It was a while before we came to realize that our place was the very house of difference rather than the security of any one particular difference. (And often, we were cowards in our learning.)—Audre Lorde 1
On November 15, 2011, the NYPD routed Occupy Wall Street (OWS) activists from Zuccotti Park in a nighttime raid that left over 200 activists in police custody and many questioning the fate of a movement that, in the most literal sense, might no longer live up to its name. In the wake of the eviction, Occupiers and supporters continued to laud the encampment’s ethics of care and microcommunity-building, not to mention the spectacle of modest living in the heart of the financial district, yet were quick to downplay the significance of its dissolution, characterizing Zuccotti as only one site and occupation as only one tactic available to an increasingly ambitious global movement. Days later during a protest on November 17, 2011(N17), as chants of “You can’t evict an idea” filled the streets, the ousting of Occupiers from Liberty Plaza seemed indeed to herald a new phase in the movement— one that presaged even greater inclusivity through a borderless and unbounded OWS, one that refused, as a New York City Occupier told me, to “fetishize Liberty Plaza” as the privileged location of the real occupiers. In other words, post-Zuccotti, Occupy not only could, but should, be everywhere—and nobody’s house was off limits. As Jeff Ordower, former Midwest Executive Director for ACORN and an organizer with Occupy Our Homes, stated in late 2011, “It’s pretty clear that the fight is against the banks, and the Occupy movement is about occupying spaces. So occupying a space that should belong to homeowners but belongs to the banks seems like the logical next step for the Occupy movement.” 2 Now, on the first anniversary of the encampment evictions, we might evaluate how the idea of a free-range Occupy has fared and revisit what lessons the Occupy encampments might yet yield as Occupy enters the home.
If the collapse of the subprime mortgage market helped call Occupy into being, the encampments’ active attempts to fashion a self-functioning microcommunity potentially overhaul what it means to have a home, as well as the desirability, and even viability, of private home ownership. Amidst signs proclaiming “Housing is a human right!,” Occupiers took their meals from Occupy’s kitchens, had their wounds dressed by Occupy medics, and crawled into tents to rest. The November 15 raid that violently ousted the erstwhile Occupiers from the park was thus more than an abridgment of their civil rights or the end of a protest tactic: it was instead a state-backed enclosure that left Occupy and Occupiers bereft of a home. In what follows, I understand home as not only the site of physical shelter, but also the domestic and intimate labor that occurs or is presumed to occur beneath its roof—the privatized social reproductive work of family that includes care, but also conflict. Accordingly, this essay considers how Occupy’s initial experiments in collective living in tandem with ongoing antiforeclosure and other housing actions, might repoliticize questions of who may have access to housing through a dedicated and intentional reconceptualization of what makes a home. I suggest that the day-to-day life of the encampments, through its insistence on an ethics of care for all who cared to dwell within it, began, although ultimately neglected, to create a queer politics of home that should nevertheless be nurtured within current post-encampment Occupy movement endeavors.
To do so, I draw on radical left scholarship and praxis, typified by the work of Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, and the Midnight Notes Collective, that promotes the concept of “the commons” as a unifying tenet for a spectrum of contemporary social movements. Broadly writ, the notion of the commons revivifies a historical current that in Silvia Federici’s summation offers “a logical and historical alternative to both State and Private Property, the State and the Market, enabling us to reject the fiction that they are mutually exclusive and exhaustive of our political possibilities.” 3 I also follow Federici in thinking of “the ‘commoning’ of the material means of reproduction [as] the primary mechanism by which a collective interest and mutual bonds are created”—a view that declines to parse the creation of the commons from the organizations of work, production, and social reproduction that give rise to it. 4 Federici and allied scholars, in other words, understand the gendered work of social reproduction—from biological reproduction and childcare to subsistence farming and housekeeping—as subtending the social divisions of labor under capitalism; thus, efforts to reorganize reproductive labor must not be negated or derided, but rather “revolutionized, […] revisited, and revalorized.” 5
In this essay, however, I also rely on recent queer scholarship and activism on neoliberalism, belonging, and kinship—including the work of Lisa Duggan, David Eng, Elizabeth Freeman, and organizations like Queers for Economic Justice and FIERCE—to bring queer analyses and activism to bear on the rhetoric of “families” and “home” that surrounds most housing initiatives. Queer scholarship and activism position the private structures of home, the ties of kinship and family (homemaking), as necessarily enmeshed in and sustained by racialized global circuits of labor and exploitation—evidenced, for instance, by the Global North’s reliance on the Global South’s domestic and reproductive labor, in nannies and adopted babies. 6 As David Eng and allied scholars and activists emphasize, “the idealized notion of family and kinship relations” must not be seen as “somehow removed from or eccentric to the racial tensions, cultural differences, and national conflicts that continue to define our domestic and global political economies and conditions of existence.” 7 Such analyses of the global sexual and racial politics of home and family deepen Federici’s take on the commoning of social reproductive labor and thus the possibilities for social justice so tenuously, and often frustratingly (as discussed below), modeled by the Occupy encampments.
If the Occupy encampments indeed nurtured a nascent commons, then the new social relations and divisions of labor that undergird that commons should also be understood as generating a queer politics of home that, if theorized and extended, could well serve current organizing and activism around foreclosures, the chronically unsheltered, and other housing issues. In this view, Occupy and its encampments denote more than the oft-rehearsed schism between the traditional political ambitions of representational democracy and a committed practice of horizontalism backed by a tactic of occupation. 8 Between horizontalism as both tool for and goal of direct democracy and the encampments as commons-making lie submerged questions of how to envision relationships between the use and accessibility of space and the affective and reproductive labor of the home—a site of care, danger, and racialized intimacy with global implications.
A purposeful politics of home is a means, I suggest, to realize the profound empathies and solidarities that Occupy has staked with global justice, indigenous, and rights-based movements of the past and present—of foregrounding not only the commons, but the making of the commons as sites of convergence for disparate wings of the radical left. To fulfill the most expansive and transformative promise of Occupy, these critical engagements would entail a prolonged and serious reckoning with the loss of the encampments and the snuffing out of its particular and contested amalgam of affective and other labor that helped forge Occupy’s notion of justice. They would entail a conjoined analysis of the “commoning” of social reproductive labor that the encampments fitfully enabled with the lived practice of horizontalism and suggest that future horizontalist projects must reckon with the material divisions promoted by the family and the home, must confront these “ties that bind.” Doing so would bridge and complement extant queer scholarship and activism on housing, evidenced by a recent collaboration between the Barnard Center for Research on Women and Queers for Economic Justice that documents in part the threats faced by LGTBQQ (Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, Queer, and Questioning) youth, at home and in the streets. 9 It would place the politics of social regeneration alongside queer efforts to belong to, care for, and be dependent on others in ways that endure. 10
Revisiting the promise of the encampments is not to deny or diminish the many and well chronicled divisions that wracked them. Before state authorities managed to mount successful evictions, the encampments were riven in ways that undermined their sustainability as public sites of care and mutual aid. Segregated sleeping areas in Zuccotti, rumors of sexual assaults in Oakland, D.C., Boston, and New York, and what became interminable, dysfunctional General Assemblies, sowed discord where people sought relief. 11 Nor does an evaluation of the encampments’ strategic potential necessarily dismiss critiques of the encampments as organizing models that failed to engage with race, class, and other disparities that stratify the 99%or otherwise mobilize broad based coalitional support in furtherance of the movement. 12
Rather, this essay looks to how those obstacles and conflicts might generate lessons for futures practices and politics that take these critiques as their point of departure, but do not jettison the prefigurative lessons that the encampments, in fits and starts, began.
What democratic practice and polity would arise if Occupy were to repeatedly and physically interrogate, mourn, and challenge the violent loss of the encampments as a day-to-day practice of fashioning a commons? If Occupy figured access to livable space and the space to live for all as a locus of organizing and theorizing—as a means of evaluating and addressing disparities within the 99%, and the shared, but uneven impact of austerity, locally and globally—from Wall Street to Main Street, from the MST (Landless Workers’ Movement) in Brazil to Occupy Homes and Occupy the Hood? What would democracy look life if the ubiquitous tag of “the 99%” was anchored by a queer, antiracist, and decolonized commons-making, at the front and center of the politics of the subprime crisis, debt activism, ideas of property, and homemaking? And what if that work, which has for decades tested the conceptual and material spaces of property, community, home, and belonging, was promulgated and defended with the same zeal and in the same breath (or better yet, in the preceding one) as any mention of the Main Street nuclear family?In other words, what would democracy be like if Occupy extended the multiple inheritances of its many progenitors into a politics of reclamation of space, housing, cities, and all aspects of living? What if Occupy Homes and its affiliates asked: how, with and on whom do we build our homes?
Housing and the Global Commons
While charges of predatory lending and unsustainable, if not illicit, banking practices raised housing activists and commentators’ ire long before Occupy took to Wall Street, the advent of the Occupy movement has amplified their efforts. From New York and Atlanta to Minnesota, Occupy-networked actions to forestall evictions, foreclosures, and bank-to-bank sales of seized houses for pennies on the dollar have bolstered the work of community action groups and housing activists in creative and confrontational ways. From disrupting foreclosure auctions with coordinated song cycles to occupying bank-seized homes amidst calls for school boards to divest from Wells Fargo, the push-back on bank profit at the expense of collective livability has kept homeowner debt and the subprime crisis that sparked the economic downturn at the forefront of activists’ attention. It is a crisis that shows little sign of abating.
At the close of 2011, CoreLogic, a national real estate research firm, estimated that eleven million houses, approximately one quarter of all US homeowners with mortgages, had fallen behind their payment schedules. (Five states—California, Florida, Michigan, Texas, and Georgia—account for a staggering 48.4 percent of all completed foreclosures in the US). 13 As of July 2012, according to house tracking service RealtyTrac, Fannie and Freddie Mac own more than two hundred thousand foreclosed homes, while the nation’s banks own more than six hundred thousand single-family homes. 14 In the wake of a twenty-five billion dollar settlement by banks and regulators for prior abusive foreclosures and lending practices, banks and investors have touched off a single-family-housing buying frenzy that sees prominent investors, including private equity firm TPG Capital, investment firm Oaktree Capital Management, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (helmed by Warren Buffet), Starwood Capital, Och-Ziff Capital Management, and bond fund manager TCW, entering, or preparing to enter, the foreclosure market. 15 As Occupiers and community groups are quick to note, there now seem to be more empty, foreclosed houses in the US than there are people in need to fill them.
Occupy’s initial staging in Zuccotti Park took the fall of the American dream of home ownership head on, as temporary shelters rose beneath the offices where financial elites spun corporate gold from anguish and evictions. Occupy should be credited with the increased profile of evicted peoples within talks of institutional financial reforms. If Occupy did not expressly draft, demand, or sanction specific policies, its atmospherics nonetheless helped shift the tenor of proposed solutions. Talk of bank bailouts or high-level economic reform is increasingly laced with proposals for housing allowances, where, as in the Netherlands, 16 government-backed mortgage vouchers cushion against risks of default, and discussion of San Bernardino County’s controversial eminent domain proposal, which would have state and city governments seize underwater properties and refinance them at affordable rates. 17 Community groups and activists have also gained mostly positive notice for advocating cooperative financing and community land trusts, or other forms of homeownership based on shared equity. 18
But freestanding policy reforms do not fulfill the full Occupy promise of social justice—nor would the members of Occupy Homes and the community group activists that I’ve spoken with describe their overarching vision of social justice as such. Instead, reforms that reify a legal right of access to basic necessities and resources risk a narrow vision of social justice as improved availability—or, perhaps more accurately, improved affordability—for some at the expense of broader questions of access and livability for all. Grim as the CoreLogic reports are, the figures yet gloss the racial economics that fueled the spectacular pop of the housing bubble in 2007. They reveal little of the changes in fiduciary practice that occurred in the prior decade, when banks moved from denying loans (redlining) to working class neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color to “subpriming” them—extending credit under predatory terms and rates with an expectation of default. Neither do these statistics nor their ilk plumb the full cultural implications of defending primarily single-family homes, or how value is apportioned to some lives and living arrangements and not others. The numbers, and the many policy reforms that seek to address them, render invisible the very real and very dubious “privilege”—as the substantial population of homeless and largely of color LGBTQQ street youth in New York City attest—of being able to accrue personal debt. 19 Finally, these statistics do not encapsulate the plight of those who compose “the subprime base of the global economy” and those whose work subtends the functioning of the global market; Greg Moses names them “subprime people”—the low-wage or no-wage workers exploited by a globalized market that allows, for example, “bankers from Beijing, Geneva, and Los Angeles to simultaneously milk the labor of Mexican migrant workers in the USA.” 20
I do not mean to belittle the extraordinary efforts made by community and Occupy groups involved in housing activism that implement targeted, strategic campaigns to expose the immoral fiscal practices of big banks. Rather, this essay seeks to imagine what a fully recognized Occupy vision of just housing might entail. The diffuse and proliferate community and working groups that now comprise Occupy might be tethered to Occupy’s most expansive ideals by revisiting the making of the commons that were the Occupy encampments—the gendered, if not as explicitly racial or sexual, dimensions of which the feminist Silvia Federici has skillfully begun to explore—with an unwavering emphasis on its queer potentials. In other words, the entwined questions of how, with and on whom the US builds homes, understood as both material and ideological enterprises, merits a more detailed accounting.
If the production of the commons requires, as sociologist Maria Mies has argued, an overhaul of the social divisions of labor attendant to capitalism, 21 so then any account of the liberatory potential of a commons must reckon with how and by whom the commons itself is forged and socially reproduced. Through the encampments, Occupy encouraged solidarity premised on a very public intimacy that, in its ideal incarnations, might escape the prescriptions and obligations of nation, gender roles, and bio-family. First and foremost, the encampments visibly expanded the space of living beyond the confines of private residences to bring home into the streets—to bring the ethics and labor of care presumed to be personal, private, and “of the home” to those who dwell beyond it, including the chronically unsheltered and others without sufficient access to shelter and the benefits it confers. The encampments also achieved a nascent, if difficult, fluency in the organizational needs of a functioning democratic community, providing food, medical attention, reading materials, entertainment, and opportunities for direct political engagement—becoming, for some, spaces of care and conflict, becoming, in the words of many, home. 22
The encampments as commons thus visibly twinned the practice of living with the call for sufficient space in which to live, rendering insufficient proposals for affordable housing that would nonetheless leave the Wall Street oligarchy intact while crucially prefiguring anticapitalist alternatives premised on new relations of care. By doing so, the encampments intervened in the gendered and racialized domestic labor arrangements on which capitalism depends: the work that literally reproduces the labor force. This labor feeds, clothes, cleans, and heals, but also “recreates and recharges bodies,” affectively and emotionally aligning them to socially unmarked, naturalized processes of renewal emblematized within heterosexual kinship claims that replicate and position the family as the natural and socially transmissible site of care work. 23
Encampment living was an act of social reproduction with the potential to expose the gendered, racial, and sexual divisions of labor that ground society and that are too often hidden within the allegedly private, intimate auspices of the home. In this view, the encampments contribute to longstanding feminist and queer efforts to devise more “cooperative and egalitarian forms of reproducing human, social, and economic relationships at the center of political work.” 24 Even more crucially, the Zuccotti encampments also laid bare the conflicts that happen in the home as socially reproductive, as necessary, thereby staging the home as potentially generative and destructive—all in all, wrenching work that at its best, and however uneasily and incompletely, gestured towards what solidarity means: a commitment to engage and sustain, not agree.
While, for instance, the early Adbusters’ call to Occupy Wall Street made no mention of indigenous land claims, did not explicitly position itself in solidarity with global anti-enclosure movements, or make sustained forays into the racial, gendered, and sexual politics of class warfare, Occupy would come to reckon with these and a host of other issues encapsulated by the debates surrounding decolonization, which refracted local space needs within global analyses of colonialism and imperialism. Critically, Occupy would do so in the midst of a social experiment in collective living on long-contested land, as antiracist and anti-imperialist activists forced extended, often painful, elaborations on the choice of the very term “occupy.” “THE UNITED STATES IS ALREADY BEING OCCUPIED. THIS IS INDIGENOUS LAND. And it’s been occupied for quite some time now,” noted Executive Director for the Native Youth Sexual Health Network Jessica (née Yee) Danforth. 25 Meanwhile, from the streets of New York to the West Bank, stencils proclaimed “Occupy Wall Street, Not Palestine.”
Occupy’s potential to press the limits of citizenship and demos lies in its willingness to ask, “Is Occupy what democracy looks like—and to whom?”—and to be marked by the replies. This is the essence of a horizontalist project grounded on “new social arrangements and principles of organization,” one that seeks “a break with vertical ways of organizing and relating.” 26 Thinking through what makes a home allows the social reproductive work that is necessary to sustain Occupy—work that includes the maintenance, fortification, and renewal of what Elizabeth Freeman describes as “forms of not yet or unequally institutionalized forms of nurture”—to become clearer, shining a light on the uneven recognition of injustice and inequitable distribution of work that has been, and is yet required, to clear a commons and birth a movement. 27 How, with and on whom do we build our movements, our homes?
If Zuccotti Park and the other encampments provided food, libraries, medical stations, yoga lessons, spiritual ceremonies, and drums—in other words, a range of activities designed to renew, recharge, and, in a word, care for the people within its auspices—some housing actions retain those practices, albeit on a smaller scale, without the forceful challenge of a public commons. Home occupations cast Occupiers and homeowners in a showdown with banks and police in round-the-clock eviction blockades that, while ultimately in the service of private home ownership, open private homes and their private functions to collective experience, input, and critique—particularly when home occupations are considered from within the full spectrum of Occupy and antiracist community organizing from which they emerge. 28
In Minneapolis, for example, Occupy Homes Minnesota and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) 29 have led the charge against foreclosures through a multi-pronged approach that sees antiforeclosure occupations staged within ongoing campaigns for neighborhood self-empowerment that are premised on far-reaching projects of racial and economic justice. NOC, for instance, is currently waging a divestment campaign to encourage district schools to forego business partnerships with banks involved in foreclosures, while assisting foreclosed homeowners in delaying sheriff sales of their homes. NOC has also produced the “Community Voices for Equity and Excellence” report—a set of grievances and recommendations for the school system gleaned from interviews with the parents of over seven hundred Minneapolis and St. Paul school children from low- and middle-income neighborhoods. It is against this backdrop that Minnesotans looking to fight their own foreclosures enter the fray, and come, in some instances, to physical repossess the technically bank-owned premises with NOC and Occupy members. Physical occupations of foreclosed homes are thus, too, a small experiment in collective living (although not likely commons-making) as Occupiers and homeowners alike must eat, clean themselves, and sleep for the duration of their stay in these erstwhile family homes.
The grist of these negotiations in collective living amongst and between Occupiers and the families was the subject of a conversation I had with a NOC worker and Occupy supporter. Sharing space was hard, he said, for some families and new activists who were unused to long waits for the bathroom, cramped sleeping conditions, or the divisions of labor and resources necessary to keep all participants in the occupation up and running. It was also difficult, he continued, when queer Occupy activists asserted that any space reserved for common living should be available to accommodate multiperson queer sex encounters and went on to propose nightly ones in what was once the family living room and currently a multiperson sleeping area. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the suggestion proved controversial and was ultimately abandoned. Its bare mention by queer Occupy activists within a foreclosure occupation, however, raises provocative questions about the literal place of queerness within the occupied home. But instead of pitching this narrative as an existential death match between “sex positive” and “sex negative” camps or between “queers” and “straights” (which can assume devastating and inaccurate racial implications in the context of the subprime crisis), 30 in what follows, I consider recent activist and scholarly work that stresses “the ways in which economic, gender, and racial justice can, and should, be more centralized in the work of the LGBT movement” and how it might interface with Occupy’s commitment to horizontalism as a mechanism to achieve a lived-in justice that can only emerge from the bottom up. 31
A Queer Home in the Midst of a Movement?
The latest issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online, “A New Queer Agenda,” is the culmination of collaborative efforts between the Barnard Center for Research (BCRW) on Women and Queers for Economic Justice—a partnership that has, in the words of Catherine Sameh, Associate Director of BCRW and editor of the journal, engaged “activists, academics and organizers around a vision and practice of cross-issue organizing that sees gender and sex as central to issues like immigration, poverty, homelessness, gentrification, and drug use.” 32 This is not call for greater tolerance, representation, and inclusion, but a revolt against the neoliberal economic and cultural practices that relegate mainstream sexual politics to what Duggan has dubbed “the 3 M’s”: marriage, the military, and the market. 33 An emphasis on the 3 M’s foists a very narrow portrait of queer life (namely a moneyed one) to the forefront of what could be a more comprehensive queer political, social, and cultural agenda.
The demand for a new queer agenda springs from the ground up. The lessons elaborated within this latest issue of the Scholar and Feminist Online are not precisely foreign to Occupy, whose participants and affiliates in New York City have included members of Queer Occupy, FIERCE (a membership-driven organization in New York City that builds power and leadership for LGBTQQ youth of color), and Queers for Economic Justice among others. Moreover, the anarcho-queer and feminist influences and lineages of Occupy, exemplified by consensus processes and ethics of care, cannot be parsed from any historical accounting of the movement. What I’m suggesting is that the full realization of Occupy’s commitment to direct democratic practice emboldened and modeled by the encampments’ early commons would compel a queer politics of home and “homelessness” at the heart of any concerted effort to combat the subprime crisis.
Reed Christian and Anna Mukarji-Connelly, in their contribution to “A New Queer Agenda,” entitled “What’s Home Got to Do With It? Unsheltered Queer Youth,” sketch the consequences of failing to produce collective knowledge about and material support for the LGTBQQ youth who face violence from families, in schools and social service systems, and on the streets. 34 Christian and Mukarji-Connelly upend the presumption of the home as a safe haven or site of care for LGBTQQ youth, couching violence in the home as a gateway to LGBTQQ homelessness that disproportionately affects LGBTQQ queers of color and low-income youth, predisposing them to increased encounters with state violence that span from militarized school systems to stints in the armed services. Inattention to their plight furthers the disassociation of racial and economic politics from sexual ones, wherein the sexual politics of home are cleaved from both the mainstream identity politics of “the 3 M’s” and racially cognizant analyses of predatory lending and the chronically unsheltered.
A queer politics of home, however, portrays home not only as a potential site of dysfunction, but also as a site of care and kinship that, like the ideal encampments-as-commons, is not bound to bloodlines or the economies of privately owned and operated households. It builds on what Toni Morrison has called in another context “re-membering,” the process by which the historical inheritance of imposed bodily disgrace and exploitation might suture ideologically similar peoples together, grounding and renewing a collective and individual furturity in nonprocreative kinship. 35 However, as the quotation by Audre Lorde that initiates this essay intimates, even those most dedicated to envisioning alternative, collectively sustainable ways of living inevitably spend some time climbing the walls of the “house of difference.” In this respect, the Occupy encampments, with their inhabitants and participants, were and should expect to be no exception.
What the Occupy encampments offered and may yet offer was a public portrait of home as a movement—a home that could not be called private nor insulated from capitalist maneuverings and global racial and economic exploitation. A home where who does what work, and who suffers what kinds of abuse (these racial, gendered, and sexualized legacies of living in a fractured world) are on full display—as is the unabashed and insistent hope that this is not how we should live. The encampments’ breakdown of social reproductive tasks, the promise it foretold of new care networks, should envelop housing actions.
Perhaps this means a reformulation of what home occupations can be, who should participate in them, and to what extent occupations of public space might be made in the name and theory of queer home. Perhaps it necessitates the strategic, thoughtful occupation of public space that begins with direct engagement with the questions of privilege and access that continue to needle the movement. The very fact and openness of these possibilities compel an intellectual and activist revisitation of the encampments; they with their steady dialogues, however contested, made Occupy what it is: a global justice movement without discrete demands, where the ideal of justice is a radically lived strategy that is only as bounded as we make it. If conflicts revealed the limits of the encampments, they also elucidated the potential strengths of prolonged public occupation as a tactic that, to paraphrase Henri Lefebvre, generates new social relations to fit new space 36—a tactic with the potential to embed explicitly the private family and the private home within the work of Occupy as a global social justice movement.
- Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (New York: Persephone Press, 1982), 226. ↩
- Billy Hallowell, “‘Trespassers’: Occupy Wall St. Protesters Begin Taking Over Foreclosed Homes,” The Blaze, December 7, 2011, http://www.theblaze.com/stories/trespassers-occupy-wall-st-protesters-begin-taking-over-foreclosed-homes/. ↩
- Silvia Federici, “Feminism and the Politics of the Commons,” The Commoner: A Web Journal for Other Values, January 24, 2011, http://www.commoner.org.uk/?p=113. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- David Eng, The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010). ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- I understand horizontalism as a relational struggle to create “power-with” rather than “power-over” others—as a process of relating, organizing, and creating that is nonhierarchal and anti-authoritarian. See Marina Sitrin, Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2006), 3. ↩
- Reed Christian and Anya Mukarji-Connolly, “What’s Home Got to Do With It?: Unsheltered Queer Youth,” The Scholar & Feminist Online, A New Queer Agenda, Fall 2011/Spring 2012, no. 10.1-10.2., http://sfonline.barnard.edu/a-new-queer-agenda/whats-home-got-to-do-with-it-unsheltered-queer-youth/ ↩
- Unsheltered LGBTQQ youth are but one example of those who suffer without a sustained examination of the sexual, gender, race, and class dimensions of the subprime crisis. ↩
- See, e.g., Quinn Norton, “A Eulogy for #Occupy,” Wired, December 12, 2012, http://www.wired.com/opinion/2012/12/a-eulogy-for-occupy/all/. ↩
- In July 2012, a national gathering of approximately twenty Occupy the Hood chapters in Atlanta, organizer Malik Rhasaan characterized the encampments as a first step and little more: ““Bringing people to the park was week one [….] It’s the neighborhood model that’s not going anywhere, and that has the ability to trickle up.” See Rebecca Burns, “As Occupy the Hood Gathering Concludes, Questions About Race and Occupy Persist,” In These Times, July 27, 2012, http://www.inthesetimes.com/uprising/entry/13586/as_occupy_the_hood_national_gathering_concludes_questions_about_race_and_oc/. Relatedly, Occupy and Indignados participants Marina Sitrin and Luis Moreno-Caballud, writing for Yes magazine in the wake of the police crackdown, treated de-camping as an necessary for movement growth and health: “To maintain the miniature models of a society that the movement wished to create did not necessarily contribute to the actual changes that were needed in the populations that needed them the most. Which is why the decision to move away from the encampments was nothing more than another impulse in the constructive aims of the movement: the real encampment that has to be reconstructed is the world.” See Marina Sitrin and Luis Moreno-Cabullud, “Occupy Wall Street, Beyond Encampments,” Yes! Magazine, November 21, 2011, http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/occupy-wall-street-beyond-encampments. ↩
- “CoreLogic Reports 60,000 Completed Foreclosures in June,” CoreLogic, July 31, 2012, http://www.corelogic.com/about-us/news/corelogic-reports-60,000-completed-foreclosures-in-june.aspx. “The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in June 2012 were: California (125,000), Florida (91,000), Michigan (58,000), Texas (56,000) and Georgia (55,000). These five states account for 48.4 percent of all completed foreclosures nationally.” ↩
- Quoted in Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan, “Insight: The Wall Street Gold Rush in Foreclosed Homes,” Reuters, March 20, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/20/us-usa-foreclosures-investors-idUSBRE82J12M20120320. ↩
- Ibid., 8. ↩
- Greg Moses, “Behind the Banking Crisis Is a Worker in Pain: Subprime People,” Counterpunch, August 11–13, 2007, http://www.counterpunch.org/2007/08/11/subprime-people/. ↩
- Rahm Emanuel is no fan. See, e.g., Mary Ellen Podmolik and John Byrne, “Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Opposes Eminent Domain Mortgage Concept,” Chicago Tribune, August 14, 2012, http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0815-eminent-domain-20120814,0,7409033.story. ↩
- See, e.g., the example set by Boston’s Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Holly Sklar, “No Foreclosures Here,” Yes Magazine, October 31, 2008, http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/sustainable-happiness/no-foreclosures-here; see also Nancy Humphrey Case, “A Counterweight to Foreclosure Crisis: Community Land Trusts?,” The Christian Science Monitor, March 7, 2012, http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/0307/A-counterweight-to-foreclosure-crisis-community-land-trust. ↩
- Reed Christian and Anya Mukarji-Connolly, “What’s Home Got to Do With It?: Unsheltered Queer Youth,” The Scholar & Feminist Online, A New Queer Agenda, Fall 2011/Spring 2012, no. 10.1-10.2., http://sfonline.barnard.edu/a-new-queer-agenda/whats-home-got-to-do-with-it-unsheltered-queer-youth/ ↩
- Moses, “Behind the Banking Crisis.” ↩
- See, generally, Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labor (New York, NY: Zed Books, 1998). ↩
- For an illuminating account of the operations of the Sanitation Working Groups, see Max Libirion’s photoessay on the politics of portraying Occupy as trash. His analysis of the anti-Occupy tactic to equate Occupy with garbage underscores the precise fear of Occupy as a renewable and generative alternative to the status quo. Max Libirion, “Tactics of Waste, Dirt and Discard in the Occupy Movement: A Photo Essay,” Discard Studies, September 24, 2012, http://discardstudies.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/tactics-of-waste-dirt-and-discard-in-the-occupy-movement-a-photo-essay/. ↩
- Elizabeth Freeman, “Queer Belongings: Kinship Theory and Queer Theory,” in A Companion to Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Studies, eds. George E. Haggerty and Molly McGarry (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007), 298. ↩
- “Feminism, Finance, and the Future of #Occupy – An Interview with Silvia Federici,” Infoshop News, November 27, 2011, http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20111127214. ↩
- “Indians Counter Occupy Wall Street Movement with Decolonize Wall Street,” Indian Country: Today Media, October 6, 2011, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/10/06/indians-counter-occupy-wall-street-movement-with-decolonize-wall-street-56946. ↩
- Sitrin, Horizontalism, 3. ↩
- Freeman, “Queer Belongings,” 298. ↩
- Optimistically, while Occupy writ large may be seen as rallying for such comprehensive engagement with the global racial politics of international finance and the resultant and ever-shrinking access to housing and other resources necessary to sustain life, its internal working dynamics have led to the proliferation of assemblies and complementary initiatives that demand that a sustained focus on the racialized impact of (global) capitalism be the analytic priority that governs future action. Occupy the Hood is perhaps the most prominent offshoot, but local Occupations, including Occupy Sunset Park in Brooklyn—which has been engaged in high-profile rent actions—have also emerged in an effort to improve the diversity of the people, issues, and approaches that define the movement. David Garlarza, an early organizer of the General Assemblies in Sunset Park, echoes many others when he elaborates on the origins of Occupy Sunset Park: “We thought the greater Occupy movement didn’t really reflect the diversity of the city, especially in terms of the involvement of people of color.” Quoted in Zach Campbell, “Occupy Sunset Park: Seeking Change in Many Languages,” The Brooklyn Bureau, April 9. 2012, http://www.bkbureau.org/occupy-sunset-park-seeking-change-many-languages. ↩
- All information regarding Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) has been gleaned from discussions with a key NOC organizer and the NOC website, http://www.mnnoc.org/. ↩
- Indeed, in the months since this essay’s completion, NOC has participated in coalitional organizing that led to the defeat of proposed voter I.D. laws and a Minnesota constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. See http://www.mnnoc.org/voterid and http://www.mnnoc.org/jobs. ↩
- Lisa Duggan and Richard Kim, “Preface,” The Scholar & Feminist Online, A New Queer Agenda, Fall 2011/Spring 2012, no. 10.1-10.2, http://sfonline.barnard.edu/a-new-queer-agenda/preface/. ↩
- Catherine Sameh, “About This Issue,” The Scholar & Feminist Online, A New Queer Agenda, Fall 2011/Spring 2012, no. 10.1–10.2, http://sfonline.barnard.edu/a-new-queer-agenda/about-this-issue/. ↩
- Lisa Duggan, “After Neoliberalism? From Crisis to Organizing for Queer Economic Justice,” The Scholar & Feminist Online, A New Queer Agenda, Fall 2011/Spring 2012, no. 10.1–10.2, http://sfonline.barnard.edu/a-new-queer-agenda/after-neoliberalism-from-crisis-to-organizing-for-queer-economic-justice/. ↩
- Christian and Mukarji-Connolly, “What’s Home Got to Do With It?: Unsheltered Queer Youth.” ↩
- Freeman, “Queer Belongings,” 303. For a fuller discussion of Morrison’s concept, see Paul Gilroy, “‘After the Love Has Gone’: Bio-Politics and Etho-Poetics in the Black Public Sphere.” Public Culture 7 no.1, Fall 1994: 49–76. ↩
- See, generally, Henri Lefebrve, The Production of Space, (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, Ltd., 2000). ↩