An Open letter to the Occupation Movement on tactics
Hi, how's it all going then? Before I get all critical here, let me say how terribly fond of activism and over throwing elite structures of unethical commerce I am, and that you have all been a great balm to my cynical heart in terms of showing a generation of apathy that there are some amongst us who won't simply be led into the mental abattoir of uncritical modern living and who are prepared to make a stand.
For that alone, I and many other thinkers around the globe are very much grateful.
However, I hate to be a bit of a wet blanket here, but the immoral structure of vested commercial interest masquerading as the neoliberal Washington Consensus (that none of us consented to) hasn't budged an inch from your occupations.
This is dreadfully annoying.
It's dreadfully annoying because after the immoral corporate values on display after the 2008 stock market meltdown the global hegemonic economic structure is as weak and prepared for collapse as it was post 1929 when it unravelled into a depression.
It's dreadfully annoying because as former World Bank Overlord, Joseph E. Stiglitz points out in his paradigm shifting Vanity Fair article, Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%, inequality caused by a gutting of Keynesian regulation and a culture of me first and the gimmie, gimmies is still creating a world where venal 1% greed is rewarded at terrible cost to the remaining 99%.
It's dreadfully annoying because as Philosopher Thomas Pogge points out in his Priorities of Global Justice...
"One-third of all human deaths are due to poverty-related causes, to malnutrition and to diseases that can be prevented or cured cheaply. Yet our politicians, academics, and mass media show little concern for how such poverty might be reduced. They are more interested in possible military interventions to stop human rights violations in developing countries, even though such interventions - at best - produce smaller benefits at greater cost. This Western priority may be rooted in self-interest. But it engenders, and is sustained by, a deeply flawed moral presentation of global economic cooperation. The new global economic order we impose aggravates global inequality and reproduces severe poverty on a massive scale. On any plausible understanding of our moral values, the prevention of such poverty is our foremost responsibility."
...in short brothers and sisters, while the Occupation fights the good fight, it ain't winning.
Why not? It's not like you aren't right, the despicable manner in which commerce is structured to harvest wealth for the 1% at the cost to the remaining 99% is as evil a creation as any humankind has made and the only ethical response is to attack it in every form where ever it is found, yet the Occupations have mostly been killed off, may I suggest a slight tactical change?
The problem I think is that occupations by their nature are tactically static. You turn up at a venue and occupy it which is followed up by the Police arriving and beating everyone up with the sort of passion they tend to reserve for minorities when the cameras aren't rolling. I think the Occupation movement needs to evolve and become mobile. I say the Occupation create leadership teams who quietly strategize out who should be targeted next and send out the message via social networking sites to flash occupy.
Flash Occupations should become the new weapon, it would attract massive media attention as you are always occupying new targets, the occupation should last as long as the occupiers can stay (days, weeks, months - how ever long you can occupy for) while demanding direct dialogue with the target that has been selected for occupation to change whatever their practices are that have caused attention to fall upon them.
This tactic would breath life back into the Occupations, it would create a transient activist base who could move from protest to protest and become a real social movement that has purpose and direction. Sitting outside your local City Hall playing hacky sack and debating the finer points of a Tobin Tax in an anarchist styled no leaders consensus model is all fine and good, but it isn't going to force change.
When the current system of capitalism is as evil and corrupt as the one we currently are yoked to, there can be no excuses for not exploring new tactics to continue the struggle.
In the words of the great Kate Shepard, the woman who led the struggle for universal suffrage in NZ over a century ago, 'All that separates, whether of race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman, and must be overcome'. Flash Occupations are the solution and manner in which her words should be fought with.