(ed. Originally published on Feb. 22, 2012 – here!)
So we were forwarded an email from “Occupy Congress”:
Just to let everyone know, the antisocial occupy La media group has put an attack out on us…
The price of transparency… just be ready for stuff like this. I wish they would comment on our listserv with their grievances instead of publicly attacking us… Does anyone have any info in this? I know someone from OLA media is on here. Do you have any comments about it? Is antisocial ola media a part of you?
————— Forwarded message —————
From: Occupy AntiSocialMedia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Subject: [OccupyCongress] AYBABTO
you represent the epitome of redundancy. there are myriad organizations doing exactly what you are doing (talking about “getting money out of politics”) – they just don’t have the temerity to call themselves “occupy” (yet.) why do what is already being done?
why are you involved in occupy? ask yourselves that question. if there are hundreds (literally) of organizations doing precisely what your latest “letter of intent” describes – what good are you serving by duplicating their own efforts, by diminishing their numbers, and by dividing those that already seek what you are plainly seeking?
we participated in occupy because it captured the imaginations of people in this country – including ourselves. because doing something outside the preferred channels of acceptable dissent – by means of physical, 24/7 occupation – inspired us. because only through constant struggle will we ever succeed in redressing our real grievance: capitalism and the myriad systems of oppression that sustain it.
did you “occupy” because you merely saw it as yet another opportunity to defend your ever-shrinking, liberal privilege? because you saw an opportunity to project yourselves into yet another movement, but this time, to set yourselves up in positions of ‘leadership’ within that movement by occupying key, choke-points within the horizontal structure? is that why it seems all those who adore occupy congress and participated therein are media members – driven as they for personal glory and further adoration of the self?
how do you “stand in solidarity” with Occupy? because one principle facet of occupy seems, to us, to have been practicing different methods (in fact, vigorously attempting to always participate in the struggle in ever more dramatic ways) to inspire others to act towards significant (note: not incremental) change.
it’s not about the message. the message has been said, and is being said, by many millions before us (and concurrently with us) around the world. it is about encouraging new means of participation in the decisions being made that impact us all. it is about inspiring the 99% to realize that voting, that signing petitions, that sending new candidates (themselves tainted by lobbyist influence) to congress is not enough. it can never be enough. it is the province of coddled, middle class liberals who want – rather than real change – the restoration of their unearned privileges granted them by the elite.
if glass steagall was restored, would you still “occupy?” if the buffett rule was enforced, would you go back to your day job? if SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA were all consigned to failed legislation of yore – would you be pacified? what change do you want?
we at olaasm are pretty sure there is no magic bullet. no single reform congress could do, and no sequence of reforms it could provide, that would achieve what needs to be achieved to end neoliberal, zombie capitalism and its violent quest for ever more brains to feed on. yet you persist? if you appeal to congress for change, you are appealing to a body so wholly in the service of the most vile system created by man, to assuage the comparatively minor inconveniences you now see as a result of the natural progress of capitalism itself. congress will not, cannot – does not want – to fix this.
petitions, rallies, marches, etc. these things doubtless have their place. in fact, they are being done by millions of people every day. millions of people vote for those in congress itself. and what of it? what has come from this stultifying, staid, and systemically-sanctioned method of participation? why promulgate more of the same? could your valuable time and labor be better spent conceptualizing new, unique and inspiring ways to participate in this struggle? or by participating in those manners collectively embraced by your brothers and sisters at general assemblies across this country?
it seems to us your victory would be merely to elect more corporatist-capitalist parasites who merely parrot the memes you people propose? get money out – so what – wouldn’t the corporations would just hire their own mercenary armies to defend their interests worldwide?
face it – the nation-state as we have known it is dead. your congress doesn’t have nearly the power of your monsanto/xe. this is the capitalist dystopia we live in. it’s time to start dealing with reality.
realize that these things, these reforms, are doomed to failure, because they are the very ways the system itself wants you to participate. why do what the system wants you to do? why settle for your free-speech zone and your online petitions? why even muddle the message with such plainly doomed claptrap?
the system can suffer such participation. it encourages it. it doesn’t care when its fax lines and phone lines are clogged. it doesn’t care when you write a blog about it. it doesn’t care when you tweet. it doesn’t care when you change your facebook status. it get scared, however, when you challenge it in the streets. when you stop working for it. when you stop supporting its endless march around the world. and it sets its dogs upon you when you do.
realize that the reason the state cracked down on the physical occupations was because they represented a sustained, physical presence that threatened the status quo. de-gentrification of public space put the plight of comparative poverty in the face of all the capitalists and their servants in government – and they shuddered. they just want to practice their racist, sexist, anti-gay, capitalist status quo built on the exploitation of others without any guilt. and writing them an email isn’t going to challenge them.
even if you reformed congress, even if you had everything you ever wanted – better wages, a better american economy, a congress that wasn’t entirely bought and sold by global corporations, a world much like the global hegemony americans developed in the post-war world – you would merely be foisting yet more exploitation on our brothers and sisters in other regions of the world who would have to shoulder the workload necessary to afford you your consumerist, debt-driven comfort.
you just wouldn’t have to see it. and you’d be free of your guilt. but the suffering of our brothers and sisters globally will not be allayed by the elites in the us congress.