'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Occupy Sacramento Meltdown 

Watch live streaming video from occupysacto at livestream.com

Fatigue, the emergence of personal and political conflicts among the participants and a feminist fissure as a consequence of the men, it seems, deciding to prevent an alleged sexual assault in the area from being publicized during the assembly are the prominent features of this tumultuous session. Security comes across as a predominately male concern, while the women rightly criticize the failure of the group to recognize that the violence used to intimidate women is part and parcel of the violence of the American capitalist system directed against all of its victims, foreign and domestic.

In this, we encounter a rather odd instance of that old Marxist attitude that sexism is a secondary contradiction that awaits resolution upon the coming of the revolution. Social movements that marginalize women in this way invariably fail, and many of the catastrophic defeats of the 20th Century possess this feature. For now, though, the immediate peril is that Occupy Sacramento will find itself reduced to a kind of reality TV entertainment, a political version of Survivor. But Nagisa Oshima's films about the conflicts of avant-garde and leftist youth, particularly, Night and Fog in Japan, The Man Who Left His Will on Film, A Treatise on Japanese Bawdy Songs and Diary of a Shinjuku Thief, are probably a more apt parallel.

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