Talking about Occupy Wall Street

October 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm (Actions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’ve been absolutely thrilled with the amount of talking that has been going on about the Occupy Wall Street actions. When is the last time that so many people were talking so much about class and capitalism?

So many people are saying so many smart and interesting things, I wanted to share some of my favorites – and I hope you will too. I don’t agree with everything everyone has said here but I’ve refrained from editorializing, and although I’ve highlighted some of my favorite quotes here, most of the pieces are really just excellent through and through. As I was reading over them to pick quotes, I just kept thinking, “Fucking brilliant!” It’s been a long time since people have been so inspired.

  • Crimthinc: “Dear Occupiers: A Letter from Anarchists”: “The problem isn’t just a few “bad apples.” The crisis is not the result of the selfishness of a few investment bankers; it is the inevitable consequence of an economic system that rewards cutthroat competition at every level of society. Capitalism is not a static way of life but a dynamic process that consumes everything, transforming the world into profit and wreckage. Now that everything has been fed into the fire, the system is collapsing, leaving even its former beneficiaries out in the cold. The answer is not to revert to some earlier stage of capitalism—to go back to the gold standard, for example; not only is that impossible, those earlier stages didn’t benefit the “99%” either. To get out of this mess, we’ll have to rediscover other ways of relating to each other and the world around us.” And then: “Police can’t be trusted. They may be “ordinary workers,” but their job is to protect the interests of the ruling class.”
  • Isabell Moore, “Why I Support the 99%: An Open Letter to My Family”:  “I believe this financial crisis is not our faults. But I do I believe actual people, banks and corporations, the 1%, made it happen because of their obsession with a “thing-oriented society,” as said by Dr. King. They have gotten richer during this whole thing while most of the rest of us have gotten poorer. This is the way capitalism works and I don’t like it one bit. We will all benefit from a shift to a “person-oriented society.”
  • Malcolm Harris, Jacobin, “Occupied Wall Street: Some Tactical Thoughts”: “This is a marathon, not a sprint or a hamster wheel. “
  • The New York Times Op Ed from Sunday 10/9, “Protesters Against Wall Street“:  ” It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That’s the job of the nation’s leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge. “
  • Manissa McCleave Maharawal, guest post on Racialicious, “SO REAL IT HURTS: Notes on Occupy Wall Street: “For some people this is the first time they have thought about how the world needs to be recreated. But some of us have been thinking about this for a while now. Does this mean that those of us who have been thinking about it for a while now should discredit this movement? No. It just means that there is a lot of learning going on down there and that there is a lot of teaching to be done.”
  • Slavoj Zizek speaks at Occupy Wall Street: “There is a danger. Don’t fall in love with yourselves. We have a nice time here. But remember: carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after. When we will have to return to normal life. Will there be any changes then. I don’t want you to remember these days, you know, like – oh, we were young, it was beautiful. Remember that our basic message is: We are allowed to think about alternatives. The rule is broken. We do not live in the best possible world. But there is a long road ahead. There are truly difficult questions that confront us. We know what we do not want. But what do we want? What social organization can replace capitalism? What type of new leaders do we want?”
  • Douglas Rushkoff, CNN, “Think Occupy Wall Street Is A Phase? You Don’t Get It”: “[The protesters] are suggesting that the fiscal operating system on which we are attempting to run our economy is no longer appropriate to the task. They mean to show that there is an inappropriate and correctable disconnect between the abundance America produces and the scarcity its markets manufacture. And in the process, they are pointing the way toward something entirely different than the zero-sum game of artificial scarcity favoring top-down investors and media makers alike.”

I just love that people are talking about how the system (capitalism) isn’t working. Here are a few more pieces to bolster that idea;

Graphic on this page by Eric Drooker.

* * *

A day-after update – two more things I discovered after I hit “publish”:

Don Peck, The Atlantic, “Can the Middle Class be Saved?”

Also, Alternet has a whole Occupy Wall Street section, and Joshua Holland has quite a few,  like, “Putting Pundits to Shame: Protesters Know Exactly What They’re Fighting For” and “Real Class War Is Working to Keep Those Below You Down.”

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