Monday, November 14, 2011
Response to On Occupation and its Critics
I think the difference from today's times and the 60's, is the level of combativity in the people, but it's a totally different situation today. We won't be able to use yesterday's tactics today. Today we have the potential to take things further than before.
I disagree with you with the position that a revolution from those at the bottom will mean defeat or putting those people out there to get smashed. Revolution can only come from the oppressed at the forefront, doesn't mean they are the only participants. Revolution is a popular process, can only succeed in this way, but it depends who's "leading it." These middle class white liberals are the leadership of the occupation movement, and they are really controlling the direction of where that goes. At the same time I am not trying to dismiss everyone who is at the occupations, there are many people who are out there who have good intentions (but that's not enough). There is also great potential, I agree, but can it come under the current structure and process at Occupy LA in particular and other occupations in general?
The people at the bottom: the oppressed people of color, working class, unemployed, homeless, women, queer, migrants, etc. etc. etc., are already getting fucked over and have been facing a depression for over 500 years. Face a similar situation today than they did in the 60's, so that is not that different. They have no illusions about the police and other state institutions. That's why I said they need to be at the forefront. They need to be the ones speaking and participating in the process, but they are systematically being excluded from this so-called movement. I know because I've seen it, and comrades all over are letting me know, in particular women - POC folks have been excluded and pushed out.
I agree with your sentiments: struggle educates, but do I want to focus my energy and time on the education of the white middle class? No! I think I rather apply that same principle to the working class oppressed communities. That would be a movement that would be unstoppable, instead of relying and tailing the white middle class liberals - and wait for them to become radicalized, if we wait for that to happen, we might miss on this opportunity, for a revolutionary popular movement, because it might take years, or decades for that to happen. On the other hand the oppressed in rebellion will be the biggest threat to this establishment, because they don't have, in the words of Paulo Freire, "the false generosity" or "domestication" of the privileged group of people who make up the leadership of this "movement." There should be folks working with them, "educating" them, for sure, as part of the process of struggle. I, however, don't feel that is my role. I rather focus my energy on organizing my community, and raising the level of combativity in my peoples.
I think folks that are making criticisms, most are coming from their experiences being there. I tend to agree with the position that people shouldn't criticize from the sidelines, but it doesn't mean people shouldn't be critical either. How else will these white liberals know they are alienating the people who should make up the movement? Wouldn't that be part of the education process?
I haven't been there every day, but I been there enough, and have heard from enough compas to know, OLA is not a safe space for us. I think if the movement were to go anywhere, those oppressed communities not only need to be part of the process, but part of building the vision and strategy. It needs to be taking place in those communities, not city hall - accross from police station, with police and city funding, and with their permission. That is why I say it is a sham movement.
I think the position you are taking of the only way to build a movement is to enter these existing movements, structures and processes and change them. How can you change a process in the occupation movement or even other organizations, when there are people who are in control of those organizations, and processes? It is pretty much impossible, it's just like an authoritarian organization, practicing democratic centralism, telling people they are in command, but in reality decisions are made by handful of people beforehand.
My approach, is if I don't agree, then I will take the initiative to create something new, independantly and definitely lead by example. I think we are dealing with an entirely new situation, so a lot of what our strategy will come from trial and error, unfortunately. So we can't be afraid of failing and making mistakes, we just got to be able to accept criticism (if it's constructive), and be critical ourselves bro (there is nothing wrong with that, in fact I think it's healthy). I don't think this process is alienating OUR people at all.
always in struggle,