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26 March 2012

General Strike in Central Park New York City

Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2012 15:25:45 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Tuesday -- 03.27.12 – General Strike in Central Park
From: "Sixteen Beaver" <lists[at]>
To: generals[at]

Tuesday -- 03.27.12 ­ General Strike in Central Park


1. Invitation / Introduction
2. Some Background
3. Online Resources
4. Readings
5. Local Links
6. Precarious & Service Worker Assembly

1. Invitation / Introduction

What: Drifting Assembly on General Strike
When: Tuesday -- 03.27.12
Where: Central Park, meet up at the steps of Metropolitan Museum
When: 6:00 pm
Who: Everyone (dress warm)

During the winter, we participated in a molecular seminar entitled
'Welcome to the New Paradigm; The Crisis of Everything Everywhere.' A few
hundred people attended over the course of 9 days, some staying for a
session, others for a day, and yet others for the entire duration.
Together we organized, disorganized, ate, spoke, disagreed, speculated,
walked, mapped, manifested, felt, listened, played, and even mic checked
Diego Rivera.&#8232;&#8232;'Welcome to the New Paradigm' was an allusion
to a banner we had seen in Washington Square Park at the conclusion of a
day of actions globally on October 15. That same night, after Gayatri
Spivak addressed everyone, we discovered that along with a lot of friends,
she had been thinking about the potentials for a General Strike.

At the time, the occupations at Liberty and across the globe were so
powerful; it was still unclear whether the idea of a General Strike was a
nostalgic regression or potential mode of amplification and generalization
of refusal. After all, the occupations were themselves a new paradigm of a
strike, not just striking against a work place or work but taking
everything, everywhere.

As the coordinated and violent attacks by police started in late Fall on
the encampments, there was an even greater urgency placed upon everyone to
consider how this refusal of austerity, of faux solutions, of legalized
robbery, of new forms of enclosure, of an increasing surveillance /
security state, of ever greater ecological ruin, of continued structural
racism, could be expressed, embodied, uttered, collectively; and how could
this be done in a forceful manner, without further empowering or placing
all of our collective attention into a reactionary game with and on the
police force.

In January, we returned to the question of the General Strike and
we asked one another:

What it could mean a General Strike today given the global dimension of
financial capital, given the shifting qualities of the workplace and
work-time (namely its increased itinerancy, placelessness, instability,
meaninglessness), given the ever more invasive forms of extracting
productivity and value from the basic reproduction of our life and social

The winter provided to hundreds of people a season to formally and
informally meet, consider, propose plans and create possibilities for the
General Strike that has been called on May 1st.
In examining the shifted terrain of work, productivity, and thus strike,
the critical questions which emerge are:

How can this complex arrangement ...

- of placed and non-placed labor (i.e., labor that occurs in a
recognizable workplace as well as Starbucks or the neighborhood boutique
cafe or the street or in the home)

- of recognized and unrecognized productivity (i.e., a waged job, albeit
badly paid, contracted labor or just using Google, Facebook, YouTube,
indirectly producing immense data, content, value, profits)&#8232;- of
remunerated and unremunerated life (i.e., the time which is paid for a
specific work and the time spent between any specific work just making
oneself available, preparing, learning new skills which could be reapplied
back into work)

- of visible and invisible, of legal and not legalized, of union and
non-unionized workers

… redefine the strategies for a General Strike?

Where could be the sites of blockage? Where could be the site of flow
stoppage? Where could be the sites of non-cooperation? How to activate
other fields of non-cooperation such a debt strike under the heading
general strike? And where could be the sites of cooperation, of
communization, of convergence?

Seen in the light of occupation, how might the general strike also
question the ideals sovereignty, autonomy, or freedom that presume an
individual political subject? How has occupation allowed us to reconceive
the strike not just as total refusal, blockage, or stoppage, but as a
public gathering that demonstrates the practices and principles of
socialization, communization, and mutual aid and care? What would it mean
to rethink the social intransitivity of the strike—its lack of
instrumentality, of work, of means-ends relations—as neither undoing or
negativity nor direct action, but as opening onto the potentiality of

What does it mean to strike if you are unemployed? Or "your own boss"? Or
a freelance worker? How to also take account of those whose time is not so
flexible, and who face greater threats and risks in walking off the job or
joining a public demonstration?

What qualities could a strike take to address the multiplicity of sites of
and modes of production? And if our consumption, obedience, and everyday
participation is part of our productivity, if our everyday social
reproduction is the lubricant of the economic machinery that increasingly
surveys and oppresses the multitudes and our shared habitats, how could
May 1st become the turning point to intensify a process not only of
withdrawal or a symbolic act but a call for the infinite strike, the
closest we can get of doing nothing, how actively we envision and realize
our lives without capitalism.

We are interested in continuing this discussion not only on theoretical
grounds but through proposals for specific actions online and in the city.
We would like to propose meeting at Central Park on Tuesday early evening
for a walk and informal assembly.

The walking assembly will be unfacilitated by the Central Park Exploratory
Committee, an ungroup attempting to reassert the park as a commons, and as
potential site of convergence on the day of the General Strike, resulting
in a meshwork of refusal, food, music, pleasure, sensuality, resistance,
communization. The group is interested in weaving together with others
great fictions and believes strongly that such visions or horizons will
resonate with multitudes not only on May Day but also for the days

Come join us and bring things to share: proposals,
food, drink.

2. Background

A general strike has been called for May Day, first by Occupy Los Angeles
on November 15th, and locally by Occupy Wall Street on February 14th. In
the time between and since many other city and neighborhood assemblies
have taken up the call, and a number of other coalitions, collectives, and
committees have started to agitate and organize for a general strike in

These recent calls for a May Day general strike have taken inspiration
from Occupy Oakland’s wildcat general strike of November 2nd, 2011, and
the struggles in Wisconsin last Spring which first reignited interest in
the concept. In the months since the Occupy movement began we have seen
general strikes called in Belgium, Egypt, Greece, India, Israel, Italy,
Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, and the United

The general assembly of Occupy Los Angeles committed to the general strike
on December 19th; Occupy Boston on January 7th; Occupy Tampa on January
7th; Occupy Pasadena on January 8th; Occupy Phoenix on January 10th;
Occupy Williamsburg and Occupy Long Beach on January 17th; Occupy Brooklyn
on January 19th; Occupy Oakland on January 29th; Occupy Ventura on
February 7th; New York City on February 14th; Occupy Sydney on February
18th; Occupy Detroit on February 21st; Occupy Seattle on February 26th;
and Occupy Bushwick on March 1st. In the weeks between and since many
other cities, assemblies, and organizations have also called for the May
Day General Strike, and we expect more to follow suit in the next five

3. Some Online Resources



4. Readings

--The Social General Strike - Stephen Naft, 1905:

--The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions - Rosa
Luxemburg, 1906:

--Reflections on Violence - George Sorel, 1908:

--"The General Strike" - Bill Haywood, 1911:

--"Critique of Violence" - Walter Benjamin, 1921:

--The General Strike - Ralph Chaplin, 1933:

--"The General Strike" - W.E.B. Du Bois, 1935:

--Kill the Bill: The Power of a General Strike - Madison IWW, 2011:

--"To All the Working People: Call for De-Nuke General Strike" - Committee
for De-nuke General Strike, 2011:

--"Wisconsin's Lost Strike Moment" - Nicolas Lampert & Dan S. Wang, 2011:

--"What Chance a General Strike in Manhattan?" - Nikolas Kozloff, 2011:

--"A Message to the Partisans, in Advance of the General Strike" - Society
of Enemies, 2011:

--"Blockading the Port is Only the First of Many Last Resorts" - Society
of Enemies, 2011:

--"General Strike" - Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, 2011:

--"What are the Origins of May Day?" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1894:

--"The Idea of May Day on the March" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1913:

--"May Day in the West and the East" - Leon Trotsky, 1923:

--"The First of May: Symbol of a New Era in the Life and Struggle of the
Toilers" - Nestor Makhno, 1928:

--The History of Mayday - Alexander Trachtenberg, 1932:

--"A General Strike" - Mariarosa Dall Costa, 1974:

--"What do we mean by… The General Strike?" - Chris Harman, 1985:

--The Incomplete, True, Authentic and Wonderful History of May Day - Peter
Linebaugh, 1986

--"Birth of a Holiday: The First of May" - Eric Hobsbawm, 1994:

--"Infinite Strike" - Anonymous, 2010:

--"Which Way Forward for the 99%?" - Occupy May 1st, 2012:

5. NYC Links

Brooklyn General Assembly:
Bushwick General Assembly:
New York City General Assembly:
Strike Everywhere:
Williamsburg General Assembly:

6. Precarious & Service Worker Assembly

03/28/2012 19:30

Precarious/Service Worker Assembly

360 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11231, United States

Tired of being treated like a servant by your customers? Tired of
management demanding more and more for less and less? Feeling alone or
frustrated? Come to the first Precarious and Service Worker Assembly to
network with others who share your interests!

As service workers, we are often both overworked and underpaid; with
Management forcing workers to work ever faster in an ever shorter amount
of time. Productivity and speed-of-service requirements increase while
hours per week are slashed. It’s clear: The harder we work, the less we
get paid, and the richer they get!

Many of us are already in tough situations as parents, immigrants, young
people, and students. Racism is blatantly apparent at many of our
workplaces, with Latino and immigrant workers confined to back-of-house
positions, maintaining a racial hierarchy to keep us separated. For some,
a job at a restaurant or a cafe is a 2nd or even 3rd job, a result of the
declining wages for other careers. Even worse, we often find ourselves
forced into student loan and credit card debt because of low pay. All the
while, rent, food, and transportation costs climb through the roof.

Solidarity and support among local service workers can be empowering for
all of us. Remember, they can’t run these places without us. Bosses thrive
by pitting us against one another, but if not for us, Management wouldn’t
make a dime. So let’s take what’s ours!

Bring some goods to share from your place of employment if you’d like, and
feel free to bring a friend or two ­as long as they’re not the boss! We’ll
be discussing how we can make our collective situation much more
interesting and how we can engage together in upcoming actions like the
May Day General Strike.

16 Beaver Group
16 Beaver Street, 4th fl.
New York, NY 10004

for directions/subscriptions/info visit:

4,5 -- Bowling Green
2,3 -- Wall Street
J,Z --  Broad Street
R -- Whitehall
1 -- South Ferry