Daily Archives: November 10, 2011

Bureau of Public Secrets

Known for his translations of Guy Debord and the Situationist International, Ken Knabb is a translator, writer and radical theorist. Mr. Knabb has kindly donated texts from the Bureau of Public Secrets to the People’s Library. His current writings regarding the Occupation can be found here:

The Awakening in America (general overview of the Occupy movement)
[The webpage includes a link for PDF format.]

Oakland (on the Oct. 25 police raid and aftermath)

Welcome to the Oakland General Strike

For those not able to come to the People’s Library to read Mr. Knabb’s writings and translations:

The Situationists and the Occupation Movements (1968/2011)
(comparisons with May 1968 occupation movement in France)

There are also, of course, many other texts at the site that have some relevance, including:

The Joy of Revolution (Knabb)
(visions of a liberated society and how we might get there)

The Society of the Spectacle (Debord)
(the most important radical book of the 20th century)

Situationist International Anthology

The latter includes these texts on May 1968:
http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/12.era1.htm (in-depth article by Debord)
http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/May68docs.htm (leaflets etc.)
http://www.bopsecrets.org/CF/graffiti.htm (graffiti)

Educate and Occupy


Filed under Announcements, Sean

Guest Speakers at The People’s Library

Our Guest Announcement Board

The People’s Library at Occupy Wall Street has been fortunate to host a number of special guest speakers in recent days including Carl Mayer, Jonathan Lethem, Lynn Nottage, Jennifer Egan, and Douglas Rushkoff. Upcoming are Michael Zweig and Daniel Pinchbeck.

And one more photo of our lovely (Canadian!) librarians with the lovely and Canadian Naomi Klein, at the first Spokes Council:

Laura, Naomi, Naomi's husband Avi Lewis, and Sean


Filed under Announcements, Photographs, Steve S.

Photos from Occupy Providence and Occupy Boston

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Filed under #OccupyBoston, Photographs, Steve S.

The Library Operations Group

Tonight, the group pictured above (that will eventually become the Spokes Council) approved the People’s Library as an Operations Group. This didn’t happen at the General Assembly (GA) and it didn’t happen at the Spokes Council, because there isn’t a Spokes Council yet.  If this is confusing, you’re not alone, so read on for some clarification.

The continuing growth of Occupy Wall Street has resulted in our GA approving a proposal from the Structure Working Group to create a new body in addition to the GA. This body is called the Spokes Council. The Spokes Council is to be made up of Operations Groups and Caucuses. Other groups involved in the movement will be called Movement Groups.

Tonight was the second meeting of the group that is determining which groups are Operations Groups. This group that met tonight is not a GA and it’s not yet a Spokes Council. Because it sits in this indeterminate space between these two decision-making bodies and is tasked with the creation of a new body, it is acting with what I might call an extra-legal authority in order to create new structures. This has, understandably, resulted in a lot of confusion – and the meetings reflect this. For example, tonight the Structure Working Group withdrew themselves from consideration as an Operations Group. And during the meeting folks from facilitation enforced certain rules that apply to the Spokes Council, while stating that we were not yet the Spokes Council. At one point facilitation said that the meeting was a GA, to which the Direct Democracy working group replied “No, it’s not.” And it wasn’t a GA, nor was it spokes – hence some of the confusion.

So, what is an Operations Group? An Operations Group is a group that:

  • contributes to the logistical and financial operations of Occupy Wall Street on a consistent basis
  • is open and accessible for people to join
  • and can only exclude people for either repeatedly disrupting the group’s process or behaving in such a way that seriously violates the GA’s Principles of Solidarity

The current meetings that are being referred to casually as spokes meetings, are actually meetings tasked with determining which groups fit this narrow definition of Operations Group. Tonight, our Library was approved as a group that does meet this definition. The Archives Working Group, however was not. There was quite a bit of discussion about whether or not groups meet these criteria. There was some contention, for example, about whether Finance meets this definition because they can exclude people based on background checks and this could be seen to conflict with the third bullet point above. But this was, of course, a matter of interpretation and the counter argument was presented that they don’t exclude membership based on those background checks, but rather exclude individuals from playing certain roles based on them. Many other issues were brought up, and I don’t intend to erase those issues by not reporting them here. In the end Finance was also approved as an Operations Working Group.

I could write quite a bit about the different objections, confusions, tensions, structural questions, facilitation issues, and more that this process is bringing up, it’s a fascinating area. But for now, it’s enough to say that once the Spokes Council is formed and this process of determining group memberships is complete, the Library will be participating as an Operations Group. We will have a rotating spoke, a different person who speaks for the group at each meeting – and all library folks are invited and encouraged to attend and participate in the discussions and to volunteer to take on that role of being the spoke.

You can read more about the Spokes Council proposal on the Structure Working Group page here. And please post questions, both specific and general, several of us have now attended these meetings and are familiar with the process and should be able to give you some different perspectives.

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Filed under Operations Group, Rob, Spokes Council