A remarkable thing happened several weeks ago in a small city in North Carolina. A group of Occupiers from Chapel Hill affiliated with the national movement, emboldened by similar actions by Occupiers in Oakland, California, reclaimed an old used car dealership that had sat vacant for years. The owner, a deadbeat who has been apparently at odds with city government for some time now, has kept the lot vacant and undeveloped for the better part of ten years. This large building and land, unoccupied and unused for a very long time, was converted to serve the interests of the people of Chapel Hill…
Of course, soon enough, the police decided to intervene in this ugly display of wanton public compassion and unity. That brought us photos of police dressed in full military fatigues and flak jackets, brandishing assault rifles, heading in to clear the building of the people who had attempted to give it a viable purpose to serve the community…
Through the occupation of both public and private abandoned space, the Occupy movement, as well as anti-capitalist political movements across the globe, are showing that they have the capability to escalate their tactics in a meaningful way. The reclamation of public space for political thought and dialogue is an important first step to breaking the bonds of capitalist hegemony in the sphere of public consciousness. This has been done in the past few months by brave Occupiers willing to risk arrest to get the public to pay attention to the issues staring them in the face. It has been proven to be a successful tactic, and should be continued. Now, an important next step is to carry the occupations to private space that can be converted to better use serving the wider needs of the community.
The Party of Wall Street has ruled unchallenged in the United States for far too long. It has totally (as opposed to partially) dominated the policies of Presidents over at least four decades (if not longer), no matter whether individual Presidents have been its willing agents or not. It has legally corrupted Congress via the craven dependency of politicians in both political parties upon its raw money power and upon access to the mainstream media that it controls. Thanks to the appointments made and approved by Presidents and Congress, the Party of Wall Street dominates much of the state apparatus as well as the judiciary, in particular the Supreme Court, whose partisan judgments increasingly favor venal money interests, in spheres as diverse as electoral, labor, environmental and contract law.
The Party of Wall Street has one universal principle of rule: that there shall be no serious challenge to the absolute power of money to rule absolutely. And that power is to be exercised with one objective. Those possessed of money power shall not only be privileged to accumulate wealth endlessly at will, but they shall have the right to inherit the earth, taking either direct or indirect dominion not only of the land and all the resources and productive capacities that reside therein, but also assume absolute command, directly or indirectly, over the labor and creative potentialities of all those others it needs. The rest of humanity shall be deemed disposable.
Are you inspired by Occupy Wall Street? Did you join the struggle for Troy Davis? Are you part of protests about the housing crisis in your city? Were you in the streets for SlutWalk to say “Enough is enough”?
Millions of people have come to the understanding that capitalism is no longer working. And millions of people around the world—from Cairo to Athens to New York City—are fighting back.
Marxism provides a revolutionary understanding of society and a strategy for getting rid of exploitation and oppression once and for all. The International Socialist Organization is organizing regional conferences in cities around the country in October and November to discuss what Marxists say about race, class and revolution—and the fight for a better world.
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Meetings and courses include:
Why Marx was right
Why the working class can change society
— No power greater: Marxism and the centrality of class
— The 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters strike: A case study in working-class power
— The changing working class and the future of the labor movement
— Where does racism come from?
— The Black freedom struggle: From Martin Luther King to the Black Panthers
— Black liberation and socialism
Marxism and oppression
— The roots of racial oppression
— Theories of women’s oppression
— Can the working class liberate the oppressed?
Marxism, crisis and class struggle
— How capitalism works: What makes capitalism tick?
— How capitalism fails: The Marxist theory of crisis
— Crisis, exploitation and class struggle
Follow the link to find the conference near you!
The Young Democratic Socialists endorse the Occupy Wall Street movement and its demand for justice. We join the demonstrators in taking a stand against corporate power and neoliberal politicians. These protests have been condemned in the press as class warfare, but in the words of a protestor on Wall Street, “they only call it class warfare when we fight back.”
We must draw on the great traditions of resistance in our history – the Patriots, the Abolitionists, the Suffragettes, Industrial Unionism, the Civil Rights Movement, and the feminist and LGBT movements – and engage our creative imagination in forming a movement for the 2010s. We must bear witness, but we must moreover build power that can challenge the commanding heights of capitalism, and succeed in changing laws in the people’s favor. We must make demands on the state, and we must win. In the spirit of solidarity, we encourage the movement to demand:
- A public jobs program
- The nationalization of failed banks
- Medicare for all
- The forgiveness of student debt
- An end to foreclosures
- Substantial investment in clean energy
We can fund these vital public policies if we reverse the Bush and Reagan tax cuts for the top two per cent, restore effective corporate taxation, and end wasteful military spending. And we can only reverse the decline in working people’s standard of living if we restore the democratic right of working people to unionize.
In all of these instances, most people think the problem is that these are the acts of a “few bad apples.” But taken together, one has to ask: Should an orchard producing so many bad apples be allowed to continue operating?
Another question is raised by the attitude of some activists in the Occupy Wall Street struggle who believe that the police are part of the “99 percent” that the movement is speaking for. For example, when the arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge were taking place, some marchers who hadn’t been trapped appealed to police with chants of “Join us, you’re one of us.”
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The action has captured the imagination and sympathies of much larger numbers of people fed up with all the different aspects of a system run by the super-rich 1 percent, symbolized by the Wall Streets bankers and financial speculators. In New York, the regular protests and round-the-clock political discussions in Liberty Plaza keep growing larger, and activists in other cities have organized their own Occupy actions.
In short, Occupy Wall Street has become a lightning rod for all the accumulated discontent in the U.S.
And there’s a lot to be angry about [nowadays]… But I don’t think that people know what to be angry about. What has been created by this half-century of massive corporate propaganda is what’s called ‘anti-politics.’ So, anything that goes wrong, you blame the government. Well there’s plenty to blame the government about, but the government is the one institution that people can change and effect by participation without institutional change. That’s exactly why all the anger and fear is directed against the government. It has a defect: it’s potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect, they are pure tyrannies, so you want to keep them invisible and focus all anger on the government…
The government is exactly what Dewey described it as, the ‘shadow cast by business over society.’ If you want to change something, change the substance, not the shadow.
Noam Chomsky, “Class War: The Attack on Working People”
Let’s set the focus back on the ones really responsible for the problem. Change the substance and #OCCUPYWALLSTREET September 17th!
Inspired by the visceral potential of the Wall Street occupation, the Indignados of Spain just sent us word that on September 17th they too will set up camp outside the Madrid Stock Exchange. The surprise announcement, that their #TOMALABOLSA will join your #OCCUPYWALLSTREET, may embolden other cities as well. A rumor suggests the financial district of Paris may be next … or will it be Toronto’s Bay Street, Sydney’s Martin Place, or some yet to be chosen site in London?
(Note: this is an independent blog and is not affiliated with Adbusters. Their content is re-posted for outreach purposes only.)