I spent a few hours with the Austin Occupy City Hall movement today. Like much of the movement, most of the time of the meeting was spent with dealing with internal problems, such as sleeping arrangements, camping equipment such as tarps sheets and blankets, rules regarding excess clothes, powerwashers, first aid, food arrangements and other “incidents” that may have happened.
Very little time was spent penetrating the issues occupy stands for, as Pops the leader of the group said very poignantly “we’re homeless, we cant do much. our best hope is to possibly make an impact on an individual” he implied that what the group needed was patronage and financial support of the middle and upper class.
There was a well-rounded documentary film maker, he’s working on a project and we’ll see how it turns out. Otherwise, most of the occupiers more or less believe their best hope is getting people to read signs, become educated, and more informed “on the issues”. basically a liberal progressive means of rebellion. It reminded me of the scene from CHE when he’s camping in bolivia trying to start another revolution, this time a latin american one (in the hopes of emperor BOLIVAR) the revolutionaries find out that the communist party of bolivia does not support an armed struggle and cannot afford to pay their stipends. Most of the men quickly turn despairing “How will I take care of my family?” Most of the urban farmers could only fight the revolution on the terms that the communist party would still continue to support them, and once they found out they would be getting no help the movement quickly died.
What we need is something like the original 80 guys who conquered Cuba (only 12 survived to see it to the end) which simultaneously already works with existing movements but also has members that are completely self-sacrificial without any deep worldly attachments. If Occupy can create an international dialogue with those around the world who are also fighting their ruling classes, international bankers, and global power elite (india/syria/saudiarabia/yemen/libya/south africa/argentina/venezuela/spain/ [parts of the eurozone opposing neoliberal economic policies ]/ the french insurrection/london riots/anonymous/) it might go further than the battle of seattle, and other left leaning egatlitarian democratic movements againts globalization. If it continues to isolate itself, and have general meetings purely on interntal regulatory problems (problems that only deal with perpeuating occupy, not actually DOING a beligerent political action) it will continue to disolve, and will be used to constrain the debate in the future
“…well you saw what happened with OWS, do you really want another movement like that?”
It’s one thing to believe in Globalization, as in you believe it is a fact of reality that the market of social relations will inevitably lead to human progress, specification of tasks, the free market, survival of the fittest, and ultimately most beneficial for the entire world and you agree to books like “The World is Flat“.
It’s another thing to believe that you exist in a world full of people who believe in Globalism, and that the “action’ of “globalisizing” is having its effects, and people are starting to act think and do more along these lines, that things contingently could be another way even if they progress towards one world market as we speak, that history operates in cycles of power, and that CURRENTLY globalization is a phenemological reality because its an ideological domination, and not vice versa.
I believe I am existing in a world where the multi-national financial global movement is taking off, that previously it was pushed through the 1960s-1980’s through war, 1990’s softly through affleuncy and capitalism, 2001 + militaristically under the guise of pre-emption, and the fall of the housing market (the other reason for banks). I believe I cannot conceptually wrap its effects, as each country is in each of its own phases of accepting/rejecting the neoliberal global package and one can hardly surmise how every country in every instance relates to this global normativity.
Imagine the battle of Thermopylae would of been lost, crushing athenian democracy all over the world. Now, imagine existing in a world dominated by Persia, Would it be insane to imagine what Atheninan Democracy would look like? If you were an archaeologist would it worthwhile to look at the ruins of the athenian and roman empires like we do now with the incas, aztecs, and mayans, hoping to find a clue to their organizational structure looking for meaning and purpose? Would it be worthwhile to consider what an athenian democracy might look like “nowadays” even though, living in a persian world, we’d know not to attempt such a “barbarian method of governance”
The answer to these rhetorical questions is simple, and these questions end up looking rediculous… we emphatetically ought to yell “of course”. We imagine in a hitler run world that naturally, people would investigate capitalism and socialism and all of these other things,
The Hegenomical idea would be globalization, but the fact (like the hitlerian fact) would be neoliberal domination. We currently live in a world completely dominated by neoliberal economics and this as seen as a “univerisalization”
“”What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” –
So one can BELIEVE in this reality, but one may strive to choose to live and to create a new world beyond the scope of neoliberalism. The first step is seeing that this movement toward globailzation is not a “universal feature of human reasoning” that anyone or any culture would eventually grow to determine as the best practices, with enough time, but a set and style and method of running things that has and does tend to particularly benefit some people over others. Recognizing economic contingency is key, especially in recognizing how often we’ve transfered the value of things in the past.
“Both ’empire’ and ‘imperialism’ derive from ‘imperium’ a latin noun reffering to ‘power’ and ‘command’. After the long reign of Caesar August that marked the final demise of the Roman Republic in the early first century CE, imperium signified the Emperor’s ‘legal power to enforce the law’ a function he would routinely delegate to his chief military leaders and civil magistrates. Operating within a Hellenic cultural framework, the Roman inherited the Stoic conception that an empire was universal, in the sense of partaking of universal reason, and, therefore, valid for all societies. Hence, the concept of imperium implied a universal humanitarian mission of “Spreading civilization” to the rest of the World. Romans were convinced that only the complete conquest and civilization of all “barbarians” residing beyond the borders of the empire would ultimately lead to a harmonious union of the world’s peoples under Roman leadership, thus establishing peace, order, and justice on earth.”
“With the modern spread of liberal capitalist democracy and its professed ideals of freedom, equality, and national self-determination, ’empire’ aquired the rather undesirable connotation of political oppression and coercion–a charge most vehemently rejected by those powers that seem to deserve it the most. With the end of the colonial era after World War II, the world’s powers claimed to seek benign influence rather than domination. American and Soviet leaders eagler attempted to substantiate their assertion that their respective nations were not involved in an “imperialist” enterprise by pointing to the lack of what had always been seen as the hallmark of empire: direct or indirect political rule over formally annexed or incorporate external terrorities”
– Manfred Steger
Made famous by Antonio Gramsci, a leading socialist thinker who died in 1937 in a fascist italian prison, “Hegemony can be defined as a power relationship between social groups and classes in which one class exercises control by gaining the active consent of subordinate groups. According to Gramsci, this process involves the internalization on the part of the subordinate classes of the moral and cultural values, the codes of practical conduct, and the worldview of the dominant classes” – Manfred B. Steger, Roots of Globalism
It is an implicit control level, and its valve is hidden in the integrated layers of our social values. If there was a board where we must fit triangles and cubes through it to match, our triangles and cubes would our ideas and us being integrated and the board to match would be the socially believed set of acceptable “answers”, the requirements of requirementabilty.
We don’t understand why sometihng is popular at the fashion runway in an odd fancy language, then 5 months later it trickles down to Banana Republic, then a few months later to The Gap, eventually a year and a half later scraping its way onto the Old Navy where suddenly it is on sale, then it ends up at walmart 5 months after that point, then its useless. These trends emerge from higher up, and we have groups of scientists who function like consumer think tanks, and celebrities who act like functioning scientologists who slowly induce is into finding certain things “cool” or in most cases “polite”.
The fact that its Ok to say “pussy” on TNT on gran turino but they bleep out other words is part of it. It’s a dominance in the symbolic universe, not one through coerceion.
“Submerged in a symbolic universe created by the dominant group, the subordinant groups give their spontaneous consent to the social logic of domination that is embedded in hegemonic ideology. This allows dominant groups to maintain a social order favoring their own interests in ‘informal’ ways– that is, largely without having to resort to open coercion” – Manfred B. Steger
A king who used to be able to take an enemy and splay them in front of an open public has less power than a king now, who can make everyone laugh at a ridiculous idea even before it’s left the mouth of his opponent. Violence had grown too obvious as a dominant power structure, it had to be subverted into controlling the limits of conversation (discursive structures) to make certain types of investigations impossible (into the nature of the power structure itself) even as the enlightnment project heralded their objective ambitionless neutral investigation they had to hide their associations with the Power Elite!