Sunday, 20 November 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Co-option, Eviction and Misrepresentation.

Eduardo Galeano has pointed out that the only thing you can build from the top down is a hole, and it is with this in mind that the work of the OWS movement has been so inspirational, and has resonated across the globe.
As with every other component of the emerging global peace and social justice movement, the existing power bases of the status quo will be struggling to control the momentum of any dissent which threatens to bring about genuine and meaningful change.
In the United States itself it is the bureaucracy of a powerful union with strong ties to the Obama administration which is attempting to co-opt OWS. 
That more individuals from within the unions will inevitably be getting involved as it continues to pick up momentum is inevitable, but this 'leadership from the top' is an unwelcome and counter productive development.
At the moment, while the OWS movement is still small; it has a far larger base of admirers and people who support the idea but who haven't yet committed themselves to providing a physical presence, and thus the large, active popular base necessary for success. Given the stranglehold of corporations on main stream media today, it is safe to assume that there are even enormous swathes of the general public who are yet to become aware of the movement's existence
With increasing numbers of citizens now clearly rejecting the circus of electoral/ 'representational' politics and demanding genuine participatory democracy, the fight for control of the minds of the people becomes ever more urgent. The business party and its two wings the Republicans and the Democrats will bring every force to bear to crush this nascent movement, hence the brutal treatment handed out during the evictions that took place this week. Hence also the misrepresentation of the protesters as criminal deviants and such like.
Coincidentally, ten UK Uncut activists were found guilty this week of an 'aggravated trespass' which saw the Royal Grocer Fortnum and Mason's occupied during the March 2011 London anti austerity protests.
In the face of the vicious class war being waged against us, we have to learn which actions are effective and which are not, and it seems to me that occupation has huge potential. It can be extended to occupying foreclosed homes and empty factories, or even your place of work.