Monday, October 24, 2011

OWS and sustainable microcultures

The 'Occupy' movement has exploded recently, and the above interview with R. U. Sirius and Richard Metzger has reminded me about some of the reasons why. OWS started out with the support of Anon, a fairly potent meme factory, and as a result, Occupy has spread far and wide, beginning as a kind of half-protest-half-TAZ and eventually becoming a kind of franchise-state Christiania.

This is not like a Hoovertown. The people participating in OWS are middle class, not lower class, and can certainly afford to live in houses rather than tents. But, as a result of good organization and attempts to gain and maintain good will from nearby organizations, various Occupy movements have become miniature communities with their own periodicals, health care, economy, government, and community activities. For the number of protests and the variety of locales (over forty countries are being occupied -- this is not limited to the united states by any means) there has been minimal state-sanctioned violence (which is not to say that there's none, or that the violence that has occurred is any less despicable).

Previous discussion of the movement has been predicated upon the assumption that it would end after some change had been made in local, state, national, or global governance, but if this indeed goes on for years (as Christiania did on a much smaller scale), it may well be that Occupy communes will cohabit with or perhaps even outlive those states that encompass them. If anything, it is a proof of concept -- but I will be interested in seeing whether these protests survive the winter, and perhaps the following winter.

Update: Great minds think alike