In a Manner Neither Forceful or Foolish

October 26th, 2011

A Look at the Occupy Movement – Linked on our blogs with Should Africa Repay its Odious Debts? – Published on Dissident Voice, by Ron Jacobs, October 24, 2011.

… It is impossible to put every one involved in this movement into one ideological box. In its current state, it is reasonable to portray the Occupy movement as one where multiple ideologies are competing to be heard. Libertarians and socialists; anarchists and liberals. They are all present and they are all vocal in their attempts to represent the movement.  

Yet, if there is one dominant trend in the literature, speeches, and encampments of the movement, it would be that of militant liberalism.Perhaps it is best to look at the anarchist classic The Floodgates of Anarchy for a definition of this political trend. In a backhanded manner, the authors Christie and Meltzer describe militant liberalism by “its inability to understand the class struggle, without the recognition of which social change is impossible.” Despite a few signs about class war, the reality of the movement at this point is better revealed in its mantra regarding the 99% and the 1%. This oversimplification of who owns the so-called means of production ignores the relationship of the so-called 99% to that means and does not demand a change in that ownership to those that actually produce the wealth … //

… It is no longer possible to reform capitalism. Its current ruthlessness is unsurpassed in human history. The countless millions who toil at its mercy along with those that toil despite its existence can no longer be saved by liberal politicians or reformers. Nor can they be saved by green capitalists or those that operate on the Ben and Jerry’s model. While the efforts of these corporations are commendable in their own limited way, the very fact that they subscribe to the capitalist mode ensures their inability to solve the ills that economic system creates. While it is certainly true that some capitalists are crueler than others, the fact is that when times are tight and profits are squeezed, the very nature of capitalism forces any corporation desiring to survive to exact some kind of heartlessness if they wish to survive. This is why monopoly capitalism itself is the problem. If the Occupy movement had only one demand that would address all of those demands attributed to it, it should be to abolish monopoly capitalism.

The left should be heartened by the Occupy movement. It should also be wary of those that would turn it into another MoveOn or Progressive Democrats organization. The reign of Obama should have proven once and for all that there are very few differences between the Democrats and the Republicans in the United States, just like there are few differences between the Tories and Labor in Britain or the SPD and CDU in Germany. All of these political groupings sold their souls to the neoliberal pipedream decades ago and no matter what they do or say, they are no longer in control of their politics or the outcome of those politics. Furthermore, the trends towards free market libertarianism within the Occupy movement should be addressed. Small time mercantilism and entrepreneurship has its place and a certain allure, yet the financial giants behind the capitalist libertarian movement are neither small time nor entrepreneurs. They are some of the cruelest capitalists on the planet.

The organic (as in its free flow and non-hierarchical, not what it eats) nature of the Occupy movement is its strength and weakness. Occupying is, in itself, a radical statement. Yet, as a veteran of numerous occupations/liberations I can honestly say that the fact of occupying can often become the raisin d’etre of a movement, thereby preventing further political action beyond that involved in maintaining the liberated space. Those of us with an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist analysis would do well to involve ourselves in a manner that is neither forceful nor foolish. (full text).

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