Sunday, October 16, 2011
It is five minutes to dawn and the wind smells like freedom by Mike Ely
Democracy and Class Struggle publishes this article by Mike Ely of Kasama has a contribution towards the dialectics of success of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Like Mike Ely and Kasama we are looking for the "new" in the movement but we also see the mechanics of defeat in a movement if it does not listen to its supporter critics.
It is no longer five minutes to midnight. After Arab Spring leaps to Spain, and Greece, and on to New York’s Wall Street, it suddenly feels like five minutes to dawn.
We no longer need assume that there is no time to stop the world going to shit. There is an opening and we are flooding into it.
We are suddenly in a moment that is not marked by exhausted routine protests that speak for no one and speak to no one.
The oppressors (our common enemies) are no longer unchallenged — or more no longer unchallengeable. They are instead rocked backward, confused, bewildered, furious. The billionaire mayor of New York can’t clear a tiny park — and suddenly the question is not how to force the occupiers out, but whether he may be forced out of power if he pursues that course.
For so long, all of the things that leave people crying at night: the numbing global poverty itself, the painful loneliness of atomized non-community, the discarding of the old and the young, endless war for dominance, global structures of empire, the ravaging of nature, the manufacture of ignorance, intolerance and bigotry, the rape and casual daily brutality toward women — all of these things have seemed untouchable and permanent.
Now suddenly….a different day is approaching — where we can increasingly see and act in in startling ways, with rippling new impact. Ears perk up. Sights are raised. The pulse quickens. Suddenly we recognize the faces of others — once unknown to us — animated and awake with a common spirit. The powerful look discredited and vulnerable.
Morning is coming…. Go and wake the sleeping ones.
The hope of a radically new society, of abolishing capitalism, reveals it is far from exhausted. No, it suddenly springs from every pore. These occupations of dozens of city squares are a wind that heralds a coming storm.
This is a mood that produces actual revolutionary movements and dedicated militants of a new truth process.
Advanced, radical and discontented people who felt alone and isolated — suddenly realize they are millions. Allies emerge out of shadows, attracted by each early flame.
Networks congeal almost overnight. New thought jumps from human to human, morphing in each passage, adapting and refining. The forms of expression shake off the old and exhausted… A new generation invents its language from the messaging in the air.
Let’s understand what this is. Let’s recognize where we stand. Let’s embrace the possibilities within the new.
This break in the norm reveals what has already moved into place, and had long been building. And that revelation transforms everything — especially because we all see it together, in common, and recognize ourselves in that picture.
Be relentlessly impatient with this criminal system.
Be lovingly patient with each other — as we find the common language to act and transform.
Listen for the new. And grasp firmly to the truths that have so long been hidden and denied — but that we are now speaking from center stage.
Let’s seize the high moral ground (a precious position to hold), and never give it up. And be aware that thugs with suits and video cameras will be coming to snatch that ground away and portray us as fools, or dupes, or barbarians at the gate.
Above all: Let’s consciously go for the whole thing!
The change we want is about taking the accumulated wealth, technology, hard work, science, and connections of a complex global civilization — and finally (finally!) putting it into the service of us all, including the very least and previously powerless among us. It is about the voiceless suddenly speaking, and the wealthy suddenly becoming silent.
This is not about “budget financing” (!) but about power in the most fundamental sense. We don’t want to tax the zillionaires of finance capital — we need to rip their zombie hands from the throats of us all…. so we can breathe, perhaps for the first time in our lives. And so we can change the whole direction of the world.
The “freedom” we want is not the individual license promoted by smug Republican ideologues (the freedom of “up with me, you suck”). Instead, we need to seek the freedom of people, together, to shape their common world — an ethos of mutual caring and solidarity That is the freedom (the ability and possibility) that comes when new power of the people wrenches everything from the very few.
A revolution starts in ideas and mutual recognition. It then moves to the terrain of power.
At this moment: we can get a glimmer of how empires break, and how armies start to unravel. They don’t die on the battlefields, at least not at first — but in sudden re-allegiances of the young and awakening.
We cannot “take America back” — we never had it. But we can take over our own lives, our own planet and our common future — wrenching them away from sinister and hostile forces.
This moment of occupations is not about some concept of “America” anyway. It is global — because our society, our future and our biosphere are all global. This wave of contagious occupations and manifestations is about who will shape this beautiful blue orb as a whole. And we cannot allow that to be diminished and corrupted by slogans of America First.
The old “American dream” promised each one the ability to climb up upon the others. This new coming dream can be about a global community of mutual flourishing among human beings — about substituting community for the sale of humanity.
Let’s go for the whole thing. Let’s go for the future itself. Let’s save the only earth we have. Let’s aim to wipe out together the poverty of the many and the suffering of the abused.
Here at dawn, let’s envision the day we want, and make that revolutionary vision the center of debate, for once, and perhaps from now on.
Posted by nickglais on 10/16/2011 09:46:00 AM
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I consider myself a marxist. But I think that Occupy Wall Street doesn't receive the right approach when you start your message with words like: "Like Mike Ely and Kasama we are looking for the "new" in the movement but we also see the mechanics of defeat in a movement that will not listen to its supporter critics."
Why write "new"? Have you seen this movie before? Why talk about "mechanics of defeat" and not make an explicit reference? Are these "supporter critics" really participating? Why are you talking about a movement that "will not listen"? Did you try to talk with OWS there?
Your big message is the end of capitalism... But they are not talking about this, you know. Their target is the 1%. And maybe that is not enough for you... But it seems enough for them, now. Do you think this is too easy? I'm very curious about the "mechanics of defeat"...
Thanks for the space,
A Brazilian that can't be there.
Thanks for your comment.
I think the article by Mike Ely reflects the Gramscian "optimism of the will" to make the Occupy Wall Street movement succeed and is euphoric.
I am concerned with the"pessimism of the intelligence" I see the mechanics of defeat at play in what is an essentially petty bourgeois movement.The petty bourgeois are in crisis and this OWS movement is a reflection of that.
I have corrected the mistaken idea in my introduction that the OWS leaders are not listening to its supporter critics.
The Ignite Revoltion Critique of OWS which I covered from day one of the occupation called for Union involvement and the OWS has sought that, therefore they have listened to their critics.
When I talk about the Dialectics of successs I am talking how a deeply democratic movement will engender a new politics.
Fritz Tucker in his critique of OWS on my blog questions how democratic the OWS movement really is and I think that is an important question and is the essential Gramscian "pessimism of the intelligence" that we need to apply to such petty bourgeois movements.
It is important to oppose deep proletarian democracy to petty bourgeois formal democracy even in the OWS Movement.
Again thanks for your comments from Brazil - I am in Britain not USA and rely on comrades in New York like Ignite Revolution, Fritz Tucker and Mike Ely for information on OWS.
If I make mistakes I am happy to correct them in light of better information and knowledge.
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