Another Fork in the Road
Sooner or later the question comes up: What about property relations? Occupy danced around the issue by convening in public or semi-public spaces and claiming first amendment rights to assembly. But those Leftists will always show up who want to push the issue and say: What about property with locks on the doors? In the case of Occupy Oakland yesterday, they attempted a squat in an empty Convention Center (which I believe is owned by the City) but nonetheless is differentiated from a park or courthouse lawn by those same locks.
In Argentina, after the 2001 economic collapse and capital flight, several empty factories with locks on the doors were occupied by the former workers and put back into production.This was private property and really called into question the relationship between the state and capital. We know how conservatives react to such an affront but what about more liberal or progressive factions? Here is a comment on the Dissenter at Firedoglake thread which calls the question:
"I know quite a few people who got involved in Occupy Oak when it got started: mainstream progressives. The local view of this–not what’s fed to the MSM–is that participation has steadily shifted to the “traditional leftist/anarchist” activists (the folks who belonged to the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade back when I was a Berkeley). Taking over Kaiser “because The People own it and The People need a place to sleep” is a big step beyond where the vast majority of the progressive crowd is, and this is annoying the vast majority of the folks who support the Occupy movement in general.
The OPD is definitely not past it’s ugly “Riders” past, shoots before asking questions, and should rightly–along with the very confused Jean Quan–be beaten over the head with their stupidity and inability to approach the situation without making it ten times worse.
But sorry folks, the Oakland Occupy “consensus” is detrimental to the cause because it destroys so much “capital” (as mentioned a couple of times above) that has been getting the movement closer and closer to getting actually positive mainstream coverage. I’m with them that we should do more to help the homeless, but they’ve hijacked the cause for their attitude and goals that even progressives have no problem calling “Trotskyite”…."
Our own local Occupy Missoula was quick to call for a condemnation of protester "violence" using this same logic of "mainstream" sentiment and political "capital" being wasted. My feeling about the Black Bloc is that they are often anti-political lifestyle "anarchists" running on testosterone and dystopia movies, headbanger music,energy drinks, etc..Burning flags is tactically stupid provocation. But legitimate anarchist questioning of private property and the desire for a militant escalation of tactics, such as squatting to start a social center, needs serious discussion. I think it is the next phase of a movement too focused on legalistic and electoral remedies.
It is a complex unity and consensus will be difficult, wrenching even. May Day is coming up. This was just a glimpse.