Occupy the 1%!

  18. Movements must not accept particpation of organisations

-- April 20 2012 --

Movements must not accept participation of organisations.

Parts of Occupy organise mass actions together with existing organisations as trade-unions and even Move-on. That is dangerous. In the system embedded organisations have different goals, in the first place the continuing existence of the organisation. Occupy is an independent Movement and can use any tactic.
Past experience with movements illustrate that that is the right way.

Dutch Anti-Nuclear Movement organised in the eighties twice a blockade of a Dutch nuclear plant with thousands of activists. The Movement did not allow political organisations or environmental action groups like Greenpeace to participate. Only people could take part in General Assemblies, not representatives of organisations. Also in the Squatters Movement and much earlier in the Provo Movement  organisations were not allowed to participate. Occupy should also remain autonomous and avoid being drawn into the quagmire of organisations with an own agenda, established leaders, paid employees and big expensive headquarters. Joined actions with e.g. trade-unions will alienate many supporters. Hijacking of Movements by political parties is fairly common. The remedy against political intruders is to carry out actions against the 1% (political) organisations never can support. The occurrence of some violence in actions will also discourage embedded political organisations.

Movements and organisations are very different. Movements have restricted goals, organisations broad goals. Organisations only protest, ask attention for problems or complain about the situation. Movements can be more aggressive, they can resist. Movements can attract people with very different ideas while organisations with a hierarchical structure make people uneasy. In a Movement the contradiction left-right hardly disturbs decentralised activities. Organisations need a lot of money to exist and this influences discussions about the goals. Movements are financed locally.

Movements should move without permanent locations that restrict the action. The modern electronic means of communication should be used much better as centres of attraction.
People were drawn towards Occupy because Occupy gave hope on a fundamental change that the existing organisations had lost. The emphasis should not be to react on what others do but on what we can do. The occupations of thousands of squares was such an attractive action.
Without successes any Movement will lose its appeal to the supporters.

Movements can avoid this by giving most attention to a goal that attracts many people. The goal of Occupy is an attack on the greedy rich that should lead to the removal of the 1% from power. But actions against the 1% are scarce. On Occupy-sites the 1% has nearly disappeared from discussions and is replaced by attention for what political puppets do and for partial political demands. That divides the 99% in supporters of Obama, Paul or Romney. But we need all 99%. To remain attractive Occupy should point all arrows at the only target that can unite all 99%, the greedy rich. 

Joost van Steenis (downwithelite@gmail.com)

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