Leaflet handed out at Occupy Melbourne 2.0 on 29th October
It doesn’t make any sense!
The media, the politicians, the police, all the supporters of the old world, can’t understand and won’t understand what it is we’re up to. No leaders? No demands? No point! Perplexed and threatened, they can only lie, distort, and violently suppress us.
“You’ve made your point, now move along” is their refrain, showing that they’ve completely missed the point themselves.
What is the point? That we can’t go on like this any longer. That the system they represent has nothing more to offer us, no perspective, no future.
If we don’t have any leaders, it’s because we don’t want to be followers; we don’t want our movement’s energy to be channelled back into the same old fake ‘solutions’.
If we haven’t put forward any narrow demands (which capital would love to turn back against us), it’s because we understand that the problem lies deeper than a few demands could fix…
Capital’s reach seems total…
Everywhere we look, our world and our lives are increasingly subjected to the logic of capital, the need for commodities and money to make more commodities and money, the triumph of profit over human needs and desires.
The violent expansion of capitalism over the last few centuries has seen its reach extend to every corner of the globe, and its logic shape every aspect of our lives. What we do to survive, what we do for fun, our sexuality, our gender, every role that we play has been intimately shaped by capital’s domination. Capital turns us into objects and uses us when it’s profitable, and spits us out when it’s not. Thousands each day die of hunger and disease because it’s not profitable to feed them or heal them. Hundreds of millions live in shanty towns and slums because there’s no money to be made building decent houses. The environmental crisis spirals further out of control, because it’s not profitable to stop it. Productivity is ever-increasing, abundance is everywhere, and yet it’s impossible to live a decent life unless you can find a way to get money. Over two billion humans can’t get jobs even if they wanted them because capitalism has no need for them. And billions more waste their lives doing pointless soul-crushing, health-destroying work that exists only to make someone, somewhere a profit. Even where our jobs could be useful, the logic of money has shaped them so utterly that they might as well not be.
…and yet we know things could be different
If there’s one thing that stands out about this occupation, and the occupations worldwide, it’s the amazing mutual aid and community that has developed around them. All sorts of people from all sorts of different backgrounds are coming together and becoming open to new perspectives, questioning old assumptions, putting time and energy into things they find useful, actively communicating with each other and relating to each other as humans, without the filter of money.
We’re getting a taste of a new kind of life, of how life could be if we weren’t stuck with such an absurd and obscene social system.
What we’re glimpsing is the possibility of a post-capitalist world, where human relations aren’t commercial transactions, where goods don’t represent money but a concrete means to satisfy real human needs. A world in which competing corporations and warring nations are replaced by a real, human community that uses the resources of all for the benefit of all. Such a world could be called communism but has nothing in common with the state-capitalist regimes that exist or existed in Russia, China and Cuba. Nothing is changed fundamentally if capitalists are replaced with bureaucrats with “better intentions”. Those regimes were not only thoroughly undemocratic, they also perpetuate wage-labor, exploitation and oppression of the vast majority of the population. The change must go deeper and must free the oppressed, make them part of a real democracy instead of the lie we have today.
Capitalism is in crisis, and its states have no choice but to go on the attack. Capital’s profit has been slipping for years, and its representatives are rushing to save it, no matter what the cost to us. Governments across the world of all stripes – Socialist governments in Spain and Greece, Conservatives in the UK, Democrats in the USA, despots in Syria, Tunisia and Egypt, Labour in Australia… all are bound to the logic of capital. All must keep the economy afloat, and that means by attacking us – whether it’s directly through austerity measures that make us suffer for capital’s profit, or more subtly by massive public spending that increases inflation and makes us effectively poorer anyway. Whatever political party gets in, they’ll still have the economy – capitalism – to manage, and will do so at our expense, no matter how green, sustainable and democratic their rhetoric may be when they’re not in power…
On a similar note, we can’t let our movement be co-opted by the states-in-embryo. We can’t trust the wannabe bureaucrats (“spokespeople”) within the movement, and the political parties, unions and NGOs who want to represent us, and channel our discontent back into the usual forms, to neutralise it. There can be no leaders, and no quick fixes, to this system that cannot be fixed.
Capitalism is in crisis, and there is only one way out
If the police attack last Friday showed us anything, it’s that violence isn’t something we choose, neither is it something we can avoid.
“This is not a police state, we are here to demonstrate” goes the slogan, overlooking that police are integral to the state, which is in turn integral to capitalism, and that movements that merely demonstrate don’t challenge any of these.
If the Occupy movement is to actually move, if it is to become a real movement to abolish the present conditions, then the assemblies have to turn to the real satisfaction of our needs by breaking with the logic of capital. This requires us to go beyond mere symbolic protest, and act. We must occupy more than just the gardens, but also take over the streets, homes and buildings, expropriating goods and equipment. We need to go into offices, schools, detention centres, hospitals, factories etc. and find out what they do; transform their contents to be more in keeping with a new human society or else disassemble them completely and put them to new and exciting uses. And all the while we must continue to look out for, love and care for each other, and practice the mutual aid we’ve been practicing since the occupation began. We must come up with ways of meeting our needs and desires that involve neither wages nor money, neither compulsory labor nor administrative decision, and we must do this while looking out for one another and defending ourselves against everyone who stands against us.
Of course, the movement now is only small, but we can see it growing by the day. The more we talk and discuss and act, the more we occupy, the closer we come to a better world, a human world. Let nothing be taboo. Talk to everyone about the movement, identify its limits, and move beyond them.
Occupy everything. Take everything. Change everything.
This is just the beginning…