Thursday, November 24, 2011

Occupy Is Going To

- Nobody seems to know what they want.
- They can't say exactly.
- Then how can they expect anyone to support them?
- They know what direction they are going in.
- What is that?
- Revolution.
- What kind of revolution?
- Overthrow of the government, replacement by something different.
- That's all very easy to say. What kind of different government?
- With better intentions. They are trying to create the conditions to make that possible.
- How?
- Can I tell you what I have found out about the movement?
- Yes.
- They believe a revolution will produce something better because they believe the government doesn't reflect the character of the people. They want to start over, a new game, game over to the old. The movement began with a call to "Occupy Wall Street" by Adbusters, a magazine run by a retired advertising executive in Canada. Advertising sells objects by constructing an image of an attractive community around them. What this magazine did was turn this around:

Instead of using advertising techniques to construct a community around an object to be collectively consumed, they would use advertising techniques to construct a community around an object to be collectively produced.

And the object to be produced is advertising! Advertising the community! Images, slogans, videos draw isolated individuals more and more into contact with each other to make more advertising products. The people who met around the camp fire of these advertising slogans set up what's known as an open source community, the organizing tool that allows institutions to remake themselves at every moment. Leaders arise but are without authority, influencing by the command of their ideas and only so long as their dedication to the project allows them to produce better ideas. Decisions are made by consensus, no credit taken or given. The community itself becomes its own best advertisement. Compare Anonymous, an early participant in the Occupy movement. It is open source, with the same goals, but being literally anonymous, as an organization it doesn't allow recursion. It is not its own product, to be remade by itself. It's ideas can be developed by anyone anywhere, but not the organization itself. Where it can go is limited.
- Occupy can go anywhere. But what good is it? A pyramid scheme of community building to no purpose other than making advertisements for community building?
- That is what the movement does, but it is a tool that can be useful for a purpose outside itself.
- Which is?
- To make image into reality.
- How? That is what I don't see.
- I don't see it either. When the people leave behind their collective image making and go back to making the real things of life, they'll reenter politics themselves remade, whether they've been participants in the movement or only its appreciative audience. Who knows. That might be a game changer.

P.S. "When workers withhold their labor or take control of their workplace, when the unemployed refuse the exclusion to which they are condemned, when students refuse to pay their fees and debts, when immigrants rebel against discrimination, when householders defend their homes against foreclosure – when civil disobedience and noncompliance acquires a depth and scale that no police operation can break – then the fundamental isolation of the 1% will be exposed for all to see." (from The Guardian)