Ghost of occupy past

Posted: 17 December 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

westminster_protest 162

Occupy London may have dwindled somewhat, “with a few brave souls gathering on the steps of St Paul’s once a week to debate what to do with the £37 in the kitty.”

But, Charlie informs me, the interview I did with the Occupied Times exactly one year ago did in fact appear.

OT: If you could have Occupy achieve one thing, what would it be?

DR: I think the Occupy movement has already achieved what I wanted: it’s disrupted and changed the terms of the existing discourse. The opposition between the 1 percent and everyone else has put a whole host of items on the agenda, especially the increasingly stark and actually grotesque levels of inequality in the distribution of income and wealth within and across countries, that had been largely ignored within mainstream discourse.

And if you pushed me a bit further, I’d say I want one thing: a growing commitment to the idea of engaging in a “ruthless criticism of all that exists.”

OT: How can a broad-ranging movement like Occupy engage in “critical thinking”?

DR: It’s easy, actually. First, there wouldn’t be an Occupy movement unless critical thinking had been taking place. The people who started the movement and those who have since joined were already thinking critically about the economic and political institutions that created the current crises.

People are connecting the dots and asking critical questions about, for example, the relationship between economic and political power, the role unemployment plays within capitalism, and how workers themselves are quite capable of making the key decisions about what should be done with the surplus they produce.

In the past, the pact with the devil meant giving control of the surplus to the top 1 percent as long as they made decisions to create jobs, fund schools and healthcare, and take care of the natural environment so that the majority of people could lead a decent life. But, as has often been the case, those at the top broke the pact (simply because they had the means and interest to do so) and now they’ve lost their legitimacy to run things.

  1. […] have long argued (e.g., here and here) that capitalism involves a kind of pact with the devil: control over the surplus was […]

  2. […] have long argued (e.g., here, here, and here) that capitalism involves a kind of pact with the devil: control over the surplus […]

  3. […] have long argued (e.g., here, here, and here) that capitalism involves a kind of pact with the devil: control over the surplus […]

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