From:   shaista husain <shaistahusain@gmail.com>
Sent time:   Wednesday, October 26, 2011 2:03:05 PM
To:   september17@googlegroups.com
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 <jwedes@gmail.com> wrote:

> http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/letter-from-cairo/

>

> 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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