There has been few debates since the beginning of the Occupy movement about its very name. This name started with an assumed martial connotation against Wall Street and some of us, who could not dissociate this notion from a colonial context, were fairly surprised that this name was extended to the other “islands” of the movement. We were considering it as problematic and were trying to orient the terminology towards the more inclusive notion of 99%. However, I am now convinced that we were missing a very important point that was probably obvious to the occupiers themselves. There has been an important emphasis on the importance of “bodies” since the very beginning of the movement -I remember a General Assembly at the end of September that was already addressing this notion- and an acknowledgment that, while some people brings skills and knowledge on the table, some other simply brings their bodies. Our body can only be at one place in the world in a given moment. This place is the place we have been choosing to…occupy and although it is an unavoidable choice, this choice constitutes a radical political attitude in the exclusivity of the space it stands in and the exclusion of the ensemble of others.
Occupying a public space therefore carry a violence that is partially similar to the one unfolded by the colonial occupation -in the West Bank for example. However while the latter violates the right of a nation to govern itself and constitute a collective project, the former is the full expression of a right agreed upon at the foundation of the nation. In a country that brought the idea of freedom to the rank of pure ideology, we must turn back to Foucault, for who, freedom can only exist through its practice.
It is true that 21th century social movements are not the same than 20th’s ones thanks to the tools of communication that they are using; however we should not fool ourselves, the importance of the bodies’ presence, the occupation has never been so strong.