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I am truly amazed that nearly everyone, even the most radical, has been taken in by the co-opted-from-birth Occupy Movement. That the movement is a co-opted project becomes obvious when you compare what’s happening now with what happened in the days of the anti-globalization movement – which was equally radical in its perspectives and in its grassroots organizational principles: equally a potential ‘threat to the capitalist system’.
That earlier movement was not co-opted (apart from the agent-provocateur black block), and so it was denigrated in the media and suppressed by the police – each new protest treated more brutally than the previous. In the Occupy movement we get only token suppression – enough to make it feel like a real oppositional movement – and in mainstream media (eg Wash Post, Guardian) we get highly sympathetic, even favorable, coverage.
Once one realizes that the movement is co-opted, then the evolutionary thread becomes clear – leading back to events in Egypt, the earlier CIA-sponsored ‘colored revolutions’, and the still earlier CIA cult experiments (eg, Rev. Jim Jones and the People’s Temple). The question then becomes: Where are they taking this movement and why?
In order to approach that question, one must recognize a certain reality, that is: the growth-oriented capitalist system is coming down. If the powers-that-be had any interest in reviving that system, they wouldn’t be doing any of the things they have been doing. And in fact everything they’ve been doing – with bailout scams, debt burdens, and austerity – is designed to bring the global economic system to a halt.
The Occupy Movement sees itself as the voice of reason, and the voice of the people, speaking to an intransigent ‘old order’, an order that thinks only of profit and greed, an order that cannot change its ways, an order that is incapable of responding effectively to the inevitable environmental necessity of stopping the growth machine and deploying a new economic paradigm.
In the mindset of the Occupy Movement, there is no possibility of a coherent response-from-above, a viable ‘vision of a new system’ from the powers-that-be themselves. I suggest that excluding that possibility is a dangerous thing to do. Consider this sentence from a recent editorial (below) from the Socialist Worker Party’s website, talking about the Occupy Movement:
One of the most common chants was “How do we fix the deficit: End the wars, cancel the debt”.
How indeed? Elementary my dear Watson: establish a one-world government, declare a ‘New Game’ economically (like starting a new game of monopoly), and issue a new global currency. With one global government there can’t be wars between nations. What a simple, obvious answer to all our problems, if we listen to ‘the most common chant’.
Returning to our question: Where are they taking this movement and why? My guess, perhaps even my prediction, is that the OWS movement is going to come up with some glorious vision of a beneficent global government – thinking they invented it democratically – and then the powers that be will ‘give in to the demands’, establishing what they’ve always wanted to establish: a one-world government owned and run by themselves.
We are the 99%
The “Occupy Wall Street” protests against economic inequality and corporate greed that targeted the nerve centre of global capitalism have captured the imagination of millions of people across the United States and around the world. “We are the 99%”, the protesters proclaim and “we will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%”. The movement was sparked in part by Canadian-based Adbusters Media Foundation, an anti-consumerism group that called on people to occupy Wall street to protest against corporate greed. The protest began on 17 September with only a few hundred people but is now no longer simply a New York phenomenon; the movement has spread to over 70 major cities across the US and there were solidarity protests in cities around the globe from Berlin to Dublin. The slogan “Occupy Wall Street” has been suitably abbreviated to a simple word: “occupy”. The fighting spirit on display in the US at the moment didn’t come from nowhere. The past 12 months have seen an enormous revival in struggle in the States in general. Last winter there was a powerful uprising in Wisconsin against Scott Walker, the Republican anti-busting state governor. Over the summer there were the popular Verizon (Vodafone’s partner company) strike in New York and up and down the West Coast longshore workers boycotted scab cargo while public school teachers went on strike in Tacoma, Washington in defiance of a judge’s order. This revival in working class struggle has encouraged many union branches to come on board and support the movement and the involvement of workers in the Occupy movement has meant that the movement is growing and becoming more focused politically. On Wednesday of last week more than 20,000 people from all walks of life marched in support of “Occupy Wall Street”. One of the most common chants was “How do we fix the deficit: End the wars, cancel the debt”. “John Samuelson, president of the New York City branch of Transport Workers which represents some 30,000 bus and subway workers, explained in an interview last week why US workers have responded to the call to Occupy Wall Street: “I believe to a large extent the protesters on Wall Street are singing the same song, and fighting the same battle, that our union has fought for the last 18 months…There’s a sense of desperation, I believe, among working people and working families in this country that the folks in government just don’t get. There’s a lot of millionaires in Congress that have no idea… that have no idea what it’s like… to have to feed kids or pay tuition or pay a mortgage.” As capitalism finds itself falling deeper and deeper into crisis it is important for the movement whether in the US, in Europe or, in Ireland to grow and develop so that it is strong enough to project its own vision of a society based on human need rather than profits. As activists we need to discuss and debate our priorities and strategies at a local level but we also have to focus on the big picture and build a working-class movement that is capable of defending the interests of all the have-nots in the struggle across the world against the global 1 percent. If you agree then join us!
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