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Forum Post: On Anarchy and its Implication on the Occupy Movement

Posted 8 years ago on July 19, 2012, 4:30 p.m. EST by Ecophoenix (3)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Let me begin by saying that I am an anarchist. While I would love for anarchistic principles to be an integral part of the occupy movement, I realize that in our current situation, it is far from ideal. I feel this way because until human beings are capable of separating themselves from their ego, base desires, and become more aware of the true implications of their actions, anarchy is currently not the best model. After having lived in an Occupy camp for 42 days, these flaws became glaringly apparent, and it is my opinion that anarchy, at this juncture, is impractical, but is certainly something to work towards.

Early in Occupy Dallas' encampment, chaos reigned. Everyone, myself included, felt they knew exactly what we should do, based upon their opinions, which were largely formed in a vacuum, without consulting others. What happened thereafter is a major reason why anarchy will not work at our current level of cultural sophistication. As I observed events unfold, I noticed the following things: People were making decisions that affected others based on emotion. People were unable to follow the golden rule, the cornerstone of humane anarchy, and people were unable to empathize with each other enough to actually know where the other person was coming from. I attribute these failings to several things.

First, we live and our psyches were developed in a society that places a large emphasis on individual desires with little to no regard for the needs of others. Additionally, our society is largely based on the ideal of instant gratification, which has the effect of pushing people to do rash things with little to no regard to the future implications of their decisions. In addition to these very few of the decisions made were done by consensus, a concept I will discuss in more depth.

Right now, we are not prepared for true, moralistic anarchy. We, simply put, are not mature enough. A rational person would not give a shotgun to a young child, as they do not yet possess the judgment to use it properly, just as those that have not exhibited their capability to think not just of themselves, but of others cannot abide in anarchy. This issue is glaringly apparent in the current system; it is the very reason that we resist the 1%, as their insatiable greed is what brought us to this juncture. In order for anarchy to work, people MUST exercise better judgment than they ever have before. In order to say that we need no masters, we must first be able to honestly say that we have mastered ourselves.

Now this may seem authoritarian, but allow me to elaborate why it is not. The Occupy Movement has afforded us a rare opportunity. It has allowed all of us, of all different social backgrounds, ages, and all other things that make us who we are, to come together, united by common purpose, to enact positive change in the way that we are governed. We can use this solidarity we possess to explore each others perspectives, empathize, and to understand where our fellow man or woman is coming from; this is already occurring at occupy camps around the world. We can then use this knowledge, and our own character to realize that it is not what each of us wants, but about learning to compromise and achieving consensus, so that we all can get what we need. Only when we can move beyond our own individual desires towards what is best for everyone can we be entrusted with anarchy. Right now, our social system is in great peril; it is true reflection of what ails our society. Greed, selfishness, desire to dominate, and negligence are not just the traits of the 1%, they reside in us as well, and if we are to change the world, we need only begin by changing ourselves.

Anyone that knows me is aware that I value actions far more than words. We all see the the problems we face, but seeing the problem and doing something about it are two entirely different things. First, we must change ourselves, so that we truly are not just voices of dissent, but capable of providing the solutions. We do this by creating a forum in which we can freely exchange ideas with each other, peer to peer education. This, in essence, is what an occupy encampment is. As we educate ourselves on the plight of others, empathy is born. We use the information we have gathered, filtered through our empathy to answer questions like “How will my actions affect others?”, “Are my actions helping or hurting others?”, “Will my actions create or destroy suffering, especially for those that have no voice, our society's children and other creatures that call the Earth their home?", and, perhaps most importantly, “If this is the last decision I ever make, will I have a clear conscience about what I have done?” Only after this is done should a person take their perspective to others to share and integrate with their ideas. In doing this one eliminates the fallibility of individuals, and filter it through collective wisdom to create something new, humane, and a true reflection of the change we, the 99%, want to see in the world. Then, and only then, should we be entrusted with the most fragile and beautiful of human institutions, anarchy.



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[-] 2 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 8 years ago

This was an interesting question for a while "Do you think Occupy came about mainly because of angry youth or because of facebook?"

[-] 1 points by Ecophoenix (3) 8 years ago

I think social media and the demographic it reaches (a lot of angry youth moreso than other social groups) is what makes it that way, but I think the ideals cross a great many demographics. I think that the vast majority of the people that are in Occupy are the ones that have few options, and that is why they are angry, and misdirect that anger on others around them, and the above comment reflects that. As people wake up, they get angry, misdirect that anger at first, but then, as time passes they begin to harness that anger and use it for constructive purposes.

[-] 2 points by MsStacy (1035) 8 years ago

I'd like to ask a question about your experience, if I may. In your opinion, do you feel this lack of maturity was due to the average age of those participating in Occupy Dallas or do you feel it is humanity in general that lacks the emotional maturity?

[-] 1 points by Ecophoenix (3) 8 years ago

I think it ties in well with what I mentioned in reply to hchc, as well as what I mentioned above with respect to our collective shift towards self-fullfilment and instant gratification. Patience is the first casualty of this shift, which is a virtue required to have emotional maturity.


[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 8 years ago

So as a society we must achieve a maturity that will allow anarchy to work. I can agree with that. I think a slow start with direct democracy would be useful in attaining that maturity. Perhaps at the city counsel level. But the act of direct democracy is not enough to create the maturity we lack. I wonder if you have some ideas to address our socirtal immaturity.

More importantly what suggestions or actions would you consider useful in addressing the problems we (the 99%) face, economic inequity, high debt, high health care/college costs. Low wages, etc.

Would you consider actually voting?

[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 8 years ago

Anarchy may be something for the individual, but truth is by nature of the task, governments must be socialist.


[-] 1 points by friendlyopposition (574) 8 years ago

Well said. I agree with your observations. I think maturity may be the right word for it, but it still feels a little strange at the same time. Humans develop from dependence (do it for me) to independence (I can do it myself) to interdependence (help me / working together). So in that case, maturity is the right word. However, immaturity to maturity also seems like it should be a line of development. I think we are moving farther away from the level of "maturity" needed to make this work. It is like there was a peak time at some point, where moralist anarchy would have actually worked, but that time is passed and we are moving farther and farther away. I guess I would say that it seems like things are getting worse - rather than better. We can look back only decades and see how differently neighbors treat each other to get a glimpse into how we are falling.

Sad. But true.

[-] 1 points by thetao (15) 8 years ago

"Right now, we are not prepared for true, moralistic anarchy. We, simply put, are not mature enough."

i agree with this.

i consider myself a "naive anarchist". i heard that phrase somewhere.

i think when we approach things with naivete and questions, rather than an assertion that we know all of the answers, we win.

i think anarchy is inevitable. just look at all of the governments being overthrown. it's arrogant to think that anyone has "the answer"


All Ages

Long ago in a dusty village, Full of hunger, pain and strife, A man came forth with a vision of truth, And the way to a better life, He was convinced he had the answer, And he compelled people to follow along, But the hunger never vanished, And the man was banished, And the village dried up and died,

At a time when wise men peered, Through brass tubes toward the sky, The heavens changed in predictable ways, And one man was able to find, That he had thought he found the answer, And he was quick to write his revelation, But as they were scrutinized In his colleagues eyes, He soon became a mockery,

Dont tell me about the answer, cause then another one will come along soon, I dont believe you have the answer, Ive got ideas too, But if youve got enough naivite, And youve got conviction, Then the answer is perfect for you

An urban sprawl sits choking on its discharge, Overwhelmed by industry, Inclined toward charity, Everyones begging for an answer, Without regard validity, The searching never ends, It goes on and on and on for eternity

this song gives me chills. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Graffin he inspires me.

[-] 1 points by Ecophoenix (3) 8 years ago

When I speak of consensus, I am addressing this concern. No one person has the answers for everyone. It is for the plurality to decide, and how we arrive there is key. We arrive there by empathizing with others, and working towards a solution that is mutually beneficial. Two things block arrival at consensus... one is not addressing the needs of all involved within a community, and the other is placing an individual's perspective over anyone elses.