[Marxism] Left Forum 2012

DW dwaltersmia at gmail.com
Tue Mar 20 09:21:02 MDT 2012


OK, so, this is about grabbing credit for being first on the scene or
initiating OWS.

In my opinion, across the board, *generally*, the anarchists (very broadly
speaking) were clearly the iniators of OWS and many of the bigger city
ones. They were generally first on the scene and the organization of these
GAs and ecampments were to the credit of the anarchists. It was not
something that was initiated in most places by any left socialist group, at
least through the first week or so.

My response, is "So the fuck what?". It's how any grouping responds to the
events. I think Pham Bihn's essay is correct on pointing to issues *after*
the OWS ecampments went up. And this what is really important.

A little bity history. The first "General Assembly", so named, and so
organized, had ZERO to do with anything 'anarchist' or 'NGO' (the realy
FIRST initiators of OWS, not exactly black flag waving anarchists). It was
organized in October of 2009 at UC Berkeley, 800 strong, representing a
total cross section of students and staff at higher education in
California. Who organized this? Student activists, generally, of which
anarchists were a distinct, and relatively unimportant minority. The
success of this was due *soley* to organized Socialist groups on campuses
around the State because socialists were coalition builders, united front
builders and were not sectarian. Socialists were not hung up on consensus
and 'diversity of tactics' and other issues that many, but not all,
anarchists were way obessed with. This runs against Louis' prersonal
projection of "self-decribed Leninist groups" all of whom, in his mind, are
only slightly less "sectarian" than the SWP who's political gutter Louis
has a hard time climbing out of, it seems.

This occured with a parallel growth on campuses of a large political
anarchist wing, growing in part, from a politicizing of the very large
'cultural anarchists' community that has always existed. ALL wings
gravitated toward the OWS in Cali and were among the iniators of the
city/town GAs and encampments, thus reflecting the anarchist penchant for
'process' and all that entails.

Many ecampments were started in California by socialists, and them *alone*
without anarchist participation, but usually with other community
activists. The GAs organized thusly reflect this. S.O. organized the SFSU
GA and ISO initiated the SFCC GA. These are just two examples, there are
dozens more. All were and are geared toward involving all students who want
to *fight back* against the cuts. Thus Occupy Education became more a
fighting organization with actual demands placed on the adminstrators and
the state over budget cuts. Thus, instead of just been "igdinados" and
angry, actual courses of actions against the state plans for privatization
and tuition increases became the order of the day.

Any socialist group, or any group for that matter of with whatever
politics, that showed up and tried to intervene with a forceful "you have
to do it this way" quickly isolated themselves. I know this happened with
PSL in the early day's of Occupy San Francisco and they were quickly
shunned and looked down on. They did, however, LEARN. They came back after
trying to lead a split rally/march away from the encampment and then helped
provide sound equipment, participated in the GAs, etc etc. It is this sort
of thing that goes to the heart of the problems with the socialist left
addressed so concisely, and accuratly, by the Bihn essay.

I believe socialist groups, those that don't lean toward sectarian
self-isolation, are a great asset to Occupy. I think in many instances they
play a *crucial* role, especially with connections to the broader labor
movement, something *usually* shunned by the anarchist youth. But it is
precisely here that it helps brining in the somewhat poltically incestous
anarchist youth to 'mesh' with labor that can have a radicalizing effect on
both the anarchist inspired youth and the labor movement that is generally
not radicalized at all.

David



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