Revolution Online, October 13, 2011
Prisoner Insights on "Occupy Wall Street"
The following letter was sent to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund:
Prisoner from the Midwest, Wed., October 5th, 2011
To whom this may concern,
I wanted to write to the paper and say a little bit about this new social movement, that started with only a dozen or so college students September 17th and now has tapped into a grassroot national sentiment amongst many.
The very name of this movement is insightful to me: Occupy Wall Street. This movement isn't primarily focused on "Occupying the White House" nor "Marching on Washington" as many reform movements tend to do, but instead they've chose to bring their message to the heart of capitalism—those who they feel are the true puppeteers behind the direction of this country and their declining conditions. Nah... this is something very different, I believe.
This particular shift in focus by the grassroots reminds me of a quote by Mao in which he once said that, "Tools are made by men. When tools call for a revolution, they will speak through men." What he meant by that in the simplest terms, is that when people find themselves facing the type of hardships economically, in the type of numbers we see today—after eight million officially lost their job during "The Great Recession" just because they were no longer profitable under this system, while many more are meeting the same fate still or facing similar worries—then, people began to question the legitimacy of the economic system itself, in revolutionary terms. And that's increasingly what we're witnessing today when we see protesters holding signs in front of Wall Street that reads: "Capitalism is the Crisis."
What I see in this Occupy Wall Street movement is a great potential, but the question yet to be answered, is in what direction will this movement ultimately seek to resolve its grievances?—in a reformist direction or in a revolutionary one. The answer to this question has yet to be answered; in which direction it will proceed, isn't inevitable by no means.
On the one hand, one can already find the bourgeois media and petty bourgeois unions, trying to co-opt this movement and contain it within "the acceptable perimeters" of bourgeois politics—in hopes that it will become a counter-trend to the Tea Party movement within a liberal Democratic form. While on the other hand, that outcome is all the more possible since the movement itself is being driven currently by a lot of spontaneity and economist trends—trends that tend to either deny the need for a coherent political line, to put forth leadership in fear that the movement will understandably be subverted from within, and/or is only limited to "economic fairness" within the existing economic system.
Anyone familiar with what Lenin had to say about these type of trends in What Is To Be Done? knows all too well that none of these tendencies are new to new social movements. What is and will be new for many in this movement, however, is to learn that there is another real alternative and solution to the direction of this movement—and that's proletarian revolution. As BA stated in BAsics 3:1:
"Let's get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.
"Now, that doesn't mean we don't unite with people in all sorts of struggles short of revolution. We definitely need to do that. But the proffering of any other solution to these monumental and monstrous problems and outrages is ridiculous, frankly. And we need to be taking the offensive and mobilizing increasing numbers of masses to cut through this shit and bring to the fore what really is the solution to this, and to answer the questions and, yes, the accusations that come forth in response to this, while deepening our scientific basis for being able to do this. And the point is: not only do we need to be doing this, but we need to be bringing forward, unleashing and leading, and enabling increasing numbers of the masses to do this. They need to be inspired, not just with a general idea of revolution, but with a deepening understanding, a scientific grounding, as to why and how revolution really is the answer to all of this." (p. 71)
Anything short of revolution, I agree, is bullshit. Just like I believe it's bullshit logic to play the board game Monopoly, and not think it's driven by a system of rules that encourages an ever-expanding gap between have and have-nots and unfairness—and actually demands such results. How could that game pan out, in the last analysis, any other way than that? So why do we pretend that capitalism will play out any differently with its system of dog-eat-dog incentives, values, and market demands? If there's anything that Monopoly should teach us analogously, is that all systems have consequences—no matter if that system is a board game or a politico-economical one, as capitalism fundamentally is. To expect any dog-eat-dog system to turn out any differently than the decline and ruin of the majority in relation to the minority population and class who profits from such relations, is tantamount to thinking that in the end, everyone can be a winner at the board game of Monopoly in actual fact and circumstance. Yet such irrationality and deception, though, is what the bourgeoisie constantly spoon feeds the general public about capitalism, when they tell us that all boats will forever rise under their class rule and hegemony. If that was even close to being true, then the average CEO's annual salary in comparison to the average worker's wouldn't had increased so disproportionally from 1980 (42:1) to 2011 (343:1) as it has.
I'm going to end this by saying, though, that I believe these new developments in this emerging movement has presented a very meaningful opportunity to introduce many more disgruntle youth and progressive people to BAsics, while thwarting the varying bourgeois representatives from suffocating this movement before it even gets a chance to reach maturity and become the solution we all desire. This is all a part of what BA means when he speaks about "hastening while awaiting." BAsics 3:7. If we succeed in doing so, Occupy Wall Street in time may morph into something more than just a spontaneous reform movement about joblessness and "economic fairness," but instead may come to represent a real proletarian "preoccupation" with achieving nothing less than state power.
In Solidarity, XXXX
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