We are currently living in some very interesting times. And this time, I’m not even talking about industrial civilization speeding up our planet’s death (although one of the truck drivers I deal with at work predicted the Rapture for two days from now…guess we’ll see if this issue of PE even comes out, then!).
No, this time I’m talking about the largest mass anti-capitalist movement in modern history. That’s right, the spark that was the Occupy Wall Street Movement has ignited a fire across America, into Canada, and across most of the world. “We are the 99%” is the official slogan of this movement, which is absolutely inspiring. Finally even the most apathetic and apolitical are cluing in that politicians and business leaders are corrupt as hell, and don’t give two shits about the majority of the populace when there’s money to be made. I harbor no delusions that this movement will actually lead to a revolution akin to the Arab Spring uprisings. However, this is a crucial first step in getting the masses on the same page.
Unfortunately, due to a horrible bout of sciatica (really painful condition involving a major nerve in my spine and into my legs), I haven’t been able to do much in the way of occupying anything. All I can do at this point is write (sadly, I can’t afford to take time off work to heal, and so I’m pretty much stuck in a painful state, with the labor-oriented parts of my job suspending the healing process that much more) and help spread the news and offer alternative opinions to the mainstream bullshit express of my local papers (particularly the SUN, which has the audacity to print snide commentary following each letter to the editor, giving the conservative assholes the final word. Journalistic integrity at its finest, truly). Reading the filth in the conservative papers, you can tell that these people are frightened. They know that the movement is growing day by day, despite police oppression and right-wing propaganda. You can tell they’re scared, because they keep harping on certain points, and blowing small things out of proportion. Points such as “these protesters have no single cohesive goal or point”. Or they blow up things like mild infighting, or accuse the movement of being a haven for anti-Semites, 9-11 Truthers, or conspiracy nuts. Of course, these are all laughable points to make, and despite their best efforts it’s not working. (although, in recent days, I’ve come across disturbing news that the Occupy Kansas City groups have actually been debating the merits of the infamous anti-Semitic hoax “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” – for fuck’s sake, these people should not be welcome into our movements, and they should not be allowed to set the tone or agenda. Get them out. NOW.)
One thing I’ve noticed since the protests started, is that (as usual), the mainstream “left” is trying their hardest to co-opt the movement and derail it; twist it to fit their own devious ends. Whether it’s the fucking Democrats in the States, or the fucking Liberal party up here in Canada, or the various mainstream lobbyist groups like MoveOn-dot-org, the capitalists on the left are trying their damnedest to take the real anger and the real issues involved and fizzle them down to talking points and reformist garbage. Let’s not forget that it was President Obama who upheld the Bush tax cuts last year, and bailed out the scumsucking parasites on Wall Street (not to mention kept Gitmo open, deported scores more so-called “illegal immigrants” than Bush did, killed thousands of innocents in unmanned drone attacks in the Middle East… need I continue?). No, the Tea Party is not our friend, but you know what – NEITHER ARE THE DEMOCRATS. I’m so sick of the “enemy of our enemy is our friend” mentality that derails and destroys any popular uprising in North America. So many people are willing to make concessions instead of actually fighting for their convictions or for the greater good. This is what happens when the movements are made up of highly-privileged, well-educated elites who would rather die than give up their middle-class lives…while still pretending to care about the underprivileged around them.
Another thing that has never been remotely touched on in the mainstream (or even in the liberal) press are some of the greater crimes that Wall Street (and global capital in general) is guilty of here. Yes, I realize that the erosion of the middle class here in North America is a very real problem, and I realize that many families of all walks of life are being made to suffer here while CEOs get huge bonuses and get to keep living comfortably. This is a huge crime against the majority of people here in the Western world. But I’d also like to remind everyone that this is only the tip of the iceberg. In the pursuit of wealth and power, the capitalists have succeeded in DESTROYING OUR PLANET. I’m not speaking in the abstract here – entire ecosystems here at home and across the world have been brought to the brink of destruction. Entire populations of indigenous people have been virtually wiped out, or forced into cheap labor for the corporations. Species of animals and plants have been forever wiped out. All in the name of profit. I wish this was talked about more in the Occupy movement, but as we still live in one of the most speciesist cultures on earth, it will be a long time coming… Let’s be clear here – from the erosion of the middle class, to the expansion of a war-based economy, to the exploitation and genocide of indigenous cultures, to the wiping out of ecosystems… ALL OF THESE ISSUES ARE CONNECTED. Not only are they connected, but they are all part of the same disease. As LOST WORLD once said, Capitalism is the Disease.
One more thing I want to say (and I’m sorry for the not-quite cohesive format of this column – there’s just too much to say, and too much coffee in my house), is can we (as in the whole movement, not the anarchists – I’m sure we’re all on the same page about this) please get over the whole fetishism of pacifist bullshit? Can we please stop collaborating with the police? The cops may be “part of the 99%” but to go back to elementary anti-capitalism here – THEY SERVE AND PROTECT THE 1%. That is their function. And as for pacifism, I will concede that it has its place. So does property destruction. So do many tactics, both violent and non. Instead of encouraging the Occupy Movement to be a purely “non-violent” movement (what about when the police attack, much like they did in Oakland in late October?!), why don’t we instead encourage a diversity of tactics? I’m not encouraging everyone to run wild in the streets, beating up every bank executive you see. I’m encouraging…well… a diversity of tactics! Duh. I’m encouraging people of the privileged pacifist mindset to refrain from ratting “troublemakers” (puke) to the cops! I’m encouraging everyone to work together so that everyone’s voice is heard, and everyone’s ideas are considered! If it means that the “peaceful” contingent hold one rally while the Black Bloc-ers go off and do their own thing, so be it. However, we must all work together and support each other (within reason – there is still no fucking room in this movement for fascist infiltrators, overt or covert: keep an eye out for them and “professional left/right” leeches, official or otherwise), otherwise this global movement is doomed to failure. I speak of anti-pacifism and pro-militancy, but I’m also not saying that you should be a fucking idiot. We need to use our heads, lest they be crushed under the bootheels of the capitalist forces – this is just a beginning.
– I really hope I don’t come across as “holier than thou” in this. These are just things I’ve been thinking a lot about while in my less-than-able state. I know I’ve got my own contradictions internalized, and I also know that as much as I preach against pacifism, I’m also not strong enough (mentally or physically) to go out and do militant actions myself. I just want all options open, and I hate seeing the fucking mainstream pacifists sell out the more militant people to the cops. I also hate the concept of protest marshals, while we’re on the subject…
– By the time this gets printed, it will be winter time, and who knows where the movement will be. For updates, opinions, and all sorts of good stuff, check out http://news.infoshop.org
– Keep an eye out for me in spring of next year – I just may be coming through your neck of the woods on my 2-month bus trip through the States and Canada. I’ll be close to broke, so if you have a place for me to crash, some spare food and/or beer, I’ll be most grateful. Touring bands, if you need a roadie or merch dude, I’m on the way. Just sayin’.
– Bomb The Stampede Fest is still in the planning stages. It is going to be happening in July of next year, and it will be awesome. If you want to be a part, please get in touch!
– Check it – damien.inbred (AT) gmail.com or doomedsocietyradio (AT) gmail.com
– Older columns (including my column in issue 62 that got cut off halfway through) can be found at http://pissinmatch.blogspot.com
– I was going to supply a couple of interviews for this issue – one with MISERY and one with Andrew of my hometown’s former DIY crust-punk heroes CHUPACABRA, but sadly time constraints got in the way. Look for them in the next issue!