Gustav Landauer: Art and Revolution

“In our times, an artist is defined as someone who has a vision: someone with visions and rhythms that form a separate inner world: someone who can manifest this world on the outside; someone who can create a new, an exemplary, their own world through imagination and creative force; someone whose ideas leave their inner being like Pallas Athena left Jupiter’s head; someone who then, like an Italian trader of plaster figures, packs the result in a basket and hawks it in the “the other world,” ordinary reality, where they sell the figures of their dreams and sacred desires to the goblins and caricatures of their artistic mind, all the while advertising, calculating, haggling, arguing, cheating. This is the contemporary artist’s mixture of detachment and participation.
But mine is another: I want to use reality to create; I want art to be the process of imaginative and communal social transformation, rather than the expression of individual yearning.”

Gustav Landauer, REVOLUTION and Other Writings: A Political Reader. Edited and translated by Gabriel Kuhn. PM Press.

I changed the masculine, personal pronouns.

I was probably 22 or 23 when I read the essay on Landauer, in Martin Buber’s Paths in Utopia; it would be hard to imagine how any, indirect meeting with any thinker, could have a more powerful, influence, than the ideas in that essay had for me—over the course of whole life. Three years later, I was living in a commune—where expenses were covered, each according our means. Though it would be 45 years before, my involvement with Occupy Philly, led to the next experiment in communal living, I never gave up my search for a means to realize my ideas on communal living, and this time—I’m sure there was something of Landaur’s ideas of art and revolution, what freed me, to return to what I had been doing when I read that essay: making art.
I only last week bought a copy of this book, and in reading it, began to discover how much—from such minimal acquaintance–the seeds Landauer had planted, have meant to me over the years. The perplexity I feel, and have expressed in posts on this blog and elsewhere, on how survive as an artist in this capitalist wilderness–and as a revolutionary–without losing one’s freedom to create, or submitting to slavery of the market–I didn’t learn from Landauer, but, as in the above quote, I find, this too, I share with him—if from another side, as an artist.

Revolution is an act of imagination

Revolution is action.

Revolution takes place in the present. Now, and now, and now, or never. There can be no waiting

for the “right conditions.”
Revolution is an ever present necessity.

Revolution is every act of the imagination, made real in every present moment.

Solidarity, Love, Imagination, RESISTANCE!

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55 Days of Occupy Philly: 54, 55… The beginning is near

11/29/11 Day 54
Rain. CoCo, Friend’s Center

I’ve posted these for the 55 days of Occupy Philly on Dilworth Plaza, from the first day of OWS, the days of planning for OP, to the first day of our camp on October 6, 2011 to November 30, the night of our eviction.

To view all posts to date, click:  55 Days of Occupy Philly.

Still on Dilworth. Two more days before Social Security.

Sunday—four rows of 25, — people sitting on steps

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from 5 PM (time named in eviction order)… somewhere around 11:00, people disassembled. Crowd went from 500 or so (?) to about 100—OWS people from New York arrived—electric energizers! Plastic Pail drumbs—danced for hours. Straw vote to ignore Gwen-of-Labor’s warning that cops wanted drums to stop—unanimous. Congo line to Northwest corner, across to Thomas Paine—back down JFK & 15th –danced in the street past the cops.

About damn time we stoped letting the cops tell us what to do. Not to bed till after 3:00 AM. The damn orientation at 8:30 next morning—turned out to be about conditions of bail. Call in twice a week, don’t get arrested before trial or risk revoking bail and contempt of court.

Friday
12/2/2011
Day 55
The end came Wednesday. November 30. Up all night Sunday. Again eviction day. Bowled over by a horse. Last night—GA at the Friends Center… so, it goes on.

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…not with a bang, but a whimper

Soon they will come, the police. The city workers with their trucks. Our city of tents, our fights–all of it will disappear. Scrub away our presence, uproot the trees. Pile up the marble slabs we slept on.

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My mind drifts back in time. I am fishing on Lake Michigan with my father in his boat. This is shortly before he will die. My parents had bought a retirement cottage not far from Grand Rapids. The light on the water, that silvered turquoise water, the peaks of the waves glisten in the sun–even the Voice is lulled to somnambulant slumber. I think of my mother–of that last summer, the summer before her final illness, while she is still herself–sitting on the porch–martini hour–watching the sunset over the lake, the jet skiers droning and whining like gigantic mechanized insects, a moment I want to go on forever. A tableaux receding into the distance, like the light of stars that no longer exist.

I will always remember…

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55 Days of Occupy Philly: days 51, 53 the end is near…

11/25/11
Friday Day 51

I will be posting these for each of the 55 days of Occupy Philly on Dilworth Plaza, from October 6, 2011 to November 30, the night of our eviction.

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To view all posts to date, click:  55 Days of Occupy Philly.

11:50 Am A week till Social Security. Fasted for Thanksgiving. Played chess. Chilled. Went to City Hall for a stroll, conversations. People had brought quantities of food for occupiers.

Camp is in sad shape. Number of tents dwindling by the day—but still more than 200 or near that.

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Walked to the ACME. Ready to sit down and read, write, do an on-line interview about my facilitation experience.

______ hi-jacked the GA—and threw a tantrum at CoCo—with his core of body guards threatening anyone who tried to approach or speak to him. He had a 3 page single spaced proposal he demanded be presented to the GA as a unit—with no amendments permitted. This when we’ve been given a 48 hour eviction notice—cops went around sticking notices in every tent.

… a break at Fergies

Sunday Day 53
11/27/11
10:30 AM
Preparing to go to City Hall for what may be last day of the encampment.

________ tried to hi-jack the GA again last night. He’s glittery-eyed obsessed—never stops. Managed to contain him by surrounding him with bodies and then retreated to Arch St. Methodist, blocking the door, creating a double line of bodies for people to pass through, and keep him out.

Meetings
and more meeting…
from 1:30 past 10—more than 9 hours. Facilitated CoCo (happily–____didn’t show up), & one proposal at the GA.

We plan to gather at Rittenhouse Square at 4:00 PM day after eviction—march to the Round House if there are arrests, as there almost surely will be.

I’m holding up pretty well.

May not be till Monday afternoon. If not arrested, have an “orientation” court ordered—for the Wells Fargo action, Monday morning. Will let Legal know

Peace and Solidarity!

55 Days of Occupy Philly: Days 47-49.

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I will be posting these for each of the 55 days of Occupy Philly on Dilworth Plaza, from October 6, 2011 to November 30, the night of our eviction.

To view all posts to date, click:  55 Days of Occupy Philly.

Sunday 11/20/11
Day 47
Independence Mall
Committee of Correspondence… 62 degrees. ¬¬Gray clouds. Sitting on the grass.
Finance tomorrow at 4:00/ meet at Friend’s Center.
InterOcc—Com of Correspondence. PhilOccTogether.
Occupy Philly Media for posting info, Facebook, for Dec. cross occupy gathering.

Al Jazeera has on Occupy index

Occupy think tank—problems/ideas

Conference call 3:00 on preparing for Dec. 10.

GA report

Agenda-Iwanka and I will make a working group report to GA tonight.

Food Group—ask about lunch on 10th. Welcome—I’ll do that.

Café—fruit coffee

Political Theater—do what we did in Wells Fargo.

Tomorrow: PRESS CONFERENCE
Video

11/22/11
Day 49
17 in waiting room across hall from the court room. 14 defendants, an attorney, 2 supporters. I’m a defendant, but not for today. Here to support my fellow perps. AMP date for me the 28th (if I choose to do community service—I won’t), my arraignment set for 12/6, but trial will be consolidated.

________ sits next to our lawyer—never stops talking, endless loop.

Reading Terminal. Home—long nap. Thought I’d left Spirit Stick at Reading Terminal… bummed me out. Grumpy all GA—which was poorly facilitated.

A proposal for a list of demands that should have easily passed was tabled for a 3rd night. _______was so obsessed with pleasing everyone—drags the process on forever.

I’d left Spirit Stick outside when I went for mail… there it was when I got home…soaked. Heavy. Soggy… poor thing.

City ready to move on us—but not till Thanksgiving or after. But who knows?

We had a press conference
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—Wells Fargo 14 report livestreamed at GA. I didn’t see it.

The sand is running out…

but we’re still here!
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55 Days of Occupy Philly: Days 45, 46. Action at Wells Fargo

November 19
Day 45
Weather 54 – 30

I will be posting these for each of the 55 days of Occupy Philly on Dilworth Plaza, from October 6, 2011 to November 30, the night of our eviction.

To view all posts to date, click:  55 Days of Occupy Philly.

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Time out for jail time. Direct action at Wells Fargo. 15 hours overnight jail time, a few winks of sleep.

Hours of meditation to pass the time

and singing

…went to the rich man’s house

Saturday Day 46
11/19/11
Weather 55 – 40
Marchers went to another location as diversion. Fourteen of us entered the bank at 4:00–as customers. Did a Mic-check, started our teach-in.

Held up our Foreclosure Notice!

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Arrested at 6:00, taken to the Round House by 6:30 PM. Released at 9:30 this morning—so 17 hours, 15 in the cell. 36 hours virtually no sleep. Facilitated CoCo, got a SKYPE capapable mobile phone on long term loan. GA voted to ask legal to send the permit (application sent by Cigy) with amendment that they permit tents, food warmers, & no end date. Not a change they’ll accept. The pizza smells good. No money after paying for a pint of beer.
_________ got out in one piece. Held separate from the rest. We were worried.

     Friday November 25, 2011 -- Arrest at Wells Fargo
     He loves you ...  
                ...Kate
     tents moving in the night
     camp ashambles by morning

     assisted into the white van      watch
     your head, the tile floors, concrete, pink painted
     bars -- world beyond our reach

     graffiti

     coin-scratched on cell walls
     twice            I love you Kate

     sit on the floor chanting
     knowing
     their sins 

     are ours -- unstoppable

     a new world awaits us, Kate!

     black coats, orange arm bands

            …  the writing's on the wall

Later, there were sleep-ins outside the bank
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We made street theater

…and after a being found guilty the first trial, a jury found us not guilty the second… on grounds of exposing an evil greater than the harm done by the sit-in/teach in.

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55 Days of Occupy Philly: day 43, Thomas Paine fiasco, rumors of eviction

11/16/11 Day 43
Weather -54 – 39 Rain
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I will be posting these for each of the 55 days of Occupy Philly on Dilworth Plaza, from October 6, 2011 to November 30, the night of our eviction.

To view all posts to date, click:  55 Days of Occupy Philly.

5:15 Friend’s Center.
CoCo, It would take days lying on a beach in the sun to bake the weariness out of my bones.

Larry just came in—an announcement from the city that start of construction was “imminent,” that people would be coming tomorrow morning to relocate the homeless.
There won’t be much construction—mid-winter. Read “removal” is imminent.

Move – 24 to 48 hours—
anytime between tomorrow afternoon and Friday afternoon—if it happens at night, will be tomorrow (Thursday) night. Speculation: a daylight move perhaps possible—Ramsey putting a good face on his assault — to distinguish Philadelphia from other cop actions?
I will facilitate the interfaith proposal.

Fantasize – a council, planning for an invasion from outer space.

Legal Collective: no raid tonight.
Pat Gilespia –Phila Building Trades—expressed solidarity with us.
AFL-CIO, same, but if we impede construction, will have to step back.

     Pink banner folds 
     billows gently wind-blown  -- unreadable
     There is no Way to Peace
     multi-colored tents row on row
     multi-colored green 
     tarps
     circle below the spiral stair spattered
     with pigeon shit—all of this must go
     the tall man lurching as he walks bends
     stops bellows & moves on –
     MEDIC red cross – INFORMATION
     table empty now—daily schedule blank – wheel chair – WATER
     Please Sanitize Hands – rain soaked
     slabs of cardboard, plastic forks, spoons
     orange plastic buckets
           IMMINENT 
               … left undefined, the end game
     has always been in progress –
     playing out from before it all began
     Boycott Everything	 -- Shut the City Down
     -- the city – whose city – whose city
     bikes chained to railing—flag, U.S Marines
     ARMY –shirts – wave their arms LABOR
     & FACILITATION side 
     by side –hula hoops lean on SAFETY

GA in the Friend Center after Occupy Together meeting
–after a 2:00 afternoon discussion about what to do—given the notice to vacate fliers posted around the camp—at 9:00 we had to leave the Friend’s Center, continued the GA in the usual place in front of city hall—but no lights no mic— -back to people’s mic… past 10:00 before we came to a decision—to move across JFK, with a call for help from unions—whose support was tied to not blocking the fucking construction scheduled for the plaza… caught the police off guard—-hadn’t expected us to move after the Nov 11 decision—but no go. Told to go back—after dismantling the food station, carrying some of the tents across the street.
Carry them back.

Total clusterfuck.

Another discussion

——
I’m writing this blind—the poor light (Lucky 13) & left my reading glasses at home.
A fiasco—but leaves us with all the chips. The city blew its moral advantage—all ours now. We showed solidarity with the unions, we complied (or tried) with the city’s request to move–

& they chased us back

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55 Days of Occupy Philly, Day 41

I will be posting these for each of the 55 days of Occupy Philly on Dilworth Plaza, from October 6, 2011 to November 30, the night of our eviction.

To view all posts to date, click:  55 Days of Occupy Philly.

11/14/11
Day 41
Weather 67 – 56

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1:35 PM The Occupy press conference responded to the mayor—very strong. How much gets on the news—who knows. This was a skirmish in the battle to control the narrative.

A gorgeous day!

1:46 AM Raiding Zuccotti Park now – on livestream.

Destroyed all personal & community property. Tossed in a dumpster.

3:09 AM … arrests coming soon

23K watching livefeed from all over the world.

Dragging people off one by one… Allegra? How many people are there?
[blank] Allegra? [blank] Allegra….

Monday November 14, 2011
Day 41
We hear them...
     ...the machines

     of power, the Mayors don their armor

     Portland, St. Louis, Oakland, New York… 
     Darth Vaders by the

           score

                    one!

                              for the 1%

     can't they hear ?
     the hour glass -- the sand
     beneath               
                        the pillars

     totter

     to plastic pail drums --

     old Joshua's trumpets
     sound

     the living & the dead parade
     
                           surround 

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     a thousand City Halls!

55 Days of Occupy Philly: Days 39, 40 — 99% chant wears thin…

11/12/11
Day 39
Weather 62-41
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I will be posting these for each of the 55 days of Occupy Philly on Dilworth Plaza, from October 6, 2011 to November 30, the night of our eviction.

To view all posts to date, click:  55 Days of Occupy Philly.
Most of the day fielding email–______ at CoCo, making an effort to behave… sort of. He wants to go to facilitation training. Not capable of keeping opinions to himself or calling out (hand signal) “point of process” when his only point of process is his disagreement with what someone has said. What it amounts to—a desire to make process work to support his opinion & deny those of any who don’t agree. We’re going to have to work through this shit.
This has been… difficult, yes, but a satisfying challenge—a challenge that’s been a test of faculties not much called on for a long time. Twelve years in front of a class room helped. And a more secure sense of myself as a poet, that I’ve won for myself the freedom to shed the last vestige of the need to appear ‘normal.’ … to be what other’s want, or what I might imagine others to want of me.

Sunday Day 40
November 13, 2011
Weather 71 – 54
11:09 AM Dreams of sailfish & sharks in the Outlet at Bass Lake. Occupation. Disorientation. Meeting at 3:00 Reading Terminal. 5:30, Reading at Giovani’s Room. Too dangerous to swim in the ocean. Occupy web correspondence till 1:15. Read –GA –Prepare my story, “Freedom Arms” for submission.

Nate believes it’s possible to work with politicians. Talks too long—shouldn’t facilitate. I hope he finds an opening for his dream of an experimental farm.

Walked from City Hall to 2nd, North to Brown, met the Occupy Wall Street marchers & escorted them back. One who walked the 90 miles barefoot. Escorted by cops there and back. Taunted by hipsters watching us pass. Food ready for the marchers when we arrived… and news of the attack and destruction on the Zuccotti camp.

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The 99% mantra works as an invitation to the Big Tent, but as a facade of unity it is dangerously misleading.

Nutter’s news conference—he “doesn’t want confrontation” but says that the Occupation has changed, the “leaders” have changed… not so veiled threats.

There are many of the 99%, not just the police, who will fight us, who will try to destroy us, many who simply don’t understand how to transition from a hierarchical culture, who use intimidation to grasp for attention & power and work to undermine and betray the movement… sometimes with the best intentions. Others who are too intimidated by the prospect of disapprobation by authority figures whose smiles and vague promises make them forget whose interests they serve, forget that no matter how ‘nice’ a mayor or police chief might be, they are inexorably bound up in an essentially undemocratic power structure that exists primarily for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many.

Let’s not be overly distressed that when Authority begins to frown, many will scuttle to what they believe to be safety, many will turn their backs on us, others will seek to push us toward a defensive authoritarian response to the perceived threat.

What we have done is already part of history and they cannot destroy what has begun here–not from above, not from within.

Mayor Nutter said in his news conference that Occupy Philly had changed. That the “leaders” had changed. What he meant was, there is no select few who stand apart from the people and pretend to speak for us in our stead, who can be manipulated, cajoled, used for their own ends.

Let’s not be fooled. His complaint acknowledges that we’re making a difference. That’s why they will eventually try to destroy us–no matter where we move.

55 Days of Occupy Philly, Day 38. Coming unraveled…

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I will be posting these for each of the 55 days of Occupy Philly on Dilworth Plaza, from October 6, 2011 to November 30, the night of our eviction.

To view all posts to date, click:  55 Days of Occupy Philly.

Friday Day 38
11/11/11 Much anxiety—hostility—mistrust. Tonight, decide on the proposal to stay on Dilworth Plaza, and expand to Thomas Paine—to make proposals & demand (demand what? … undefined)

[Somewhere around this time, woulda been better making plans to disband… consolidate around the solid working groups, Food, Direct Action—to go their own way but keep in touch. A web of collective houses? Thinking, Hakim Bey—Pirate Utopias]

For the OccTogether… want to make the welcome—tone setting [for all the good that did]

Fear—not authorities—destroys us.
Mistrust among ourselves is source of the fear.

Search for common ground—for what we can agree to do together.

No ONE can do—just as no one or group can tell us what we need or want.
Must discover TOGETHER –Each one who speaks—hold that in mind.
Mic Check… I believe we can do this.

We passed the proposal—took 3 hours… endless fucking ‘concerns’ – the Media tent chanting

	FUCK THE GA  FUCK THE GA

Close to (?) More than (?) 400 at the beginning of the GA—-most since the Oct 4 at Arch Street Methodist—more than 200 at the end. Proposal—to STAY at Dilworth (no move, no expansion), with statement & demands (to be decided). Amendment (eliminated Thomas Paine expansion), to initiate non-violence training for all, every day. Prepare for eviction. Overcame the “Permit fetish” –begging for permission from the surrogate Daddy in City Hall… it works. Trusting in the people.

Moving with permission would mean declaring that those who choose to stay are not considered part of OP—and denying them support. Unacceptable!

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55 Days of Occupy Philly: Days 34, 36, 37

I will be posting these for each of the 55 days of Occupy Philly on Dilworth Plaza, from October 6, 2011 to November 30, the night of our eviction.

To view all posts to date, click:  55 Days of Occupy Philly.

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Wednesday Day 36
11/9/11
Weather 72 – 43
11:00 AM Shooting a documentary on Passyunk. On what? Filled the parking lot—vans, buses—specially outfitted vehicles—this is a big budget documentary… was gonna say, ‘Occupation’ … and it almost is.
Bench in the sun. A breather—then back to work.

Two hours of Peeps mic last night… taking a fac. night off.

Direct Action meeting—well facilitated. Asks to send reps to CoCo

Point People = bottom liners

Meeting fatigue

CoCo – if only those with proposals go—there’s no neutral balance, no one concerned with process and not their own agenda.

Where have the drummers gone? When did they abandon us?
In their absence I feel the end draw near.

Thursday Day 36
11/10/11
Weather 62 – 45
A good breakfast. Work an hour on the inter-Oc thing—will work the rest of the afternoon.

Major fuss at CoCo – _______ from Direct Action threw a little tantrum—hijacked the meeting & took up the whole GA—at the meeting house (rain) full moon? The inter-Occupy plans are takng shape. OWS sending a march, 20 miles a day—to D.C. Be in Philly Saturday—can meet – hope with peeps from local meetings—then set Dec 10 for an all day conference. it’s happening. This—from the notice I sent out on Oct. 4. [a shame it was such a bust—like a corporate run employee meeting, complete with Power Point.]

     Thursday,
     November 10, 2011
            Be kind…
     … there are many wounded here
     the wars – ours
     & theirs

     here -- & past
     forgetting

     stalked, hounded, driven from

     beaten (body or mind)
     in fields, vacant lots 
         school yards, classrooms

     cowering by the kitchen stove…

     humiliated

    by teachers, parents, bosses, 
        all the bullies of the world

    wounded 
    body wounded 
    soul

    you think you know
    from their eyes
    think you can tell

    the way they hold their 
         bodies as alien things – or
         disguised – in penetrable

     passing through unnoticed
     the wounds – remember

     we have done these things 
     what has been done, we have done
     knowing & unknown
     to others as to ourselves

     what has been suffered – we have suffered
     what has been done – we have done

     be kind

     be kind

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