Posted 10 years ago on Jan. 16, 2012, 2:29 p.m. EST by Thrasymaque
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
OWS is tailored in the image of the Arab Spring protests and Ghandi's early Twentieth Century resistance movement. We strongly believe this is the wrong stratagem.
Unlike contemporary Arabians and the Indians of Ghandi's time, Americans are relatively free. They are not a repressed people controlled by a totalitarian regime, nor the invasive forces of a foreign nation. Consequently, the American government does not need to be overthrown before real change can commence. For this reason, our stance is that OSW needs to redesign itself in order to offer custom and immediately workable solutions to the unique social, economical, and political problems of America.
The most interesting feature of OWS is arguably the general assemblies in which decisions are made by consensus with direct democracy. This is useful for two reasons:
- It provides a fair decisional process for OWS.
- It serves as an example for others to emulate.
Unfortunately, these general assemblies are being utilized to plan actions which do not yield much remuneration for OWS protesters. With no money coming in, it becomes nearly impossible for a protester to devote long term active support to OWS. This is particuliarly true for middle-aged Americans who must provide for their families.
Another concern is that while OWS disrupts the functioning of the government, banks, and big businesses with direct action, it does little to offer viable and practically tested alternatives. We wonder what will happen after the overthrow of these institutions? With no readily available substitutes, we fear a complete breakdown of society; not unlike we often see after political revolutions.
In its defence, OWS does table the idea of having general assemblies on each street corner, but how can we ascertain the merit of this plan? There has been a trial run with the 1930's Spanish anarchies. True. However, this is a far cry from running a modern country of ~300 million inhabitants. Realistically, we must admit that what OWS proposes is an untested theory.
OWS could solve these issues by creating and promoting anarcho-syndicalist startup companies. The makeup of OWS protesters comes from all walks of life: architects, musicians, activists, lawyers, journalists, painters, janitors, cooks, computer engineers, nurses, exterminators, clowns, plumbers, and even policemen. Were these people to pool their efforts and create small businesses built upon anarcho-syndicalist principles, they would receive incomes permitting them to live the OWS way on a long term basis, while also showing America and the rest of the world that egalitarian businesses are doable, feasible, and profitable.
In all likeliness, these types of companies would spread like wild mushrooms all across America. Job seekers would prefer working for businesses where they are treated like equals as opposed to hierarchic based companies where most of them spend their time at the bottom of the pyramid fighting for a few leftover scraps.
Postmoderity has shown that subsystems vastly different than the master system in which they operate can function and prosper in a healthy manner. We have seen this in the arts, in biology, in computer programming, in architecture, etc... As an example, we can think of high level Lua modules operating over C++ code bases, or the integration of renaissance elements in the works of such prominent postmodern artists like Matthew Barney. Perhaps more known to the general public would be the examples of Mr. Bungle's, John Zorn's, or Zappa's musics wherein co-exist elements of various contrasting styles.
This leads us to believe that anarcho-syndicalist micro and meso structures could work surprisingly well within the confines of the macro structure which is the republic democratic of America. Like a cancer that permeates throughout a healthy body, not be killing healthy cells, but by replacing them one by one, anarcho-syndicalism could spread throughout America by being a growing alternative to hierachically structured businesses.
We recommend a slow transitioning of America's enonomy from capitalism to anarcho-syndicalism by employing the previously mentioned method. This would alleviate the dangers of a hurried transmutation that would likely follow an all out political revolution.
Avid readers will note that co-op banks, also known as credit unions, have already started this process. In Québec, Canada, Caisse Desjardins has been very effective at giving its users more power through collective ownership since its inception more than 100 years ago. We must push this model of cooperation thoughout all spheres of the economy. And, who knows, if this proves favorable to hierachic frameworks, there might even be a chance that the government follows suit and reorganizes the political process in a way inspired from anarcho-syndicalism.
Einstein did not overtake Newton by simply pointing out the flaws in his laws of motion, he overtook him by formulating a stronger theory that corrected many of those flaws. He provided an improved, practical, and usable alternative.
This is what OWS must do, and, eventually, will do. I invite you to start now.