Forum topic: Occupy Wall Street Protests: The Capitalist System Itself is the Enemy

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Forum topic: Occupy Wall Street Protests: The Capitalist System Itself is the Enemy
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Occupy Wall Street Protests: The Capitalist System Itself is the Enemy. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

true democracy

Sceptical about the class nature of GA's, especially in New York, I was surprised to read here that Internationalism finds them
"a major step forward for the working class". For despite the enthusiasm of proper propaganda, kollwitz et al, on the OWS thread, that there was working class content to the GA's, I continued to see them as populist dramas.(I had also noted that the ICT was not saying anything at all about these events.) But Internationalism insists that "the proletariat in North America has not been completely defeated" and that the OWS movements are a sign of this. Internationalism goes on to say that the emergence of the GA's "are an attempt by the working class to defend it's autonomy by involving the entire movement in the decision making process.".

Now this is the sort of stuff I like to hear, so I wonder why I remain not totally convinced. Perhaps it's too good to be true. Perhaps it's because I'm not present at any GA's and so fail to get the message. But Internationalism's analysis certainly stimulates thought.

One final point. Exlaining that the bourgeois idea that " communism has been tried and failed" exercises a profound influence on especially young people - they see capitalism as a disaster but don't know yet what could replace it - the article says that for many people it's difficult to associate "true democracy" with communism. I must admit to this failure too. Not that I don't think that communism is the highest form of democracy possible, and not because I think 'communism' a dirty word, but because I find the word 'democracy' very suspect. It is after all a favorite word of the bourgeoisie. It's used by DRY to confuse the GA's in Spain, and is seen by Arab-springers as being what they want. So to try and present communism as TRUE democracy could be to compound the difficulties involved in interventions. But then whoever said that helping class consciousness emerge into the light of day was going to be easy! This is a thoughtful article and to be welcomed.

I think Fred makes some very

I think Fred makes some very thought provoking observations. I think the point the article was trying to make about democracy was that the bourgeoisie's ideological campaigns about the death of communism are still having a serious effect on how the working class fights back today. The talk is all about "real" or "true" democracy, democracy undistorted by money, democracy that serves the citizens, etc. Despite a growing recognition of the impasse of captialism, many workers are still unwilling to consider "communism" or even "socialism." These systems are not "democratic" in their minds. There is a more or less unquestioned assumption that "democracy" equals some kind of economic justice. Of course, who is against democracy today? Most free-market proponents say that only undistorted free markets can truly guarantee real democracy. When politics gets involved in the economy, it only leads to distorions that prevert democracy. Both sides say the same thing, but mean radically different things. The question I suppose for revolutionaries, is what do we say about "democracy'?

On the question of the class nature of the assemblies: I think, as the article pointed out, the emergence of the assemblies themselves--whatever their political confusions--are a positive, because they indicate a certain willingness of part of the proletariat to try to struggle outside the control of the unions and the leftists. In this sense, the emergence of the "form" itself is a powerful symbol of a process that is occurring within the working-class on the international level, in which it is seeking new ways to organize itself to fight back. As the article argues, there has been a real tendency--however--for this movement to fetishize the GAs themselves, to see "form" as and end itself and to consciously reject going any further. This has led to a certain "parlaysis of analysis" and has allowed all kinds of reformist ideologies to dominate.

However, if this has been a real weakness of the movement, I think we should try to avoid the oppositie weakness by concluding that because the GAs have not gotten very far from the reformist terrain, the emergence of the GAs themselves is not an important moment in the working class learning how to fight back. There is a certain dialectic of form and content here. Yes, in terms of the political content--this movement has not gotten far so far, but on the level of form--there is a real advancement over a tendency to subcumb to union discipline, etc.