The American Dream: Do Not Resuscitate!

Posted: October 21, 2011 by globaloccupation in 2011, flyers, October, sf bay, usa
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It is amazing, awe-inspiring, for this movement to have made the few, stumbling steps it has – against TV reports’ lies, against advertising consultants’ agendas, political consultants’ spins, talk radio hosts’ slander and beyond. Still, at this critical time, any movement’s ability to escape our present dilemmas will be proportionate to the number of critical illusions which it can go beyond:

  • We should recognize that no movement yet represents either “the 99%” or the dispossessed

The “occupations” will be only a single moment unless they continue their process of rapid transformation.  Direct democracy and avoiding leaders is crucial yet this is also not enough. Even with the many “Occupations” drawing on a variety of different groups in different places, these events must open up even more, must be even more accessible to the other parts of the 99% which haven’t yet appeared. Having no demands is crucial because the movement cannot yet speak for everyone.

This movement cannot succeed as a white movement, a liberal movement, a “middle class” movement, a “tax payers'” movement or the movement of any “pressure group”. However, the still-relatively-small group that is coming together in the present occupations can take more small steps towards regaining a language to honestly express the conditions of our modern life.

  • We must understand that “the 99%” is at best a useful fiction for a single moment

Of course, only a smaller percentage of people could conceivably come together to challenge the real conditions of this society. Of course, all the “occupations” draw on a specific group and not 99% of Americans. But, to evoke, to paint a picture of, a possible movement, the “occupations” can use the truth within the “ 99%” phrase. That is: vast swaths of  the US population are beset by multidimensional miseries, miseries  which this society works constantly to conceal, distort and mis-categorize (debt, health, education, jobs, social isolation, etc, ad nauseam). Vast swaths of people wind up entirely dispossessed despite appearing to have achieved part of the “American dream.” We must be prepared to come together as an active collective and that will mean being something other than simply “the  99%”.

  • We must realize that the problem is not greed or corruption but capitalism

This world, everything around us, is the product of, the perfection of, treating people only as resources. We see every reform of this world is merely an effort to INTENSIFY this order. You can see how “Health Care Reform”, “Welfare Reform”, “Financial Reform”, “accountability”…and so forth are used as just ways to control, “incentivise” and steal from people “in a more fine grained fashion“. These schemes are inherent to the system of wage labor. This system never goes backwards – only forwards towards treating us more as resources to be consumed… It offers us a future of more war, immiseration, cop shows and junk food. So…

  • We should recognize that there is no going back

Corruption is universal. But we cannot return to an uncorrupted America.

Exploitation is universal. But we cannot return to “honest jobs for an honest wage”.

Lies are universal but if everyone knew the truth in isolation, they would do nothing. Only a community, only the collective power of the dispossessed can allow us to escape. We must be open to discovering our own power and sharing that power with the entire dispossessed.

  • We cannot expect to “win over” the cops when the cops’ job is to enforce the present order

We must recognize that we must articulate a new world or sink in the present one. We can’t blunt our position to win over those who are attached to the current order. The present world is crumbling and cannot be repaired. The more quickly, clearly, and compassionately we show people this, the better. The more completely we escape its order, the better. “When a civilization is ruined, its bankruptcy must be declared. There’s no point cleaning house when the house is falling apart.” Tiqqun

Capitalism is the absence of human community. Each moment of potential community weakens capitalism yet only the complete negation of capitalist relations can fully realize the human community.


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