Internationalist Perspective Public Meeting in Seattle

August 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm (Uncategorized)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Time: 7 PM
Place: The Wildcat 1105 23rd Ave (between Union St & Spring St) Seattle, WA 98122

THE BATTLE WITHIN THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT

The “Occupy” movement is the largest mass movement that America has seen in four decades, and it is integrally linked to the global capitalist crisis that erupted in 2008, and which has only deepened in the past four years. The Occupy movement, in the US and globally (Greece, Spain, etc.), has been a direct response to the massive unemployment and draconian austerity through which the world is now living as capital, and its state forms, desperately seek to respond to a devastating crisis of its core structures.

From its first expression, as Occupy Wall Street, the Occupy movement has faced a dilemma: is it a populist movement seeking to radically reform the “democratic” state, and the capitalist economy to which it is inextricably linked, to seek new regulations by which that state can make the capitalist system more equitable and fair OR will it become an explicitly anti-capitalist movement, one that not only forges links with the working class and its struggles, but one that grasps both the necessity and the possibility of the destruction of the core structures of capitalism, of wage-labor, and the value-form, to which humankind has been subjugated for hundreds of years, and which today has clearly revealed that its continued existence will entail life in a “planet of slums,” a precarious existence for the mass of humankind, ecological destruction, and wars fueled by nationalism and sectarianism on an unprecedented scale.

Capital, and its political forces, is prepared to use populist revolt to reinforce its rule, to re-impose its ideological hegemony over the collective worker. That is the message from a President of the US who does not hesitate to claim to represent the 99% against the 1%, or his rival who claims that the present administration represents the “elites” who rule over ordinary Americans.

A response to such efforts that limits itself to more “radical” reforms, massive stimulus and public works programs to “cure” unemployment, or nationalization and/or breakup of the Wall Street banks, is predicated on the illusion of the possibility a capitalist system that serves human needs, on the belief or faith that a system based on wage-labor can be fair, and provide a decent standard of living. Such illusions need to be theoretically challenged, and shown to reinforce the very political and economic powers whose system has cast the world into its most devastating economic crisis since the “Great Depression.”

The battle within the Occupy movement, within every struggle by workers against the depredations of capital, and the imposition of austerity (think of Oakland, Cal., or the EGT strike in Washington state, or the occupation by tens of thousands of Syntagma Square in Athens or the Puerta del Sol in Madrid, earlier this year), needs to present a clear anti-capitalist alternative to the calls for reform, a clear theoretical analysis of why the only reform that capital can provide today is one that reinforces its economic, political and ideological power, and a clear analysis of the possibility of a world beyond capitalism and the value-form.

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