Tag Archives: occupy

June 5th Occupy Corvallis Reading Group – “Occupy Wall Street and Tranformational Strategy”

Meeting Time & Place:  Tuesday, 6:30 pm, 104 Hovland Hall (OSU campus)


Hey Folks,

Here’s the reading for our next meet-up.  This reading is an interview with Erik Olin Wright, who is a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin.  There are some useful insights to be had here as well as points we could challenge, I think.  All are welcome to join us.  Let’s talk!


Occupy Wall Street and Transformational Strategy



If you are traveling by car, there is parking directly behind Hovland. http://oregonstate.edu/campusmap/?zoom=16&type=normal&centerlat=44.5664405984039&centerlng=-123.28127861022949&layers=1,&locations=820


January 17th Reading Group

January 17th Occupy Corvallis Reading Group

Time: 6:30 pm
Location: 104 HOvland Hall, OSu Campus

At our last meeting, we began a discussion about the dynamics of social class and the Occupy movement. Alana offered up some readings and charts to get the fires lit. Because our group this last week was small (three hearty souls), it seemed useful to continue exploring the relationship of class to our social movement. In that vein, I am suggesting the following readings:

Rising Awareness in Class Divide, Many Point to OWS: Report

Harder for Americans to Rise From the Lower Rungs

Bonus material for thought:
Is the American Dream Fading?

I would suggest that we revisit Alana’s readings along with those above. See you Tuesday!


Is ‘Occupy’ a Dirty Word?

Before the Occupy Movement, the very word ‘occupy’ conjured up unwelcome military incursion and occupation of other sovereign nations, most recently the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. Founded on occupation, the United States built great wealth from the stolen land of indigenous Peoples, many of whom remain the poorest of the poor. As a tool of Imperialism, occupation has proven not only deadly for those who have been dispossessed but impoverishing for their descendants.

Given the dark U.S. history and current practice of occupation, it is small wonder that there are those who urge the abandonment of the use of the word ‘occupy’ by the Occupy Movement. In a New York Times blogpost, What If We Occupied Language?, H. Samy Alim quotes Julian Padilla of the People of Color Working Group:

I do wish the NYC movement would change its name to “‘decolonise Wall Street”’ to take into account history, indigenous critiques, people of colour and imperialism… This linguistic change can remind Americans that a majority of the 99 percent has benefited from the occupation of native territories.

However, is the Occupy Movement using the word ‘occupy’ as defined by the hegemonic corporate government power structure or has the Movement shifted the meaning in direct opposition to that power? Does the word ‘occupy’ belong to the powerful elite or does it now belong to the People?

Linguistically, the word ‘occupy’ has served as a transitive verb (a verb that always takes an object: to occupy Alcatraz). In occupying the language, the Occupy protestors use it as a stand-alone verb (Occupy!) and a modifier (Occupy protestor). This is new language. By co-opting a word with militant colonial connotations, the Occupy Movement has liberated language from its dark history and forged it as a tool for the People’s own empowerment.

The flexibility of the word ‘occupy’ allows a way of seeing and acting that goes far beyond the idea of occupying public space in a physical sense. Synonyms of the word ‘occupy’ (see below) cover two connotations of this word: To be engaged in and to take possession of. As the Occupy encampments are overrun and demolished, the People continue to be actively engaged in and taking possession of the ideas and concepts by which we have been governed—locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.       

The Move OUR Money project is an excellent example of how the concept of ‘occupy’ can be used to engage in an abstract idea as a real public space. In essence, the Occupy Movement reifies (or makes real) the concepts of public funds and investment decisions in order to occupy them as a public space and take ownership.  Public funds are our money in a very real sense. In this way, the Occupy Movement can effect change.

The Occupy Movement owns the word ‘occupy’ as surely as the Gay Rights Movement owns the word ‘gay’. All previous meanings of these two words lie overturned before the greater meaning given by those who have taken possession and assumed ownership of the language.

Occupy your body with a 99% button. Occupy your own front yard with an Occupy tent. The possibilities are truly endless.

Occupy (Engage) (verb):  absorb, absorb the attention, absorb the mind, absorb the thoughts, address oneself to, amuse, apply oneself to, apply the attention to, apply the mind to, arrest the attention, attract the attention, attract the mind, attract the thoughts, be active with, be at work on, be concerned with, be employed, busy oneself with, captivate, catch the attention, claim one’s thoughts, concentrate on, concern oneself with, devote, direct the attention to, direct the mind to, engage the attention, engage the mind, engage the thoughts, engross, engross the mind, engross the thoughts, entertain, enthrall, entrance, excite the attention, fascinate, go about, immerse, in re versari, invite the attention, involve, keep busy, monopolize, monopolize the thoughts, obsess, occupare, plunge into, ply, preoccupy, rivet the attention, rivet the mind, rivet the thoughts, set about, set to work, specialize in, spend one’s time in, tackle, take employment, take on, take part, take up, tenere, turn the attention to, turn the mind to, work at.


Occupy (Take possession)(verb): abide, acquire, annex, appropriate, assume, assume ownership, be possessed of, capture, claim, colonize, command, conquer, control, denizen, dominate, dwell, dwell in, expropriate, have possession of, have rights to, have title to, help oneself to, hold, indwell, inhabit, invade, keep, keep hold of, keep house, live, live in, lodge, make one’s home at, move into, obtain, own, possess, procure, recover, reside in, retain, seize, settle in, stay, take from, take over, take up residence in

Occupy Portland Eviction

Peaceful protester pepper sprayed at point blank range during eviction. Photo credit: Randy L. Rasmussen of Portland.

Here are views from the bicycle support on eviction deadline, where thousands of protestors remained non-violent:

Vivid photojournalism showing the events at the Occupy Portland eviction enforcement on Sunday, November 13th 2011.

One protestor, a peaceful American Sign Language interpreter, was injured by police but not arrested. The initial report can be found here:
Follow OccupyPortland.org for updates.