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Street Protest

Letter from OWS Arts & Labor’s Alternative Economies Group posted on Embros website along with others like Raoul Vaneigem and Jenny Marketou. It goes without saying that any government that seeks to criminalize and arrest artist along with members from the supporting community is a government that should be declared illegal and it’s acts of repression should be condemned. For culture is the one thing in life that requires nothing and gives everything. And perhaps this is one of the most threatening aspect of art which governments seek to crush within its citizen.  Furthermore it is through cultural platforms like Embros that the people and culture will persist in this transitional anti-capitalist period of Athenian history as well as in other parts of the world…

 

Letter in Support of Embros  from Arts & Labor Alternative Economies
November 12, 2013, New York

We stand in solidarity with the Embros Theater community and condemn the persecution of the two performers arrested for rehearsing in the theater on October 31, 2013.  All charges brought against these individuals should be dropped and their court cases should be dismissed. [1]

Artists Against The Police State

The work that is currently being done at Embros embodies some of the most fundamental aspects of fostering a creative and responsive cultural space in which alternatives to the current system can be explored [2]. In this time of urgency and economic crisis around the world, Embros is forging new directions that should be enthusiastically supported and celebrated by the local and national government rather than aggressively repressed and threatened.

Culture is a basic sign of being alive, a space of reflection and growth, and most importantly it is the place where the processes that define democracy such as freedom of speech,  expression, and criticality, is apparent in more ways than a set of law books can ever describe. Governments from Russia to China, United States and Europe [3] seek to crush within its citizens the freedom of cultural expression. It has become apparent that the democratic, life-expressing aspects of art are being systematically repressed and commodified into pure spectacle and entertainment by these governments, institutional bureaucrats, and their capitalist cohorts. We will not stand-by as they reduce culture to an admission fee, VIP bonus, or something you can buy at the gift shop. We wish to dance, to perform, to visualize, to speak, all without being restricted by the amount of money we have or the so-called credentials and permits that these institutions have invented. Because for us, this is true freedom, this is true a democracy that no currency can equate.

Embros helps to provide much needed free and open community space that brings people from all walks of life together to learn, engage, and create. Therefore, we ask artists and communities around the world to look closely and continue to follow these events as you would a canary in a coal mine, so that we may provide support for artists and cultural spaces when similar events that arise. Furthermore, these instances should provide a lens to reflect on the situation in our cities and to better understand the mechanisms of cultural control, repression, cooptation, and exploitation so that we can continue, through this solidarity network, to expose and ultimately overcome this political, economic, and cultural crises that has become the marker of our times.

Arts and Labor Alternative Economies
Maria Juliana Byck, Emily Baierl, Antonio Serna and Laurel Ptak
www.whatdowedonow.info
www.artsandlabor.org/alternative-economies

[ photo above: Arts & Labor March in Solidarity with Quebec Students (March Against Anti-Protest Laws) and Protesting the Arrest of Takeshi Miyakawa (‘I (heart) NY’ light artist) May 22, 2012. Photo by: Stacy Lanyon]

- – -

[1] Communique from Embros on the Arrest of 2 performers. October 30, 2013
www.embrostheater.blogspot.gr/2013/10/blog-post_31.html

[2] On October 19, 2013, as part of ‘What Do We Do Now?’ the first annual Alternatives Fair in New York City, we invited members of Embros Theater to participate in an international panel on autonomous spaces along with members from other autonomous spaces in Mexico. Through this panel we hoped to learn how autonomously run cultural spaces function to provide a more horizontal way to operate while remaining inclusive to all members in the community. From this exchange we learned how Embros’ organizing by way of a weekly general assembly has become a dynamic and invaluable community-run space in which creativity and innovation is encouraged to thrive.

‘What Do We Do Now? Alternative Fair’ was organized by Alternative Economies, a subgroup of OWS Arts and Labor. Alternative Economies working group explores alternative methods of sustaining the livelihood of artists, art-workers, and other communities interested in alternatives to the current system. We view the concept of labor through the lenses of time, choice, and value, and we research the ways that ideas like the commons, solidarity economies, precarious worker centers, and participatory budgeting can nurture more sustainable art worlds. Believing that vibrant creative communities come from the bottom up, we encourage relationships based on mutual aid rather than competition, and we advocate for cultural institutions rooted in a framework of social, economic, and environmental justice.

[3] Links to similar crack down on autonomous cultural spaces and artists:
- ZAM is Culture, Eviction of ZAM by Milan Police, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/05/zam-e-cultura/
-Footage of Police Eviction of ZAM w/ minute by minute account, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/05/zona-autonoma-milano-eviction-today
- Missing Pussy Riot Inmate Turns Up at a Tuberculosis Hospital, Nov 14, 2013
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/missing-pussy-riot-inmate-turns-up-at-a-tuberculosis-hospital-20131114
- Extreme show of force by of Swiss police at Basel, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/06/artists-activists-make-art-come-alive
- “Art Makes Money” Communique from ‘Basel Will Be Occupied’ after the Art Basel raid:
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/06/communique-art-makes-money
-NY Police Arrest of artist in Brooklyn for Decorating the Street  “I (heart)nyc” bags, May 2012
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2012/05/ny-goes-hard-on-street-art/

SoulsBeenSoldAgain-BlackEmergencyCulturalCoalition-1969

 

Flyer produced by The Black Emergency Cultural Coalition 1969. Previously on November 17, 1968,  a protest was initiated as this exhibition was being planned [1]. This flyer appears to be calling for the boycott of the actual preview of the show.

The Black Emergency Cultural Coalition had about 15+ years of art and activism and still not one book (1968-1984). We will be uploading more of this history as we come across it.  Stay turned!   & any information about BECC appreciated, email x(at)vizkult(dot) org .

Continue reading…

June 14, 2013. Artists-activists in Basel came out to enliven and comment on an otherwise stale and poorly thought-out Favela Café installation in ArtBasel. The people shown here partying as an act of protest to the work by Tadashi Kawamata and architect Christophe Scheidegge. Being an unsanctioned gathering, police raid the Favela Café firing rubber bullets and tear gas at the crowd. Here are two views that show the scene:

View from above

This is a street level view

Artleaks perhaps did a better report on the event. Their report also links to the video showing the making of the Favela Café, complete with the preview event serving hor d’oeuvres and sparkling drinks:

Favela Cafe Art Basel preview party

In the media, the occupy activists have been portrayed as art hooligans who have allegedly attacked the police and are now facing serious fines, although the worst property damage they inflicted was drawing with chalk in the exhibition space. -Art Leaks

Read More at Artleaks
http://art-leaks.org/2013/06/17/police-v-s-favela-cafe-occupation-at-art-basel-switzerland

vizKult May Day 2013 - Three People Walking...

In solidarity with all the students, faculty and staff who believe that knowledge is a commons.

MAY DAY – GENERAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

10am – 3pm: Cooper Union Free University @ Cooper Square

3:00pm: NYC EDU BLOC Convergence + SPEAK OUT!!! @ Cooper Square

4:00pm: March to Union Square to join the May 1 Coalition rally & March to City Hall

9:00pm: Dance Party to Free Education @ Washington Square Park fountain

 

FREE UNIVERSITY CLASSES AT COOPER UNION
Schedule of NYC May Day events organized by Free Cooper Union and the Free University of NYC - check for updates!

Open Arts & Crafts Session
10am-3pm
Book Shields! Banners! Placards! Sidewalk Chalking!

“Space, Design, and the Everyday”
Matthew Bissen
10am-12pm

This course explores fundamental concepts of space and design with particular attention focused on how as designers and citizens we participate in the everyday design, reproduction, and production of our current and future realities. This course session will focus on architecture and counterculture and support the continuing development of semester long student projects.

“Organizing a NYC Student Movement”
Discussion with folks from Free University-NYC and All in the Red
11am-12pm

Join students from around NYC to explore concrete ideas on how to organize a city-wide student movement that can build on lessons from mass mobilizations in Quebec, Chile, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere, while also envisioning our own locally specific forms of student power.

“Understanding Basic Economics and Finance”
Ron Rubin
11am-12pm

There is a clear distinction between Economics (Main Street) and Finance (Wall Street). In order to understand how and why more and more of the value created by Main Street is flowing into the hands of Wall Street it is absolutely necessary to understand the distinction between these two related but different institutions and how they function in today’s world. Otherwise no real change will be possible.

“Watch the Gap: How Income Inequality and Poverty are Hurting America’s Kids”
Anthony Zenkus
11am-12pm

Poverty and Low Socioeconomic Status can cause significant challenges to the cognitive, emotional and physical development of children. They increase the risk factors for everything from child abuse to school failure. With one of the highest gaps in income equality in the world, and one of the highest child poverty rates in decades, the United States is creating a lost generation that will grow up with less opportunity and more risk- unless we act. Income inequality must be addressed as a public health problem with repercussions that effect the entire community.

Tidal: Occupy Theory Occupy Strategy Conversation”
12pm-1pm

TIDAL has held significant conversations with Free University. The discussions in Washington Square Park led to Strike Debt. The S17 event expanded our horizons. Now, as TIDAL seeks to internationalize and nationalize its project, we want to re-open the conversation. How do we learn from Detroit? From Athens? From Tunis? From Cairo? What are the means of that learning? How do we ensure that this conversation is mutual and beneficial to all? An open workshop for all hosted by Team TIDAL.

“Writing for Home, School, and Everyday Life”
Susan Naomi Bernstein
12pm-1pm

For new and experienced writers: This course presents the processes of writing for anyone who struggles to write. Together we will develop our own practices of writing for audiences and purposes that connect to our visions of social transformation for home, school, and everyday life.

“Imagining a Student/Worker-Run University”
Various Participants
12pm-2pm

This will be an open discussion that is meant to encourage the development of a vision of a Free Cooper Union run by students and workers. We will talk about precedents in the form of student-run coops, cooperatively run schools, worker takeovers, the tenets behind the wages for schoolwork movement, and the legal and ideological strands that can link Cooper’s past to this future.

“People Power and Politics”
Dominique Nisperos
12:50pm-2pm

Introduction to the Gay Liberation Movement, discussing Carl Wittman’s A Gay Manifesto.
Reading materials and outlines will be provided.

“NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium”
Ben Katchor
1pm-2:30pm

Discuss and share new models for the distribution of text/image work.

“Climate Debt/Climate Justice”
Andrew Ross
1pm-1:45pm

Climate debt is not yet part of the political architecture in the U.S. Where does it come from? What kind of justice does it involve? And why is it so important?

“Towards an Alternative School of Art”
Collaborative workshop with folks from vizKult, OWS Arts & Labor, and Making Worlds
1pm-2:45pm

The economic and structural realities of art schools as they exists today can often be a source of anxiety and frustration for artists, teachers, and staff alike, but what might an alternative model look like? In this workshop we’ll discuss the things we like and don’t like about the current art school system. Then we’ll learn about various alternative models and discuss amongst ourselves how they can be applied to or replace that system.

“Love Spam”
Barbara Browning
1:30pm-2:30pm

About a year and a half ago, I initiated an experiment in creating a surplus of sentimental value. I began by spamming random individuals with personally targeted, hand-crafted ukulele covers I made of sentimental songs. Victims ranged from an obesity doctor in Winnetka, Illinois to the anarchist anthropologist David Graeber. In this workshop, I’ll give an update on the results (thus far) of the project, and I’ll give participants some ideas for possible similar projects of their own.

“Presenting the New Edition of the Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual”
members of Strike Debt
1:30pm-2:30pm

“Art, Design, Architecture, and Activism”
Benjamin Young
1:30pm-2:50pm

What do art, design, and architecture have to do with activism? How can artists, designers, architects, and other cultural workers contribute to a radically egalitarian and democratic public sphere? How can we imagine other forms of communication and design outside that of advertising? What forms of public discussion, critical thinking, and social and political activism can take shape against or through mass culture, and how can art and design disciplines contribute to them?
Participants are asked to come prepared to discuss the following readings: Mira Schor, “Lowering the Bar on Activism,” Huffington Post; Mira Schor, “Books are Like People,” A Year of Positive Thinking; Reinhold Martin, “Occupy: What Architecture Can Do,” Design Observer; Reinhold Martin, “Occupy: The Day After,” Design Observer.

“Building the Commons in NYC”
Making Worlds
1:30pm-2:30pm

Join an open conversation about the commons and education.

“Why We Need to Break Up the Megabanks”
Cathy O’Neil, OWS Alternative Banking Group
2pm-2:30pm

“Song Share”
Everybody Now!
2:30pm-3pm

Want to learn the May Day song? Want to sing but feel afraid to? Want to have a rockin’ good half hour? Then this is the class for you!
Throughout the day many will be singing the May Day song “We Stand for Justice.” This class is to help everybody feel comfortable, confident, and excited about singing during the rally and throughout the day. No singing or music skills needed, for we all are singers. We welcome and invite you to join us. Let your voice be heard!

“Sociology of Race and Ethnicity”
Dominique Nisperos
2:15pm-3:30PM

Introduction to Colorblind racism, using excerpts from Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s Racism Without Racists, Ch 3 and Conclusion; Brown et. al’s White-Washing Race: The Myth of a Colorblind Society, Ch 6. Reading materials and outlines will be provided.

Move your class / teach your own class at the Free University! Sign up here.

PDF: Why is Cooper Union Being Occupied? by year0.org
Livestream: Inside the Cooper Union Clocktower Occupation

 

FRIDAY Dec 7. 2012
12 Noon  - student walkout @ Cooper Union
4:00 pm PCS/CUNY Student Debt Conference planning meeting, Grad Center 365 5th Ave. room 5414
5:30pm-6:00pm  Bruce High Quality Foundation Dance party @Cooper Union
6pm - Cooper U Alumni rally

 

SATURDAY Dec 8, 2012
11:00 AM CITY WIDE Student/Teacher/Faculty Rally at Washington Sq Park
-TBS- MARCH TO COOPER SQUARE (bring pots to bang on!!!)

** EXTRA SATURDAY NIGHT FUN **
 PARTY AT 8PM : Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space opening PARTY
155 Avenue C, NYC (between 9th and 10th Streets) (Chain cutting and other events start at 3pm)

[Communique from the Committee of Public Safety]

Management of Consolidated Edison demonstrated complete contempt for its workforce, locking out 8,500 members of the Utility Workers Union of America the morning of Sunday July 1st. The lockout continues, now 6 days later. Managers have opted to do the work themselves, in a full take-over of the utility, already resulting in a number of injuries of scabs on the job.

In a dispute over wages, pensions, health insurance, and other benefits, Local 1-2 of the UWUA refused to extend its contract past the June 30th deadline. One of the conditions for the extension was that there would be no strike, something threatened earlier in the negotiations, and authorized within the union.

Continue reading…

The ‘Infinite’ Strike Begins TONIGHT: With art education costing upwards to about $80,000 for an MFA and $60,000 for a BFA, a call for a new system of education is in order. Members and working groups from Occupy Wall Street and Strike Everywhere and Edufactory and others have begun the call to slowly erode the industrial-education-complex, aka edu-factory. Starting now, with a focus on stopping enrollment in private for profit institutions in September, VizKult joins the call for an ART STUDENT AND TEACHER STRIKE and the formation of new alternative education models!

 

communique on the building the infinite student strike, May 23, 2012:

 

SOLIDARITY WITH QUEBEC STUDENT STRIKE GOES ON

INFINITE SOLIDARITY WITH A CALL FOR INFINITE GENERAL STRIKE

 

 ACTIONS IN NYC ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2012:

6pm:   Night School in Solidarity with the Quebec Student Strike

Washington Square Park, Manhattan

8pm:   March Against Police Oppression

Meet in Washington Square Park, Manhattan

(reconvergence at Union square)

10pm:  Night School at Union sq.

WE MARCH AGAIN!

 

May 22 marked the 100th day of the ongoing Quebec student strike, one of the largest student mobilizations in history. Demonstrations against the massive tuition hikes (which would increase tuition by 60% over five years) occurred daily across Quebec, with over 160,000 students on “infinite strike.”  Last Friday, the Quebec government enacted a draconian emergency law (Bill 78) intended to break the strike. The legislation in effect outlaws public assembly, imposes harsh fines for strike activity and criminalizes protest, just as the struggle is gaining popular support and escalating to unprecedented levels. Many are questioning the law’s constitutionality.

 

Bill 78 summary:

·  Fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 for any individual who prevents someone from entering an educational institution.

·   The fines are higher for student leaders (up to $35,000) and for unions or student federations (up to $125,000). Fines double with repeat offenses.

·   Authorities must be notified at least 8 hours in advance about public demonstrations involving more than 10 people. Organizers must provide the start time and duration of the demonstration, as well as the routes of any marches.

·   No on-campus protests. Protests outside universities must stay at least 15 feet from entrances.

·   Encouraging someone, explicitly or tacitly, to protest at a school is subject to punishment.

 

No More “Good Faith”

The government of Quebec has conceded the power of the students by suspending the current semester, while the education minister has been forced to resign amid the crisis. The Quebec Premier Jean Charest claims that the government has negotiated in “good faith,” but the student unions say that the government has refused to budge on the central issue: TUITION HIKES. Students are fighting to maintain affordable, accessible higher education for all the people of Quebec. The crisis has put into question the political future of the Premiere’s Liberal Party and his own career. Civil liberties in Quebec are being fundamentally undermined. “Good faith” is dwindling between the people and the government.

What Is An Infinite General Strike?

The infinite strike is a voluntary and collective cessation of activities in order to assert claims that would not be addressed otherwise. The word “infinite” points to a confrontational stance with the government. It does not mean that the strike is limitless, but that its length is undetermined in advance. This means that the strike goes on until demands are met or until the body decides to stop the strike. In the case of Quebec’s student mobilization, the students meet every week to decide whether to continue the strike.  The educational system is a crucial part of the economy and it requires human capital in order to function.  Only through a strike is it possible to create the institutional congestion generated by a whole cohort of students that may not graduate. That is why an open-ended general strike is such a powerful weapon.

Why the Quebec Student Strike Matters For NYC

We are all in the red!  In Quebec strikers, demonstrators and sympathizers alike have shown their solidarity through the emblem of a red square, signifying a state of “being in the financial red”—untenable student debt. In the United States, the Federal Reserve recently stated that student debt stood at $870 billion, while the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (a new government agency regulating private student loans) estimated that it had already surpassed $1 trillion. As more and more students stand up and organize against exorbitant escalations in tuition and debt, similar draconian laws have been passed in the US. Unprecedented levels of police brutality have been perpetrated against student uprisings across New York City—at Baruch College, Brooklyn College and the New School, just to name a few. The state seeks to silence these students, many of whom have been arrested on trumped up charges that reek of biased intimidation.

It would appear that we too are in the red, both financially and politically. This is untenable. It is time that we stand in solidarity with students in Quebec and across the world to fight for our right to free education. On May 23rd we in New York City continue our solidarity and stand with the infinite strike. Our demonstration in solidarity with Quebec students is also in defense of our right to assemble and protest. An increase in the powers of the police and the state anywhere is an attack on us everywhere. State repression exists globally and it is unjustifiable. We will not stand by and watch our already limited voices be silenced even more. The warnings and fear mongering of new protest laws being enacted in Frankfurt, Chicago and Montreal will not deter us. The new laws only prove that our mass mobilizations are a threat to the powers that be. We will be heard. We will take part in our own lives and not be pawns for the workings of capitalism. Our rights are not given to us by governments but established by us. OUR LIVES ARE NOT NEGOTIABLE!

Call to Students, Workers and Debtors of New York

With call on students, workers and debtors from all walks of life to stand with us in our right to assemble and dissent in our commons, against police brutality and intimidation. There is nothing to fear or be ashamed of in this. There is only strength and solidarity for us to find each other. As we stand with the students of Quebec, we acknowledge their grievances, and join their chorus with our own. As Quebec does not stand down, neither will New York. We are not afraid, and see no limit on the horizon.  All we see is red!

 

WE ARE ALL IN THE RED!