Where the state and the interests of owners have made them inaccessible, exclusive or dangerous, it is up to us to make sure that they are safe, inclusive and just. We have and must continue to open them to anyone that wants to build a better world, particularly for the marginalised, the excluded and those groups who have suffered the worst. What you do in these spaces is neither as grandiose and abstract nor as quotidian as "real democracy"; the nascent forms of praxis and social engagement being made in the occupations avoid the empty ideals and stale parliamentarianism that the term democracy has come to represent.
And so the occupations must continue, because there is no one left to ask for reform. They must continue because we are creating what we can no longer wait for. But the ideologies of property and propriety will manifest themselves again. Whether through the overt opposition of property owners or municipalities to your encampments or the more subtle attempts to control space through traffic regulations, anti-camping laws or health and safety rules.
There is a direct conflict between what we seek to make of our cities and our spaces and what the law and the systems of policing standing behind it would have us do.
We faced such direct and indirect violence, and continue to face it. Those who said that the Egyptian revolution was peaceful did not see the horrors that police visited upon us, nor did they see the resistance and even force that revolutionaries used against the police to defend their tentative occupations and spaces: by the government's own admission, 99 police stations were put to the torch, thousands of police cars were destroyed and all of the ruling party's offices around Egypt were burned down.
Barricades were erected, officers were beaten back and pelted with rocks even as they fired tear gas and live ammunition on us. But at the end of the day on 28 January they retreated, and we had won our cities. It is not our desire to participate in violence, but it is even less our desire to lose. If we do not resist, actively, when they come to take what we have won back, then we will surely lose. Do not confuse the tactics that we used when we shouted "peaceful" with fetishising nonviolence; if the state had given up immediately we would have been overjoyed, but as they sought to abuse us, beat us, kill us, we knew that there was no other option than to fight back.
Had we laid down and allowed ourselves to be arrested, tortured and martyred to "make a point", we would be no less bloodied, beaten and dead. Be prepared to defend these things you have occupied, that you are building, because, after everything else has been taken from us, these reclaimed spaces are so very precious. By way of concluding, then, our only real advice to you is to continue, keep going and do not stop.
Occupy more, find each other, build larger and larger networks and keep discovering new ways to experiment with social life, consensus and democracy.
Discover new ways to use these spaces, discover new ways to hold on to them and never give them up again. Resist fiercely when you are under attack, but otherwise take pleasure in what you are doing, let it be easy, fun even. We are all watching one another now, and from Cairo we want to say that we are in solidarity with you, and we love you all for what you are doing. Topics Occupy movement Opinion. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. In the s when the Populist Party rose to prominence in the U.
The Populists wanted electoral reforms to squeeze corruption out of politics, pushed for progressive taxation of income, demanded public control of banking, railroads, and utilities, favored silver over gold in order to expand and cheapen credit, and fought for more public schools and colleges. They were not hayseeds. Nor were they remembered as such.
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In for example, the New York Times headlined a liberal congressional effort to defeat A. As part of the generation who had witnessed the rise of Stalin and Hitler, these ex-radicals thought they saw in the mass following of Joe McCarthy the kind of authoritarian mobilization that had led to catastrophe in Europe and elsewhere. Since McCarthy came from Wisconsin, and made a regular habit of denouncing Washington civil servants, liberal academics, and moderate Republicans, Hofstadter et al. In this reading of their history, Populist mythology celebrated virtuous farmers at the expense of urban sophisticates, found financial conspiracies responsible for the business cycle, and traded in anti-Semitic stereotypes and innuendo Bell D.
Meanwhile, in political scientist Michael Rogin demolished the idea of a generational or demographic linkage between the Populists, illiberal or otherwise, and the followers of Joe McCarthy. In his The Intellectuals and McCarthy: The Radical Specter, Rogin found that the McCarthyites in the s Midwest were far more closely associated with traditional Republican conservatism than with any authoritarianism arising out of plebian angst Nugent W.
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The actual Populists of the s, with their well-defined program, their own political party, their affinity for organized labor, and their rootedness in clearly-defined communities, has been forgotten except by academic specialists. Instead, the word populist, following from the work of Bell, Lipset, and Hofstadter, has been applied toward those movements that have arisen as an unstable, often irrational hostility toward an ill-defined elite. George Wallace seemed an early embodiment of the kind of demagogic candidates for high office who took advantage of this strain in American politics Kazin M.
Over the next half century the populist moniker became a shape shifting category, often an explanatory phrase deployed by journalists to describe the appeal and the following of almost any rightwing politician defaming liberal elites, but also applied at various times to those on the left who supported Jimmy Carter, Jim Hightower, Jerry Brown, and Howard Dean. But even more important than the cultural posture or economic program held by those labeled contemporary populists, is another feature of their politics: the atomization and anti-institutionalism of their struggle, a condition that sometimes applies as much to those on the left as on the right.
Almost by definition, populists are unorganized in any meaningful sense. They do not function through and with an institution, except perhaps via intense engagement in partisan politics at the height of the campaign season.
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Mass rallies offer an emotive substitute for substantive political organization and engagement. This kind of populism is therefore the label attached to protest sentiment unmoored by institutional loyalties Goldberg J.
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- The Prophets Among Us.
And such populism is by common if unstated agreement, exclusively white. On the Right, virtually all political activity is white. Such a critique has been part of democratic discourse for centuries.
Such hostility to political and cultural pluralism has generated historical catastrophes well known to the 20th century. But anti-elitism does not have to be culturally or ideologically authoritarian nor does identity politics always have negative consequences.
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We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone. It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own. While the union makes us strong. Indeed, this was the fate of two of the most inspiring and successful campaigns of recent years. Despite all the plans and determination to build a post-election infrastructure, neither the campaigns of Obama in nor Sanders in were able to sustain much of an organization independent of the candidate and viable in its own right Brown D.
At Longview and Boron, the striking workers were organized, not merely in a legal or economic sense, but on a trajectory that extended from the social and ideological to the profoundly emotive and personal. Although in each case a powerful corporation was the aggressor, the workers were not mere victims, but combatants, empowered by their friendships, their local union, the larger ILWU, and supporters across the country and even abroad. Rico Tinto locked out hundreds of these unionists and replaced them with others, often less skilled, who were glad to find almost any job.
But unlike so many others, then and now, who found their jobs stolen or abolished by global production shifts, these Boron workers were not alone. They had prepared for the lockout in a collective fashion, with meetings, strategy sessions, and on-the-job slowdowns and stoppages.
The ILWU sent in food caravans, organized demonstrations, and enlisted friendly politicians to put pressure on Rico Tinto. They attended rallies in which prominent labor leaders attacked the global elite, but these workers could also speak for themselves. Their fight was in the news on almost a daily basis and they had their own trusted spokesmen and women who put forth an ideologically and political coherent defense of their cause Olney P.
Many of the workers, especially in heavily Mormon Boron, were Republicans, later Trump Republicans, 4 but their anti-corporate fight was of a far more concrete, programmatic, and efficacious sort than that rhetorically offered by the politicians labeled populist during the campaign season. In The New York Times, for example, reporters rarely used the word populist or populism during the era, through , when the trade union idea was ascendant or when those institutions wielded great economic power. But as the unions declined and ceased to poise even much of a verbal challenge to existing corporate or governmental elites, populism rose to prominence as a descriptive label for working class or insurgent sentiment.
Starting as a mere protest candidate, the Sanders candidacy quickly transcended the marginality into which it had been cast by all credentialed observers. His voters were also of a lower income than those of Trump Silver N. His campaign built a mass constituency, pushed Hillary Clinton to the left, and energized a new generation of young voters.
Debs and Norman Thomas campaigned for the presidency is a remarkable testimony to the fading away of an older, Cold War inspired, taboo. But such a label does not necessarily tell us all that much about the actual content of his politics or the structure of his movement. The meaning of the word socialism has morphed and evolved in countless ways during the last century, so it would be churlish to measure Sanders against an abstract and a-historical standard and thereby declare his program timid and misplaced. But compared to the old s Populists, Sanders is not all that much of a radical.
He does not favor nationalization of the banks or utilities, which was central to the Populist Omaha Platform of And many of these partisans have joined house parties and other organizations, including the rapidly expanding Democratic Socialists of America, to build something approaching a permanent fraction within the larger Democratic Party.
But the extent to which such a quasi-organization will outlive the campaign is problematic. In this respect the Sanders campaign resembles less the Populist Party of the s or the Socialist Party a decade later, than the episodic and impermeant populist insurgencies of more recent decades. Sanders supported those occupations of urban parks, university campuses, and other public spaces; and many Occupiers were among the first volunteers joining the Sanders campaign for the Democratic Party nomination. Indeed, it is a tribute to the programmatic coherence of his campaign, in stark and salutary contrast to the studied refusal of the Occupiers to prioritize or even enunciate their politico-economic demands, that explains some of the great success enjoyed by Sanders in the first half of It is time to say loudly and clearly that corporate greed and the war against the American middle class must end.
Enough is enough! It offers an ineffectual strategy for building the kind of movement that Sanders and his supporters hope to construct.
This is not a social category that can be mobilized. It is a statistical construct. One does not have to be a Marxist to recognize that class is not defined by income, consumption, or even education, but by the power and autonomy — or the lack thereof — which people who sell their labor for their wages experience in daily life.