Friday, October 28, 2011



The first part of this series was published over at my Facebook page a little while ago. Yet a movement such as the 'Occupy' protests deserves far more than one comment. There is little doubt that this has become the most extensive political movement of the last century even if the number of participants says that it is not as intensive as many others. Yet, without plan, direction or control a worldwide movement has arisen that directly challenges class society worldwide. While anarchists, especially in Spain, have been at the forefront of this movement and while anarchist methods of organizing have become the accepted standard of the protesters it would be utterly false to say that this is solely an "anarchist movement". The central themes of the movement have been those that anarchism shares with a broad left consensus. The only "point of pride" is that anarchists have shown the way to a much broader constituency that actually extends far beyond the traditional left. This is "propaganda of the deed" at its best, without self-destructive violent acts, without the illusion of provoking an immediate uprising and without the arrogant supposition that the so-called "revolutionary vanguard" (cough, cough) are the posessors of all truth. In other words the Occupy movement is amazingly morally clean for a protest movement.

But one thing I would like to point out now is how what seems to external observers as a fault is actually a virtue. I am hardly the first to point this out, and I would like to refer the reader to the Bureau of Public Secrets website for a much more thorough discussion. What I refer to is a very frequent so-called "criticism" of the Occupy movement as to its lack of "specific demands" and it seeming to be a collection point for a wide spectrum of grievances. All that I can say to this criticism is that it is "true" but it misses the point entirely. The Occupy movement has arisen as a broad protest against the inequalities and injustices of our present class societies. OF COURSE every interest group and demand will attach themselves to such a broad based movement. Perhaps even some of their activists will recognize the fact that their grievances cannot generally be solved under the present socioeconomic system.

Thus they attach themselves to a movement that (metaphorically) goes for the jugular because of the insufficiencies of their single interest group/issue groups. Make no mistake about it, the Occupy movement has "gone for the jugular". What it presents in a world diluted manner is the challenge to the representative "democracy" that revolutionary movements have laid out for almost 150 years (since the Paris Commune) ie the challenge of "direct democracy". This goes far beyond any simple reforms. It is not the question of whether the billionaires will pay their fair share of taxes. It is a question of how ordinary citizens can have enough influence to prevent any such perversions of law occuring.

The Occupy movement merely seems incoherant because its goals are far removed from what is usually considered "politics" in our societies. Its basic message is not this or that reform but rather a totally new way of "doing politics". The Movement Is The Message.


Larry Gambone said...

One positive thing I have noticed does not have to do with the organizers but the left groups from outside. For once, other than the usual nut jobs, they are taking a thoughtful approach. The various socialist and anarchist groups are not trying to take over, nor are they ramming a lot of "free advice" down everyone's throats. Nor are they - other than the usual sectarians - denouncing the movement for "not going far enough", or whatever blah, blah, blah... They are there in support like everyone else. This is a kind of victory in itself. (I never thought I would live to see it, actually!)

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Thanks for thoughts on this, helped me get my head around what is happening.

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