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On Protest and the "Occupy"-Movement
by Arno Kloenne
Email: mbatko (nospam) yahoo.com
03 Feb 2012
National economies are now subject to the pressures of this supra-national financial "market" and to the institutions helpful to this market like the IMF and the European Central Bank. "Bailout umbrellas" at the expense of the common taxpayer are opened up.
ON PROTEST AND THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT
By Arno Kloenne
[This article on anarchism published in: graswurzel.net January 2012 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://wwwgraswurzel.net/365/occupy.shtml.]
The judgment of the near German president Joachim Gauck on the protest movement against the worldwide power of the financial market evading all democratic control was “simply only nonsense.”
The verbal reactions of representatives of the German party cartel were different. These representatives expressed complete understanding for the outrage over the speculative intrigues of the banks and capital funds. But peace and quiet must obviously be respected by the rebels, the political professionals always added. A little protest was a vent or outlet. At the same time there was the expectation that the unrest would be calmed again by itself. Then the political class could carry on as in the past.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
The governing have also known for a long while that they had to adjust their activity to “systematically” changed conditions. One after another, politicians in European countries fell from their officers. In Greece and Italy, they were replaced by “experts” who have to execute the interests of international banks. Compared to them, Germany seems successful. It still enjoys the trust of the “higher being,” the mysterious supreme authority of the “financial market.”
At the party convention of the CDU, the German chancellor spoke of “epochal changes and challenges,” of the “turn of fate” that had to be “faced.”
WHAT CHANGES? WHO CHALLENGES WHOM?
Far-reaching innovations are carried out within the dominant global capitalist economy that cause dramatic social problems and annul traditional functions of nation-state parliamentary political regulation. This can be concisely outlined.
For years, the highly speculative financial sphere has led the way in the exploitation of capital over the productive economy and the “real” services. Ever new “financial products” determine the processes of awarding credit and making profits.
National economies are now subject to the pressures of this supra-national financial “market” and to institutions helpful for this market like the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Stabilization Fund. “Bailout umbrellas” at the expense of the common taxpayer are opened up where banks bet “wrongly” in this turbulent competition. State indebtedness brings whole nations into disrepute in the lending business and leads to the incapacitation of their governments. Where there are losers, there are also winners. Financial speculation leads high profits. Indebted public budgets pay high interests. The epochal rise of the financial “market” means gigantic debt burdens for the tax-financed public budget – and huge wealth formation in private hands for a small layer of the population.
The social-material polarization has massively intensified recently in all the rich European countries. Poverty zones form on this continent between its states and even within its wealthy countries.
Wages are lowered and working conditions made precarious under the pressure to realize the highest possible profit rates and competitively defeat other “market actors.” In the state budgets, “debt brakes” lead to the dismantling of social services.
That the parliamentary and party hustle and bustle is prone to be influenced by economic interests not legitimated democratically is not new. However systemic “innovations” are also carried out. Nation-state parliaments and governments are helplessly handed over the priority of the international financial “market.” Financial- and economic policy is only focused on winning the “confidence” of the power-brokers of this “financial sphere” not open to easy reach.
The European parliament cannot compensate for this functional loss of state democracy.
So we fall into the epoch of “post-democracy” as political scientists coolly describe this developing form of rule.
“Restrain the banks!” This is a plausible demand as a direction of a protest movement against the creeping assumption of political power by the financial “market.”
The chance of this groping protest lies in keeping at a distance the paralyzing words of consolation of the conventional political management and carrying on the argument with the financial authorities and their servants in the institutions including political leaders.
That no fixed formulated program is bound with “occupy” is not a disadvantage. Who can claim to have the panacea for the problems of economic life in one’s pocket or computer?
Criticizing a protest movement for its “chaotic” discussions without firm positions is nonsense. Should they adopt a curriculum from the Bertelsmann foundation?
Autonomy also means developing learning processes and defining the forms of common reflection , exchange of opinions and agreements on the next steps oneself. This obviously involves risks.
NAMING SEVERAL RISKS
Insistence on the right to independence, protest can delimit itself to much from other addressable groups and unnecessarily become an “island.”
Whoever wants to bring movement in society must be open for companions on the way and new alliances and guard against claims of absolute representation.
Oppositional social forces were and are often wasted by fixation on the conflict in their environment. While it should be vigilant, protest needs focus on actuality and on the argument that very different things could happen. Alternatives are possible. But not everything that can and should be in the future will be realized tomorrow. Whoever wants to meddle politically may not forfeit him/herself in a downward trajectory. Every oppositional movement needs a long breadth.
The economic system from which emerged the destructive operations of the financial “market” will not disappear in a crash.
Criticism and re4sistance, alternative drafts and experiments have a long history. A protest movement lives from exaggeration and imaginative actions. This does not mean it can renounce on developing its analytical abilities. The call “Restrain the banks” sets the direction.
A protest movement depends on continuing questions and explanations. What structures do banks and other capital funds use in their positions of power? How does established politics play along? Where are the possibilities of interfering in the short-term in the high-handedness of the financial “market”? What arte alternatives from a long-term perspective? All these questions cannot be left to the “experts.”
Democracy also means “theory” is not a privilege of academic “authorities.” Theory should be “occupied.” Why should the occupy movement only tackle the banks?
GLOBAL CHANGE – A POSSIBLE WORLD IS DIFFERENT!
Occupy calls to worldwide demonstrations
[This call to demonstrations published 1/2/2012 is translated from the German on the Internet.]
On January 15, 2012, we will take to the streets worldwide because we call for a fundamental change of the political, economic and social system.
The grave problems and injustice in the economy, environment and social coexistence are global symptoms of a social system that does not function any more and of the continual dismantling of democracy, of a non-cooperative monetary system and unjust property relations. In addition, there are many other problems.
The system is not in crisis; the crisis is the system!
Only together will we be able to develop a just and solidarian coexistence. Therefore we call for a genuine democracy, decentralized and base democratic structures in which everyone has a voice and is heard.
The competitive principle drummed into us from childhood ensures ruthless rivalry and hinders us from working together on dignified living conditions for everyone.
We are many and very different persons from all social strata and age groups. We do not feel represented any more by elected politicians and see massive democratic deficiencies in today’s system of parties and representatives. Political decision-making processes become increasingly non-transparent and increasingly prone to influencing by lobby organizations which evade democratic control and legitimation more and more. In addition, this system leads to a competition-oriented division of our society. We want everyone to have a voice and be heard. We want direct participation of everyone; we want genuine democracy!
Only a minority always profits from wars. Countless persons pay with their body and life. Whole regions are destroyed and made uninhabitable and resources plundered. All this happens day after day in this world, even in the name of “our democracy” and supported by “our government.” German weapons firms supply conflicting parties and earn in the suffering of others. We say end all wars and stop all war preparations!
A BENUINE CHANGE
For us, the economic and financial system must be completely reorganized. This reorganization implies the dissolution of private banks operating internationally, the socialization of big global concerns and the just distribution of existing assets. There is enough for everyone! No one needs to suffer hunger and live in bitter poverty. All this is the result of unjust distribution.
We should rethink the idea of money. We need just and functioning financial-, economic- and monetary systems that in a non-cyclical way lead to new crises, heavy debts and concentrations of assets. We say: end the profit- and growth mania and stop the degradation of people to “human capital”! Put an end to the uncontrolled exploitation of animals and the environment! Cooperation instead of competitive thinking! A possible world is different! How? To decide, everyone must meet and discuss alternative solutions.
FREEDOM AND HUMAN RIGHTS
We call for the absolute observance of human rights worldwide.
Everything is in vain without freedom. We demand an end to state supervision of private areas of life: stop building ever-new monitoring tools. We demand the unconditional right of assembly and an unrestricted freedom of speech and freedom of the press worldwide!
Occupy! Together one is not alone!