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Re: <nettime> more on Wall St (and Wisconsin)
Brian Holmes on Thu, 6 Oct 2011 12:28:59 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> more on Wall St (and Wisconsin)



Hey Dan, thanks for a great text and a reminder of one of the most
important struggles in the US in recent years. Occupy Wisconsin!

Of the many differences, what strikes me now as probably the most
consequential in terms of movement character and future evolution,
is the comparatively abstract target: ³Wall Street,² or ³the
banksters² or the 1%. In Wisconsin we have a central figure,
Governor Scott Walker, and a host of background players (the
Fitzgeralds, the Kochs, Paul Ryan, Alberta Darling, JB Van Hollen,
etc), each of whom is a real person who can be personally targeted.
Most of them being public figures, their career trajectories,
at least, offer activists something by which we can measure our
strength. With OWS, the monster before us‹the banking structure,
the corporate political system, and financialized capital in
its entirety‹is so huge, global, faceless, out of control, and
fundamentally rotten, that it is difficult even for informed people
to identify and prioritize specific aims, much less individual
targets.

I would take this as an opportunity rather than a disadvantage. When
the system, in its faceless abstraction, presents you with a bill you
cannot pay, then there is an existential interest in confronting the
abstraction itself. We have good names for that, ones that everyone
can recognize: greed, dehumanization, capitalism. Since there is no
single face to these abstractions, ultimately you have to look around
and say, those concepts are in operation right here, where we live,
in our town. They are what is faceless in the faces that we see. The
abstractions are concrete. We must struggle with them in our own
everyday relation to society.

The Wisconsin protests inspired people all over the United States.
They showed us that a broad-based social movement on the left is
possible. The movement that began on Wall Street is a kick in
the ass to intellectuals: it shows us that people are ready to
resist the faceless abstraction, and it challenges everyone - the
organic intellectuals, ourselves - to develop ways of talking and
understanding that can resist and transform "the great decentered
multinational communications network in which we find ourselves caught
as individual subjects." I fully agree that to do this, the struggles
must be articulated in their particularities. But they also must be
articulated to what is entirely new: the readiness of a broad-spectrum
American social movement to confront the very heart of our society,
which is a hierarchy, a rank order defined by the control over money.
"We are the 99%" has a lot of meanings. Such as: "We have to abolish
the system of measurement that gives the faceless faces control of the
world." It's really time to stop business as usual.

Occupy Wall Street, occupy Chicago, occupy everything -

Brian




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