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The Anti-Party Party: The X-Party Selects Candidates #EP2014

Posted 4 months ago on April 22, 2014, 2:38 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: Simona Levi, political party, European Parliament, partido x

Can you imagine a political party that requires no membership or dues, that crowd-sources its funding, publishes every expenditure online, invites all citizens to help amend its platform, loathes the cult of the candidate, provides a direct vote mechanism for all citizens to hold its candidates accountable if they break a campaign promise, and whose first sales pitch was to encourage voters to studiously distrust them? Neither could we until bumping into the X Party: A Citizen Network, a new political player on the Spanish electoral scene that is completely re-drawing what a political party looks like.

They are betting that their novel approach to democracy will not only re-animate the more than 18 million voters disaffected with the current Spanish party system, but will also totally reshape how representative democracy functions. This is a bold ambition that seems be picking up steam as they announced a few weeks ago their slate of candidates for May’s European Parliamentary elections, topping the list is the swiss HSBC leaker and newly converted hacktivist Hervé Falciani whose lack of Spanish citizenship seems to unfaze the self-branded anti-party. In proper situationist fashion, Falciani’s exile to Paris under the protection of French Authorities, for the numerous death threats leveled against him after leaking the names and account information of more than 130,000 tax evaders, will guarantee that lesser known candidates sourced through the network will share the limelight and play a more crucial role during the campaign.

Comparisons to Edward Snowden aside, the selection of Falciani to lead the pack of activist-candidates under the X-Party ticket, is a clear sign on how serious they are about holding those responsible for the rampant fraud that lead to the economic crisis in Spain accountable. The nominating process culminated in March, after an open primary process in which more than 2,500 network interactants participated. The six nominated candidates represent different areas of expertise constituting what they call a “federation of competences,” and whose expertise reflects upon the thematic planks of their crowd-sourced platform: public transparency, radicalizing democracy, housing rights, and economic justice. Included on the list are economist Susana Martín Belmonte, former taxation delegate Raul Burillo, and housing rights lawyer Juan Moreno Yagüe. The number two on the list of candidates is M15 activist, performance artist, political theorist, and X-Party gestator Simona Levi. Simona graciously talked to us at length about this ambitious new attempt to hack the existing political system.


Start a Social Movement in Your Library

Posted 4 months ago on April 22, 2014, 10:45 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: Libraries

"Libraries are the future." - Occupy Wall Street

This article is by Jane Carlin (Director, Collins Memorial Library at the University of Puget Sound) and Barb Macke (Associate Librarian, University of Cincinnati) and was originally published by The Huffington Post.

In our last post we talked about the future of academic library spaces. We encouraged everyone to dust off the shelves and to begin to think differently about their libraries. Recently at Puget Sound, we had the opportunity to brainstorm with Occupy Solidarity Network board member, social activist and library supporter, Micah White. Micah is one of the founders of Occupy Wall Street and a former editor of Adbusters. His unpublished dissertation, Post-Search: Libraries, Search Engines and the Organization of Knowledge reflects his innovative thinking and challenges us all to consider some fundamental questions about the future of libraries.

Micah draws inspiration from the Five Laws of Library Science by S.R. Ranganathan:

  1. Books are for use
  2. Every reader his or her book
  3. Every book its reader
  4. Save the time of the reader
  5. The library is a growing organism

At a roundtable luncheon with librarians and faculty he posed three questions:

  1. How do we organize libraries to unlock the knowledge hidden in the stacks?
  2. Why do digital natives avoid the library stacks?
  3. Imagine what could come after the Library of Congress classification and rows of well-organized books?

We were intrigued and challenged by these questions and here are some of our thoughts:

  • New technologies like Google glass can anticipate and connect students with resources before they even know they want it

  • Libraries need to adapt to the changing ways that digital natives find information. LC doesn't always work. Of course, a radical transformation of library space and classification might not be possible - but are we really supporting creativity with our static rows of books?

  • Physically placing interdisciplinary works together to spark imagination and to encourage the serendipitous aspect of creative discovery.

  • Are new book displays really the way to go? What about displays of books recently checked out, what is trending, books selected by departments or faculty, books not checked out?

  • Use our digital technology to create virtual browsing rooms to help recreate the visual and tactile experience of browsing

  • Establish a twitter feed of books just returned or checked out

We think the library of the future will have books - but perhaps we need to think about how we arrange them and take more responsibility for curating collections to inspire students to use resources in new and creative ways. The design and order of our physical book collections may indeed foster the ongoing development of electronic discovery and virtual browsing.

We'd love to have your responses to Micah's questions posed above. And in the meantime, I think I will take a lead from Alice in Wonderland. After falling down the rabbit hole, Alice is confronted with a bottle labeled "Drink me" and a cake labelled "Eat me". Of course she couldn't resist, and the end result was a wild cacophony of events she could never have imagined. So, how can we help "every book find its reader?" Maybe we need to encourage our students to 'drink' and 'eat' them. TAKE ME HOME, CHECK ME OUT, and LOOK AT ME notes might just appear on some of our dusty books, and we'll let you know what happens!


#FalcianiVsJuncker: Hacking the European Parliament for real. #EP2014 @Partido_X

Posted 4 months ago on April 22, 2014, 9:17 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: #EP2014, #FalcianiVsJuncker, Partido X

A message from our friends in Partido X. - OSN

Today we launch a campaign to hack European Parliament for real.

As it was explained in our previous communication, Hervé Falciani, (the computer specialist who provided several Courts of Justice from different countries with information about over 130 000 big tax evaders' bank accounts in Switzerland, obtained when he was working for HSBC bank) is the candidate of Citizens' Network Partido X (a citizens' device for media guerrilla that serves the purpose of participating in electoral scenarios, and hacking political systems, in order to achieve a XXI century democracy. The project was launched a year and a half ago by a group of 15M/Indignados activists and has steadily grown quite fast) for the european elections, May 2014.

We think that this candidature is a hack that gives the Spanish and European citizens, and also the International Community, the opportunity to explain how the political class is in collusion with the financial elites and to report it, to fight against this practice and to establish mechanisms to control it. The participation of Falciani in the European Parliament and the work and projects already initiated by Citizens' Network Partido X, will contribute to put an end to the impunity of big tax evaders.

As European citizens we can not miss this opportunity to unmask who are accomplices of the tax evasion fraud of the big fortunes in the European Parliament, the European Institutions and the Spanish Government.

Once in the European parliament, we will develop our work there and implement our projects to pursue Fiscal evasion of the great fortunes using information as a tool. Citizens' Network Partido X and Herve Falciani have already launched this method at the service of all struggles and towards a global change.

This is why we invite all international activists to get involved in the campaign for making this information reach all international civil society.

These are the ways in which you can get involved in the international campaign:

1º Be active on social media (TWITTER y FACEBOOK) Tuesday April 22 From 11AM Madrid's time (UTC/GMT+1) Hashtag #FalcianiVsJuncker and using the channel #EP2014

https://twitter.com/Partido_X https://www.facebook.com/PartidoXPartidodelFuturo

1 - Post at the indicated time the contents, your opinion, or tell how do you think your and other people's fights are going to be benefited from having Falciani in the parliament.

2 - Share our contents:

Falciani vs. Juncker

3 - There will be some articles from international media in Spanish, Italian and English that we will share with the hashtag #FalcianiVsJuncker from our accounts in Twitter and Facebook

4 - Forward this to other international activist that may be interested in participating

5 - If you have national or international press contacts you can ask them to contact us during the days following the launch of the campaign if they are interested in reporting about this story at: info@partidox.org


Further information:

• Website in English http://partidox.org/en/ • Website in Spanish http://partidox.org/ • Occupy http://occupywallst.org/article/who-is-partido-x/ • National and International Press http://partidox.org/press/

About Hervé Falciani



Mañana lanzamos una semana de campaña para explicar la oportunidad que tenemos de hacer un verdadero hack en el parlamento europeo.

Tal y como os explicábamos en nuestra anterior comunicación, Hervé Falciani (el informático que ha aportado a la justicia de varios países información que extrajo mientras trabajaba en el banco HSBC sobre más de 130.000 cuentas en Suiza de grandes evasores fiscales) será el candidato a las elecciones Europeas de Mayo de este año por la Red Ciudadana Partido X (un dispositivo ciudadano de guerrilla de la comunicación para la intervención en espacios electorales y para hackear los sistemas políticos con la idea de una democracia del siglo XXI, lanzado hace un año y medio por un grupo de activistas del 15M y que ha crecido imparablemente en muy poco tiempo)

Consideramos que esta candidatura es un hack y una oportunidad única para la ciudadanía española y europea y para la sociedad civil internacional para exponer, denunciar, combatir y controlar la connivencia de la clase política con la élite financiera y que la presencia, actividad y proyectos en marcha de la Red Ciudadana Partido X con Falciani en el Parlamento Europeo planteará serios problemas a la impunidad de los grandes defraudares fiscales.

Es una oportunidad que no podemos desaprovechar como ciudadanos para poder desenmascarar a diario quién y cómo en la Eurocamara y las instituciones europeas y el gobierno español es cómplice de la estafa a la ciudadanía que supone la evasión fiscal de las grandes fortunas de las que nuestros gobernantes son cómplices.

Una vez en el parlamento europeo, nuestra intención es poner nuestro trabajo allí y los proyectos para perseguir a traves de la información la evasión Fiscal de las grandes fortunas que la Red Ciudadana Partido X y Herve Falciani tiene ya en marcha al servicio de todas las luchas por un cambio global que hay en el mundo.

Por esto invitamos a todos a participar en esta campaña de visibilización para que esta información llegue a todo la sociedad civil a nivel internacional.

Formas en las que puedes colaborar en la campaña internacional

1º PARTICIPA EN redes sociales (TWITTER y FACEBOOK) Martes 22 de Abril A partir de 11am Hora de Madrid (UTC/GMT+1) Hashtag #FalcianiVsJuncker y en el canal #EP2014

https://twitter.com/Partido_X https://www.facebook.com/PartidoXPartidodelFuturo

1 - Posteando a la hora señalada contenidos, tu opinión o contando cómo puede beneficiar a tu lucha y la de tus compañeros que Falciani entre en el Europarlamento.

2 - Compartiendo nuestros contenidos:

Contenidos: Falciani vs. Juncker: http://partidox.org/falciani-vs-juncker/ Español: http://partidox.org/falciani-vs-juncker/#es Inglés: http://partidox.org/falciani-vs-juncker/#en Francés: http://partidox.org/falciani-vs-juncker/#fr Alemán: http://partidox.org/falciani-vs-juncker/#de Portugués: http://partidox.org/falciani-vs-juncker/#pt Italiano: http://partidox.org/falciani-vs-juncker/#it Catalán: http://partidox.org/falciani-vs-juncker/#ca Galego: http://partidox.org/falciani-vs-juncker/#gl

3 - Artículos del día en la prensa internacional en Argentina, Española, Anglosajona, Italiana que compartiremos con el Hashtag #FalcianiVsJuncker que compartiremos ese dia desde las cuentas principales en Twitter https://twitter.com/Partido_X y Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PartidoXPartidodelFuturo

4 - Pasa este una copia de este pad a otros activistas internacionales que creas que pueden estar interesados en participar.

5 - Si tenéis contactos de prensa a nivel nacional e internacional, que pueda hacerse eco de esta historia los dias de la campaña posteriores al lanzamiento pedidles que se pongan en contacto con: info@partidox.org

Gracias :)

Más info: Web en inglés http://partidox.org/en/ En español: http://partidox.org/ Articulo en Occupy http://occupywallst.org/article/who-is-partido-x/ Prensa nacional e Internacional http://partidox.org/prensa/

Sobre Hervé Falciani http://partidox.org/todo-sobre-herve-falciani/ http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herv%C3%A9_Falciani http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herv%C3%A9_Falciani


(Promo) The After Party & Occupy Wall Street Interview w/ @JustinWedes + @LeaderlesRevolt

Posted 4 months ago on April 21, 2014, 3:50 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: AfterPartyUSA

A new organization has been launched by some of the Occupy Wall Street founders. It is what they hope will be the future for a populist movement in the U. S. and they want you to join its first mission a Flash Mob Mutual Aid action in Detroit, May 2nd. Did the Occupation of Wall Street in 2011 and the movement that followed it fill you with hope for the future?

Have you wondered "What Now" ? Tune in to A Deeper Look,Thursday April 24th at 9:30 am on KBOO. Justin Wedes, founding member of The New York City General Assembly and Micah White, PhDOccupy Solidarity Network board member and former editor of Adbusters—will join host, Linda Olson-Osterlund to talk about the founding of The After Party, its platform, its manifesto and its plan for action.


Reflections on Laclau

Posted 4 months ago on April 20, 2014, 12:07 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: laclau. after party, populism

Written by Ritchie Savage

Ernesto Laclau, who passed away on Sunday, April 13, 2014, is known primarily as an Argentinian political theorist who wrote about populism, socialism, and political discourse. Populism is commonly referred to as a type of politics that exalts the ‘people’ and pits them against the elite. Laclau’s work on populism and political discourse has important ramifications for how we can reconceptualize the role of new social movements, such as Occupy.

Even though the formula for populism is relatively simple, a conception of people vs. power, the genesis of the concept is complex. Initially, two bodies of academic literature emerged in two different regional contexts to explain certain cases. In 1934, an Italian sociologist named Gino Germani immigrated to Argentina, fleeing from Mussolini’s fascist regime. Once in Argentina, he wrote about what he saw as a new form of politics evidenced in the leadership of Juan Perón – a type of politics he characterized as a ‘national popular’ movement that blended aspects of democratic participation and authoritarianism. This model could also be extended to characterize the leadership of other mid-twentieth century Latin American politicians, such as Vargas in Brazil and Cardenas in Mexico. In this sense, Germani provided a kind of historical model for understanding this new form of politics in relation to the experience of economic and political development specific to Latin American countries, referred to as modernization.

However, in the United States, populism has come to mean something slightly different, with reference to different historical cases. Authors such as Richard Hofstadter and John Hicks, in writing about the legacy of populism in the U.S., refer back to the People’s Party of the 1890s – a grassroots political movement that developed out of a white farmers’ alliance in the South. These farmers cultivated the idea that they were an ordinary people oppressed by an elite, such as ‘big business,’ expressing the hardships they experienced as a result of the crop lien system. The interesting move that Hofstadter made in his essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” was to try to link up rhetoric propagated in the era of McCarthyism with this historical legacy traced back to the People’s Party. This led to a watershed both in the U.S. academic literature and even in the media, where it is now common to refer to examples of ‘populist rhetoric’ found in a tradition of U.S. politicians that spans from William Jennings Bryan to Barack Obama, but also in contemporary U.S. social movements, such as the Tea Party and Occupy.

It gets more complicated. Just as the term ‘populism’ has been used to refer to cases of politics in the U.S. from the 1890s to the present, it has been applied to two subsequent waves of politicians in Latin America, spanning from the aforementioned mid-twentieth century cases to figures like Venezuela’s Chávez (and now Maduro), Bolivia’s Morales, and Ecuador’s Correa in the present. Still yet, the term also found its application in Europe as theorists like Margaret Canovan and Paul Taggart have attempted to explain the emergence of European political parties in the late 1980s and early 1990s, such as Jörg Haider’s Austrian Freedom Party and Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front. Following this line of thought, there is much concern in the present about parties in Europe such as Golden Dawn in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary, as these parties are not only populist, but also display neofascist characteristics.

And now people talk about cases of populism present all over the world.

So, right wing or left wing, politician or movement, rhetoric or action, here or there, past or present – to what sort of thing does populism refer?

Laclau gave us the first iteration of his theory of populism in his 1977 classic, Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory. He entered into the debate on populism, following the trail of Germani and other Latin American political theorists, in the discussion about Peronism. Laclau’s initial innovation in conceptualizing populism was to break with Germani’s model for understanding the specific form of Latin American populism as an outcome of processes of modernization. Instead, Laclau inaugurated a paradigm shift in conceiving of populism in broader terms as a form of political discourse. The utility of this new definition of populism was that it allowed for more comparisons to cases of political movements outside of Latin America, insofar as this definition was no longer bound up with historical processes of economic and political development specific to Latin America.

One of the most important characteristics of the new discursive definition that Laclau developed in this book was that populism as a discourse creates a separation and antagonism between the people and the power bloc. Not unlike previous political theories, such as that of Carl Schmitt, Laclau asserted that populist discourse constructs an ‘enemy.’ Populists point to those politicians with power in the sphere of institutionalized politics and blame them for not representing the interests of the people. Populists then claim to embody the interests of the people as a way to maneuver themselves into positions of power. With all of the cases Laclau considers, he shows how this populist discourse is one that can be employed, in ideological terms, across the political spectrum from Left to Right.

In, *Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, Laclau and Mouffe develop this conception of political discourse further, showing how a particular form of populist discourse can be utilized by the Left in order to foster political identities and fight for socialist causes. The idea of a discourse that pits the people against groups in power remains central to this theory. Following the theory of structural linguistics pioneered by Ferdinand de Saussure, Laclau and Mouffe add to this conception of political discourse that there are certain signifiers, such as ‘people,’ ‘nation,’ and ‘revolution,’ which can be utilized in order to foster political identities. The special quality of these signifiers is that they are capable of becoming saturated with many meanings. In this way, signifiers, such as the ‘people,’ when introduced in a political discourse can create stable political identities by linking together a vast plethora of democratic demands. For Laclau, creating forms of political discourse that revolve around these signifiers, which link demands and create identities, is the key to ushering in new forms of socialist and radical democratic change – for instance, to create more just forms of governance, to include marginalized groups in decision-making, and to enact policies geared toward the redistribution of wealth.

At this point, I think we can take Laclau’s fully formulated conception of populist discourse in his last book, On Populist Reason, and show how his theory is applicable to a movement such as Occupy. First you have what Laclau refers to as an ‘empty signifier,’ like ‘Occupy,’ which is devoid of specific content and can function as an umbrella concept for linking together democratic demands. The signifier ‘Occupy’ is also linked to an ‘antagonistic rift’ between the people and the enemy. In the discourse of Occupy, this would be the separation between the ‘99%’ and the ‘1%.’ Just as Laclau’s definition of populist discourse stipulates, the idea that “We are the 99%” provides for a political identity that embodies a notion the ‘people’ against the ‘1%,’ a conception of the enemy as an economic and political elite that is oppressing and exploiting us. It follows that ‘Occupy’ as an empty signifier was capable of taking, what were previously, a series of isolated democratic demands and now linking them together into a set of unified popular demands. Thus Occupy brought together workers demanding rights, students mired in debt, people discriminated against along lines of race and sex, immigrants demanding reform, and more

Perhaps one of the most important and controversial points that Laclau makes in On Populist Reason is that “populism is the royal road to understanding something about the ontological constitution of the political as such”. What he means is that populism reveals something that is at the heart of all forms of politics. Following thinkers such as Sigmund Freud, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Jacques Lacan, Laclau alludes to the fact that the unconscious is structured like a language, and populism itself is like a manifestation of the unconscious symbolic structure of the political. This idea has been interpreted as a threat to already existing normative democratic theories in a couple of different ways.

Among political theorists, one of the main concerns with contemporary cases of populism is that they constitute threats to institutionalized democratic politics, where in Latin America, cases of populism such as Chavismo are sometimes suggested as having authoritarian tendencies, and in Europe, new cases of populism invite comparisons to cases of both authoritarianism and fascism. Thus, if populism is tied to the very notion of the political itself, there would be no way to single out cases of politics as “populist” in order to signify that they pose a threat to democracy. In other words, if the very foundation of politics is based in a symbolic structure similar to what Laclau describes as populism, then one loses the ability to solely categorize certain right-wing or authoritarian political movements or regimes as populist.

But if Laclau is right, then populism might truly represent a much more complicated phenomenon. For Laclau, typically the event that sets off these symbolic processes of political identity formation is what he refers to as a ‘dislocation,’ which is a kind of real social crisis that presents an obstacle to being represented within language. For instance, it could be an economic crisis, like that of 2008, and our inability to completely wrap our minds around the center of the problem and what caused it. Political identity formations then emerge on the symbolic level to sort of fill in the gap – to be able to describe the cause of the crisis and the solution to it.

In this sense, we can see how populist movements of both the Left and the Right have emerged in the United States in the wake of the 2008 crisis, first the Tea Party and then Occupy. Both movements employ empty signifiers and link democratic demands around political identities in order to propose solutions to the problem. As the repercussions of the economic crisis have stretched to Europe, we might similarly look at the rise of Golden Dawn and Syriza in Greece.

Yet even though movements on both sides of the political spectrum might share some kernel of the same unconscious symbolic structure, this is not necessarily bad news. To view this as bad news would be to stress that from this perspective there is, in reality, simply a void in the center of all politics, which is constitutively lacking in any content and structured by unwieldy unconscious and linguistic forces. This view could lead to an extreme nihilism implying the idea of the death of politics or that authentic political action is impossible.

But for Laclau, this is good news. From his Marxist roots in Gramscian theory, he believed we could use and manipulate the symbolic structure of populist discourse in order to fight for progressive causes. And he led by example, becoming an important figure in Argentinian politics, sometimes even wielding a populist discourse to thwart his enemies. This is how I will like to remember him, as a kind of populist superhero.

Sometimes I think it is the lack of content, which the empty signifier implies, that constitutes a threat. There is the idea that with all this emptiness, and availability to absorb possible meanings, the empty signifier can really take up a lot of space. It can stand in for the people, after all. Sometimes the empty signifier can also be extremely destructive, in a paradoxically productive political sense. Laclau was aware of this – that empty signifiers are capable of taking up an important symbolic space, which allows for political action to take place.

Take the empty signifier, ‘Occupy,’ again. This is a potentially dangerous signifier, and that is why it was perceived as a threat by the Right. What does ‘Occupy’ mean, essentially? To take up space. Here we have a signifier that takes up significant symbolic space in our imagination, prompting us to take up more symbolic and even physical space. O-c-c-u-p-y. It almost exists, as Žižek would claim, as pure negation. Like Bartleby’s ‘I would prefer not to,’ there is no content to the negation. Even before Occupying ‘Something,’ there is the idea of ‘Occupy’ itself – to simply exist and take up space – symbolically, politically, physically.

This is not really a eulogy for Laclau, nor is it for Occupy, because these ideas are not dead.

Ritchie Savage recently earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from The New School for Social Research. He is currently working on the book, “Populism in the Americas,” and he teaches sociology courses as a Visiting Instructor at Pratt Institute and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Baruch College.


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