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East Bay | Police State and Prisons

Some observations by a few anarchists.
by Ann Arky
Tuesday Nov 1st, 2011 8:34 PM
a declaration to keep things at OO going in the right direction

We are heartened that Occupy Oakland is perhaps the most anarchist-influenced Occupy anywhere. The decision-making process has been mostly horizontal and transparent (even with its numerous flaws), the triumphant and joyful recovery of public space despite the brutality exercised by 17 law enforcement agencies has been more than we could have hoped for, and the presence of many old and new self-identified anarchists among the core organizers of the occupation itself as well as most of the sub-committees is encouraging.

Now is the time for all the anarchists to come out of our political closets, to have our presence as anarchists acknowledged, to be seen and heard as anarchists. We, the anarchists, need to let it be known that it is we who are allowing the marxists and the liberals to cooperate with us in an anarchist project instead of the other way around, instead of the way it's always been. Now is the time to bring our politics to the GA for open discussions (rather than relegating them to a couple of workshops here and there) regarding strategies and tactics; we have been silent and invisible long enough.

We issue a warning to our younger allies: watch out for the professional intellectuals, mostly marxists but all manipulators, who would like for the Occupy movement to recapitulate the shitty politics of the late 1960s/early 1970s that eventually destroyed the anti-authoritarian instincts of much of the New Left. Watch out for the calls for racial separation or inversion (Uhuru, Race Traitor, Bring the Ruckus), a “mass line” (Freedom Road, RCP), radicalizing the Democratic Party (MoveOn.org, ISO), or any other such nonsense (thankfully we haven't seen much of the Spartacist League or ANSWER or any of their knock-offs lately). These Trotskyist/Maoist/Marxist-Leninist zombies like nothing better than to eviscerate any movement that doesn't share their agendas, or isn't under their immediate control – all for the sake of getting a few new subscribers to their unreadable papers or a couple of new Party members to make up for the dozens they alienate and/or purge every year.

Even though we would prefer to be proved wrong, we believe that calling for a General Strike tomorrow, without any build-up or momentum among actual working people (that is, those who are not union organizers and bureaucrats) is premature, like going “All In” in Texas Hold 'Em right after The Flop. But we understand and support the desire of lots of outraged people to raise the stakes after OPD and their allied law enforcement agencies demolished an occupation/reclamation of public space that was completely peaceful (and by that we do mean thoroughly bourgeois: the majority of unaffiliated regular people being social democrats and liberals).

Let's kick ass, but let's not get ahead of ourselves and believe that our historical enemies have transformed into our allies simply because they have agreed to the kinds of process we prefer. Stalinists and other cops can use consensus or participatory democracy (even if they hate it), but it doesn't change their shitty politics. After all, the form does not guarantee the content.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by from pdx
Tuesday Nov 1st, 2011 8:58 PM
you're pretty much correct in most of your observations here.

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by Phil
Tuesday Nov 1st, 2011 9:12 PM
Started reading this post with the preconceived idea it would be divisive but have to say you hit the nail on the head.
by Getting older dude
Tuesday Nov 1st, 2011 10:47 PM
To the younger comrades. I'd also like to say that restrained tactics have worked very well so far. Now is not the time to degenerate into pointless street-fighting. Consider your tactics and don't fall into dogmas. Talk with older comrades even if you have disagreements.
by Konsider
Wednesday Nov 2nd, 2011 2:01 AM
I have to say that I find the plea given to "younger comrades" a little condescending.
Some think that age-in and of itself-confers some sort of wisdom. No anarchist, irregardless of age, knows everything, and not all anarchists agree about everything. So, I encourage talking to everyone about what tactics we might deploy.
by a concerned radical
Wednesday Nov 2nd, 2011 2:28 AM
It has been observed that people who might not otherwise be arrested have been snatched because it gave the cops a perfect opportunity to snatch and grab others that are confronting them.
by c
Wednesday Nov 2nd, 2011 6:48 AM
I agree regarding collaboration with labor groups. Logistically speaking, a strike needs a lot of coordination, and people who are still employed due face a risk of getting fired if they are the only ones who walk out, so workers need to participate in a lot of communication beforehand.

Stepping back, the camp outs +assembly idea turned out to be wildly successful on many points, and has resounded with the media and public more than years of ANSWER march format demos. So many have made their own Occupy in cities that rarely show other signs of political life, and have connected with this. Some TV commentators or politicians who initially mocked it had to eventually acknowledge the power of this display of a mixture of lumpen proletarians and concerned residents who refuse to leave the town square. So many people who were never previously politicized responded to the model and were able to leap into action.

Endurance camping as a tactic does have some weak points. It demands a lot of time, and jobless people can most easily participate at the site, while many workers can only donate food. When the tents come down in cold cities, the media might say they lost. During the strike today, someone who has been excluded from the economy, by definition, doesn't have labor to withhold from a boss. A General Strike does have to involve a connection between the currently jobless, and those still holding on to a job (as was understood in the 1930s in the US and europe - companies benefit from desperate labor and recruit scabs)
by Gettin older dude
Wednesday Nov 2nd, 2011 8:23 AM
Point taken. Not meant to condescend. We all have something to learn from each other. Just consider that experience counts for something and we can (and should) learn from previous generations mistakes.
by MM
Wednesday Nov 2nd, 2011 12:58 PM
There should be more criticism of the rightwingers trying to take over the Occupy movement instead of the socialist/communists who have more in common with the anarchists in ending class distinctions. Does anyone notice the Alex Jones crew giving out their free CDs? Do you realize that the Alex Jones crew is anti-immigration, pro-free speech for fascist rightwingers? Anyone notice the Ron Paul supporters? Ron Paul has received campaign donations from the KKK as well as Stormfront, but their crew is trying to pass themselves off as "progressive". And note David Duke's endorsement of Occupy Wall St. Right-wing/fascists have no place in the Occupy movement.
by Weygand
Wednesday Nov 2nd, 2011 2:20 PM
This is the 99% vs the 1%, so any attempts to create striations along political lines is the exact sort of divisiveness which should be shunned. People who aren't accepting of the other 99% have no place in the Occupy/Decolonize/Reclaim Movement.