The title of this post is a sure provocation. What do you mean it is inevitable that Occupy Wall Street will fail? I mean that the internal tensions involved doom it to not succeed in the way most participants seem to want it to succeed. This is because the tension in #Occupy reflects the tensions of the right. Let’s talk about what I mean by this:
I am not saying that there won’t be some co-option by the Democrats that meet the wants of the Unions and the Cadres at the DailyKos. This will happen, but I suspect a further divided electorate will be capitalized upon by the more unified Republicans and we may see a right-wing push back quickly.
I am also not saying that it won’t raise political consciousness and give people a taste of another way of being: In fact, this is where I think hope lies. I’ll come back to that in a minute.
What we won’t see, however, is a move to a worldwide consensus driven polity OR a real attack on capitalism itself that happens bloodlessly within the confines of a single set of actions.
I also doubt we’ll even get a coherent message as to what this all really means.
As I have spoken about before, the impetus in Occupy Seoul is about reforms or limits to currently existing capitalism. It’s primary concerns are Saving Banks regulations and stopping the ratification of the South Korea/US Free Trade Agreement. It is led by specific activist groups and while it has some relationship to the OWS in the use of the 99% rhetoric and the Guy Fawkes masks, it is more or less a local development riding the crest of the current mood.
Indeed, perhaps part of the problem is the turth is that one cannot opt out of the 99%, but few people actually belong to it substantively either. As a imagistic tactic, this was brilliant move. It is the same sort of conceptual shift used by Obama during the 2008 elections: A vague inclusive vision which everyone can project their hopes upon. It’s public relations masking as class war. In that sense, it is almost an empty signifer: like the concept of God, to which we can all give hope and whose eschaton will never manifest since most people aren’t even coherent enough in their projections to see.
Now, I maintain that I support #Occupy and believe that it could be PRECISELY the failure we need. It is a failure that brings us part to a consciousness of the reality of difference in politics and the problems of structurelessness and radical inclusion.
It could be the first step in a movement. Like my friends at the <a href=”http://platypus1917.org/”>Platypus Affliated Society</a> like to say: The Left is Dead, Long Live in the Left.
#Occupy will die, long live #Occupy. In rewakening the left in the US from its decades long slumber, and its anmensia about how the Democratic party has used it since the middle 1960s. IT has reminded us of substative differences between different visions of soceity and political organization.
What matters is what happens next because slackivism isn’t a threat. Camping out in a park won’t end capitalism no matter how complex the consesual driven structures involved. The OWS won’t be your global TAZ.
A protest without demands is a rebellion. OWS will either play within the system or it won’t: right those involved seem to be under the double-think that one can do both. This is why its message seems muddled.
In this series about the OWS, I am going to start talking about provisional longterm success from possible OWS failures. I will also look at how some shortterm success could lead to far more problematic long term failures.
I stand in solitary with OWS, but I do so skeptically, critically, and honestly. My sincerest possible hope is that this leads to a General Strike.