Ryota Mochiki

On a day in 2009, in Okinawa, we were having a party near Ryukyu University. All of us were enthusiastically talking about the students’ occupation of the New School in New York City. We applauded their creative tactics, such as sending a Valentine to the university president. From this impetus our own occupation struggle began, as we determined to protest the lay-offs of the adjunct professors of foreign languages. Our occupation was terminated that spring, but its aftereffects continued to expand, creating mergers of various individuals and groups for new initiatives. It was along this reverberation that we first met David Graeber. He visited Okinawa that July and had close exchanges with us. We recognized the importance of organizing exchanges between struggles in different places in order to create their synchronicity for mutual empowerment. David said: “I am so happy to tell my friends in the New School that the occupation at the Ryukyu University was inspired by their occupation. For those friends, nothing would be more encouraging than knowing that their struggle inspired other struggle.” My primary image of David was created in this encounter, which overpowers even the conceptual inspirations I got from reading his books thereafter. That is the image of a figure who believed full-heartedly in the empowerment of struggles across the world by looking for and coordinating their joys and passions. Now, facing new realities diverging away from those of the 90’s and early 2000’s global justice movement, I continue to look for rapports and nexuses among struggles across the planet, precisely thanks to the experience of encounter with David. I sincerely send my love and respect to him. He is living with us.

— Ryota Mochiki from Sayo