What happens next? The Village Voice gives a glimpse at some of the projects Occupy organizers are now working on, as they form alliances with immigrant and labor groups, look beyond the physical occupation of high-visibility spaces, and ponder their next move:
The energy unleashed when these people found one another has given birth to a panoply of projects. The technological infrastructure of sites including interoccupy.net and occupytogether.org are helping these groups grow and coordinate.
Among the most notable is the national Occupy Homes movement, which operated locally in neighborhoods such as East New York but was most fully realized by activists in Minneapolis, Detroit, and Atlanta. By blocking the eviction of families from foreclosed homes—foreclosures often going forward in the face of banks’ poor documentation and even outright fraud—activists continue to call attention to one of the most direct ways that the crimes committed in the financial stratosphere impact regular Americans.
Strike Debt, a project still in its early stages, looks to build a movement around the broader world of debt—not just mortgages but also student loans, credit card debt, and even municipal and sovereign debt.
Organizers are planning a debt strike in which participants refuse to pay back their onerous loans. They’re also laying the groundwork for a “rolling jubilee,” buying old debt at pennies on the dollar and forgiving it, using the savings to pay it forward in a self-perpetuating cycle of debt nullification.
Another project, Foreclose the Banks (commonly abbreviated to “F the Banks”), began by attempting to pressure prosecutors and elected officials into pursuing criminal charges against the worst offenders on Wall Street. That has been somewhat successful. Protesters claim credit for creating an atmosphere in which the LIBOR rate-fixing scandal is finally being investigated.
Still, it has become clear that there won’t be any meaningful prosecutions of the crimes that caused the crisis, so F the Banks is pivoting to a new strategy: a public shaming campaign against bank executives subject to internal investigations. “Wanted” flyers have already been posted on the Upper East Side and other neighborhoods where the offenders live, and there are plans to use projectors to display incriminating information near their homes and at places such as the Lincoln Center.
As September 17 approaches, activists across the country are planning to mark the movement’s anniversary with a series of actions centered on New York. Organizers are also deeply aware of the lessons learned over the past year. They are leery of billing September 17 as another make-or-break one-off spectacle and equally reluctant to be drawn into fruitless conflicts with police over efforts to re-create a long-term physical occupation.