Posts Tagged ‘Horizontalidad’


I saw yet another misguided posting concerning the death of socialism, and rather than get into another unresolving ding-dong with the person concerned I thought I would comment here. The comment referred to a PBS series I have not watched yet. Death of socialism?

Significant in the discussion of this death(?) is the history of Russia in the 20th century, and to understand this one needs to consider Russia in light of the dominant ethos that fashioned the USSR – the Bolshevik revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the continuous imperialist infractions, and its ultimate demise to the criminal plutocracy. To analyse these factors can show that socialism is far from dead but that this methodology of state control is deeply flawed – the methodology of state socialism or communism.

How can a mass movement revolution begin with a minority of people? The very word Bolshevik means minority, and the concept, vanguard, is disrespectful to the mass movement. These people in the vanguard wanted a revolutionary change, knew that the Russian people were not ready, were impatient, so decided that a small minority were to lead “the masses” to revolution for their own good – whether it was wanted or not. A completely false premise.

Once in power this revolution needed to maintain dictatorial control. In theory this sounds correct. Post-revolution the West sponsored a huge amount of insurrection within Russia, waging a war that lasted internally until Stalin – not unlike US intervention in Iraq, Syria and Libya and wherever else the US and its western allies have been and will go. To fight this war against the whites, dictatorial control was the chosen method – because the people were not behind the revolution in the first place. The theory is that such a dictatorship would gradually disappear as the state would have such a strong basis in the mass movement there would be no need for any form of dictatorship. Whether this was a matter of the personalities at the time or whether the concept is flawed I am not prepared to be categorical about, but the reality was that the dictatorship of the proletariat lasted until Gorbachev. Gorbachev’s approach killed a dying system. Through Perestroika and Glasnost he was encouraging the mass movement to own the system. Apathy had become endemic because of the dictatorship of the communist party, the people did not own what was happening in the USSR and were as helpless as the people are in the bipartisan “democratic” dictatorships of the West – see the movie Lifting the Veil if you don’t agree with that assessment of the West. Gorbachev tried to return that ownership to the people, but the apathy was too deeply entrenched and the people were too alienatied from the system. Opportunist criminals took over – encouraged by the West, and we now have in Russia a typical dictatorship by the Veil. What we had in 20th century “Russia” is not a history of socialism, but a history of communism – state socialism – that was based on a vanguard revolution and entrenched by dictatorship, and neither concept has any connection with the genuine grass roots mass movement – socialism.

What we do have at the present moment in time is socialism growing in a new form – Occupy or Horizontalidad (check the tag cloud). In the Middle East we have the Arab Spring, in Latin America we have Horizontalidad, in the West there are the grass roots movements that have lately unified into Occupy. Throughout my discussions on Occupy there was the theme of democratic socialism, a peoples’ movement whose organisation was not flawed and who were not bought off by the establishment, specifically the manner in which the system uses representation as a means of control – see tag cloud NUT. Far from being dead socialism has developed from being the models of imposed socialism by the state socialists and communists (dictatorship) to a genuine grass roots democracy as shown in Occupy.

Sadly in recognising the importance of the mass movement as the socialist organ we have to understand that in the current level of corporatocratic control such a movement has been controlled – repressed. Typical of that control is the repeated media analysis that socialism is dead, quite simply the corporatocracy knows that the only means that their 1% can be defeated is when the 99% act in unison as a socialist body – internally directing itself. Also important is the accompanying rejection of Marx’s economic analysis. I am no Marxist expert but the notion of marginal costs is so important, who gets the profits? Who makes the profits? The workers in the factory. Who takes the profits? The owners of the factories. In the UK when these profits were beginning to be redistributed in the 70s, the Veil engineered confrontation with the unions, and ensured that ordinary people suffered the consequences. Rather than negotiate for a fair share of the profits the corporatocracy stonewalled forcing strike action. Once that action had taken place, the unions were blamed, and there was a backlash and the introduction of the scourge of Thatcher. She killed off the unions with the attack on the miners, and now the UK has austerity programmes because there is no organised mass movement to fight back. The need for a strong mass movement, for a socialist movement, is stronger than ever. There is the birth of such a movement through Occupy but there are so many divisive intellectuals around unable to see the woods for the trees because their own individual egos, and the ideas they think they own, are more important to them than the mass movement itself. This was a problem in the movement when I was active – see tag cloud Trots, and it is the problem now where individuals present individual views through the internet rather than making the effort to work together in mass movement organisations – continuing socialism.

A significant part of this intellectual approach is ideas and ownership of ideas. Intellectuals believe that the ideas they have “created” are what causes changes. This is not the case. There are no new ideas, just rehashing of old ones. The issue is awareness, confrontation and power, awareness of the expoitation that is around, an awareness that usually comes when good people are confronted by the system and prevented from being good, and a recognition that the power of the mass movement is what will bring meaningful change. Post second world war in the UK the Veil was forced to introduce the Welfare State and NHS. Now the Veil through Cameron is forcing people who cannot get jobs (because there aren’t any) to pick up litter to get a subsistence allowance; this loss of quality has occurred from 1945 – 2013. Where is the mass movement that has allowed this loss? Unaware of the importance of mass-movement based unions, under Thatcher people allowed the unions to be decimated, a process that has continued to this day. Intellectuals are divisive in the union movement because they cannot accept rule by majority. Their ideas are too important to them, like the ideas of the vanguard that brought in the state socialism in Russia last century, and they fail to see the necessity of working in and with the mass movement. Until such ego is let go division will continue to occur, and the corporatocracy will continue to retain control.

Addendum:-

The posting quoted the PBS series so I decided to watch it. here was my reaction:-

“Heaven on Earth

All 3 parts are linked here.

I had to stop watching, Robert Owen the second Christ? Education from birth to indoctrinate a socialist, isn’t that what we have now – a neocolonial education that accepts corporatocracy? Intellectuals. If I ever watch another PBS? Just because the media is not Tea Party does not mean the media is not biased. I am biased, I am a socialist. In establishment UK learning Robert Owen was always presented as a man with new ideas – although that is not true he just had money, but in the US he is presented as believing he was the second Christ. In the Lanark mills where the workers were treated responsibly the intellectual simply remarks on state control. This sounds as if it’s the right wing (libertarianism?) on socialism, socialism is just state socialism rather than having anything to do with the mass movement.

The series is based on a work by Joshua Muravchik “Heaven on Earth: The Rise and fall of Socialism”, and was described here as “JOSHUA MURAVCHIK has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal as “maybe the most cogent and careful of the neoconservative writers on foreign policy.” He is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies and formerly a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.” A neocon writing about socialism, is this going to be biased? A man recognised as cogent by the Wall Street Journal? Whoever sites such as a legit discussion of socialism is wasting peoples’ time.

Is this worth pursuing?

Gave up, this is rubbish – neocon rubbish.

Understanding where socialism is today is important, this just right-wing misdirection.”

I have no idea why any progressive would put this up, I only offer the URL out of discipline.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Other blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.

Creditos – #O

Posted: 27/10/2011 in Finance, Struggle
Tags: , ,


Here is another glimpse from Argentina about the resilience of people – lost the clip –
…. to see how the crisis developed. Did Carlos Menem do anything different to what is happening in your country – even the US? Perhaps the only difference was that he embracedthe policies wholeheartedly so that IMF said the Argentinian model was to be aspired to – quoted in the film The Take – download here. What was the Argentinian government’s response when their currency got hit by the 1% – they closed the banks. People could not get their own money – their life savings, the film shows the image of armed carriers taking the cash out of the country as Menem had removed all regulations. Money Argentinians had worked for all their lives they could not get because the rich wanted to take theirs.

People tried to rebuild their lives by building cooperatives but the government tried to block that. But as can be seen from the same movie The Take, the people persevered and were able to make a living. The owners owed wages, did not pay the people, legally they were entitled to the factory by forfeit yet still the legal system made it hard for them. The film ended with the people running the factory as a cooperative but I am now unsure what has happened to those cooperatives as the state had nit changed and was in the pockets of the owners.

But here is another survival strategy that has a good chance of success and longevity – bartering:-

These people are working in markets where they are bartering skills and goods, and most importantly they created a new money creditos. This money was originally intended only to be used for trading within these barter markets, but they have become such a valuable means of trading that people accept creditos outside the barter market system.

Occupy, your democracy has led you to credit unions and cooperatives but whilst you continue to trade using Rockefeller’s currency your money will grow to be meaningless. As the financial crisis deepens Rockefeller’s 1% will print more money so that it will appear that they still have their wealth. And when you want to spend your money it might not be there. They want you to work for them all your lives, and maybe when you come to spend your pension it won’t be there, and you will be too old to earn more. What can happen then?

It is this normal life they are taking away from us. We want to be secure that we have worked all our lives, and that we can die in peace having saved our pensions. They are taking that away from us – ask the Greeks.

Occupy, use your youthful vigour to establish a global community with your own currency #O.

Out of the Latin American issues has come a film Beyond Elections let’s see where that goes.

Addendum 14/12/11

The Greeks have already started on the barter:-

and a good idea for skillsets – time banking. Hope to hear more of this.

For me the exciting thing about Occupy is not just that so many people are joining Occupy globally, but that they are organising democratically – consensus democracy. With their seeking geniuine democracy, out of Occupy is coming the desire to live and earn differently. Firstly there were calls to join credit unions – as well as some people on demonstrations trying to close their bank accounts. This clearly demonstrates a recognition that the banks controlling their money is not acceptable. Secondly there is a talk of cooperative structures, this is Horizontalidad. For me this is not going far enough but that is easy to say bashing away on a keyboard.

Credit unions are positive. It means that money is initially being controlled by the people in the credit union, but if there were a run on the banks the first people to get their money would be the Rockefellers and by the time it came down to the credit union there would be none left – because most of the money that makes up the bank accounts of the Rockefellers is based on unsubtantiable credit. Put simply. The banks make profits by lending but they lend what they haven’t got. A bank has coverage, it keeps the cash it thinks it needs to cover expenditure on customer lending, staff expenditure etc. It then lends unreal money above that. This credit is what is causing the problems because they have lent so much. It caused the recession with the sub-prime loans being discovered in Mickey Mouse Hedge Funds closing some banks. Credit Unions will stop this sort of lending but ultimately they are still using the same currencies as the Rockefellers so when the Rockefellers empty their huge bank accounts there is not enough money to go round to the credit unions – to the people.

Cooperatives are a much better way of manufacturing removing the necessity of management, but in truth workforce problems are not usually caused in small manufacturing industries. They are caused when transnationals own the manufacturing companies and then move plant and workforce to reduce wage bills. Organising a cooperative does prevent this transnational exploitation. But where does the new cooperative trade? They trade in the same market-place as the transnationals using the same money as the Rockefellers. So once the cooperatives begin to trade they are subject to the market forces that the existing system controls. They are also using the same currency that the existing system controls. So a cooperative is only a step in the right direction as are the credit unions. Look at Horizontalidad. Those comrades have built up cooperative businesses that have saved Argentina’s economy, and now the vultures are returning to claim their plant destroying the businesses. If the government had stepped in early enough and told the owners that they have to cooperate with the workers in some way this problem could have been resolved, but the government was still part of the system that caused the problem. In Argentina the system had not been fixed, and whilst Horizontalidad saved the country the government is still turning on its own people. Having a cooperative does not step outside the unfixed system, it just solves one of the problems within it leaving the workers to face the system at a later stage after they have done all the work.

What is needed is alternative currencies which in general will bring alternative trade structures. Occupy can begin to do this because it is big. Occupy can setup its own community currency, a #OCCUPY, and people can buy and sell using #O. If this #O is a global currency usable within all OCCUPY groups then it starts to be workable. At present OCCUPY is being funded by donations. These goods can be bought and sold using #O. Occupy cooperatives could begin to manufacture items that can be bought and sold using #O. OCCUPY has the computer expertise to organise this. People can open OCCUPY accounts globally, and build up their accounts by donations. People can trade skills through OCCUPY so that teachers can teach children of OCCUPIERS for a salary in #O. If richer supporters (film stars etc.) of OCCUPY can donate land and plant to OCCUPY, then OCCUPY can farm and manufacture. OCCUPY can trade with organic farmers using #O once OCCUPIERS can manufacture items for trade. Or they can trade with items that have been donated. Once this alternative system has started it can grow with the enthusiasm of these young people and interact with ordinary people daily. Once the system builds more and more items can be traded using #O. It is ostensibly peaceful although the response wouldn’t be. They are trading and manufacturing but instead of trading and manufacturing using the broken system it is trading and manufacturing the way it was meant to be – barter and sustainable trade (trade based on some value standard like gold rather than on unsubtsantive credit).

This is MCN in action hopefully, away from my theoretical imagination.

I woke up this morning and realised that OCCUPY is life, this is ONE planet fighting back against the corporatocracy. Life knows that the old structures are outmoded and is showing us through these young people that life is fighting back. It is as if these young people instinctively know what is the right way to do it. Throughout the corporatocracy’s speech organ, the media are decrying these people. What do you want? What are your demands? Where are your leaders? And here is OCCUPY’s response:-

Where are the demands? Nowhere, because the corporatocracy cannot respond. They are the problem. The corporations, the banks, the puppet governments, they are the problems. And the solution is no corporations, no banks, no puppet governments, they can’t agree to that. So there is a stand-off, and OCCUPY grows.

And what about the workers? Their structures are finished. Forget representation, representation is finished. If workers have a grievance – OCCUPY, no negotiation, no demands – OCCUPY. There are no cosy discussions about the division of the marginal profits. Previously workers may have had power, at least they had enough that negotiations gave them some improvement. But now in the West there is no cosy division, management says accept our terms or we move the plant to the Third World. The Labour movement can’t negotiate with them now, the Labour movement has no power. But the mass movement has power – OCCUPY.

And what happened whilst the Labour movement was negotiating. The workers maybe got an increase but the corporatocracy increased its control. After the Second World War whilst the Labour movement negotiated its wage increases the corporatocracy went to war. Workers in the factories that benefitted from war profits got their job security and their homes as did their middle management – and the corporatocracy got their cake, their zeros. There is no choice – OCCUPY.

My teachers (where I was rep), you were weak people. You let one beta-blocked fool ruin your life because you wouldn’t stand up. You were nice people but you never stood up and OCCUPYed. Look at what they are doing to education whilst you stand by and cling to your mortgages, and I still hear the same bleeting. What are the unions doing? And yet you claim you care for children. Look at your children. What were they becoming? Educated? All the while I was rep we were educating Thatchers’ children, we created them. We never had any control of the education system. What limited control teachers had was taken away in the 80s as we sat back and let representatives sacrifice themselves. Throughout that time activists with good hearts or political agendas took on union rep positions. Maybe they did some good in schools with decent heads but when you had a fool like at my school, he just called the bluff and did what he wanted. What did the teachers do? They left it to the rep, and made their careers. I remember in the 80s the Baker act changed the pay structure. As a result it was up to the heads how they awarded point allocations. Previous departmental structures with points awarded for responsibilities, deputy head and so on, got thrown in the mix. At my school this bully said “write your own job description” and this is what union members did. They capitulated and wrote job descriptions. Greed – their mortgages. Meanwhile they signed letters saying the beta-blocked was a fool. And the other fool took the letter to him.

Nationally the government was destroying the education service. Through monetarism Thatcher told us she was going to destroy state education and she continued to do that. Time after time letters came down from the ministry, and time after time careerist after careerist took advantage of the positions associated with the destruction of education, instead of ostracising these people members just looked for ways they could join the gravy train and get out of the classroom. For a time teachers benefitted through the 90s as they were given danger money to keep the kids off the streets but now more and more schools are being privatised and teachers will have to stand up. It is no good sending in the reps, and reps it is no good taking the positions you will only get used. Teachers will have to OCCUPY.

Teachers, don’t buy those big houses. Don’t get the largest mortgage your combined salary can get because soon you will have to stand up and you will not be able to rely on those salaries. As all these foundations in the guise of religion or whatever move in and privatise your schools, you will have less and less say. You will have to do more work, there will be job losses. And if you stand up maybe they will sack the lot. But they can’t do that if teachers stand up and OCCUPY together. You cannot be weak now. This is what the corporatocracy does. It uses good people. The sweet young girls who come out of the education colleges and devote their lives to their primary classrooms focussing on the kids whilst careerists climb on their backs and push them around. Your time has ended – maybe it has already. You need to fight for your vocation now.

Look at what the strikes were about. Education standards had been falling since I started work 1976. But they took a major downturn in 1979. But how did the union respond? There were attempts to negotiate better conditions of service but industrial action only happened over money. What does that say about teachers? Why wasn’t the action about improving education by gaining proper conditions of service? A teachers’ charter for better education.

Well now that schools are being privatised you will have to stand up. Find your way of OCCUPYing and say enough is enough – we want education and let them sort it out. In the US the Principals are trained by big business – BROAD foundation and the rest. You know what that is about. Stand up to them, refuse to work for those guys. A Principal should be a teacher first, not a tool of the corporatocracy. Stand up and OCCUPY.

OCCUPY is not about old forms of negotiation, that doesn’t work. OCCUPY is saying in all walks of life we have had enough. We behave subordinately, we do your dirty work so that we can have our homes, and now you take away our homes. That is enough. We stand up and OCCUPY, you prove we should do your jobs again.

In Argentina following the financial crash workers’ cooperatives developed and functioned fine. There were no bosses, they were not needed. Bosses are not needed. Sadly many of those cooperatives are now having difficulty as the plant-owners who fled the crash are now returning for their spoils, but they were not needed. OCCUPY.

The Labour movement is dead, long live the mass movement.

OCCUPY.


In a recent blog I discussed the new democracy arising at Occupy. I say new but in truth new to me and perhaps new to the US, but not new to the global movement. In this clip from Democracy Now (3/10/11) ..

.. Penny Red describes her experience of these organisational structures in movements globally, and Mirina Sirtin describes them from her book called Horizontalism about how these structures were effective in Argentina in 2001 and the following years with the IMF instigation of the collapse of their currency.

Now when I say these structures are not new, Argentina is not the only example. In this blog the writer quotes this concerning the struggle in Egypt:-

“I finally heard on the Al Jazeera stream an answer from a real protester, instead of a talking head, to the question they keep flound[er]ing over, “Don’t the protesters need a leader?” — the answer finally came from a blogger who has been in the square, “the people are self organized, there’s no need for a leader to tell them what to do…people are feeding each other, cleaning the square, we all have the same demands, there’s no need for any leaders to tell us what to do”. …”

The organisational structure of #OWS appears the same, there are no leaders. This is significant because it means the leaders can’t be bought off – the usual corporatocratic ploy. I have much respect for the civil rights movement in the US but what do we have now? A small black middle class and many black people suffering in ghettoes amidst gangs and drugs. The common enemy of both is the corporatocracy, and the ill-educated the corporatocracy have turned into racists, but this middle-class were the leaders. On Democracy Now (5/10/11) a black leader, Kai Wright, quite rightly said that people of colour needed support because they were bearing the brunt of the fight on the poor. But he then called for the movement to bring this platform to the forefront of the struggle of #Occupy. Whilst I agree with his description of the attack on his people, his demands of solidarity with black people was almost a call for division – even though he never meant it as such.

Then on Democracy Now (6 October) I saw the old guard (I am old guard as well) coming out supporting #Occupy. Listen ..

.., apart form the mention of #Occupy have you heard this tone and approach before? With all due respect to these comrades it is time for a change. Union leadership and representation is not working, why do you think the corporatocracy are clamouring for leaders? They can control leaders, they can deal with demands; but what can’t they deal with? #Occupy.

Let me explain my own example as to how they use leaders to control. I was the union rep in a school that was run by an incompetent bully. This man was a fool who at times would recommend to stressed teachers beta blockers – he took them himself. He had somehow managed to wheedle his way into the position at interview, and then cultivated the governing body to stay there. This man had little interest in supporting the teachers in educating the students. The teachers wanted someone to step in and represent them against this bully, and because I wanted activism I jumped in. I organised meetings, passed motions democratically, and took letters and motions to the headteacher. They were ignored, and he reported to the local authority that I was a Trotskyist provocateur. Standard tactics. Over a period of 5 years as an experienced teacher I was refused promotion, repeatedly criticised by this management and the governing body, and whilst the membership would sign letters they stood by and watched as this man bullied me out of a career. This was management wanting leadership to focus their attention in.

Suppose these had been #Occupy teachers. #Occupy teachers would have refused to cooperate with this man and refused to follow his instructions. #Occupy teachers would have simply said we want education in the school, and refused to cooperate. When the head and the governors would ask where are your leaders? They would simply say “we want education” and refuse to cooperate. What are your demands? They would simply say “we want education” and refuse to cooperate. Once you get a leader, once you have demands, corporatocracy have targets – leaders and demands – that they can manipulate. Without the targets what can they do to contain the problem? They don’t know. They know what to do to solve the problem but they don’t want to do that – against their own vested interest. Give them a leader and demands, and they can contain the situation.

Listen to this statement from OccupyWallSt – no leaders no demands ..

.. what it is. Corporatocracy make you changes, don’t buy off our leaders, no demands to negotiate -just a description of the reality of corporatocratic occupation of the world.

With #OccupyWallSt what can the corporatocracy do? They have no targets. They get the police to mace women, they get the police to lead them onto Brooklyn Bridge and arrest 700, telling the world that the demonstrators broke the law. But as #Occupy keep coming back and increasing in numbers what can they do? Nothing. In Egypt what happened? They replacd Mubarek with a different face but this was no different for the Egyptians – they are still OCCUPYing. If the Egyptians had given demands they would have been reduced by negiotiation, and then some implemented. Then the media would have been used to say how unreasonable the people have been, we have met them half-way and they still want more. This is a ploy, an attempt at manipulation – not an attempt at helping the people or genuine democracy.

Significant in #Occupy is the use of technology. Previously I have been critical of online communities because communication is not complete and erratic; personal contact is the only complete communication not email, chat and even video-chat does not convey subtler levels of communication. But online can disseminate simmultaneous communication without the need for hierarchy. Look at this quote from the above-mentioned blog “Then I saw the term used again by a blogger at BBC News, who commented, “Horizontalism has become endemic because technology makes it easy: it kills vertical hierarchies spontaneously, whereas before – and the quintessential experience of the 20th century – was the killing of dissent within movements, the channeling of movements and their bureaucratisaton.””

22/10/11 Here is Micah White from adbusters promoting involvement with Occupy.

This change in communication structures is so accurate. One of the tedious duties as union rep was the handling of communication. Now in general people abdicated their responsibility for assimilating the communication – usually letters from head office – to the union rep. Often these letters were stylised and difficult to assimilate but usually it was because of apathy and lack of interest. Letters were recorded in minutes and filed, read only by the rep – me (if I read them there were so many). These hierarchical structures of communication were not democratic. But with the internet and without leadership people need to inform themselves. Action is called through tweets or facebook, not from head office passing down to representatives. Whilst this form of communication is open to misuse that is open to the people to resolve. But what you don’t have is people standing up and saying I am the target, single me out and manipulate me.

OCCUPY!!!


Have a read of this blog from one activist, Yotam (link gone), I could have imagined in my day that this would be me:-

“I saw too many young white college kids and not enough grassroots organizers from New York, not enough of those communities hardest hit by neoliberalism and austerity. I was pushed away by some of the cultural norms being adopted and found myself at odds with the lack of demands, not to mention the sometimes over-emphasis on process.”

“Now, to be clear, I have always been a strong proponent of clear demands – because they help define our struggle, point the way to actions we want to take, give us tools for measurement, communicate with people outside of the occupation, and represent those busy struggling elsewhere.”

Clear demands lead to division. Without realising, activists’ movements in the past have called for CND so the Peace groups join those, then we need development so Oxfam groups join, then we have the need to fight in the workplace so comrades join together in trade unionism, health nuts recognise that the corporatocracy are poisoning our foods so they fight their own campaigns. But the struggle is all one – fight the corporatocracy; Occupy Wall St.

As a trade unionist I often lamented why people didn’t join in the movement of their class, and felt it was a lack of education on their part to recognise the nature of their class – and to be quite frank I still do. But I was telling them to fit in with my view of the struggle. From what I have picked up and what the writer, Yotam above, has said, from what I picked up on Democracy Now 3 Oct:-

– and elsewhere, this Occupy is about process and coming together, not demands, not previous failed formats of struggle.

So Yotam (Good article) get frustrated – just like I would have. Get angry as I would have, but hang in there. There is a change in democracy, there is horizontalidad.

Occupy!

And Deepak Chopra was there:-

– would he have joined an old guard movement demo?

OCCUPY!!!

https://zandtao.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/insight-page/

I heard this term first on Democracy Now (3/10/11). Mirina was discussing a grass roots democratic form of organisation that occurred on the streets of Argentina when they had their economic crash in 2001; this article describes how it arose. I particularly note this ” quote from Pablo “It was not an ideological decision, nor intellectual, nor academic, nor political. It was the most spontaneous thing, the most basic. You went out into the street [on the 19th and 20th] and found yourself with others on a corner. It’s not that there was a decision to be horizontal, we simply found ourselves feeling a strong rejection of all that was known. A strong rejection of political parties, of the form of political parties, of all those that were in the Government, and the State …We thought, we are going to do things ourselves. We are going to do things together, democratically, in a direct way, because here we are all equal. There are no bosses, we don’t want bosses, no one giving orders, we order ourselves, decide among ourselves, and well, someone said, ‘this is horizontal.’ So okay, this is horizontal because it’s not vertical. We don’t want bosses, that’s why it wasn’t vertical. But its not part of any ‘theory of horizontality.’ No one invented it, it just emerged.” “

This is the way they described what was happening in the organisation at OccupyWallSt. In this clip from Dem Now:-

– the British journalist describes how the organisational structures are similar globally, how the police tactics have similar global responses, and then Mirina Sirtin, author of the book on Horoizontalism – mentioned in above article, told us that the demonstration was moved from Chase plaza – J P Morgan’s police bribe of $4.6 million paid off very quickly.

What seems to be being described is a change in democratic emphasis. This is not a grass roots democracy that is mobilising to confront the power structures of the corporatocracy – a futile aim of the movement that I was active in 25 years ago, it is a grass roots democracy that is empowering itself. This has tremendous implications if we follow it through. Suppose we consider the economic implications of this self-empowerment. Once Occupy finishes Occupiers globally will have empowered themselves and will not be reliant on the corporatocratic organs of state and media. They will not sit back and receive in the way Thatcher’s children, money will not be their God and consumerism their way of life. Occupiers will then look to themselves for the answers, and this networking will start to include economy. I link this in with the ideas I discussed in the Mindful Consumer Network (MCN) (scroll down). They will start to recognise the need for organising and trading amongst themselves. I won’t reiterate the control of consuming I have discussed before, but just feel hopeful for the future. As the corporatocracy loses more and more money to this network consuming, they will start to squeeze more and more those people who don’t step outside the corporatocratic-provided spending. There is a hopeful future in this, the less money they have the less money they have to spend on armaments – drones, and the more chance people will have.

I feel so much happier than the negative anonymous image I discussed yesterday.

Addendum

I remember back in the 80s having a discussion with a feminist group who were sympathetic to my activism – not so much that I was active in the trade union movement but I interpret it as that I was genuinely interested in working for all peoples, including women. I kept trying to persuade them that their activism was needed in the male chauvinist movement to help change it for the better; there was no doubt that it was controlled by aggressive males – including myself when I was competing with them. They would argue that a typical meeting revolved around leaders – in that situation myself as elected secretary of the Trades Council, that the speakers although controlled to some extent by standing orders were demanding that the members follow their way of thinking. And then there would be a vote and people would be expected to follow the dictates of the vote, a vote that becme the policy that the leaders enforced. The women declined to join.

Since then I have watched women who have become active, and I have seen women become just as aggressive within the movement – hence my earlier comment about thinking that loud-mouthed women had instigated the police response. But now I see a different organisational structure, and in the above Democracy Now clip the panel were women. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think women were the only people fighting in Argentina but I do see the organisations as having a different approach. At #OccupyWallSt there is a home. Groups are organised to do different functions – groups that include men, but they are stressing that these are not top-down structures – what you might call male structures, the prevailing structures of society. To be perfectly honest I don’t see how this can work – it is not my system, but it clearly does. It sounds incredibly frustrating if decisions are continually questioned but this doesn’t matter. Occupy has thrown up the model that provides hope for the future, a hope that can put a dent in the corporatocracy. My way, my methodology no matter how caring I was just didn’t work – it never could.

What are the objectives of Occupy? This question you see asked often by the Old Guard, including women that belong to it. But Occupy is not about questions and analysis it is saying:-

Occupy is not about the corporatocracy – Occupy wants to be free of the corporatocracy.

It reminds me of Wangari Maathai and her trees. The Green Belt Movement that mobilised around her involved women of the land who were planting trees. Whilst this movement did not support the dictatorship of Arap Moi, it was almost as if it was acting despite Arap Moi. They were planting trees in areas despite what the corporatocracy demanded of its puppet, Arap Moi – even if the puppet put force in their way. This is Occupy. These people are organising despite what the corporatocracy wants. Their challenge is not they will replace the leaders of the corporatocracy but that they will replace the corporatocratic structure itself – they don’t wish to participate in the corporatocracy.

Imagined Agenda

I am going to let my imagination go a bit – not that the following will happen but maybe some of it will. It could be a return to barter – no consumer-oriented debt. Maybe money will be used – maybe community currencies. But goods and services will be provided between the different groups horizontally, at present food is provided for Occupy for free. OK initially the Occupy movement will use food that is bought within the corporatocracy, but gradually Occupy will realise that any food bought from the corporatocracy feeds the corporatocracy. And they will say no more. There will be Occupy farms where Occupy workers will grow food for the different wings of Occupy. The existing organic movement and communes will join in with Occupy. Systems will be put in place where skills can be traded for food for services. The top-down corporatocratic structures of Big Firms simply support the coffers of the corporatocracy so they won’t be used.

What about where Occupiers are living? Have they squatted? Well, they wouldn’t be allowed to. But no, they are on the streets – not even in tents. Sleeping bags in bivy bags under the elements. This itself is saying we don’t want your consumerism, your mortgages, your debt entrapment. Maybe after Occupy, Occupiers will form communes where people will build their own houses – without mortgages. Communes will trade with communes. And when these communes have linked Occupiers will say to teachers teach us what we need to know – not what the corporatocracy wants us to know so that we become enslaved in the corporatocratic structures.

And then teachers can teach, they can teach insight in schools. They can teach Peace. They can teach history about the old ways where over the centuries greedy banker families had manipulated governments through debt. How banks had tempted governments into debt by providing them with money that funded piracy and then colonialism. And then working with BigTechno they provided the government with indebting money that bought weapons to fight wars that only BigTechno needed – to fight pseudo wars against “Terror” that meant expensive machines were bought that flew over countries far away and killed people indiscriminately – drones. And how eventually the banks stopped allowing BigTechno to use their government puppets to pay for these weapons because Occupy had got enough people not to pay into the government and vote for the government so the banks could never be repaid.

And then Occupy began to teach again the meaning of Home and society. Home is where children grow up, this is why we have societies so our children can grow up well, so that we can care for each other. Children can begin to understand that we are part of Nature – ONE planet. Society began to learn that government structures are not for the profits of the landowners or the aristocracy or the corporatocracy but the new horizontalist structures help people in their homes to bring up children.

Maybe Nature has finally got through to women that their movement of the 60s onwards is not about getting a bigger proportion of the cake that Big men had gained by exploiting humanity. Sure there was a need to prevent chauvinist excesses but not to replace those excesses by excesses by women. These women have now begun to say we want the world back for our children – our Homes. Support the new organisation of grass roots democracy and ….

Occupy!!!