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Forum Post: The Tyranny of Structurelessness

Posted 2 years ago on Feb. 19, 2012, 8:17 p.m. EST by sencha (39)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

"If the movement continues deliberately to not select who shall exercise power, it does not thereby abolish power. All it does is abdicate the right to demand that those who do exercise power and influence be responsible for it. If the movement continues to keep power as diffuse as possible because it knows it cannot demand responsibility from those who have it, it does prevent any group or person from totally dominating. But it simultaneously ensures that the movement is an ineffective as possible."

Worth checking out: http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm



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[-] 2 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 2 years ago

Excellent analysis. Consider that the effective parties of the movement that were here working for unity were secretly censored, so you are correct.

[-] 1 points by sencha (39) 2 years ago

I'm not sure what you mean?

[-] 1 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 2 years ago

"If the movement continues to keep power as diffuse as possible"

Censorship has diffused power.

"prevent any group or person from totally dominating."

It has prevented any group, particularly those with solution, from dominating. Nonsense and ill focused discussion dominates.

"the movement continues deliberately to not select who shall exercise power,"

The movements censorship on the forum has deliberately selected who shall NOT have power.

[-] 1 points by sencha (39) 2 years ago

The website forum is moderated?

[-] 1 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 2 years ago

Yes, but nothing like impartial. In fact it seems to work for elements of confusion and distraction rather than something reasonably pursuing the goal of seeing the demand, people needs met, from what I've seen.

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (9727) 2 years ago

This is my conclusion, and it seem to be reflected by the majority of people on this forum. Please see my post: "Forum Recommendations For Action."

My impression is that this movement hasn't even scratched the surface of it's potential, due to purely structural limitations. But I believe that problem will be overcome.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Well, the idea of libertarian socialism is somewhat of a contradiction anyway. It could only work by restraining private property ownership, and the only way you can restrict private property ownership is either through some form of tyranny, or mob rule (neither of which seem very attractive).

I'm attracted to ideas like getting money out of politics (ironically, Abramoff put forth some very good proposals, there's also a good proposal in the Senate for a Constitutional amendment, SJ Res. 29, and I also favor term limits), restoring Glass Steagall, etc., but I do not favor communism (or its various hybrid formulations), nor will the American people ... not ever.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6276) 2 years ago

I honestly don´t see the contradictions, or the controvercy, with people participating and have a democratic say in the things they´re a part of and are affected by. Libertarian Socialism is about freedom and democracy. That is something we should strive for.



[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6276) 2 years ago

I´m very for a social security net, in fact I think we should as much as possible live (in a LS society) by "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". What would happen in a trasition phase from social democracy, lets say, to LS society is that Social reform would be improved while at the same time, power gradually were being more decentralized, gradually building lively, engaged communities moving more and more toward the society I decribed in the article. Its not graven in stone that power centers only can/are allowed to organize welfare is it? But remember, I´m not necessarily aginst people "just" fighting for reform /social democracy fex now, Im just saying, I want the end goal to be LS.

About violent nature and tribes. You are probably referring to my article http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1323868733_human_nature_and_libe.html You may have to read it again, I dont say that humans are all the way thru angels.

"more democracy in the workplace, more participation in our political system, voluntary associations, etc., are all great ideas"

Glad to hear

".. but they're not exclusively anarchist ideas"

But these ideas are what anarchism is about. These ideas are the core of libertarian socialism. If there are people advocating these ideas, but dont want to call themselves anarchists, then they are free to do so, but they share the same views as anarchists, at least on that issue.

Im advocating a libertarian socialist type direct democracy where everyone can participate in society, not some other systems.

Very few LSocialists are totally against Repr.democracy, the question is how much. Read my article http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html again please.

I dont concider wanting more freedom and democracy as romantic, I see it as a necessity and wort fighting for.

Yes, discussion is important, Agreed!

I dont know what you are referring to when you say that i dont answer questions well enough. I think I do, but you also need to read my articles (which I often link to)better, because even though you say youve read them many answers to your questions can be found there. Thats a little strange.

OWS will grow endlessly, I think. The system that exists today (epsecially in the US) is not sustainable, it must be dismantled, and the ones that must dismantle it must be the people - huge popular movements.


[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6276) 2 years ago

It would have to come gradually where, in the process, different details are tried out where we bit by bit figure out how to make a constructive transition phase including protecting (and improving) social programs along the way. The key here is starting to build wonderful engaged active communities working together for common goals such as more local democracy.

There will always be a debate about which types of private property we should have, and what individuals can/can not do, yes. discussion would be important in a free democratic society.

I think there´s more the need to create, do meaningful work and achivement that we long for, more than wanting to "win over the others" etc (althoug there probably is some competitiveness in us yes). But sure, you know I´m all for letting the individual contribute based on their own creative urge.

Again, my friend, the economy is all-encompassing. A co-op here and there is fine and a good start, but the enormous concentration of capital and undemocratic power is still there. We need a libertarian socialist society not a capitalist society with a few co-ops operating in a cynical greedy setting.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I like most of these ideas. Certainly at the community level this is very doable and realistic. I also think political reform is a must. However, I'm not quite as adverse to capitalism as some in OWS seem to be. I mean, sure, bankers have morphed into gangsters (I love the term "bankster"), but this is not true for most corporations. I mean, there's many many places, probably most places, where people actually enjoy their jobs, there is collaboration, even profit sharing and stuff like that. I understand many places on earth don't have what we have, and that sucks (and we should work to change that), but capitalism is even changing countries like China (so we can't just look at the bad aspect of capitalism, we have to be honest with ourselves).

Regarding the question of human "greed" ... I think humans, while we're altruistic, we cooperate under favorable circumstances, etc., we're also motivated by self interest. So it's somewhat of an unanswered question, can humans become innately less greedy? I suppose there's a psychological factor (and expectations play a role), and the bottom line is competitiveness and greed are sort of interrelated (and so we have to imagine a world where progress can be accomplished without the competitive factor).

Thus, I would say, contrary to the claim that this constitutes an alignment with our innate nature, the exact opposite may be true, we may have to grit our teeth and suppress our innate nature (and this is where the "potential" problem lies). This is where I would have to defer to PhD's in sociology (and I'd be interested in, at some point when I have time, reading some studies on this question). But it seems to me that philosophers or political theorists are simply not qualified to answer this question (this is inherently a scientific question). Can we experiment on a small scale, I don't see why not. But what you seem to be suggesting is dispensing with capitalism as a precondition to implementation of this idea (which is just not something I could agree with).

For all its faults, capitalism has been useful. I'm certainly not saying it's the last stop on the train ride of human existence, but people often ignore how much the human race has benefited from the things we generally take for granted. Refrigeration, sewage, easy access to basic medications (like antibiotics), heating, communications technology, satellites, electricity, water pumps, and thousands of other things that were made possible by capitalism (either directly or indirectly). Not only has capitalism provided the underlying funding for these developments (either through investment, or government research funded by taxation), but it delivers these things to people like no other system in history has been able to do. It is likely that these innovations prevented hundreds of millions of people from dying earlier than they would have otherwise died. Imagine, from little tribes struggling against nature for a meager existence, at the mercy of a nature we didn't understand, where the average person died in their 30's, to modern medicine, MRI's, gene therapy, stem cell manipulation, particle accelerators, etc. That's a hell of a ride (so let's not be too hasty).

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6276) 2 years ago

Yes, many love their work - even when working inside a tyranny. But it´s the principle. We should, by principle, be against the very idea that people in charge of economic institutions can have power over other people without being democratically elected. We should by principle be against economic institutions being run like tyrannies.

Capitalism is changing China, alright - changing it in to an assembley line. The reason why Chinas economy is growing is that poor young workers are treated like machines, being payed like 20 cents an hour working 12 hours a day. What a wonderful way to increase the economic growth, right?...Listen to this one about outsourcing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmakLRxGbW8

There´s of course a combination of self interest (which is not the same as greed) solidarity and altruism. I think it´s worth mentioning that there are many peoples (f ex the San people and !Kung people) who operate in a more or less classless society where greed is almost absent, and the idea of private property is, to put it gently, a lot more modest than in the West. It´s something to think about.

I want to end Capitalism because it is undemocratic, tyrannical, destructive, unsustainable and because it conflicts with fundamental human characteristics.

Capitalism useful? It depends for whom. Slavery was useful for the slave-owners and the cheap labor encreased the "economic pie" and made many more wealthy..but is it something we want? Stalinism was useful for the Stalinists,and the higer ups in Soviet societyThere was enormous growth under Stalin and the cheap labor in the gulags encreased the "economic pie"..but is it something we want? Again, should one, by principle, be in favor of people having the right to participate and have a democratic say in the things they are a part of and that affect them? If yes, then one will have to advocate Capitalism going "bye-bye"

It is human hands and brains who have made society better, not x profitting on y (capitalism)

[-] 0 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

eh kinda

I understand europe is in debt crisis aswell

debt crisis

the time when people are unable to pay money to other people

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

It's only a debt crisis when you can't borrow more money (if you need it), or it becomes very expensive to borrow money. In our case, the interest rate on treasuries is under 2% .... so our supposed debt crisis is imaginary. Our real problem is we spend money on things other countries don't spend on (like the expense of maintaining something like 1,000 overseas military bases, a war in Afghanistan, a giant homeland security agency, the largest prison system on earth, etc.).

If we cut some of these expenditures (most of which provide little benefit to our society), we'd be pretty close to a balanced budget, and we could borrow away (and fund a generous stimulus program). We could probably get away with significant borrowing anyway, but it would be nice if we (at least gradually) cut some of these expenditures (in the interest of our long term prospects).

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

yes, that would work for the government and I support those ideas


but not the individual


unfortunately under the current systems

those lending money get more money (owed debts) in return

until they have have control of the majority of the money

and can dictate policy

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9727) 2 years ago

Agreed. I think it's been shown clearly that in the area of economics State control is a disaster. What we need in this area, I think, is a free market. Unfortunately, what we now have is no closer to a free market than communism is, and in my opinion no better.

Of course, ironically, what's needed to maintain a free market is controls on the size of business. Businessess must not grow enough to stifle competition. Furthermore, anyone should be able to go into business on any street corner at any time, without being run out by law enforcement.

[-] 0 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

Senate Res. 29 is a sham. Put the corrupt in charge of overseeing their own campaign financing? We need to remove it from their control entirely. Public financing of elections might work if we only tax the 1% to pay for it.

[-] 2 points by Okay1 (20) 2 years ago

Well said.

[-] 2 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 2 years ago

Wow. Unbelievably pertinent. Thanks for pointing that out.

[-] 1 points by Quark (236) 2 years ago

I agree. What we have is the opposite of the famous quote by Alexander the Great when he went to war with Persia, "Kill Darius, kill Darius." We need Darius. We need Darius to take his/her place and lead the movement.


[-] 2 points by Quark (236) 2 years ago

I didn't mean messiah. I meant a human leader that we could emulate. Good leaders lead people that is what it is to be human. We can not fight the laws that govern human behavior. There will always be exceptions to the rule on an individual basis but for the other 8 billion people on the planet... We need a good leader. If the movement can't understand this then maybe we can't do much of anything. Men die for good leaders, men without leaders scatter like rats.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Well, I'm not sure, but leaderless movements, or at least quasi-leaderless movements have succeeded in the past (e.g. the experience of anarcho syndicalism in Spain), or at least it succeeded insofar as its organizational goals.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

This has been a criticism since the beginning of the movement. Leaderless, ineffective organizational structure, the direct democracy nonsense.

Yet, OWS stubbornly and selfishly clings to it. As if this is the goal. Or allows it to continue, ignorantly and unabated. It selfishly retains the very elements that are preventing it from growing and accomplishing positive change.

[-] 2 points by sencha (39) 2 years ago

By the same token, a few people originally chose for Occupy to use a "consensus model," no?

And it seems whoever has power to make these decisions has refused to listen to those who find the model impractical and illusory.

So where is the "consensus" in this? What is happening by default is people are simply walking out of meetings or the movement entirely. I don't see consensus anywhere.

As this article aptly predicts, what is left are imbalanced power relations cloaked in an utter denial power exists at all.

The irony is Occupy had enormous power last Fall, power it could have wielded to make concrete improvements in people's lives. From my vantage point, this power has simply been internalized and used against itself.

I don't know of any social movement throughout history that said: "Yes, the problems are large but we are too pure to become entangled with them. So sorry [blacks, women, the disenfranchised], we cannot improve your lives at all. But please come to our next rally."

[-] 3 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

I could not possibly agree with you more. So ridiculously contradictory that some "few" made the decision to use a "consensus model". And further put in place a structure that effectively prevents change. The very thing that OWS ptb holds up to be so ideally democratic is the most undemocratic of all things. It's all deceit and deception.

By requiring 90-100% consensus, change to the structure is effectively prevented. Yet people continue to give authority to this structure that is nothing more than arbitrary, and has no real authority for anything. Except those participating continue to give it authority by participating and following it. Again, so absurdly contradictory that the rules of the GA's be so authoritarian to allow the minority to rule the majority. In an anarchist movement that, by nature, is supposed to be anti-authoritative. But is really just predictably tyrannical instead.

I think that there has been so much damage done from this structure that I don't see how it can be reversed. Too many people that believed in the messages, the power that it generated in the beginning, is gone. What should have been capitalized upon, has been left to self-destruct. As all anarchies do.

Sadly, you're right - "the problems are large but we are too pure to become entangled" - in government or in politics. Where change has to happen. So unbelievably selfish and self-important. That the self-destructive methods are more important than the messages and accomplishing postive change.

[-] 2 points by factsrfun (10721) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

Good afternoon April, take heart, all births come with great expectations, and then the hard work sets in. You seem to be on the right track. Every time someone talks about the inequality in our country, on television, in person anywhere, that’s a little victory. It will take time; OWS has done more in a few months than the paid for think tanks did in years. Them that have will fight to keep what they got.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

I always thought consensus seemed a bit cultish

but I haven't been unhappy with the decisions of the GAs

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

"the problems are large but we are too pure to become entangled" -

no one wanted to talk about this


Enemy Expatriation Act -

Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act

to include engaging in or purposefully and materially supporting hostilities

against the United States to the list of acts for which

U.S. nationals would lose their nationality.

Defines "hostilities" as any conflict subject to the laws of war.

. http://occupywallst.org/forum/hr-3166-enemy-expatriation-act-declaring-citizens-/

[-] 1 points by gosso920 (-24) 2 years ago

They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

thanks for the shout out

money is inherently about politics (the government gives money out)

people were asking for reasonable campaign finance reform

and I figure the entire populous cannot be bribed

there's just too many of them

[-] 1 points by dreamingforward (394) from Tacoma, WA 2 years ago

See also: Why does the body get inflammations?

[-] 1 points by jpbarbieux (137) from Palmetto Bay, FL 2 years ago

I disagree about the 'ineffectiveness'. Notice has been taken.

[-] 2 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 2 years ago

How is getting people to notice you the same as being "effective"? That word means achieving success at some objective, but Occupy hasn't even been capable of selecting an objective, much less accomplishing it.

[-] 3 points by sencha (39) 2 years ago

I agree. We want to do nothing smaller than "change the world" and nothing larger than stage protests. It find this orientation deeply illogical and self-important.

[-] 1 points by Quark (236) 2 years ago

Well, I would love to wrong on this one and for you to be right. Either way would hopefully get us to our shared goals.