment policies and the supposed expertise of
> international organizations like the World Bank and IMF, we watched as our
> resources, industries and public services were sold off and dismantled as
> the “free market” pushed an addiction to foreign goods, to foreign food
> even. The profits and benefits of those freed markets went elsewhere, while
> Egypt and other countries in the South found their immiseration reinforced
> by a massive increase in police repression and torture.
> The current crisis in America and Western Europe has begun to bring this
> reality home to you as well: that as things stand we will all work ourselves
> raw, our backs broken by personal debt and public austerity. Not content
> with carving out the remnants of the public sphere and the welfare state,
> capitalism and the austerity-state now even attack the private realm and
> people’s right to decent dwelling as thousands of foreclosed-upon homeowners
> find themselves both homeless and indebted to the banks who have forced them
> on to the streets.
> So we stand with you not just in your attempts to bring down the old but to
> experiment with the new. We are not protesting. Who is there to protest to?
> What could we ask them for that they could grant? We are occupying. We are
> reclaiming those same spaces of public practice that have been commodified,
> privatized and locked into the hands of faceless bureaucracy , real estate
> portfolios, and police ‘protection’. Hold on to these spaces, nurture them,
> and let the boundaries of your occupations grow. After all, who built these
> parks, these plazas, these buildings? Whose labor made them real and
> livable? Why should it seem so natural that they should be withheld from us,
> policed and disciplined? Reclaiming these spaces and managing them justly
> and collectively is proof enough of our legitimacy.
> In our own occupations of Tahrir, we encountered people entering the Square
> every day in tears because it was the first time they had walked through
> those streets and spaces without being harassed by police; it is not just
> the ideas that are important, these spaces are fundamental to the
> possibility of a new world. These are public spaces. Spaces for gathering,
> leisure, meeting, and interacting – these spaces should be the reason we
> live in cities. Where the state and the interests of owners have made them
> inaccessible, exclusive or dangerous, it is up to us to make sure that they
> are safe, inclusive and just. We have and must continue to open them to
> anyone that wants to build a better world, particularly for the
> marginalized, excluded and for those groups who have suffered the worst .
> What you do in these spaces is neither as grandiose and abstract nor as
> quotidian as “real democracy”; the nascent forms of praxis and social
> engagement being made in the occupations avoid the empty ideals and stale
> parliamentarianism that the term democracy has come to represent. And so the
> occupations must continue, because there is no one left to ask for reform.
> They must continue because we are creating what we can no longer wait for.
> But the ideologies of property and propriety will manifest themselves again.
> Whether through the overt opposition of property owners or municipalities to
> your encampments or the more subtle attempts to control space through
> traffic regulations, anti-camping laws or health and safety rules. There is
> a direct conflict between what we seek to make of our cities and our spaces
> and what the law and the systems of policing standing behind it would have
> us do.
> We faced such direct and indirect violence , and continue to face it . Those
> who said that the Egyptian revolution was peaceful did not see the horrors
> that police visited upon us, nor did they see the resistance and even force
> that revolutionaries used against the police to defend their tentative
> occupations and spaces: by the government’s own admission; 99 police
> stations were put to the torch, thousands of police cars were destroyed, and
> all of the ruling party’s offices around Egypt were burned down. Barricades
> were erected, officers were beaten back and pelted with rocks even as they
> fired tear gas and live ammunition on us. But at the end of the day on the
> 28th of January they retreated, and we had won our cities.
> It is not our desire to participate in violence, but it is even less our
> desire to lose.
> If we do not resist, actively, when they come to take what we have won back,
> then we will surely lose. Do not confuse the tactics that we used when we
> shouted “peaceful” with fetishizing nonviolence; if the state had given up
> immediately we would have been overjoyed, but as they sought to abuse us,
> beat us, kill us, we knew that there was no other option than to fight back.
> Had we laid down and allowed ourselves to be arrested, tortured, and
> martyred to “make a point”, we would be no less bloodied, beaten and dead.
> Be prepared to defend these things you have occupied, that you are building,
> because, after everything else has been taken from us, these reclaimed
> spaces are so very precious.
> By way of concluding then, our only real advice to you is to continue, keep
> going and do not stop. Occupy more, find each other, build larger and larger
> networks and keep discovering new ways to experiment with social life,
> consensus, and democracy. Discover new ways to use these spaces, discover
> new ways to hold on to them and never give them up again. Resist fiercely
> when you are under attack, but otherwise take pleasure in what you are
> doing, let it be easy, fun even. We are all watching one another now, and
> from Cairo we want to say that we are in solidarity with you, and we love
> you all for what you are doing.
> Comrades from Cairo.
> 24th of October, 2011.
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