occupy - what now?

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture

M. Spector wrote:
"Consensus" as used by the Occupy movement essentially gives everyone a veto. It takes interminable discussions and debates to make a decision that ends up vague, unfocused, and watered down sufficiently that everyone will tolerate it, but not necessarily like it.

It's an antiquated holdover from certain Sixties "new left" movements where majority rule was considered an undesirable way to make decisions. This, and numerous other factors, resulted in their drifting into impotence and irrelevance.  Some people have learned nothing in fifty years....[T]he job of leaders is to lead, to persuade the larger polity of what is to be done, and what is to be done next. In the absence of leaders with a clear analysis and political vision, it's left to the "larger, non-activist polity" to fend for themselves.

It sounds to me that you want to replace one "antiquated holdover" with an even older myth: one in which great men inspire the masses to better themselves. The "antiquated holdover" you speak of emerged in a historical moment when previously excluded groups were beginning to join a public discourse dominated by traditional holders of power--it wasn't some random experiment. Rather than dismiss Occupy for acknowledging this development and taking up its challenge (and at the same time advocate for a 19th-century power structure), I would like to see Occupy's allies solve the problems in its procedures and overcome the barriers preventing its success with support and solidarity.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i believe the argument for goals is really an argument against direct democracy. it's not that the occupy does not have goals it's just that they don't have specific goal. there are goals that say no more war, no more pollution and no more domination by the market and no more buying of politicians. this is almost global. this is not enough for some because they are not goals that can be used by a political party to say see we are the best people to better advance your goal.

..the m-15 in spain , to which most of the north american occupies have been modelled after, first coined the phrase last summer that “no one represents us”. this came from their real life experience that all political parties, once in power, served the interest of capital no matter left or right, no matter what they promised at election time or had in their constitutions. so how were the spanish to then make decisions if inclusion was key? 50% plus one? they chose consensus.

..here in vancouver they chose consensus as well. it was not based on a sixties model because there is no model to follow that fits what has come about or what is needed. first it was chosen, even before the first assembly, because that was the model being followed in europe. more importantly, from the first assembly forward it became what the first peoples practised for generations. the van occupy has been slowly transforming this decision making process with the help of the native community into a workable model. as are all other occupies based on their life experiences. this is not the final result, this is a the beginning.

..it is inaccurate to suggest that anyone has a veto. this does not exist. I doubt if there is an occupy, i may be wrong, left that has absolute consensus. in van ways have been found to keep things moving forward. and it is those people who are going to decide how their decisions are going to be made in a participatory manner. should there be disagreement go on down to the occupies and fight for your ideas in a supportive way as this is the best chance that i see to create a different world. imo.


That was inspiring, epaulo13.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Conciatori eviction: crackdown on the commons continues

The eviction of the oldest social center in Florence this morning is yet another instance of a worldwide crackdown on public space and civil liberties.


The expulsion brought to a close thirty-two years of cultural, social and political activities that had rendered Progetto Conciatori a beacon of autonomous civic organisation and direct democracy, and a fount of cultural innovation. It offered legal services to immigrants, and provided crèche facilities and a variety of courses ranging from multimedia skills to yoga to the local community.

This is a concrete result of the wider rubric that strives to delegitimize the concept of public space and its collective deployment for the common good. This development prioritizes the commercial over the civic, and under its aegis, all that is not conceived of in monetary terms of profit and loss is condemned as a historic anomaly inhibiting the inexorable drive to further “progress”.

It has taken an ominously concrete form in the clampdown on the Occupy Movement across the United States — a clampdown that has quashed the dissenting voices emerging from these shared, public, ‘Occupied’ spaces, through intimidation, sometimes brutal violence, and mass arrests....


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Unionist wrote:
That was inspiring, epaulo13.

Agreed. A fitting sentiment on which to close this thread.


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