A statement to the #Occupy movement by Common Struggle-Libertarian Communist Federation (formerly NEFAC).
We are so inspired to be part of this new movement of people, struggling on behalf of the 99% against a system that allows corporations to run the world. We are thrilled about the wide use of direct democracy and popular assemblies, the participation of unions and community groups, and the honest efforts to include the voices of the most oppressed. We consider these the basic building blocks of a healthy society based on freedom and equality – which is what we’re fighting for. As anarchists in the struggle for this future society we have participated in occupations, directly democratic assemblies, mass movements of the oppressed, un-permitted marches, and other direct actions. Today, we in Common Struggle are involved in these again within the Occupy movement across the northeast of the United States. Looking back at our history as anarchists, and analyzing this emerging movement as we participate, we see a few road blocks down the path that we hope we all can avoid.
First, there has been a lot of debate about the police. Are they with us or are they against us? Certainly, they are a part of the 99%. And if we succeed in building a new world, we want the humans beneath the uniforms to be part of it. However, currently they are a specific part of the 99% whose job is to protect the wealth, property, and interests of the 1%. Daily, this task leads them to target people of color, immigrants, trans folks, and other poor and oppressed groups, helping the 1% divide the 99%. The job also requires them to physically repress those who threaten the wealth, property, and interests of the 1% - for instance, the people in resistance. In many cities across the United States the police have not attacked us Occupiers... yet. In other places, like Wall Street, San Francisco, and Boston, police have committed assaults and mass arrests to shut us down, making it clear that they intend to continue to do their jobs. As we grow to truly threaten the dominance of the 1%, we should expect mass arrests, beatings, pepper spray, and tear gas. We should be prepared to defend our occupation sites - the lifeblood of the Occupy movement - from the police. They will attempt to remove us.
The second road block is Electoralism. As this movement grows, politicians and other opportunists with political agendas will attempt to co-opt us. The obvious one is the Democratic party. They, like all parties, offer all the change in the world when the people are on the streets demanding it. They promise change until we elect them. Then they encourage us to go home and leave it to them. But as we go on with our lives, nothing changes. Nothing changes because we are addressing the wrong problem. The problem isn’t not having enough Democrats in office (or any other political party). The problem is the system that allows the same 1% – the rich – complete control, regardless of which party is in power. That system is called capitalism, and it has always been a system in which money is power. It is no coincidence that both parties are the parties of big business. These parties do not rep- resent the 99% because they are not meant to. They can do nothing but divide us, while our independence from parties brings the Occupy movement the power to reach across all political ideologies and backgrounds. If we want our movement to truly represent the 99%, then the political direction must continue to come from the assemblies, from the people themselves. Political parties can’t use the 1%’s own governing system to remove the 1% from power. That can only be done by us, the people.
By occupying public squares across the country, and thus creating liberated space self-governed by directly-democratic assemblies, we have started to fight back. However, these public squares are not the only places the 1% exert their power over us, so they must not be the only places we struggle. If we want to run Wall Street out of our lives, let’s meet them head on, in the spaces and communities where we live our lives. Let’s spread our organizing, direct action, and direct democracy to everywhere they attempt to control us. Let’s occupy our neighborhoods where foreclosure, gentrification, and cuts to affordable housing are forcing us out of our homes and communities. Let’s occupy our workplaces where the bosses make themselves rich by exploiting us every day – using the economic crisis as an excuse to cut our hours and make us work harder, holding the threat of layoffs over our heads to keep us in line. Let’s occupy our schools where the recession is used as an excuse to cut funding for public education, to bust teachers’ unions, and to raise already high tuition, and where students graduate with massive debts into a dismal job-market.
In all of our efforts, let’s bring the voices of the most oppressed to the forefront, and stand behind them in their struggles. We must defeat racism, sexism, colonialism, classism, homophobia, and all other oppressions that the ruling system uses to keep us divided and weak. Only then can the 99% stand up to the power of the 1%, and found a new society based on freedom, justice, and equality.
The problem isn’t just on Wall Street, it’s on all our streets!
Spread the movement!
Rid our communities of the 1%!
Build the power of the 99%!
Link the struggles! If we move together we can shut them down!
Don’t stop now!
Common Struggle – Libertarian Communist Federation
Originally posted: October 19, 2011 at A-Infos