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View Diary: San Diego City Council WALKS OUT on OSD!!! (240 comments)

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  •  It's unavoidable (1+ / 0-)
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    James Kresnik

    if the movement is looking for substansive and long-lasting change it will have to engage in politics at some point.

    Now, is now the time to do that? I would say no.

    But how do you take over the administration of cities if you don't engage in a political process. Maybe not this particular type of one, yes, but what should Occupy Oakland do at this point?

    •  You take over the administration of cities (0+ / 0-)

      by getting the population of the city to look to the city's GA and committees instead of the politicians and government.

      Say sanitation.  Sanitation workers expropriate the means to to do their work.  The Occupy X sanitation committee gets input from those workers and the community as a whole to implement a saner sanitation policy for the city.  Current workers can stay in that industry, train replacements or just walk away from it if they want.  Other members of the community can step up and make sure the city stays safe and clean.

      You do that for every industry that exists.  And maybe create some new ones.  The structures of direct democracy come to encompass the whole way life is gone about and there is no longer any need for a city government.  Cops either take off their uniforms and become regular members of the community (if there are "good" ones we're all comfortable with, they can join the de-escalation committee if they'd like), or they are asked to leave.  Same with the former capitalists and politicians

      That's certainly a longer-term goal at this point.  But we have the potential to make this happen if we build towards it.  It will require a lot more organizing and a massive increase in popular participation in the movement, especially among workers in their workplace.  It's possible, but not if we play politics with city councils, mayors, governors, Congress and presidents.

      The politics of direct action is based, to a certain degree, on a faith that freedom is contagious. - David Graeber

      by An Affirming Flame on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 03:46:54 PM PDT

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      •  So you would (1+ / 0-)
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        like to eschew the Roman model (a republic) for the Athenian model (which wasn't quite a direct democracy but it was close)?

        Now where I do agree with you is the the citizenery needs to become far far more engaged. And that, OWS is perfectly situated for...

        I think we're more in agreement than disagreement, actually; but direct democracy based on the Athenian model is impossible (with the exception of a city like Wasilla, Alaska or a little larger).

        And even the Athenian model wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. There were good leaders, demagogues, show trials throughout Athenian history.

        Remember, a direct democracy put Socrates to death.

        •  No, not the Athenian model. (0+ / 0-)

          Athens was a city rife with brutally exploitative socio-economic relationships.  A few dominated the many in Athens.  Only their few was a bit larger than in many other hierarchical societies in history.  Only a small minority of the population (free adult male citizens) were allowed to participate in the political system.

          No, I'm talking about the anarcho-communist model (or libertarian socialist/communist or just "small-a anarchy" as David Graeber would say).  That means no capitalism and no state.  No hierarchy, no leaders.  We're all leaders.

          The occupations are an imperfect microcosm of what that would look like.  Nobody charges for food, we make it together and all who are hungry, eat.  If you're cold, the community digs into the heap and finds you something warm to put on.  Everything is decided upon with the input of all and nobody is allowed to dictate to another person or claim sole ownership of the things everybody needs to survive.

          If you have any familiarity with the camps, imagine what it would be like if one occupier went over to the comfort station and grabbed a huge pile of clothes and tarps and such and brought it over to a corner of the site.  He then declares, "This stuff is my property.  I will sell it at a reasonable price to anyone who wants it.  If you want to work with me and help with the procurement of new items, sorting, sales and distribution, etc., let me know and I'll pay you (in clothing and food) a portion of the value of your labor and keep the rest for myself.  I will dictate the terms of your labor, of course."

          Well, the de-escalation committee members (if they hadn't already intervened) would probably politely inform this individual that he has no right to sell what belongs to everybody and that he should help them bring the items back to the comfort station.  No one in their right mind would consider "buying" his confiscated goods when the same stuff is freely available.  No one would "work" for him when they can get their means of subsistence for free from the community.  If they wanted anything beyond what was provided, they'd get together and make it happen communally, not submit to the tyranny of this sociopath to get a little extra.

          But of course, that's what we do in capitalism.  That sociopath who would grab what belongs to everyone and sell it back to them is feted as all that is wonderful in the world, while the people who are forced to work for him to survive (after he and others like him have seized everything available) are seen as scum.  It's social insanity.  These occupations are the beginning of the path to sanity.

          The politics of direct action is based, to a certain degree, on a faith that freedom is contagious. - David Graeber

          by An Affirming Flame on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 09:53:42 AM PDT

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      •  This is hilarious. (0+ / 0-)

        Truly batty, and utterly wonderful.  I will forward your comment to people that will be as amused as I am.

        •  Glad you enjoyed it. Perhaps they'd also enjoy (0+ / 0-)

          reading Emma Goldman's Anarchism: What it Really Stands For.  Would you like to pass that on as well?  I have many other recommendations, too.  Just let me know.  Who knows, maybe someone will start to like the sound of that anarchy stuff and will want to know more.

          The politics of direct action is based, to a certain degree, on a faith that freedom is contagious. - David Graeber

          by An Affirming Flame on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 09:58:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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