Is OCCUPY genuine anarchy?

Posted: 14/10/2011 by zandtao in Democracy
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It appears to me that some of Anonymous are anarchic and destructive – see this clip. They recognise all the same realities that OCCUPYers recognise but they seem to want to destroy. I fear that. The death and the destruction that is caused by the corporatocracy is far more than anything that Anonymous is calling for, but at the same time the destruction that Anonymous wants I think is evolutionarily negative. Whilst the corporatocracy are striving for their profits they include R&D in their rationale, usually research geared to advances in warfare. Such research usually has civilian applications and we have a form of evolutionary development. But this development is at the expense of humanity – death and destruction in Iraq, Stockwell’s Third World War and other descriptions. To me the price is too high for such evolution.

But the price need not be that high if the corporatocracy were not so greedy. This is why I am so hopeful for OCCUPY. Maybe they will have sufficient impact that it will bring the corporatocracy back into line with legitimate evolution. This is a big ask but not as big as OCCUPY asks.

Somewhere on one of the OCCUPY sites I saw something that compared it to anarchy, conceivably that is one of Anonymous. Listening to Justin Wedes:-

download from here

…. if this is anarchy then I am an anarchist. I therefore want to get a handle on what non-destructive anarchy means. Destructive anarchy is this – destroy the machine and reform it out of the ashes. Whilst this sounds tempting what it lacks is any surety that what come out will be better. This is why I am hoping that the evolutionary aspect of OCCUPY will win through.

When I started reading about anarchy – or rather theoretical anarchic definitions, I realised that I need to state my position, and then perhaps I can see what that means in terms of the descriptions of anarchy. I am a socialist, and to be quite frank I have never looked in detail at this approach to determine whether others would agree that I am a socialist. Now I want to because OCCUPY has begun to question all those assumptions – quite rightly.

Let’s start economically. Industrial negotiations and action is based around the notion of marginal profit, who gets it? There is nothing cut-and-dried about this. Owners build the plant, the workers make the product, the owner sells the product making a profit. The owner deserves the profit because they put the money in, the workers deserve the profit because they made the product. No solution. For smaller manufacturing businesses there is usually no real problem, owner and workers work together. The problem is big business for whom the issue is simply a matter that they take all. So the issue is accumulation, and I certainly accept that institutions need to have limited assets – as well as individuals. This limited assets presents a problem. My bank account is real. The little money I have there is needed for my survival, and is based on what I earned as teacher – the hours I put in, no speculation. What about Rockefeller? I have no idea what is in his bank account but it is maybe a million times more than is in mine. Suppose he went to the bank and said I want my money. Then no-one else can get any, I can’t get my food in my old age. When the banks say that society will crash without their help it is true. The sum total of all the figures supposedly in bank accounts is far in excess of the amount of money that can be paid out. What do you do? Say that the rich cannot withdraw their money? As they control things that cannot happen. Revolution? Don’t want that. The corporatocracy needs to be less greedy before they force the world into that type of conflict – not likely to happen. This is a disaster that is bound to happen but when?

Not a good start – revolution!! As a socialist I assume that I am talking about working for all people, I see compassion at the heart of socialism. Society needs to function as us all working together harmoniously so that we can bring up our children well. The people have to want to work together harmoniously, and given that I would see government’s role as enabling that. I see that there is a role for government decision-making but the benchmarks of such decision-making is to facilitate that harmonious working. If a government makes inappropriate decisions they should be immediately accountable to the people – not the 5-year electoral period. If a government individual needs to be called to account then that accounting would be democratic from the ground up.

For me the problem with government is that it is not accountable. People like Blair and Obama have lied to the people during the elections, yet when they are in power they do what they like. Blair took the UK into war against the wishes of the people, and was never held accountable. No democracy.

For me the issue that is causing the breakdown in our system is not representation, but the inherent conflict in the system. Whilst in a small manufacturing business the owner and the workers can often reach an amicable agreement, when it comes to government these matters are far from amicable. First and foremost the government is not a democratic government, the government are puppets of the transnational institutions – banks and business. When you negotiate with government their interest is placating the people, keeping them under control and assuring the wealth of the transnational institutions – the corporatocracy. However if this were a genuine democracy a representative discussing with government representatives might facilitate ease of communication, but this representative function can only work where there is harmony – it cannot work in the conflict system we now live in. At the same time any representative decision needs to be brought back to the membership for confirmation.

I completely agree with OCCUPY now that they don’t want leadership and demands, but that is because our government are puppets of the corporatocracy and there is no genuine democracy. But in general I can see a function for accountable government and representation. As can be seen now however it requires great integrity on the part of representatives, at present our representatives lack such integrity and for the majority they are in for what they can get – see Tony Blair.

This description relies heavily on a degree of awareness and a desire for genuine harmony. But what about now – this present moment in time? What is needed now in terms of governance and representation? First and foremost we need to recognise that representation does not work because our current governments serve the interests of the corporatocracy. For OCCUPY to nominate representation would be a mistake. Building the movement from the grass roots up is what is required, and this is what OCCUPY is doing. Their organisation is grass roots. Hopefully at some stage the corporatocracy through the government will need to recognise that they have to pacify OCCUPY in some way, and they will maybe alter some policies. Who knows?

I see a pejorative used a lot – state socialism. I am unsure what people are getting at with this, except maybe they consider it a top-down approach. Is it the dictatorship of the proletariat? This is a mechanism used by vanguard movements to take absolute control temporarily to fight capitalist backlash after a revolution. In theory I have nothing against it, but in practice vanguards seem unwilling to give up power. Is state socialism voting for representatives to work within a genuine democratic socialist government? Then I have no problem with it. Is it voting for socialists to represent our interests within existing governments? Vote for them but they can’t do anything because current government has been appropriated by the corporatocracy. I therefore get confused when people put state socialism and capitalism in the same breath as the enemy. Is the current UK Labour party state socialist? Absolutely not. They are part of the UK veil of partisanship – see “lifting the veil” movie. When people criticise state socialism I am unsure what they are getting at, is it that the party they are criticising is not genuinely democratic socialist or is it something else?

I think this is enough examination, how does this fit in with anarchic systems? OK I do not accept the destructive aspects of anarchy, so I am only considering positive anarchic systems. Here is the first quote, here is the source “Anarchists disdain the customary use of “anarchy” to mean “chaos” or “complete disorder”. For them it signifies the absence of a ruler or rulers, a self-managed society, usually resembling the co-operative commonwealth that most socialists have traditionally sought, and more highly organised than the disorganisation and chaos of the present. An anarchist society would be more ordered because the political theory of anarchism advocates organisation from the bottom up with the federation of the self-governed entities – as opposed to order being imposed from the top down upon resisting individuals or groups.”

I don’t have any problem with this. No rulers, bottom-up democracy, self-managed society. And representation – a federation of self-governed entities, I cannot imagine any such federation not meeting as representatives. This is anarchism and democratic socialism, if that is what is going on as anarchism nothing more to say.

Let’s check from the same source. “What connects almost all of these (various aspects of anarchist thought – BZ) into a coherent political stance is unremitting hostility to the state and parliamentarianism, employment of direct action as the means of attaining desired goals, and organisation through co-operative associations, built and federated from the bottom upwards.” So here there is a distinction and it is in the “unremitting hostility to the state and parliamentarianism”. I would say that my hostility to the state is unremitting at the moment, because the state is controlled by the corporatocracy, but surely the issue of state and parliamentarianism is whether they can continue to function as bottom-up. In truth such a question cannot be answered quite simply because we have never lived in a world where there has not been a ruling-class of sorts. If by state and parliamentarianism anarchists mean these organs in current or previous class structures I completely agree, but with accountable democracy and representatives with integrity I am not sure you can eschew state and parliamentarianism per se.

The article tends to agree with a socialist argument “For a century and a half anarchists have been overwhelmingly socialist, despite the concurrent existence of small numbers of individualists in Europe and the USA. A fruitful approach to understanding anarchism is to recognise its thoroughly socialist critique of capitalism, while emphasising that this has been combined with a liberal critique of socialism, anarchists being united with classical liberals in their advocacy of autonomous associations and the freedom of the individual.” OK so we have here the second issue, and that is the “freedom of the individual”. David Rockefeller advocates freedom of the individual, corporatocracy advocates freedom from regulation so that they can screw us more. I support freedom for the individual under a moral imperative of compassion and social accountability. Under such imperatives the corporatocracy is completely finished. However these imperatives are utopian. I draw a parallel with my classroom. On occasions I had classes in which the students were motivated but as humans they had bad days – row with parents or got lazy with homework. At times it was necessary to bring these students into line – no big issue, and good students were usually apologetic. Moral individuals might also benefit from such help but if it becomes an imposition than we are dealing with a different problem. Either the individual does not subscribe to the moral imperative or the authority is misusing. In which case there must be recourse to the higher authority – the grass roots from the bottom-up.

I am going to continue to call myself a socialist but this type of anarchism and me is little different. Is OCCUPY genuine anarchy? As far as I can tell, it is. Their organisation is not representative in terms of the government, there might be some forms of representation, and there is freedom for the individual within the structures they have setup – no problem. I would prefer to call them democratic socialist but in this day and age that might be insulting.

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