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celebratedrecluse wrote (edited )

Wall Street must be reoccupied.

Everything else, sure, but this? I can't agree.

What is the tactical purpose of seizing empty space? Power is not in the halls of the authorities, but in the infrastructure that reproduces this world constantly. Indeed, there is more power in the power lines, wifi connections, pipes carrying life sustaining water or deathly sewage...indeed there is more power in the barrel of a gun, held by anyone, than in the halls of a government or stock exchange. I would say there is more power in a footbal stadium, with all the fans drunken and ready to fight, than in the now sterile wall street.

So why should we look to these phantom, when the places that power congregates and convenes are so different than these illusions? What is the benefit? Does not a popular action, in the halls of government, give it a legitimacy of a kind? Is this not the purpose of the right wing efforts to do the exact same thing, in USA now, showing up to state capitols, national capitol, etc?

From a materialist analysis, how can one interrupt state power? How can one build one's own? Is it effective to do a mass action, taking the streets for an hour or three? Is it seizing of a smaller space for a longer period, like this Seattle USA CHAZ from months ago? Is it squatting and living in a reclaimed privatized space? Is it the making of commercial spaces unusuable for a time? Is it interrupting infrastructure, and if so, what kinds?

Further readings

I tried to find the crimethinc essay about the emptiness of the state capitol in Wisconsin USA, could not find. it's hard to search their archives. Does anyone remember this one? the action it discusses happened quite a while ago, I think close to 10 years at this point. How I get older...and older...

To Our Friends, by invisible committee, also have good points on this topic.

What are all of your thoughts?

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aaaaargZombies wrote

What is the tactical purpose of seizing empty space?

I think it's not really the space that's important but what people do in it. Andy Robinson makes the point about the summit hopping protests, raves, squatted social centers, etc having previously been spaces where people would experience an alternative reality. That the counter hegemonic nature of such spaces opened up greater possibilities than the material demands could do even if met. ie, experiencing horizontal organizing models and the violence of the state first hand is more radical than slightly fairer taxation policies.

Episode 89 – What is Anarchism in 2018 with Andy

This is a difficult thing to navigate though, publicly declare one thing while aiming to achieve another.

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celebratedrecluse wrote

I think it's not really the space that's important but what people do in it

Hm. That is an interesting point. However, if these things are packaged into liminal experiences which are contained strategically by the state, and which essentially produce a subculture which can then be commodified by the state and its para-state institutions (markets, online platforms, etc), then this could indeed be a reification of state stability and power, in a roundabout way.

The hinge of this, in my eyes, is what ways does this process actually build toward anarchist desires? In what ways does it contest state power? Because for me, anarchist action and activity is about contesting the state, and reducing its ability to destroy me/deprive all of the sustenance for life or any alternative to itself. To me, anarchy is not really about creating a cool group of people for me to hang out and have fun with, not directly. So, for me, having spent multiple decades in various countries as an anarchist and being through the run around with it all, I kind of am looking for something more than the building of this para-culture or sub-culture in and of itself. I'm a bit wary/suspicious of people and groups, and especially institutions, which seem to me to mainly build toward the idea of anarchist culture/mass collectivity, without a clear plan of how this actually accomplishes stuff which is worth the risk or effort (depending on whether you're talking about organizing a concert in a squat, or throwing shit at the police). And, that's common as fuck to see this sort of lack of clarity in action, in my opinion, whether you're in the more individualist anarchist spaces, or the more predominant communist ones, etc. It's just a shared issue in a lot of anarchist, and in general a lot of leftist, space.

The issue is of course, related to our society, which is a master at commodifiying not just everything in our daily lives, but indeed the very ways we revolt from it. We are a syringe, attempting to pierce an amoeba-- it just warps around our blade.

This is a difficult thing to navigate though, publicly declare one thing while aiming to achieve another.

It does seem a bit vanguardist, at least vaguely reminiscent of the ML entryist practices, but in a uniquely anarchist/decentralized/distributed way. It's peculiar, I think you are right to point that out.

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aaaaargZombies wrote

However, if these things are packaged into liminal experiences which are contained strategically by the state, and which essentially produce a subculture which can then be commodified by the state and its para-state institutions (markets, online platforms, etc), then this could indeed be a reification of state stability and power, in a roundabout way.

Recuperation is a risk, if not an inevitability, of any counter hegemonic space. No one does dialectics as well as neo-liberals.

In what ways does it contest state power? Because for me, anarchist action and activity is about contesting the state, and reducing its ability to destroy me/deprive all of the sustenance for life or any alternative to itself. To me, anarchy is not really about creating a cool group of people for me to hang out and have fun with, not directly.

I'll caveat this and say that I find myself more and more bringing explicitly leftist thinkers into discussions on raddle because I think they have critiques that often go unanswered in this space even if I don't find myself aligned with their goals.

Mark Fisher's concept of capitalist realism has been very influential on my world view. The idea that capitalism === reality. I think something similar has been expressed in many different ways, perhaps in Aragorn's nihilism or in Desert, which describes an anarchism that does not believe in the possibility of radical social change. Many on the left describe this as the "communist horizon", from different times or places a new world is either very distant, near by, or completely out of reach. Interestingly the essay We Are All Very Anxious on the subject of consciousness raising gets published simultaneously by Crimethinc and Plan C.

I say all this because what your talking about sounds much more materialist. After the recent thread on practical reclamation I was struck by how the post-left completely abandons these questions to the left and to capital. But clearly the left recognizes that improving material conditions is simply not enough.

To me the ideal scenario is one which combines both. Meeting your material needs in ways that are not sanctioned or evade the controls of the state, that prefigures ways of being and relating to others outside of current schemas feels like a possible antidote to capitalist realism.

It does seem a bit vanguardist, at least vaguely reminiscent of the ML entryist practices, but in a uniquely anarchist/decentralized/distributed way. It's peculiar, I think you are right to point that out.

This is not really about tricking people or funneling them into a pipeline of political engagement but rather a recognition that the state will not tolerate such radical experimentation for it's own sake and we are not strong enough to defend ourselves in open conflict.

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subrosa wrote

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celebratedrecluse wrote

No, actually. The essay i'm thinking of is also crimethinc authored, but by a different author, and with a totally different tone. It takes the analysis that these movements experienced in 2011 the confusion of showing up to a place where...nothing was happening. That the halls were empty, and after doing the symbolic politics, people shuffled out, and there was a bit of a hollow feeling to the performativity because no power actually changed hands in a material sense. It critiques the social movement which this essay, instead is pretty uncritical about. It was a much more interesting essay, imo, and I'm sad that I can't find it for you all.

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Kinshavo wrote

I remember seeing an analysis that said that Occupy movements were "meta"-movement. I.e. they were more concerned with organization and laying down the workflow of the assembly, with 1001 different hand gestures, horizontal direct democracy, etc than pursuing one specific agenda. And yet they represented all agendas.l or something like that.

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celebratedrecluse wrote (edited )

You're right, it was kind of an opening training salvo, for the north american anarchists of this current generation. many of the famous academics were there, at various occupy. I'm sure the surveillance from that time period, will be ample reading material for the authorities as they continue to monitor their local subversives.

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subrosa wrote

Yeah, I figured. I looked around for a bit, but it seems to be the only thing that mentions empty buildings/symbols. Oh well.

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celebratedrecluse wrote

kind of a shame that they deleted it. I imagine the internet archive of crimethinc.com is probably quite interesting, having many texts that they now for whatever reason don't highlight or want to remove from people's perception of them. I bet i could find the article on there, but navigating through that interface is a pain.

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lautreamont wrote (edited )

Ever heard of the GME & AMC stonks? You now can OWS from the "comfort" of your cubicle/shelter/van, just by buying & holding. ;-)

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Esperaux OP wrote

The GME stonks event was overblown and largely misrepresented as the little guy sticking it to the man when the main players to profit from the event was still just another competing hedge fund.

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