Monday, July 30, 2012

A Time to Stand and be Counted

I was skeptical that camping out in public parks and critiquing the system a-la "Occupy" was ever going to change things. I was prepared to get involved to the limited extent that I was able to, when it wasn't immediately crushed and in the USA it's message was resonating with the majority of the US-American public (despite the best efforts of fourth-rate political hacks like Josh Trevino).

One thing I know for sure is that the LEFT has to pull its collective head out of its collective anus [!] and have itself a collective grown-up conversation about VIOLENCE. Because all the agonizing over the brutalized members of Occupy Oakland resorting to violence in the face of thuggish police provocations shows that this is very necessary.

Now and forever, absolute bullshit about "Violence is always wrong" is simply not going to cut it. You do not petition monsters. You do not appeal to the hearts of monsters. You do not point to the moral codes of monsters. You fight monsters. You make things difficult for them. And if you don't steel yourselves, and prepare your minds for what genuine struggle actually means, ... then you will become a monster. Because you haven't worked out beforehand what constitutes fighting and what constitutes rage-induced monstrous behaviour.

So, anyway, here's a pretty good essay from Counter Punch: "What Is To Be Done ... Now?" which looks at V. I. Lenin's famous pamphlet and says that it holds some truths still for us today:
The general problem is that the other side – Lenin would have said the capitalist side; in 2011, that designation was effectively replaced by “the one-percent” – is organized.   It has a state to do its bidding, what Marx called an “executive committee” of the entire ruling class.  In these circumstances, “the ninety-nine percent” has no choice but to respond, as best it can, in kind, by doing its utmost to constitute a rival executive committee.

If the Occupy movements peter out entirely, as Cockburn thought they already have, it will illustrate Lenin’s general point.  For a time, they breathed new life into spontaneism.  Indeed, leaderlessness helped them along.  But they eventually reached a point where the choice was posed: make a quantum leap into the vanguardist model they rejected or fade away.   Since the former hasn’t happened and almost certainly won’t, let us hope that, as they fade into historical memory, some of the good the Occupy movements did can be turned into a useful legacy.


Beijing York said...

Lots of food for thought, thwap. Shame about losing Alex Cockburn - he was an astute critic.

thwap said...

Beijing York,

Yeah. That essay paid for a second reading.

I understand the 21st century left's fear of vanguards and leaders and the imposing of visions and strategies.

But some struggles might require cohesion whereas other struggles are like millions of drops of water on a stone.