An Occupy Wall Street Organizer , The Person Credited With Coining The Phrase "the 99 percent" Has Died.
Category: News & PoliticsBy: john-russell • 3 weeks ago • 18 comments
David Graeber, one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street, died about a week ago in Italy. When "Occupy" was taking place I had some curiosity about what was going on there so I read a few articles about the background. The name David Graeber turned up and so I read a little about him, almost none of which I remember now, 9 years later. . He was an academic, and intellectual, and an anthropologist. He also took part in political activism in what most people would call the far left. As I recall, he was an anarchist from the left, as opposed to the anarchists from the right we know as extreme libertarians.
from his wikipedia page
Kate Burrell wrote, in the journal Sociology , that Graeber's work "promotes anarchist visions of social change, which are not quite believed possible by the Left, yet are lived out within social movements every day" and that his work "offers poetic insight into the daily realities of life as an activist, overtly promotes anarchism, and is a hopeful celebration of just what can be achieved by relatively small groups of committed individuals living their truth visibly."
In November 2011, Rolling Stone credited Graeber with giving the Occupy Wall Street movement its theme: " We are the 99 percent ". Graeber wrote in The Democracy Project that the slogan "was a collective creation". Rolling Stone said he helped create the first New York City General Assembly , with only 60 participants, on August 2. He spent the next six weeks involved with the burgeoning movement, including facilitating general assemblies, attending working group meetings, and organizing legal and medical training and classes on nonviolent resistance . A few days after the encampment of Zuccotti Park began, he left New York for Austin, Texas .
Graeber argued that the Occupy Wall Street movement's lack of recognition of the legitimacy of either existing political institutions or the legal structure, its embrace of non-hierarchical consensus decision-making and of prefigurative politics made it a fundamentally anarchist project. Comparing it to the Arab Spring , he claimed that Occupy Wall Street and other contemporary grassroots protests represented "the opening salvo in a wave of negotiations over the dissolution of the American Empire." Writing in Al Jazeera , he noted that from the beginning the Occupy movement was about a "commitment to answer only to a moral order, not a legal one" and so held meetings without the requisite permits. Defending this early decision of the Occupy movement, he said, "as the public, we should not need permission to occupy public space".