5 comments on “Occupy Detroit Begins

  1. Hoping the occupy continues well into the cold holidays for Massachusetts, Michigan, and the rest of the northern exposure. Say…will Immi-Suns do an occupy gig?-Gary

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  2. What makes the “Occupy Wall Street” movement a possible turning point in US politics is the return of a focus on class and economics; on “bread-and-butter” issues that directly effect the overwhelming majority of the population. Until the demise of the CP-led labor left in Cold War witch hunt days, this was what “left wing” and “radical” politics were all about…especially amongst working class militants.

    With the all too brief exception of the “anti-globilzation” movement that arose in the wake of the Battle of Seattle, US rad-left politics has been dominated by middle class identity politics and ruling class foreign policy decisions since the late 1960s. Working class struggles and the very notion of the working class as the decisive revolutionary agent were routinely written off as relics of the past, especially in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet bloc states.

    Of course the reality is that more people are members of the working class, even if it is not the “industrial” working class, than ever before. Now a movement finally appears to be arising, that even if it is in an obviously confused way, is saying that the economy is the main issue, that the bosses and bankers are the enemy responsible for the mess that the economy is in and that being workers is what is decisive and what unites us, not just as victims of the economic crisis, but as the vehicle for putting an end to that crisis as well.

    Obviously, it has a long way to go and with the elections around the corner, the Democrats and their errand boys (and girls) are hovering around to co-opt it like they did with the anti-war movement. But it was a lot harder for them to pull that kind of stuff in the anti-globalization movement because it was, whatever its shortcomings may have been, a movement against a system, rather than a single-issue like the war.

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  3. Rustbelt, very good report. But I have to disagree with one thing you wrote: “I have my own particular axe to grind about the 99% slogan; it is far too encompassing…” Really? Do you think a better slogan would be the 90%? 80%? One thing that I think is brilliant about the 99% slogan is that it basically does identify the ruling class (and its hangers-on as the ruling class is certainly much smaller than 1%) without necessarily saying so and in more accessible language than thousands of Marxist tracts talking about the ruling class or the bourgeoisie. Sure, most of the upper middle class (the 20%) will end up going with their rulers but we don’t want to just concede that class to them, do we? Many of these are well-paid professionals whose skills a future socialist society will need and even though they are privileged, they too are victims of the environmental and spiritual destruction caused by capitalism. Sure, many of them are petty exploiters in their own right, but I think it would be a mistake to write them off in our propaganda. I think the Occupy movement has been much more successful in capturing the imagination of the broadest layers of our class than anything in my memory and I think the slogan the 99% plays a big part in that.

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    • I’m not advocating any alternative slogan, the 99% thing has caught the imagination of folks for all of the right reasons. Like you, I sympathize with the impulse and like you I dig how the 99% calls out that 1% as the ruling class. It’s just that the 99% slogan doesn’t do the same for the working class. Yes I want to win those middle classes you talk about, but not on the basis of their interests, but on those of the vast majority (though not quite 99%), the working class. I think a pretty good dividing line, in terms of percentages (but these are all only metaphors aren’t they?), is that percentage of the population that has benefited from the neo-liberal assault and those that were the victims of it. Of course capitalism is ultimately destructive to everyone, but not in the same way or at the same pace. Here’s Doug Henwood’s take on those numbers: http://lbo-news.com/2011/10/01/maybe-99-is-a-bit-much-but…/

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