Image: The Nation Magazine
Anarchism, Occupy & MoveOn.org
The US Occupy Movement has failed badly as a consequence of its own fundamental reliance on disorganization and anonymity. It has no prayer at challenging the system, quite simply because it has no strategy for challenging for power. It is self-neutered, self-hobbled and ineffectual. Perhaps this is just a great miscalculation on the part of participants, but perhaps those who set the initial parameters of this movement did so with the intent of fostering a politically-impotent PR circus. It may be a little of both.
So MoveOn moves in to seize brand Occupy and to repackage it in their own image, an Obama-friendly image to be sure. May Day 2012, in addition to being transformed from a worker's day into the Osama Bin Laden murder memorial day, will now be a plank in Obama's reelection campaign, courtesy of the new and improved "Occupy Spring."
Occupy scarcely exists today except as a meme to be stolen and exploited by political operators connected to the Democrats and to Obama. It is astounding that the people largely responsible for the slow motion collapse of the American dream are now claiming to be its champions and saviors. Anyone remember Glass-Steagall and Bill Clinton's treasury team? The MoveOn front group has been able to gather the least critical protesters and has attempted to reprogram them through their spring "trainings." Many aren't fooled and simply walk out, but still, what is the alternative?
There is none.
Occupy has mostly ceased to exist since the stormtroopers cracked down, coordinated by none other than Obama's Homeland Security apparatus and its Joint Terrorism Task Forces and its Fusion Centers. Local police have been enlisted into extra-judicial, authoritarian political enforcement brigades in all the major cities: defending the freedom of the elite overlords by destroying the Bill of Rights for all dissenters. The crackdown was swift, unconstitutional, and a clear example of the effective use of state-sponsored terrorism. Apparently the war against terrorism is truly a thing of the past now, if it ever existed in the first place.
But what role has the ideology of disorganization played in all of this?
Which misguided ideas have taken root amongst the ranting rabble?
While Occupy cannot control its opposition, it can control its own guiding principles, strategy and tactics. It is here that the blame squarely rests on the idea that disorganization is a political asset and makes a movement stronger. It doesn't. It won't. It is a losing strategy.
Those who run the world are highly organized. Political parties are organized, and they keep track of minor details like the names of their members and their contact information. Thus, when they need to get people active for a coordinated campaign, like say, an election, they can get in touch with their members and give them meaningful things to do. This is a basic necessity for a political organization to even exist, to have presence, to be.
Occupy, on the other hand, is a series of anonymous PR stunts with no sharing of contact information, no long term goals or projects, and no infrastructure to rely upon and to help grow the movement into something larger and more influential in the society, except for perhaps some websites and Facebook pages. It is scattered and haphazard, random and chaotic. These may be fine qualities for an adrenaline kick every once in a while, but as a movement to take over the reigns of power it's nowhere. It's nothing. It's entertainment.
Now I don't expect the wild-eyed to care one whit about what I'm saying, but they are a small fraction of the people who make up the proverbial "99%," whom the movement purports to represent. At least that's the story.
A recent quote illustrates this strategic - existential - problem, which needs addressing:
"The strength of any movement, regardless of tactics, is its ability to disrupt the smooth functioning of the existing order." (Mike King, Counterpunch 4/17/12)
No. Disruption is not the goal. The goal should be to replace the existing order, to assume responsibility and leadership, and to quite simply do it better and for the benefit of more people. A group whose entire focus is on disruption has nothing to offer the great masses of people but disruption. What the hell good is that? Of what value to the general public? You can't eat disruption. It won't put a roof over your head. It won't create a job for you to feed your family. This is a misguided philosophy that seeks disruption for disruption's sake and in the end offers nothing in terms of real solutions to the crises facing most people.
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