Here’s what’s happened:
A bunch of rich people have pinched all the money. They now use governments as an auxiliary arm of their corporations, ensuring access to taxpayers’ money, and only supporting political candidates sympathetic to their point of view. The system is now rigged for the benefit of this small group, with everyone else paying massive tithes through the avenues of rent, direct taxation and money devaluation.
The one action governments have not put on the table is clawing back substantial wealth from this small group (who have in most cases not earned it), and yet this is clearly the action that would remedy the current situation. This is because governments no longer serve the people.
Many right-wingers will say that this is the politics of envy, but by doing so they are displaying the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome.
This may make me sound like a socialist, but I’m not. I just don’t want to be ruled by a plutocracy.
Hip-hop was a problem because an underclass that had been left to die didn’t, and instead created a music decrying their conditions that was vivid, troubling and beautiful, a declaration of existence in the face of those who’d condemned them to oblivion. It screwed up the narrative, and thus was born an anti-rap racism in which symptom became cause, laments of violence and deprivation becoming justifications for violence and deprivation. Anti-rap racists hear rap music as proof that black men pose a uniquely violent danger to the American status quo, even as the entire trajectory of that status quo suggests it’s the other way around. As theories of history go it’s both aggressively incorrect and depressingly unoriginal.
Disliking hip-hop doesn’t make you a racist any more than liking hip-hop makes you not a racist, and I’m sure there are plenty of Stormfront enthusiasts with Rick Ross in their iTunes. If you don’t like Jay-Z because you just don’t like the way he sounds, or you’re sick of his cloying ubiquity, or you wish he’d talk about something other than where he’s from for five seconds—hey, I’m not mad, I don’t like Bruce Springsteen for the same reasons. But if you don’t like rap music—a genre that contains multitudes—because of a self-satisfied moralism, or because you’re scared of it, or because you wish those people would stop talking about their problems and get out of your television and radio and kids’ bedrooms: well.
It’s true that website-seizures-without-trials are not quite as lawless as indefinite detentions, since there are actual statutes conferring this power. But it nonetheless sends a very clear message when citizens celebrate a rare victory in denying the Government a power it seeks — the power to shut down websites without a trial — only for the Government to turn around the very next day and shut down one of the world’s largest and best-known sites. Whether intended or not, the message is unmistakable: Congratulations, citizens, on your cute little “democracy” victory in denying us the power to shut down websites without a trial: we’re now going to shut down one of your most popular websites without a trial.
In order to metamorphose from a protest movement into a revolutionary movement, Occupy will have to acknowledge division, build alternative practices and organizations, and assert a commonality. The set of ideas and practices built around the notion of the commons fulfills this function. The commons is a finite resource whose mode of disposition and usage is determined by the community of its users and producers. The finitude of the commons enables us to address social inequality and environmental limits to capitalist development in their dialectical unity.
How might an organisation based around the economic power of unpaid interns work? We propose focusing on the strengths of interns, and suggest a strike for social reproduction; that is, not just withdrawing ones labour but creating new models in the process. A 6 month intern strike, where young strikers liaise via social media to start producing alternative political media, organisations and campaigns? Following the model of autonomy centres and the punk movement they helped nurture across Europe, the #internstrikenow could utilise the time and network-creativity of strike-interns to produce the infrastructure for a creative movement built in opposition to capital. After leaving the boring free-labour of the office internship and spending time guiding and creating your own cultural and social movement, why would you want to return? #internstrikenow – making autonomy work for you.
I’ve heard that almost all the people crowding around the big art openings barely look at the work on display and are just there to hobnob. Nothing wrong with that, except that none of them ever come back to look at the art – but they will tell everyone, and actually believe, that they have seen the exhibition.