Are We Happy Yet?

The Fight Against Capitalism

In the spring we must rediscover insurrectionary forms of care.
In the spring we must rediscover insurrectionary forms of care

DAVID DEGNER

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While #OWS still encompasses within it a multiplicity of tactics, opinions, and degrees of political radicalism, the evidence is all too clear that the soul of Occupy is anticapitalist, and the desire for a different system is a desire for a protest movement whose grasp on our lives is more holistic. There has already been inspiring work done to organize in different communities, and one can envision the emergence of a dispersed network not only of general assemblies but of communes and cooperatives as well.

The old pessimism of theory beats at our backs, telling us that any developed and sustained form of communal organization can only exist as an autonomous pocket whose threat to capitalism is nil. Yet sustaining autonomous, communal forms of care is not a shift away from direct, active forms of resistance. The positive and the negative aspects of the fight against capitalism must work in conjunction with one another to mutually reinforce each other. Communes, cooperatives and other structures of social support provide a material safety net that facilitates more radical action, enabling people to strike from work and from debt obligations with the assurance that their material needs will be met when they do. Moreover, such forms of organization can begin the incredibly difficult process of building trust between those with radically different backgrounds and experiences, providing support for whoever needs it, especially those who have borne the brunt of the economic collapse.

These forms of organization will enervate the status quo by drawing participants’ time and energy away from their roles as wage laborers, salaried workers, and consumers. Of course, #OWS has already begun to do this; many of us without the luxury of highly flexible (read precarious) employment, or who haven’t already committed ourselves as full-time occupiers (and are now sleeping in churches, synagogues and generously offered private homes – and organizing during the day) already spend our office hours surreptitiously reading working group emails or occupy-related articles. Yet we aim to achieve a less schizophrenic mode of existence in which the totalizing effect of Occupy on our thoughts is reflected in the degree to which it predominates our actions, one in which our politics accords with the way in which we support ourselves. For those against capitalism this will mean testing our own boldness and examining our own perceived futures. As Daniel Marcus observed: “There can be no movement of communes if protest is merely an extracurricular activity of wage-earners: workers will have to choose whether they stand with the communes or with the bosses and administrators.”

The need for new structures of care is emotional as well as material. Many of us are beginning to realize the extent of our own dissatisfaction. We spend time with friends and lovers, but these encounters are transitory counterpoints to the anomie induced by a culture of individualism. We work towards success, but what constitutes success seems increasingly empty. Perhaps it’s unfashionable to speak of “alienation,” naïve to make claims about what forms of work or activities might begin to overcome it, utopian to believe that we could create a society in which a better life is possible. And yet we already see the possibility of these things in the near future of this movement and are already beginning to build the necessary infrastructure.

Affect isn’t just an effect, but a decisive tool of revolution. Just as the catharsis of resistance we experienced in the fall bolstered community and emboldened us to go further, more communal, self-sustaining and holistic instantiations of Occupy will further entrench and strengthen the movement. We are strongest when our resistance draws on our outrage but also harnesses our vital forces, extending to the very material and psychological basis of our lives.

In the spring we must rediscover together that there are militant kinds of community and insurrectionary forms of care.

Nicole Demby is a writer and critic living in Brooklyn. She is a member of the Arts & Labor group of Occupy Wall Street.

56 comments on the article “The Fight Against Capitalism”

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Seven Star Hand

It should be obvious that we are involved in an epic global struggle to break free of those who use their control of money to control our leaders and governments and then use them against us and other nations.

Truth and wisdom are the only sure guarantors of freedom and justice. On the other hand, ignorance is the surest path to enslavement. Since humanity is enslaved to those with the most money, the only sure path to freedom is that which leads away from ignorance about money and those who secretly control it from the shadows.

Money is Slavery by Proxy
http://forgingnewparadigms.blogspot.com/2011/11/money-is-slavery-by-proxy.html

If you are looking to actually win this struggle and help billions escape the deception we call money, then take the time to read this article and pass it on to others...

Here is Wisdom...

Anonymous

One more misguided cultural characterization of anti-capitalism. Whereas in the past the struggle to overcome capitalism was economical and political in nature, and rooted in the figure of the proletarian (wage-earner), this so-called resistance is rooted in a contradiction and incopatibility btw the worker and the protester. The obvious consequence is that it alienates workers, who are seen as capitalist themselves unless they work for a boutique co-op grocery store, or they are academics, independent journalists or artists. Its a cultural phenomenon that will achieve nothing beyond the carnival itself.

Anonymous

Lol @ Karl Marx da socialist who talks about alienation of da worker
and
lol @ guy who is anti-socialist who talks about alienation of da worker

I think you and Karl Marx are fawk buddies.

Anonymous

lol @ Helping more people than get helped now = selfishness.
What a selfish guy I am for wanting to give you a free ride to work! I should have charged you ten bucks for it! Or sex! Ya! Helping people = selfish goals!
Feeling good about helping people = oh man, I am soooo selfish.

Anonymous

"one can envision the emergence of a dispersed network not only of general assemblies but of communes and cooperatives as well"

Will this mobilize the 99%? That is your objective. To get there you will need a strategy and tactics. You will need to be inclusive not exclusive. Time is running out. Our problems have been building for generations and will be irreversible within a few more years.

Anonymous

I want to fund my own particular socialist utopia. Therefore, I demand that solidarity be forced upon Adbusters so that I can indulge in my particular socialist utopia. I demand all of Adbusters' current wealth and future income be forcefully confiscated so that I may have my socialist utopia fulfilled. It's time for all good comrades to impose solidarity on Adbusters and confiscate everything from them for the greater common good. Anything less than 100% confiscation means Adbusters is just a bunch of greedy 1%ers.

Anonymous

...and who does the article insist that solidarity be forced apon? What all encompassing Socialist utopia does it propose to force on you?

The communities it speaks of are made up of people who choose to be members, if you don't want socialism forced on you then what right do you have to force capitalism on others?

Anonymous

lol you are complaining about winning a lottery you never bought a ticket for.

You: Oh! FREE MONEY COURTESY OF THE WINDFALL PROFITS OF EXXON! Since our economy has moved towards socialism, there has been a cap of thirty million dollars on corporate income! All income in excess of 30 million dollars will be distributed evenly among consumers, thus stoking demand and increasing disposable income! I DON'T WANT THAT FREE MONEY CAUSE I HAVE CREATED PARADOXICAL PRINCIPLES THAT FORCE ME TO NOT ACCEPT HELP FROM PEOPLE. I have thus built my OWN house, because I don't want some socialist system of building a house for me! I should earn that house by building it myself! blah blah blah blah blah I don't like free money.

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