Monday, October 10, 2011

Amy Goodman Democracy Now On Occupy (Wall St) Lots of Cities



Protests inspired by the "Occupy Wall Street" encampment in New York City continued to expand this weekend with protests taking place in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, San Francisco and Oakland, among others. Many of the protests have led to arrests. After about 500 protesters gathered during the day in front of the Iowa Statehouse in Des Moines, renaming the capitol complex "People’s Park," police arrested 32 people after they spent the night in the park. Also over the weekend, in Washington, D.C., the National Air and Space Museum was closed Saturday afternoon after security guards used pepper spray to repel more than 100 demonstrators protesting an exhibit on drones. Afterward, an assistant editor with the conservative publication The American Spectator wrote online he had infiltrated the group and provoked guards to pepper spray the crowd. Back in New York City, thousands of protesters marched from their base in the Financial District, where the "Occupy Wall Street" encampment is entering its fourth week, to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek addressed demonstrators Sunday at Zuccotti Park. "They tell you are we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers," Žižek says. "We are the awakening, from a dream which is turning into a nightmare. We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself." Transcript

As the "Occupy" movement expands from the "Occupy Wall Street" protest in New York City throughout the United States, we look at its historical significance. "This is an incredibly significant moment in U.S. history," says Dorian Warren of Columbia University. "It might be a turning point, because this is the first time we’ve seen an emergence of a populist movement on the left since the 1930s." We also speak to Firedoglake blogger Kevin Gosztola, who has been reporting from the occupations in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Transcript

1 comment:

Ross Wolfe said...

One of the most glaring problems with the supporters of Occupy Wall Street and its copycat successors is that they suffer from a woefully inadequate understanding of the capitalist social formation — its dynamics, its (spatial) globality, its (temporal) modernity. They equate anti-capitalism with simple anti-Americanism, and ignore the international basis of the capitalist world economy. To some extent, they have even reified its spatial metonym in the NYSE on Wall Street. Capitalism is an inherently global phenomenon; it does not admit of localization to any single nation, city, or financial district.

Moreover, many of the more moderate protestors hold on to the erroneous belief that capitalism can be “controlled” or “corrected” through Keynesian-administrative measures: steeper taxes on the rich, more bureaucratic regulation and oversight of business practices, broader government social programs (welfare, Social Security), and projects of rebuilding infrastructure to create jobs. Moderate “progressives” dream of a return to the Clinton boom years, or better yet, a Rooseveltian new “New Deal.” All this amounts to petty reformism, which only serves to perpetuate the global capitalist order rather than to overcome it. They fail to see the same thing that the libertarians in the Tea Party are blind to: laissez-faire economics is not essential to capitalism. State-interventionist capitalism is just as capitalist as free-market capitalism.

Nevertheless, though Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy [insert location here] in general still contains many problematic aspects, it nevertheless presents an opportunity for the Left to engage with some of the nascent anti-capitalist sentiment taking shape there. So far it has been successful in enlisting the support of a number of leftish celebrities, prominent unions, and young activists, and has received a lot of media coverage. Hopefully, the demonstrations will lead to a general radicalization of the participants’ politics, and a commitment to the longer-term project of social emancipation.

To this end, I have written up a rather pointed Marxist analysis of the OWS movement so far that you might find interesting:

“Reflections on Occupy Wall Street: What It Represents, Its Prospects, and Its Deficiencies”

THE LEFT IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE LEFT!