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Occupation: Antagonism & Potentiality

Blog posts are the work of individual contributors, reflecting their thoughts, opinions and research.
'special constables' (a.k.a. Goons) on art gallery steps in 1935, mobolised against militants
'special constables' (a.k.a. Goons) on art gallery steps in 1935, mobolised against militants

Dominion Stories, →Media Co-op Updates, →Occupy

The on-going occupation of social space is heavily contested, from within and without, and throughout us all. There exists in Occupy Vancouver’s every moment and every relation a complexity of contradictions, which startlingly reflect those shared between us. What makes this occupation a real event of thinking and acting is the engagement with these complexities within an open political space. In these rendezvous of various forms of life and ideas, a war machine is constructed. This plane of consistency is the site where relations are intensified between a common, and our differences are developed. The reproduction of these relations transverse the idiotic notion of 99% and engage in civil war against the state and its citizens. (The ease in which the ‘main slogan’ was subverted into ‘Decolonize the 99%’ is inspiring.)

Given that this civil war is declared amongst us all, it is powerful to have a site from which to gather and further wage war. The occupation is not a totality and any allegation that it is immediately shatters against the occupation’s corals and sinks back into cynicism. The cartography of the occupation is that of multiple ridges of antagonisms. Each ridge acts as a dispersal of forces in the site- that keep antagonisms circulating through the space. Each antagonism can be intensified so as to exceed its limits. The occupation as a free space is expanded by the agitation of antagonists- who should seize this opportunity.

Although righteously dismayed by the operational construction of the occupation, antagonists are now face-to-face with the multitude of potentialities that exist and continue to combine. The theatre of war is an open stage. Of course there are the attempts at territorializing the space into political camps, each with their unique codification, but the space continues to swirl without any definitive separations. Perhaps the greatest potential achieved thus far is the un-potentiality taken by so many- the refusal to participate in any structure (outside a tent!)

The pressing challenge for any antagonist, who desires to participate, is the sovereignty of the General Assembly. As the critiques of this failed effort are obvious to any observer and have been echoed, I will do as the GA should do and save my breath. The threat though, that is seeping down from this martian colony which seems to have crashed landed onto the steps of the occupation, is that with enough persistence this alien(ating) language will reproduce itself as a template which is then adapted across the means of communication. Already the Tyranny of Time has crested; squandering the spontaneity of discussion and manufacturing a timetable that makes interaction feel a lot like Work. That for the most part these shifts are rejected can be seen as a general refusal of Work and should be encouraged by the increased creation of free spaces for belligerent pluralism - with coffee and smokes.

Circling the peripherals of the occupation looms the threat of state repression. No one at the site disputes this reality. What does seem confused is the perception people have of the police- and I don’t mean the argument that ‘the cops are of the 99%’, but rather the notion that a police invasion is imminent. No doubt an attack is coming, but the recent histories of tent cities dispute the hunch that the invaders will be the police. The state agents that are now amassed wear numerous emblems and share the same oath as the cops but operate much more deviously. The firefighters, paramedics, welfare workers, city workers, and other badged citizens, with the police (& the military forces and secret services) operate as the Apparatus of the State, with a unified command, which has crystallized over the various tent cities, olympics and riots. The policing operations under Empire are deployed as such an apparatus, which in turn must be fought by an assemblage of anti-imperial resistance.

Such assemblage is the constitutive force of the occupation. It can be seen as a barricade, whose qualities are active defense and a dispersal of struggle. So long as the occupation asserts its openness to circulation and movement-in-action and does not institutionalize itself with a constitution for its being, it will serve as a barricade in flux. It is when barricades come into contact with one another that we can speak of insurrection. Already, all around us, the barricades grow.

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