Mobilisation

Posted: 02/11/2011 in Insight, Struggle
Tags: , ,

In the introduction to Noam Chomsky’s book “People over Profits” the writer described the neoliberal system as having an “important and necessary byproduct – a depoliticised citizenry marked by apathy and cynicism”. What is the counter to this? Mobilisation. This is what is feared by the neoliberal model. It is not criticism, it is not understanding, it is not awareness, it is not compassion, neoliberalism is afraid of mobilisation. And quite rightly so. Once people are mobilised the movement takes on its own momentum, the people develop awareness and understanding naturally leading to criticism – and hopefully leading to compassion. The first step to political change is mobilisation – not intellectualism or any other process that might lead to awareness, understanding and criticism. For me politics means mobilisation. That does not mean that everything in life is concerned with mobilisation – far from it. In the treatise (click gravatar) I talk about personal development, but when talking about politics the issue is mobilisation, bodies on the streets, people working in unions etc. Mobilisation.

This train of thought stemmed from a conversation concerning Occupy. Now Occupy is an excellent example of how mobilisation is working, how it will result who knows? But as an example of mobilisation it is excellent. Essentially if you are one of the 99% get to the Occupy encampments, it is that simple. It doesn’t ask for a particular set of principles, agreement to card-carrying or any such allegiance, “We are the 99%” is enough. Once there the education begins. In my activism I gained the education through doing, in Occupy the education is through doing and education classes. Being one of the 99% is enough for people to become part of Occupy, that is its strength and that is what the corporatocracy, the neoliberal establishment, are afraid of.

Now a term I regularly use is divisive because quite simply the corporatocracy uses all kinds of tricks intellectual and otherwise to prevent mobilisation. An example of otherwise is the police tactics of creating violence. Once violence occurs mass media present it as stemming from the Occupiers, but members of the movement see the violence for what it is – corporatocratic control. There are now pundits suggesting that Occupy can only end in violence. The pundits are contributing to the fear so that the 99% will not unite together.

Other tricks involve creating doubt. Are these Occupiers right? If they are wrong how can I join them? I must believe them completely before I become an activist – an Occupier. This is an excellent divisive position that enables people to sit on their chairs, bash their keyboards and not get out on the streets. Here is a typical example of division – using the Global Rich List to suggest that western middle classes are not one of the 99%. Whilst the site is there to encourage people in the First World to contribute to the Thrd World, it is divisive to use the ensuing percentages to suggest that incomes in First World countries exclude potential mobilisation as part of the 99%. “We are the 99%” is a mobilising call, why not leave it at that?

Are the Occupiers Marxist? Should Occupiers be Marxist? Personally I find “bourgeoisie and proletariat” a much more exact description of the role of the 1% and 99% respectively, but Marxism as a mobilising call has failed. For many years the corporatocracy has managed to slate Marxists so that in the minds of many in times of trouble where they might turn to be mobilised they have become alienated from Marxism. Whilst I find this sad it is a reality, I know that the best source of Marxist understanding comes from activism where you actually feel the forces opposed against you. If you had asked Occupiers if they lived in a police state before they went to their encampments, would they have agreed? But they have experienced a police state whose priority is not law-abiding people but the protection of the finance sector, no amount of intellectual argument is as persuasive as experiencing the police tactics themselves.

I saw this talk involving one of the original Occupy adbusters organisers, Micah White. He is conscious that there is a generation of young people grown up, angry but venting online. When asked what people online can do to support Occupy he said:-

We are the 99%. Occupy.

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