The ‘Occupy’ movement

May 2024 Forums General discussion The ‘Occupy’ movement

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    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    IMHO, the failure of Occupy was the lack of participation of organised wage-workers in the unions and despite Mayday attempts to involve them, they didn't succeed.

    But how to judge whether Occupy was a success or a failure?At the start Occupy deliberately didn't have any practical reform demands (one of its attractions), but saw itself to be a consciousness-raising exercise. Insofar as it did popularise the use of the word "capitalism" in a derogatory sense they achieved this. It was a "success". Eventually of course those most behind it couldn't resist the temptation to put forward demands, mainly for the reform of the banking and monetary system and Occupy lapsed into common or garden reformism. Insofar as they failed to achieve these they were a "failure". But these reforms were irrelevant anyway from a wage-worker point of view. So, a good thing that the trade unions were not ensared in them, though of course, if they had been involved in formulating demands, no doubt they would have brought other futile ones such as Keynesian attempts to reflate the economy.Occupy has been and gone and its positive legacy has been to help make "capitalism" a dirty word again. For us to build on.


    10 years since OWS.

    Some activists are reminiscing but what has been the legacy?

    The 1% slogan has remained strong although being adjusted to 0.1% and 0.01%

    Where is it now?

    Social resistance has been reduced to AOC in a ‘tax the rich’ designer gown at a $30,000 a ticket ball as Jonathan Cook scathingly writes

    AOC’s ‘Tax the Rich’ Gown is Designer Protest Meant to Dull Class Struggle


    Those movements they are only a pinch on the skin of capitalism. It is like make the rich pay campaign , like indicating that profits are eternal. Probably It will be reduced to 000.1 because in the capitalist society wealth tend to fall in the hands of a small reduced numbers of individuals and one group of capitalists replace another group of capitalists


    What changed? Very little according to the right-wing libertarians

    “They changed nothing,” said Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow at the libertarian Mercatus Center think-tank. “I don’t see changes,” she said, “I see changes in the rhetoric and prevalence of progressives in government,” she said. “The ‘one percent’ if you mean it in terms of corporations, are as well connected and powerful in terms of the connections to government as they were before.”

    “It got headlines because it was in New York City,” said Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank. “If you want to hold a demonstration, hold it in front of all the cameras and it will get coverage.”

    The 1% commands 18.8 percent of pre-tax national income, and a staggering 28.8 percent of US wealth. And that is based on 2019 levels, before the COVID-19 pandemic swelled stock and property values and further exacerbated the divide between the country’s haves and have-nots.

    Between the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and March this year, the combined wealth of America’s 657 billionaires increased by more than $1.3 trillion or 44.6 percent


    Another appraisal but a more positive one

    It acknowledges one of our earliest criticisms of the weakness of not having a formal process of decision making.

    But was the post-Occupy shift towards Sanders really progress?


    One thing that the Occupy movement did was to make the use of the word “capitalism” more acceptable and more widespread. Unfortunately more in the sense of finance capitalism than in our sense and which gave currency crank ideas a new lease of life, including its anti-Semitic fringe.

    It is my guess that this would be how anti-semitism (not just anti-Zionism) got into the Labour Party with a lot of people who had supported Occupy joining under Corbyn. Just a guess, mind you.

    In any event, this is why it is important to understand capitalism as the whole system of class ownership and production for profit and not just financial capital and its dealings.


    For the Occupy Movement and the anti-war movement, the cause of all the problems in this society are the bankers, banks, and financial capital which is not totally true because banks and financial capital are unproductive, and it is fictitious capital

    The heart or the marrow of the problem is the capitalist market and the point of production, that is the reason why all these movements vanished and served as the basis for several conspiracy theories and antisemitism blaming the problem on the Jews, similar to the theory of the German Nazis.

    They wrapped themselves in flags promoting nationalism and patriotism, they did not have a worldly vision of capitalism, some wanted their so-called democracy back, which democracy? bourgeoise democratic, workers do not have any democracy yet, they never had any democracy at all

    Capitalism is not one sector of the economy, it is the whole system including the superstructure, its ramification, and the economic base.

    They used the word capitalism in the same way that the word socialism is being used nowadays, they did not understand what capitalism really is and they do not understand what socialism really is either


    There was a lengthy article featuring interviews with founding figures of Occupy in this weekend’s FT. Worth a look.

    From the article:

    Micah White left Adbusters in 2013 and declared Occupy a “constructive failure”. In his book, he argues that mass protests are no longer an effective tool for bringing about change. Speaking to me via video call, White now believes that Occupy should have made a plan to leave and come back, rather than trying to endure both New York’s winter and its police. “The occupiers were delusional,” he says. “They were just like living in a fantasy land. The encampment model doesn’t actually manifest sovereignty over the government, even if it does manifest a better form of democracy temporarily. It was a good experiment, but it was a dead end.”


    We should also remember that Occupy’s procedural conduct of its meetings was determined by NYC’s ban on the use of PA systems and so Occupy’s strange hand signals and its Chinese whispers method of conveying what speakers are saying to those unable to hear.

    There is no need to duplicate something that is not necessary.

    But overall didn’t Occupy reflect what happened in the past, assemblies whether in the American Revolution or French Revolution or the Russian Revolution, various means of debate arose, townhall meetings, popular assemblies, soviets. But without some sort of accountability these degenerated and power passed into the hands of a minority.


    The Occupy Movement nowadays should include the Chinese capitalists as part of the 1% ( probably is oo.1% ) there are more rich peoples or probably equal to the USA. As Marx clearly indicate that capitalism tends to concentrate the wealth into the hands of a few capitalists, it is a normal process


    Richard Wolff on the Occupy movement. As always he created more confusion than clarification

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