So, there was a call out in the US for people to occupy Wall Street inspired, no doubt, by the occupation of Tahrir Square which, coupled with mass rioting, destruction of government buildings and the military changing sides, helped end the corrupt regime of Mubarek(and bring in another one on his coat tails but that’s by the by for now).
When I first heard about the plan a couple of weeks ago I did a wee bit of a face palm. After all a) there is no way on Earth that the police in New York are going to let you get away with that b) there isn’t the wide spread anger against the government in the USA that there is/was in Egypt. The largest expression of anger that I can see, aside from sporadic events as we saw recently in Wisconsin, is that of the Tea Party, not exactly progressive in nature. I also thought that if the occupation was at all successful then a lot of people were going to get shot. The finance markets have contingencies in place should one of their financial centers be closed down, especially since a certain day ten years ago, but they will still do anything in their power to prevent it from happening.
Unsurprisingly the turn out for this event was pitiful. 1,500-2,00 dwindling to a few hundred. Unsurprising for the reasons outlined above. However the states response to the protest was kinda surprising given how few people were actually involved. There have been large numbers of arrests and people have been, to one extent or another, brutalised by the police. The video below has shocked a large number of people. If you don’t want to watch it features police using an orange net/fence to pen in a group of unarmed women who they then proceed to pepper spray into submission. like I said, brutal.
Brutal but hardly surprising. The reason for the occupation was to shut down the financial center of global capitalism. The bad guys don’t like it when you come a knocking, as has been seen countless times in the past(trigger ahoy).
Obviously it is terrible that this has happened to these poor people. The violence of the state is all the more sickening because it is portrayed as somehow legitimate. What gets my goat and bewilders me is how people can be so ignorant of their own history that they are shocked and do not expect this kind of reaction from the powers that be. Movements for social change need to be aware of their own history and need to shed the liberal lie and fetishisation of violence. The state has no such fetish for violence, it simply sees it as a tool it is willing to use. With precise and deadly skill.
If you attack the forces of capital then they will respond. You can not win by shaming them into submission. you can not vote them out of their positions of power. If it were possible do you think we would even be able to vote? If we are going to change society for the better then we need to forget the ridiculous notion that the ruling class and its agents will act in a civilised manner. The only use they have for civilised behaviour is as a tool with which to try and shame us into inaction.
They have been pepper spraying us, beating us, imprisoning us, shooting us and executing us for as long as we have been trying to make the world a resource for all to enjoy rather than but a privileged few. If you want to change the world then educate yourself. Read about where we have succeeded and where we have failed. Educate yourself about the lengths to which the ruling class will go to maintain their grasp over the produce of our collective labour.
For more information on the history of class struggle and how it is waged today then see the links below.
- LibCom: A massive online resource of documents and a lively discussion forum
- The Anarchist Federation: UK based federation of class struggle anarchists
- Solidarity Federation: UK member of the International Workers Association