Saturday, October 8, 2011

Links on the Occupy Phenomenon

      As I said yesterday, I'm going to put up a bunch of links about the Occupy events that I have been reading and have influenced my thinking on the process.  (Look here for the original posting.)  Unlike the last posting, I'm going to put up material that covers a multiplicity of events, rather than simply focusing on the Los Angeles situation.  Some of this material is pretty critical, but I think these criticisms gesture precisely to the potential productivity of these actions, rather than their failure.  I'm pretty excited about the present, and perhaps more optimistic than I have been in a while, but I think critique is a crucial aspect to successful activism and movement building.  Movements that don't listen to internal and external critique wind up become small, isolated, paranoid, and stultified.  I know that it's really easy to become defensive when you're pouring all your energy into something, but that defensiveness never helps a movement.  Anyways, here are the links.  There is no particular focus.  Just a lot of stuff that was of interest to me.

     Doug Henwood has produced a number of thoughtful commentaries on the Occupy Wall Street protests.  I'm more sympathetic to the horizontal organizing than Doug is, but he has provided some thoughtful criticism of some of the problems in the nascent movement.

1.  Occupying Wall Street
2.  The Occupy Wall Street Non-Agenda
3.  Shaking a Fist at the NYPD
4.  99%

Jodi Dean has some material on her blog, approaching things from a similar position to Henwood.  Worth a read.

     The Kasama project has put up a lot of material about the movement over the past few days, from a multiplicity of positions.  I would point out productive posts, but there are just too many of them, so I'll just link to the website as a whole.

      Hena Ashraf--Brown Power at Occupy Wall Street

     There is some useful material at Racialicious, and some problematic material.  I'll put out a sampling.
1.  An organizing statement by activists of color in Occupy Wall Street.
2.  This response is a little more problematic
3.  So Real It Hurts
4.  A Mix of Useful Critiques

     Disoccupy has a lot of great material, some of it significant to my analysis of Occupy LA
1. Some Thoughts on Occupy LA General Assembly
2. a follow up piece

      Another good blog on the LA situation.  The more I read, the more exceptional the LA situation seems to be.  This isn't to say that there aren't some real problems elsewhere, but those problems seem to be dealt with and acknowledged in collective decision making processes in ways that we aren't seeing in LA.

Shag posted up this useful comment on the confrontation of sexism in Boston The entire blog is worth a look.

Louis Proyect put up a nice set of interviews from Boston to remind us why folks are out there in the first place.   Additionally, he put up some more interviews and a first impression from himself.  He has some other good material if you take a look at the blog.  I'd avoid the comments, though.

1 comment:

  1. One of the most glaring problems with the supporters of Occupy Wall Street and its copycat successors is that they suffer from a woefully inadequate understanding of the capitalist social formation — its dynamics, its (spatial) globality, its (temporal) modernity. They equate anti-capitalism with simple anti-Americanism, and ignore the international basis of the capitalist world economy. To some extent, they have even reified its spatial metonym in the NYSE on Wall Street. Capitalism is an inherently global phenomenon; it does not admit of localization to any single nation, city, or financial district.

    Moreover, many of the more moderate protestors hold on to the erroneous belief that capitalism can be “controlled” or “corrected” through Keynesian-administrative measures: steeper taxes on the rich, more bureaucratic regulation and oversight of business practices, broader government social programs (welfare, Social Security), and projects of rebuilding infrastructure to create jobs. Moderate “progressives” dream of a return to the Clinton boom years, or better yet, a Rooseveltian new “New Deal.” All this amounts to petty reformism, which only serves to perpetuate the global capitalist order rather than to overcome it. They fail to see the same thing that the libertarians in the Tea Party are blind to: laissez-faire economics is not essential to capitalism. State-interventionist capitalism is just as capitalist as free-market capitalism.

    Nevertheless, though Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy [insert location here] in general still contains many problematic aspects, it nevertheless presents an opportunity for the Left to engage with some of the nascent anti-capitalist sentiment taking shape there. So far it has been successful in enlisting the support of a number of leftish celebrities, prominent unions, and young activists, and has received a lot of media coverage. Hopefully, the demonstrations will lead to a general radicalization of the participants’ politics, and a commitment to the longer-term project of social emancipation.

    To this end, I have written up a rather pointed Marxist analysis of the OWS movement so far that you might find interesting:

    “Reflections on Occupy Wall Street: What It Represents, Its Prospects, and Its Deficiencies”