- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Jeff Goodwin
Sunday, Dec. 04, 2011 at 6:24 PM
Occupy Wall Street represents our social nature ("We are bound to one another like the waves of the sea" Norbert Elias). Occupy represents an alternative to unbridled competitiveness and commodification (You can make fish soup out of an aquarium but .
Goodwin is a professor at New York University and author of "No Other Way Out: States and Revolutionary Movements," 2001
His article "Coalition of the disaffected" was published in English in: Le Monde diplomatique, November 2011 http://mondediplo.com/2011/11/06ows.
Economic crisis: fighting back
Coalition of the disenchanted
Occupy Wall Street is rapidly spreading in the US, London and elsewhere, as protestors vent their anger at corporate greed. But is the movement against capitalism as such?
by Jeff Goodwin
The global capitalist crisis prompted protests and rebellions in different countries, poor and rich. In the US, budget cuts and attacks on the collective bargaining rights of state employees led to action earlier this year notably in Wisconsin, where hundreds of thousands took to the streets and occupied the state capital building.
But Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is possibly a more radical social movement. Started in early September with the occupation of a small park in Manhattan's financial district, it has spread to hundreds of cities and towns across the US. Unlike the Wisconsin protests, OWS is not a response to a particular bill, budget or specific government threat: instead, it expresses a broad indictment of corporate power, economic and political.
The "Declaration of the Occupation of New York City" drawn up by OWS activists sums up their perspective: "We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies. As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit overpeople, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments."
Though the movement has targeted the banks and financial institutions we associate with Wall Street, it views corporate power more generally as the source of the problems of the 99% of the population the movement claims to represent. In a country where capitalism has only been weakly and intermittently challenged, this is clearly not US politics as usual.
OWS activists in New York are not exactly Marxists. They tend to decry "corporate greed" rather than capitalism as such. In this respect, OWS resembles the indignados (the indignant) who are protesting in Madrid, Athens, London and elsewhere. The tactic of permanently occupying public space was clearly influenced by the occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo this January. This is not simply a movement against unemployment, austerity, home foreclosures, union busting, environmental degradation, student debt or the corrupting power of money in politics: OWS activists embrace all these causes and link them to overweening corporate power.
Can the movement already have notched up a victory in just two months? In OWS has sparked conversations and debates across the US about matters that have hardly entered mainstream public discourse in recent years. It has also spawned a growing number of demonstrations and political initiatives by providing a focal point around which groups with a wide range of specific grievancesunions, community groups, students, anti-war groups, environmental activistshave gravitated, piggy-backing on the growing media and public interest in the movement. We can now speak of a loose OWS coalition that encompasses these groups.
The key question, still unanswered, is how the movement will transform the anger and excitement it has helped to generate into real leverage against its adversaries. Most of the core OWS activists are students or unemployed (or irregularly employed) youth who do not play a strategic role or have any other direct influence within the powerful banks and corporations they eloquently criticise. What muscle the movement is able to muster is more likely to come from organised groups with at least some leverage in important institutions which have begun to coalesce around OWS community organisations, student groups and especially trade unions. But the crisis has put these groups and unions (which were already weakened) on the defensive. What's more, union officials in the US (with a few exceptions), do not share the anti-corporate worldview or militant tactics of OWS activists.
Another threat to OWS comes from liberal Democratic politicians who would love to divert and channel its energy into their own electoral campaigns in 2012. As Robert Reich, labour secretary under Bill Clinton, recently pointed out, it is exceedingly unlikely that OWS will push the Democratic Party to embrace anything like anti-corporate politics. The Democrats are far too dependent on corporate money, media and connections to move more than a centimetre or two in this direction. Yet some Democratic politicians will no doubt try to present themselves to the public as anti-corporate populists, to draw on OWS energy and enthusiasm as even President Obama sometimes did in 2008, despite his close ties to Wall Street.
Will this strategy work? Clearly not with the core OWS activists, whose disdain for liberal Democrats like Obama and New York senator Charles Schumer, another Wall Street favourite, is palpable. However, some of the groups and unions that are part of the broader OWS coalition will certainly plunge into Democratic Party campaigns next year, along with some students and others who have not fully bought into the critique of corporate power, and the Democratic Party. Many of today's enthusiasts may peel off as we head into next election season.
Report this post as:
Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle
Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values
Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda
Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein?
Change Links September 2018 posted
More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre
Site Outage Friday
Change Links August 2018
Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land
More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke
Change Links 2018 July posted
More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena
"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena
Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles
Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California
Change Links June 2018 posted
The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years
Unity Archive Project
Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi
CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police
Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies
More Local News...
Credit Mr. Richard Enos with outstanding penmanship
Master list=====47 million american on foodstamp List State plus Federal
Cholesterol Medicine Causes Alzheimers
Paraphysique du scientisme
USDA Withholds Names Of Turkey Companies Spreading Salmonella
Hebron, Ben-Gurion, and UNESCO
What Can Destroy Enclosure?
Please Help Mississippians Vote For Mike Espy On Nov 27th
The Incredible & Brilliant Work of Dr TOMO SHIBATA
October 2018 Honduras Coup update
Profit de guerre, guerre de profit
“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen Heads to Seattle
Paraphysique du prodrome oukase
President Trump: Hurricane Relief Should not Pay Puerto Rico Debt
94 Of Rick Scott's, Brian Kemp's, the Mississippi GOP's & Other Republican Campaign Crime
30 Of Brian Kemp's Felonious Racist Vote Suppression Crimes
Help translation of From Islam To Womanism book on IndieGoGo
COP 21, 25, 32, de l'écocide organisé
fbi & fmj are ' Lord of the Flies '
Parangon d'une grande infestation
Video: Beautiful Country Burn Again, 39 min
OBAMA WERE POW'S LEFTBEHIND IN AFGHANISTAN IRAQ AND LIBYA
OBAMA WERE POWS LEFT BEHIND IN AFGAHNISTAN IRAQ AND LIBYA
DID BARACK OBAMA LEAVE POWS BEHIND IN AFGAHNISTAN IRAQ AND LIBYA
DID BARACK OBAMA LEAVE POWS BEHIND IN AFGHANISTAN IRAQ AND LIBYA
Paraphysique de l'Etat d'urgence
Republican Vote Fraud Reached A New Level In Midterms
More Breaking News...