January 14, 2012 at 8:23 am #86450
The Occupy movement in London seems to be sinking lower and lower as the panel of speakers for this meeting on Sunday 15 January seems to show:Quote:11:15-1pm: Session 1: Tax and GovernmentRichard Murphy (Tax Justice Network)Gordon Kerr (Cobden Partners)Robin Smith (Systemic Fiscal Reform)1pm-1:30pm Lunch Break1:30pm-2:15pm: Session 2: Money and SocietyBen Dyson (Positive Money)Dada Jii (Progressive Utilization)Peter Challen (Global Justice Movement)2:15pm-4pm: Session 3: Land, Commons and Cooperative EconomicsDerek Wall (Green Party, Goldsmiths)Fred Harrison (Land Research Trust)Cliff Mills (Mutuo)
Bem Dyson is a currency crank who thinks banks can create money out of thin air and who supports way-out Tory MPs Douglas Carswell and Steve Baker. Robin Smith is a supporter of Henry George (who stood for free market capitalism) and wants to stand at the next general election as a Tory candidate. Fred Harrison is another follower of Henry George who argues that George “proposed qualitative changes that would have built equity and greater efficiency into the capitalist mode of production”. The only person who knows anything about socialism as we understand it is Derek Wall who knows us well.Anyway, some of us will be there to leaflet and take part in the discussion as the meeting should attract some who really do want to go “beyond capitalism” and who won’t be interested in mere banking and/or land and/or tax reform.January 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm #86451AnonymousInactive
Ding-a-ling!January 16, 2012 at 10:40 am #86452ALB wrote:The Occupy movement in London seems to be sinking lower and lower as the panel of speakers for this meeting on Sunday 15 January seems to show:
I may have been a little harsh as the audience of 100 or more at the meeting applauded those panellists who said they were “anti-capitalist” and critcised and even heckled those wouldn’t. So the spirit of anti-capitalism, however vague, still seems to be abroad amongst many occupiers. The organiser had just set out to invite a panel of speakers suggested by members of the Occupation’s Economics Working Group and which he thought would be interesting without endorsing their views.Hopefully, the non-anti-capitalist performance of such speakers as Robin Smith, Ben Dyson and Fred Harrison will have discredited their views. Of course even those who did declare themselves “anti-capitalist” weren’t in our sense, but it’s still good that capitalism should be a dirty word and we’ll get a better hearing from those who think it is than from those who don’t.I have to say, though, that interesting as the meeting was it could have taken place a 100-150 years ago, with speakers advocating interest-free banking (Proudhon), to tax away ground rent (JS Mill and Henry George), and co-operative societies (Robert Owen). Which are even less the way out today than they were then.January 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm #86453
Some of the Occupy London people have just announced that they intend to contest the London mayor and assembly elections in May.I like the way they put it:Quote:We need to seize the state – not flee it. This is direct action at the ballot box. We are talking about getting deep within the system and striking at the very heart in ways few ever thought we could. If you want to change the system, then you need to Occupy the system. It is time for people to reclaim politics. It is time for Occupy to reclaim politics for the 99%.
This at least distinguishes them from the various anarchists and other anti-parliamentarists (or “anti-pantis” as they are known in Glasgow) who frown on this sort of thing and say we should try to ignore or by-pass the state. The trouble is that they won’t be contesting these elections on the basis of winning control of political power to end capitalism and usher in a society where productive resources have become the common heritage of all and where the principle “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs” will apply, a society without banks or money, but in all probability on some list of reforms.In any event we will be contesting two constituencies in these elections on just such a programme to encourage “the 99%” to act for themselves for a change.January 23, 2012 at 9:13 am #86454
Something funny is going on. The reason people can’t follow the link I gave to the London Occupy blog is that the item has been taken down. In fact it was only up there for a few hours. I take it this reflects a disagreement among the activists, some of whom may be opposed to going into electoral politics (because they don’t think the movement should get involved in this or maybe even because they support some other party like the Greens).In any event, they seem to have come up against the limitations of consensus decision-making which was never as ideal as they sometimes gave the impression. At some point, on some issues, as we’ve always said, a vote has to be taken with the minority having its say and the majority having its way.By chance I kept the full version of the statement which is set out below:Quote:Occupiers Announce Intention to StandPosted on January 22, 2012 by occupylsxOn Saturday 21st January, several occupiers from Occupy London formally announced their intentions to stand as Mayoral and London Assembly candidates in the upcoming May 3rd elections in London later this year.They asked other occupiers at the evening General Assembly to encourage and support their bids as Independent candidates, as they attempted to “engage directly with the political process as a high profile level during a key point in 2012.”They stated that there was “no intention to form any Occupy political party,” but rather that they were to be Independent candidates taking part in a “direct action.” They also announced that they did not speak for Occupy, but supported it and its principles.The short presentation provided by the occupiers intending to stand revealed that a small working group had been set up to “work on the strategy and determine the viability of the task” before the formal announcement, and that this working group had shown that there was “extremely strong support” for their potential campaign that could “tip the balance between Conservative’s Boris Johnson and Labour’s Ken Livingstone.”The occupiers listed the many benefits that standing for election would bring, citing the increased media coverage and the increased ability for Outreach with the issues that have been raised by Occupy London.The announcement concluded by detailing how the candidates are more than capable of actually winning the election, by using their media expertise to “harness people power” and stated that the chance for Occupy London to be an integral part of the events over the next few years was “simply too big to pass by.”In the final words of the standing occupiers: “We need to seize the state – not flee it. This is direct action at the ballot box. We are talking about getting deep within the system and striking at the very heart in ways few ever thought we could. If you want to change the system, then you need to Occupy the system. It is time for people to reclaim politics. It is time for Occupy to reclaim politics for the 99%.”
As I said, the “final words” are ok, but if they really think that their “media expertise” can get someone elected they are either naive or suffering from delusions of grandeur. Another possible reason why the blog item was deleted?January 25, 2012 at 4:45 am #86455alanjjohnstoneKeymaster
This Guardian article highlights some of the problems thats arising with Occupy’s democracy although I would have rather seen it use the words “structured organisation” than the term “hierarchy” for what’s missing.January 25, 2012 at 9:33 am #86456
Sid Ryan in that Guardian makes some good points about the limitations of consensus decision-making. Contrast that with the high hopes entertained at the beginning by anarchist David Graeber of this as a new model for decision-making everywhere. Consensus decision-making is ok is small groups, but I suspect anarchists like it because it avoids them having to deal with what they have traditionally called “the tyranny of the majority” and which the rest of us call democracy.The Minutes of the General Assembly which discussed electoral action have now been published (they, like us, publish them for all to see and full credit to them for this). Here’s the relevant part:Quote:Occupy for Mayor of London w.g.Bit of a contentious subject, still process in making. Idea is to have a platform have Occupy in politics. The GA consensus is the mayor of London. 8pm Bank of Ideas (tonight). Are also on groupspaces.Technical point (outside disruption): do we have any members of tranquility here?From my understanding of initial statement, I don’t see the compatibility between political office and occupy undertaking.It’s meant to be a protest vote. The point is, they’re not running to win. They’re running as a protest candidate. The idea is, instead of not voting anything, you’re voting something, it makes for more publicity for the movement.Jack – did you get consensus at GE?I think they did at Bank of Ideas. They tried to get a proposal to a GA here, it kept getting pushed back, GAs not happening.Inka – on groupspaces, there’s been an almost unanimous rejection of the idea. Also, I feel insulted by this working group’s direction because Occupy is specifically not a political party. You say you’re going for the protester vote, just keep Occupy out of it. Don’t poison occupy.You should really look and see at who and what is using Occupy. You’ll never be able to hold a word. It does have particular connotations with a particular protest movement but it’s being used all over the place.Laura – this is not a space for discussion. Needs to happen somewhere else.Inka – if a working group, this is a new problem as far as I’m concerned, this is probably the first example we haveTina – has this working group been officially endorsed by GA?Ruth – do you and the other people at the working group, do you accept that if there is no consensus in the GA here, you cannot use the name occupy in any mayoral campaign?Vica – this meeting is about working groups sharing information. We also invited people having discussion groups at the moment. It’s important that we’re aware of what’s going on.This clearly needs to have a GA in its own right. We need to cut off the discussion here now until this GA happens.Kurt – our management team needs to be replaced by a facilitation team. Congratulations, you’re very good managers, you squash everything.
Note how the opponents of the proposal use lack of consensus to defeat it. More like the “tyranny of the minority” except that in this case there probably wouldn’t be a majority for it anyway. So why not settle the matter by a vote?February 1, 2012 at 4:22 am #86457alanjjohnstoneKeymaster
“We do still have enormous freedom to agitate, organize, protest and struggle for change. The ballot box isn’t useless, it just isn’t being used nearly enough. But we still have it. And for its use to be more effective, we need a great many more people who recognize our real problems and demand that our political structures and players address them… But it won’t be enough to ask just one more time. We need to keep asking, nagging, agitating, informing, sharing information and analysis – in a word, organizing – to build a sufficient and sustained opposition to the evils of our time, and to regain and defend the commons and the common good…I understand there are people who think having government do just about anything is “socialism.” But that deprives the word of useful meaning. If socialism is defined as public/government ownership of the means of production, I don’t see it as a solution to all the problems created by our current economic system. I actually think the ultimate answer lies in the direction of decentralized, more walkable communities, with more participatory forms of government than we now have, and that might be more practical on a small-scale, local or regional basis.”http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/01/31/demands-for-the-99/ Sounded too good to be true. The article simply calls for the formulation of a list of reform demands, re-organising the Democratic Party structures and making capitalism function humanely.February 3, 2012 at 11:23 am #86458AnonymousInactive
Inadvertently deleted from a separate thread Apologies to jondwhite!NewLeftMedia on the state of Occupy America.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9gfbaGoELsWould you like to repeat your comment, ALB?February 3, 2012 at 11:55 am #86459
I think I just said that it was probably a fair picture and that I thought those in Cincinatti (pop 330,000) came over best.February 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm #86460jondwhiteParticipant
I thought the video was pretty inspiring.February 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm #86461Mike FosterParticipant
Does anyone have any contacts with potential speakers within the Occupy movement? I’ve sent a couple of e-mails to them asking about this for Summer School, but haven’t had a reply. I might have more luck if I can get in touch with a particular person. Rather than posting personal details on an open forum, could anyone e-mail me at email@example.com. Thanks.P.S. The publicity campaign for Summer School will be starting fairly soon…February 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm #86462DJPParticipant
Just sharing this rather twee video of Occupy NorwichFebruary 25, 2012 at 9:11 pm #86463OzymandiasParticipant
Watched this video and it doesn’t fill me me with hope at all…just depression. I went over to Blythswood Sq in Glasgow in November to talk with the “occupiers” there. Ok they were enthusiastic but didn’t have a single iota about how capitalism operates or what the solution is. It really depressed me. Looks as if Occupy is in disarray now anyway whilst TZM is dwindling fast. Let’s face it folks we are all doomed. This species is on it’s way out…fast!February 26, 2012 at 8:25 am #86464Ozymandias wrote:Let’s face it folks we are all doomed. This species is on it’s way out…fast!
Come on, comrade Fraser, it’s not that bad.
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