Over at Corrente danps has been running a great series of posts on the Occupy movement, the Black Bloc and violence. The most recent post discusses how disorganization and the lack of transparency is damaging what’s left of the Occupy movement:
One of the, ahem, benefits of shutting down efforts at openness is that those who are calling the shots can hide in a cloak of anonymity and make decisions from behind the scenes. Occupations that have shut down what began with a robust culture of openness have constructed a neatly self-contained universe – one that permits them to wield substantial authority but disclaim ownership of anything produced by it. (It also tends to create its own self-reinforcing structures.) Decision making done by a few, responsibility shared by all.
Those who want to constructively criticize that dynamic are then left grasping at straws: with no transparency, there is no way to know who in particular is driving these unhealthy developments.
If it seems that, say, facilitation has turned into a power center where much of the direction is set, but there is no way to see or read exactly what is going on, how does one even begin to offer a critique? Those who are happy as clams with this state of affairs can simply demand to know who in particular is the source of the problem. With no transparency into the process, this is unknowable from the outside. So those who wish to be insulated from accountability get a free ride. A nice arrangement, if you can manage it.
Perhaps not coincidentally, opacity tends to work well in conjunction with violence advocacy. A culture of repression is very congenial to chaotic notions of autonomy, “no snitching” orders3, and an apocalyptic mindset that insists if revolution does not happen immediately then all is lost.
I told you so!
I told you so a long time ago. For the crime of being prematurely correct I have been accused of being a wingnut.
But at the end of the post danps dropped this interesting link:
I participated in the #MillionHoodies march in New York City’s Union Square this past Wednesday, March 21st. When I arrived I noticed a lot less hoodies than I thought I was going to see. I assumed this was simply because of the warm weather. There was still an enormous crowd of people there to deal with the tragedy that was Trayvon Martin.
With chants of “We are the 99%” and signage to that effect as well, I was a little thrown off. I thought the purpose of this march was to bring awareness to the death of a young boy. Soon after the march started confusion was all around. Which way were we marching? Who was leading the charge? After we walked a few blocks members of the Occupy section of the march started running down the street knocking down trash cans. I was told later that some attempted to knock down police barricades and police scooters used to guide the marchers. I immediately became uncomfortable because that’s not what I signed up for. I wanted to speak out against injustice—just causing general destruction wasn’t on my agenda. Soon some Occupiers started chanting “F**k the POLICE,” one young white male wearing skinny jeans and a Justin Bieber haircut started yelling “THIS IS WAR, WE WANT WAR!” To which a hoodie-clad young black adult said “Hey, uh we don’t really want war, why don’t you tone that down. I’m about to graduate college in a few months.” The white male kind of laughed and kept moving forward yelling something else.
At various points in the march, as organizers tried to make statements, they were drowned out by Occupiers chanting whatever they saw fit at the time. It didn’t matter if there was a full-on people’s mic happening, they would attempt to push things their way. I asked Daniel Maree, one of the organizers of the #millionhoodies march what he thought of the co-option by Occupy and their actions.”Honestly,” Maree replied “I feel like this is what happens when these emotions build up and they go unchecked and you know, injustice continues, you get it boiling over like this. I’m just happy nobody got hurt.” And while Occupy did help swell the ranks of marchers, I found their actions unacceptable.
This isn’t simply about emotions. This is a consistent streak within certain sections of Occupy. Their goal isn’t a specific action within our current system. Often they want to make a point, show that they’re movement is doing things. In DC, their goal was to get arrested. In NYC, they seemed less concerned with marching for Trayvon and more concerned with occupying as much space as possible with whatever issue that would gather folks to their cause. Occupying.
When Occupy Wall Street first got the national spotlight they were so worried about the co-option of their message, yet they have no problem co-opting others. A couple of Occupiers recognized me and asked if I noticed some of the nonsense that was happening. I said yes and one of them explained that after this march and two months of working with Occupy, she and her friends no longer wanted to be associated with them.
I guess if you can’t get people to come to your party the next best thing is to crash theirs and try to take it over. Of course they may not appreciate you crapping on their rugs.