[Marxism] Debate over Occupy tactics: an invented controversy

Scott Ritner ritns028 at newschool.edu
Thu Feb 16 14:18:20 MST 2012


I think this debate is central to that. One of the most dire problems on
the left is the culture of victimhood that seems so impenetrable. It is
used as justification and as an assault against the left. Just like Louis
(and thank you for founding this list, I did not know that) wrote earlier
in his attack against me based on an assumption of my level of education
and his reference to alienating "ordinary working people", privilege is
often used as a convenient attack on radicals. So, we adopt a defensive
posture, we apologize constantly, we shy away from conflict and
confrontation, and we fade from relevance, our message becomes garbled and
we preach a politics of weakness instead of possibility.

I do not think that a mass movement can be built upon a politics of
victimhood. I think that the only result of this is the
who-is-more-oppressed-than-who game of one trump card after another. It
fragments the left, it cannot unify it. Moreover, I do not think that
people want to be involved in a politics of victimhood. I think we are
victimized enough in our daily lives. Why is it that the organized left is
so unwilling to put forth an empowering politics!? Instead we get caught up
in a zero-sum game of justifying ourselves based upon the legal terminology
of bourgeois society...

On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 4:00 PM, Tristan Sloughter <
tristan.sloughter at gmail.com> wrote:

> ======================================================================
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> ======================================================================
>
>
> >
> > So, I repeat again, why do we need to constantly couch revolutionary
> > or rebellious acts of violence in the language of self-defense allowed us
> > by liberal jurisprudence?
>
>
> Questions of organization and tactics are very important and I don't think
> anyone would argue that at this point in time in any country is there a
> solid understanding of what will work best to build a successful mass
> revolutionary working class movement capable of overthrowing global
> capitalism. Which is a reason I really liked the beginning of the debate
> around Cliff's work that was started.
>
> My understanding was part of the reason Louis started this list over a
> decade ago was to discuss what has gone wrong in attempts at developing
> such parties and what to do in the future.
>
> You may argue that this discussion is separate from that. I'd say it is
> not.
>
> Tristan
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