ALL POWER TO GENERAL ASSEMBLIES!ارسال به بالاترین
In order to find out what the occupation movement is seeking we need to objectively pay attention to its background, its characteristics, its form of protest, its content, and finally the way it runs its occupied squares. This is a brief outline of the above, which comes to a logical conclusion as to what the 99% want.
Characteristics of the Occupy Movement
The very first characteristic of this movement is its negation. It says no to the capitalist system, as illustrated by its various slogans, such as “End Capitalism”, “Death to Capitalism”, “This society doesn’t work, let’s build a different society”, “Abolish capitalism”, “Another world is possible”, “A better world is possible”, …
The form and the content of occupation movement
The second characteristic is the occupation form. By mere occupation, the Occupy Movement made a political statement. The occupation has both a form and an anti-establishment, anti-capitalism content in it. Once workers, for example, occupy the workplace, they claim power. Power is nothing but the ability to control. The workers claim power to control production. Occupy Wall Street was inspired by the Al-Tahrir (Liberation) Square occupation in Cairo by which people claimed the political power in Egypt. The occupation of Rothschild in Tel Aviv, and the occupation of Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid were also inspired by the occupation at Liberation Square in Cairo. Occupation is immediately tied to freedom. It is tied to the restoration of power to the people, it’s tied to direct control of society by the people. The Occupy Movement revealed its content via its occupation form; the abolishment of capitalist dictatorship and the installation of a free and equal society that is run by direct participation and decision- making by the people.
General Assembly vs Democracy*
Anyone who walks by an Occupy community can participate in its decision making body. The decision making process of general assembly(GA) might be long and dragging but we have to look at the bigger picture: The current GA decision making body is the most free, participating form of governing in the world. The GA is a parallel, direct-decision-making system as opposed to the ballot-box-election-parliament-democracy system.
We need to remember that occupiers are the people sitting in tents with absolute minimum resources, everything is done on a volunteer basis. Even the way that the kitchen is organized is iconic to controlling the means of production. The decision- making process being utilized can be considered a snapshot of the world we want to create.
The occupied territories are under constant pressure from the police, mayors, etc. The occupiers are doing the best they can to make the decision making as direct, and participatory as possible. If society as a whole were run by us, the decision making would be far more effective. In a socialist society we do not need to spend 5 hours a day to make decisions on the maintenance of a camp. If we had access to all resources of a society, the decision making would be as easy as the press of a button on our phone-pad, be it about camping or travelling to Mars.
Background to Occupy protests
The cause of current protests are the economic and capital crises. In October of 2008, the first $700bn business bailout was passed by Congress while at that very moment there were 9.5 million unemployed in the US. These figures increased to $1.5 trillion in the capital bailout and 15 million unemployed by September 2009.
During this period we had Chicago workers of Republic Windows and Doors occupying a plant (first of its kind in the US since the great depression) in protest to layoffs, Oakland riot ignited as a result of the murder of Oscar Grant, food-bank line-ups (40 million on food stamps as of May 2010), cases such as Heather Newnam, 28, who committed suicide because she was faced with eviction. In February of this year we saw the Wisconsin protests against the cutbacks. The estimated 50 million who have no medical insurance, the unbearable student loans which are a barrier for continued education and/or an unbearable financial burden after finishing an education. These are just a few examples of the kinds of events and situations that are indicative of the current state of affairs for the 99% .
What the US 99% Want
ALL POWER TO GENERAL ASSEMBLIES!
As the current political system belongs to the 1%, it has failed to provide the basic needs of our society such as housing, health care, and education. As a result, our standard of living has deteriorated substantially; the environment is being destroyed; continuous militarism, and the creation of a police state.
We, the 99%, therefore, demand the immediate transfer of power to us. We ask all people to start their general assemblies at their work places and their neighbourhoods in order to take over the power from the 1%. To address the needs of society, our general assemblies will decide and delegate people based on recommendations of various working groups.
Immediate transfer of power to General Assemblies from the 1%
Occupy Movement has no political representation. It negates the system, the way it runs its occupied squares gives us a glimpse to the future freedom and the self governing system. However, none of the occupied assemblies demands the removal of political power. None of them seeks the takeover of power.
Only a political party with an anti-capitalist, socialist vision can link the Occupy movement to its destination by demanding “ALL POWER TO GENERAL ASSEMBLIES” and therefore emerge as the political leader of this movement. A political party is not a substitution to general assembly, nor a general assembly is a political party’s organ. They are different organs of the same movement. They are complementary to each other.
The mainstream political party’s approach in their attempt to manipulate the movement for the rich; traditional left in their populism (ie all ideas are welcomed and respected!! including the ideas of the rich) as well as anarchist approach to ban political parties (and again respecting the ideas of the rich) are doomed to defeat the Occupy movement.
(*) The following is an interesting observation by the Economist
“OWS is not simply a group of like-minded people gathered together to make a point with a show of collective force, though it is that. The difference is that it has developed into an ongoing micro-society with a micro-government that directly exemplifies a principled alternative to the prevailing American order.
The demand is a society more like the little one OWS protestors have mocked up in the park. The mode of governance is the message.”