3.11.11

#OWS is Anarchy. Deal with it. Love it. Be it.

In response to the response that Occupy Wall Street is NOT anarchistic...

I would like to argue the point that yes, this movement is indeed anarchistic and that no, that shouldn't be problematic at all. Emphasis on DIY and anti-authoritarian culture is common to both anarchism and #OWS, so that the decentralized organizational structure characteristic to both seeks to break with a hierarchic form of government that is declared to be non-viable and non-sustainable.

Further, bringing up MLK Jr. and Gandhi, while both may not have declared themselves outright anarchists, both were seeking to subvert the power institutions that oppressed them, and did so through non-violent direct action--a tenet fundamental to the "Christian Anarchy" movement, which is focused on Love as the ordering principle structuring society. (see Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You, which actually influenced Gandhi)

As in the Seattle Protests, Occupy Wall Street may not have explicitly declare themselves to be Anarchists--even while "soft-anarchists" had a huge role in actually organizing the events--but rather a movement of "Global Justice." However, the message seems to be that Global Justice is simply incompatible with a system based on coercion, force, manipulation, and authority. Anarchy, on the other hand, is a (non)government based on the common good for ALL (not a majority, minority, or the 1%) which seeks a perpetual open exchange. Of course, people will naturally flock to groups they see as representing the vehicle by which they can achieve their own interests, which has a diluting effect, but it doesn't mean that #OWS is not anarchistic by nature.

Finally, I would like to point out 2 specific points that I think should establish the fact that at its core, #OWS is in fact anarchistic--the general assembly, i.e. building consensus, with the Oakland (and others) Commune as distinct example on the one hand, and the use of the General Strike on the other. Whereas the sense of Mutual Aid (Kropotkin) is very much prevalent in the former, the revolutionary tactic of halting the flow of capital MUST be seen as an attack on the 1% and the system that facilitates their incessant accumulation of wealth. The IWW saw the General Strike as a strategy with which to ultimately abolish the wage-system itself, so that workers could appropriate the means of production for themselves so as to create their own wealth, not have it sold for profits by capitalists who would keep the majority and give back decreasing wages to them in the name of "competitive markets".

It may be frightening to embrace anarchy (with all its "negative connotations") as a legitimate political alternative, but unless something radical--striking the ROOT of the problem--comes into existence we're screwed. As it is, capitalism is by definition incompatible with ecology, so that the planet is being converted into commodities and sold off, destroying the life-systems we depend on. The OWS protesters may not in fact be anarchists themselves, but they are certainly engaging in anarchism, eroding the power institutions that oppress them and doing it through the methods that have been expanded on by decades of Anarchist (and others) Theory. And god bless them--it may be the only slight glimmer of hope we have left.

On what Anarchy may REALLY be: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW7nnLNANtQ

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