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Re: <nettime> Portland Occupation's tactical innovation
John Hopkins on Wed, 4 Jan 2012 13:52:38 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Portland Occupation's tactical innovation


gidget -- sorry for the mostly glib response, but I did want to respond to your post...

I was right with your criticism all the way to the kicker... don't you
think our power still lies at the point of production rather than
consumption?

in the sense that consumption is a driver of energy flows -- consumption is continually creating a vacuum or void which creates a potential drop that draws in production -- without that vacuum, production will cease in the same way over-production is eventually stopped because of glut (high 'pressure vs vacuum). Of course, consumption will also stop when there is nothing more to consume! But these two concepts are related as yin/yang and the continuous dynamic of movement between them. They do not exist without each other. Production is a directing of energy (re-source) flows and consumption is a tapping into those directed flows. One additional factor is that energy is spent in both production (directing flows produces waste energy) and consumption (reducing energy sources to waste energy). Both production and consumption increase entropic decline of the system: both will more rapidly bring the demise of the particular plague species which initiated it all.

Where in this cycle you apply disruption doesn't really matter. Refusing to give your life-time and life-energy into production has the same cumulative effect as refusing to focus attention (self-same life-time and life-energy) on the consumptive stream coming from that production process and producing waste in (over)consumption. Either way, as a living organism, you have an affect on the flows around you. Your presence distorts the flows which would be flowing elsewise if you were not there. This is the effect of the presence of any living organism. Your absence from one situation means your presence in another. You cannot subtract your presence but you can selectively express it.

Shifting attention away from either (both!) production and consumption as it is moving in the 'main stream' will immediately de-power that main stream -- you will have an effect. If you can convince a lot of people to do that, you will have a larger effect. Clustered, standing in opposition across from a police line will increase the power of the police -- you are paying concentrated attention to them, and the Regime has nearly unlimited resources to pour into this kind of internal and external offense&defense. Best to walk away, scatter, make a new life elsewhere, and let the police fall flat on their faces as they push their phalanx around the urban centers, alone. There is a reason that you don't see street protests in the countryside -- that region cannot be 'held' by the police... imagine if there was a protest of single individuals across the land -- one person per hectare -- the Regime could not suppress that...

The poor and working class, even the relatively well off working class
here in the pacific northwest of north america, can cause more pain to
global capital by withholding our labour (thru strikes) or by fucking with
their production (and even distribution) infrastructure than by adjusting
our consumption patterns.

as long as you are shopping for 'organic' mass produce at Whole Foods or Trader Joes, or buying cheap food at WalMart, as long as you are buying gas for your Prius at Shell, or Costco, or Union 76, as long as you are plugging your electric car into the grid, as long as you pay taxes, as long as you etc etc etc you are propping up the Regime -- the Regime is the cumulate set of flows of all levels. Working class means to be surrendering some fraction of life-time and life-energy for someone else to convert to a fiscal instrument to then convert to resources to extend viability. Cut out the middle men and the fiscal instruments and you have done much more than facing off with police.

This is as true for "alter[ing] the structural relations" as stopping
climate change.  I recently read that one cargo ship idling in the nearby
port for an hour puts out the equivalent CO2 emissions of 16,000 reg.
compact cars for a year.

Environmental conditions have always changed and will continue to change. So what if the change is because of one particular form of life versus another? Species will always increase in number and areal extent rapidly when there is an energy glut in any form -- they will also rapidly decline when that glut is gone. Easy come easy go. We just happen to be living in the time between the coming and going... just wait...

By participating in the wide-scaled high-techno-social system (as this forum is courtesy of), you help prop up a large swath of earth-raping glory going on each and every day on 6 continents. True radicals will not show up here...

Asking Occupiers to read some Marx along with the Sun Tzu probably won't
go over so well, but it doesn't change the facts of exploitation.  I agree
with your last line that so far, the Occupy strategy doesn't accomplish
real structural change.

Well, true, consuming mediated protocols is not near as good as developing a self-praxis which focuses attention on those immediately around and treating them well. But learning from precedence is a clever tool for enhancing viability. I have noted it here before -- there needs to be more thought to the exercise and provision of human obligations of the Self to the Other than the demands of human rights by the Self of the Other...

etc etc...

jh


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