North America Is Stirring

Julian Assange had David Graeber and other organizers of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy London on his show recently (embedded below if your browser supports that kind of thing). He asks some good questions, including a couple which are not easy for anarchists to answer (notice the nervous laughter). I learned I should blame Graeber for that “99%” rhetoric I find so abrasive.

When they were speaking about the genesis of the Occupy movements, I’m glad the panelists pointed out the connections, both ideological and (to a lesser extent) physical, to the Mediterranean unrest including the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, and, probably contributing most directly, the Spanish indignados protests.

I am one of apparently several persons who was philosophically a rather convinced libertarian socialist prior to 2011. If it weren’t for watching the kids in Tahrir Square (usually live via Al Jazeera), I never would have shifted so far from pure theory towards praxis as much as I have. If it weren’t for Tahrir Square I’m not sure there would have been a Zuccotti Park.

The political awareness and loose organizations which have emerged from the 2011 Occupy movement are now bracketed to the north by the Quebec student strikes and the carré rouge movement and by the south by the Yo Soy 132 movement in Mexico.

G.K. Chesterton once found himself in an exasperating conversation with an anarchist, “If the time ever comes when we all storm those houses, will you tell me one thing? Tell me how we shall do it without authority? Tell me how you will have an army of revolt without discipline?” I don’t know when or if we will ever storm the houses of our masters, but if we do I suspect it will begin something like this. We will reclaim our space from capitalism square by square, park by park, street by street, house by house, mind by mind, and heart by heart. It is those clinging to their things while dwelling in their mansions who need authority and chains-of-command; those of us in the streets have no use for either.

(In China, on the other hand, there has been no major public protest for the last 23 years, to the day, since the military cleared the occupation of Tiananmen Square by firing live rounds into the crowd.)

The Julian Assange Show: Occupy Movement (E7)