Occupying Language

Occupying Language
Occupying Language

Autor: Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzellini
Publisher: Zuccotti Park Press (Occupied Media Pamphlet Series)
Seiten: 128
Veröffentlicht September 2012
Zusätzliche Informationen: $ 9.95
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  • While the global Occupy movement is widely seen as unprecedented, its language and organizing practices are shaped and inspired by diverse historical precedents in the United States and around the world. Sitrin and Azzellini introduce the reader to the theory and practices of the movement and explore linkages and connections toward the dream of a common language of struggle, justice, democracy and liberation.
    It was September 19, a group of twenty of us were standing in a circle in NYC’s Liberty Plaza, discussing what it means to facilitate an assembly, and what the role of facilitators is and can be. At one point I said, “Our role is to help create the most horizontal space possible.” A young woman asked, “What does that mean—horizontal?” Another young woman responded, “You know, what they did in Argentina,” and then another asked what that was. Over the days and weeks in the Plaza, many of the conversations and relationships being developed were reminiscent of the autonomous movements in Argentina, Chiapas, Bolivia and Venezuela.
    And then in Spain and Greece, where we have recently traveled to meet with people in the movements there, we also found that people are both speaking and organizing in ways that are so similar to what we have seen in Latin America, yet it is often without any reference to those movements. At one point we began to wonder if there was a way to share some of these experiences and stories from Latin America so as to put them in dialogue with the movements in the U.S. and Europe. This book is our attempt to do just that.
    We hope to help ground what is new and beautiful in our social creation today in relationships and concepts that have been developing and evolving in Latin America.
    Explored are concepts such as Territory, Assembly, Dignity and Popular Power, and relationships such as Horizontalism, Autogestión (self-organization), and protagonism. These forms of organization and ways of relating are described based on over a decade of practice and experience in Latin America, from the origins of horizontalidad with the popular rebellion in Argentina, to the concept of Territory, grounded in Bolivia and Brazil, or the construction of Popular Power in the Consejo Comunales in Venezuela and the understanding of our many diversities, creating a world in which many worlds fit, of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico.

    Dario is an activist, writer and film maker. His latest film is Comuna Under Construction about local self government in Venezuela, and latest book, together with Immanuel Ness, Ours to Master and to Own: Workers' Control from the Commune to the Present. He is a lecturer at the Institute for Sociology at the Johannes Kepler University in Austria.

    Marina is a participant in the Occupy movements, the editor of Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina and author of the forthcoming, Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Committee on Globalization and Social Change.



    Occupying Language uses the vocabulary of new and emergent movements around the world to highlight the striking similarities of the practices and visions. Movements from the Zapatistas in Mexico and mobilizations for popular control in Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil, to the Arab Spring, the European and Israeli Summer, and Occupy, have made inclusiveness a priority and have insisted that the voice of every participant be heard and treated with respect. They have pursued a vision of democracy as based on direct participation and on solidarity among the vast majority, cognizant of social and national divisions but creating a unity among differences. Those who identify with these movements should read this book for its beautiful and insightful evocation of an emergent radical perspective and for the hope that this book conveys that a new movement of movements can play a pivotal role in bringing about urgently needed change. This book is also crucial reading for those who would like to understand why so many in the new movements are more interested in occupying public spaces and insitutions, and remaking them through democratic participation, than in making demands on governments dominated by remote and resistant elites.”

    Barbara Epstein, University of California, Santa Cruz

    “There are words that are rocks. Rocks, like geological layers, which have accumulated over decades of struggles, and are colored with meanings irreducible to capitalist power. Rocks heavy with hope. Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzellini show how these rocks are moved – rolling them against masters, police, and the ideologists of neoliberalism. Occupy language!”

    Antonio Negri