The following text regards two manifestations of the current occupations movement that is traveling across the United States. This analysis is by no means definitive, as the potential and possibility of each occupation cannot be quantified. This text will, however, highlight some dangers and opportunities for the discerning reader.
A supposed anarchist from the New York occupation spoke to the Los Angeles assembly and said “we just want our government back.” This type of nonsense is prevalent amongst many participants of the occupation movement. However, it does indicate a desire amongst many participants to embrace anarchism and understand what it is. Difficulty in explaining anarchism to the curious results in “anarchists” lamenting the loss of government.
Los Angeles is not known for its protests. It is known for the brutality and ferocity of its police. Despite this, people have been routinely taking the streets, unsuccessfully attempting to flood a Chase bank with people, and smoking dope in front of the police headquarters. This is promising in itself, but there is still the danger of groups like the ANSWER coalition, communists, and other socialists using this energy for its own ends (which they have been, unfortunately).
There is a strong element that wishes to abide by the law and have everyone sleep on the sidewalk when the park surrounding the City Hall closes. This sad reality can only be altered by participation in the assembly. If the words spoken by anarchists reflect the collective consciousness of the occupation then their words will not fall on deaf ears. This is a variable, however, and participation in the assembly can often prove more than pointless. It is all a matter of timing, intuition, and intention.
Like the other occupations, there is a core of anal-retentive managers who have come from either paid NGO activism or leftist grassroots activism. These people can only be thwarted if they are publicly embarrassed and revealed for what they are to the whole of the assembly. An angry outburst in the midst of an assembly will only play into the hands of the managers. It is necessary to be articulate, piercing, and brutal in our criticisms of those who want to manage the energy of the occupations.
As this is being written, several men in the assembly have started chanting “WE ARE PEACEFUL!” in response to another man who said “the police are not on our side.” After this, three other speakers reminded everyone that the police have been very good to the occupation and their only condition for people being allowed to “occupy” the park until 10:30 is that nothing is tagged or damaged. As a capstone to this strange thread, a man began speaking about Ghandi. This is type of thing that must be contended with.
There are various groups present in the Seattle occupation of Westlake Center. Incidentally, this is the plaza where the anti-police demonstrations of February 2011 all started from. Given this, the square holds a certain memory of rebellion that can be accessed. At Westlake Center, anarchists would not be starting from zero or need to reinvent the wheel, as it were.
The first embryo of the Seattle occupation was the so-called Day of Rage. On that day, only twenty or so people stood in front of the Bank of America tower. This group appeared to made up of right-wing libertarians, "internet-people," and leftists.
Since then, the occupation has traveled to Westlake where it has grown to encompass many more groups such as the Trotskyist ISO, assorted yuppies, college students, anonymous supporters, a broad spectrum of leftists and some anarchists. Most assemblies are chaotic and always threatening to elude the rational comprehension of the managers. This inherent chaos sometimes coalesces into group decisions. As always, if people go along with a dumb decision, there is nothing to be done other than leave or persist in preventing those dumb decisions. As a whole, there is more of an acceptance of chaos rather than an embrace of democracy.
A cadre of socialists can and has been effective in inserting their vision and ideology into the collective consciousness of those who participate in the open assemblies of the occupation. However, all it requires is an articulate counter response by anarchists to neutralize the party-building, recruiting, and attempts at cooptation of the authoritarian marxists.
As usual, there is a rotating cast of white men who are consistently reminding everyone present that women and people of color should speak first. They usually speak more than others in the assembly. As usual, all that is necessary to illustrate the tokenizing behavior of these noble guardians of woman and people of color is to articulately explain their behavior. This is usually sufficient to puncture their inflated egos and publicly humble them.
Despite being located in the dark heart of big Seattle capital, Westlake is a vibrant central location with high foot traffic from eight in the morning to ten at night. As was mentioned above, it possesses a history of rebellion that extends past the anti-police demonstrations of February all the way back to the skirmishes at the WTO protests of 1999. It is a perfect place to create a free space that can grow beyond the control of the masters of Seattle. For this reason, anarchist participation is necessary, especially now that there is an element that would encourage everyone to leave Westlake in the event of the police claiming that the occupation is illegal (which it should remain).
There is much potential only partially buried beneath a layer of crap. It is only a matter of entering into the mix and persisting in subverting the efforts of the managers. We will not discount the assertion that people we are absolutely against are present and sometimes strong in this movement. But as we have illustrated above, the techniques for taking the first steps in this undertaking are fairly simple.
This movement can end in a nebulous popular front style movement that will fizzle out when Obama wins the next election, it can end in total implosion, or it can be pushed to be what it wants to be: the destruction of the capitalist system. We believe this is the fundamental driving force inside the majority of the newly radicalized participants of this movement, although it has often not achieved full articulation due to the confusionist tactics of our opponents.
We will provide more analysis in the future.
Towards the triumph of chaos and the unleashing of all evil passions.
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