Is the Occupy Wall Street movement fetishizing the spaces that they occupy? Are they defining the movement based on place rather than the many, many other powerful elements and symbols the movement has developed as it has birthed and evolved?
At almost all the occupied territories I've visited the words fetishize or fetishizing have been used.
The dictionary definition of fetishizing is " Have an excessive and irrational commitment to (something)."
It's not a word that one encounters in ordinary conversation, but it seems to be routinely used in general assemblies and conversations among people in the Occupy Wall Street locales. I've heard it repeatedly used at almost all of the occupied territories I've visited.
A number of anarchist blogs talk about "fetishizing" non-violence, using the term to attack the idea of non-violence as an unreasonable obsession. It seems that if you use the word fetishize to attack an idea you don't have to engage in supported or reasoned argument against the idea.
On the other hand, the word is used here, in an Occupy Toronto interview with Justin Podur uses the word in a different way.
"A lesson from other movements is that you don't want to fetishize how to do things. The only things non-negotiable are the main, basic principles. And how you fulfill those and what methods and tactics you use are up for grabs."
So I ask the question, "Is the Occupy Wall Street Movement fetishizing the occupying of public squares, parks and plazas?"
There's no doubt that the occupation of highly visible, central locales can be very effective in terms of visibility and getting media coverage. And staying in one central place is creating community and a new way, even a new paradigm of relating, of taking care of each other.
But today, there's news that last night, riot-gear clad police cleared Occupy Atlanta from Woodruff Park, using an 11 PM curfew ordinance as an excuse.
Friday night, when I was attending the general assembly at Occupy Philly, there was animated discussion of whether or not to move across the street to another area, because the city had construction under contract for part of the area where Occupy Philly is currently occupying.
It may be that the location of the occupation is a key factor in making an occupation successful.
Or, it could be that that what are most important elements are:
-the direct actions that come from occupied territories,
-the community that is built and maintained,
-the relationships developed.
-the positions that are established by General Assemblies,
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