Archive for November 15, 2011

“We’re thinking about actions that truly disrupt business as usual in a way that forces people with power to stop in their tracks,” said Yotam Marom, a 25-year-old writer, teacher and musician from Hoboken, N.J., who has emerged as a key strategist. “We need to be attacking banks, not just by dancing around in lobbies, but by stopping them from doing things.”

Organizers are discussing how to halt foreclosures, develop banking alternatives and figure out what the movement means in the world of politics. Additional occupations are in the works, including ones aimed specifically at reclaiming foreclosed homes. Whether they adopt that agenda is uncertain because the organic, extemporaneous movement lacks a defined hierarchy of decision-makers. But interviews revealed activists’ perspectives and ambitions, as well as clues about the protest’s future.”

A hopeful sign of maturation I have been looking for in this article, with indicators there is an incipient political consciousness to reframe the occupation movement and transcend the liberal and spectacle-like nature of so much of it, suggesting an evolutionary tendency from occupation to cessation (of business as usual) to transformation.

Despite the nice anti-Leninist sentiments of the “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution” camp, revolution is not a drumming party in the park (although certainly culture and counter-culture is a crucial part of it), revolution is about total transformation and the entire planet hangs in the balance. Pretty serious stuff and demands intelligent strategies (not an intelligentsia party apparatus) and serious politics.

Then again, in St. Louis and elsewhere, there are reports of pacifist-collaborationist twits cooperating with police to identify “violent” protestors, with apologists using the rationale that being branded as “violent” malcontents by the police, media, and public will tarnish and damage their “progress.”

Since when do revolutonaries or anyone serious about change (who is not a victim of the Stockholm Syndrome)  follow police orders? Cooperate with the enemy — whose role is to enforce a violent global system — in the name of peace? Not fight back against brutal and unprovoked cop assaults? Give a fuck about public opinion which is invariably decades behind the drive of social movements and revolutionary struggles? The 19th century abolitionist movement in the US was extremely unpopular and widely vilified, with leaders like William Lloyd Garrison assaulted and almost killed by mobs on occassion. If they were led by public opinion rather than leading it, we might still have slavery in the US today.

At the same time, numerous occupation sites have been flooded by hostile reactionary uber-patriots, rapid rightwingers, and neo-fascists spewing hate speech against the movement, and no doubt would take their place in the streets as shock troops, officially or unofficially deputized by cops, to act as brown shirt thugs.

Clearly the occupation movement is diverse and rife with contradictory tendencies, as one would expect. And while one might say it’s a battle for “the hearts and minds” of America, it’s more a struggle for a new world, and some will come to drum and watch, others to join cops in breaking heads, and others still to move from occupation to appropriation to transformation, and may they prevail, the planet depends on it.

“Biologists call it the sixth great extinction, bigger than the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. The loss of biological diversity on Earth is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, up to 1000 times that of past mass extinction events. Almost 900 species have gone extinct in the last 500 years, and another 16,000 remain endangered out of the 1.5 million known. While natural and anthropogenic climate change is the primary cause, it is sad to know that there still remain even more direct, human-induced factors. Unfortunately, the sale and trade of endangered species and their body parts is still one of the biggest causes. The sellers are often poor and impoverished, or simply unscrupulous. The buyers are people clinging to bizarre cultural or religious beliefs or simply so rich that eating rare animals is considered a status symbol

 Nothing short of climate change and human overpopulation, which of course cause and aggravate the sixth great species extinction crisis (add poverty, agribusiness, growing meat consumption, global capitalism and class warfare to the list) could be more serious. I keep careful tabs on these issues, and the situation is grimmer than most realize, certainly including the lifestyle vegan crowd who think we are going to leaflet and potluck and consume (vegan products) our way out of this. Or that education and legislation are the winning tickets.

 Education is needed of course, but it is too slow and too many don’t care whatever facts they confront; the state is controlled by capital and the power elite will drown the world in blood before they voluntarily or peacefully give up their power and privileges. Total global revolution is the only thing that can stop the holocaust and destruction of ecosystems, but OWS aside, and that’s nowhere on the near horizon either, as we quickly run out of time. The best chance we have on the planet right now is that the occupation movement in the US, in the belly of the best, matures into a transformational and revolutionary movement (see next post), but this will demand an alliance politics of unprecedented depth, breadth, and inclusiveness, and the visionary few in the vegan/animal liberation crowd who are seriously organizing alliance politics efforts and to have their vital voice be heard are reporting back uniformly that the left and environmental carnists and speciesists are ignoring and dismissing them as if the vegan/AL movement is irrelevant or less than crucially important — huge mistake on their part with ultimate consequences.                 

 It’s hard to keep a grip in the face of these realities, so most retreat to fantasyland, but the truth — supported by the best science available — needs to be confronted and should just make us outraged and determined to know more, do more, and fight harder.

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