I am here at the Left Forum conference at John Jay College in New York City, a conference of, by and for Communist, Socialist, and Democratic Socialist activists.
The first workshop I attended was run by a group called Occuevolve whose members want to completely change the system. They want full community control of the police.
This particular group wants to rebuild the Occupy movement by tying into other movements.
The group was formed in 2012 as an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street. They weren’t necessarily anarchists and wanted to talk about LGBT, black issues, et al. Occupy wasn’t interested so they left and formed Occuevolve.
They have an Occupy Wall Street Black Lives Matter offshoot group.
They are opposed to Staples and a local Italian restaurant. Staples wants to privatize the post office and the restaurant allegedly pays $4 an hour.
This group supports the Walmart protesters and all left-wing issues.
Occuevolve tells businesses to stop supporting police or they will be boycotted. The businesses then listen, one speaker said.
Two of the three speakers float from shelter to shelter in what can’t be a good life.
One member has a college degree and has lived in a homeless shelter for the past three years because there “ain’t no jobs.” To stay in the shelter, you have to work 35 hours to get $45, he complained, discounting the free food and shelter.
A program that helped him was aimed at people not in a work program but they are up on corruption charges.
They have stringent restrictions at the shelters. Some don’t allow technology because they don’t want them using the electricity.
“Unbelievable,” said the co-founder of Occuevolve.
This speaker said he experienced police brutality. He had been arrested for creating a scene at a rally. Cops pounced on him, he said, because all he did was put his hand on a cop’s shoulder while he was upset and yelling.
He applied for 3,000 jobs and had 27 interviews but there are no jobs. He majored in cinema but the major wasn’t the problem. There are no jobs no matter what the major, he said.
His mother doesn’t allow him home except on holidays but sends him $100 a month. It’s “all the fault of the greedy capitalists, Reagan economics, trickle-down economics, and outsourcing,” he insisted.
He added that “the system is rigged so a certain portion of people are kept down.”
The gentrification of the poor areas are destroying them. There is no place to go. There is no affordable housing.
They would like to connect to other left-wing groups.
There is a bill in the assembly to make it easier for police to charge protesters with a felony, they said. Their next protest is aimed at this issue so they can sue.
They want to rebuild the movement and they have started by joining with environmentalist groups and groups that unionize illegals.
Attendees included homeless people, an LGBT artist, socialists and a member of the Free Socialist Pirates.
They are opposed to profit, capitalism, exploitation of people, police brutality et al. They connect all climate events with global warming.
They asked for ideas from the audience. Restorative justice came up. Joining political clubs and finding the right judges also came up.
The main speaker said that the Occupy movement “never had more than 400-500 people without the unions, SEIU and paid organizers,” et al.
The speakers seem like nice people who care about others but they don’t work and they have found meaning in their cause. They weren’t typical organizers. They’re fumbling around. They call themselves revolutionaries and they are. They want to completely overturn our system. Had they been brought up differently they could easily have been positive contributors to traditional society. Their reality is very different from the reality of most Americans.