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

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Doctor Hedges Misdiagnoses the Decline of Occupy (Part 2) 

t at Pink Scare demonstrates, yet again, that he is one of the most incisive critics of Chris Hedges' condemnation of the Black Bloc, and the evasion of the true challenges facing Occupy:

So, the question of Black Bloc: Pro or Con? is not one that can be answered abstractly. It should only be answered by direct participants in a mass movement who collectively debate and deliberate together in an open, democratic spirit. To think that a few self-appointed experts could answer this question for everyone in a couple of widely-publicized internet debates misses this crucial point.

As I responded in the comments to his post:

Curiously, both Hedges and those who practice violent Bloc tactics want to impose their approach on everyone else. In this, they are reverse sides of the same coin.

In each instance, the people are absent. Both approaches will shrink the movement instead of expanding it, because, even though Hedges has the right result for current conditions, non-violence, it is being dictated from above with no opportunity for discussion.

As I posted yesterday, there are many people living in distressed conditions that should be gravitating to Occupy. One reason is that they are not doing so is because they are legitimately frightened of the terrible things that can happen if they are subjected to police violence. But there is a bigger problem, they are also hesitant because the movement is not sufficiently open enough to them, not yet able to devise ways of incorporating their experience into it.

Neither Hedges nor the defenders of Bloc tactics have anything to say about this, about the need to focus our attention on the people who are not already part of Occupy.

Only through an emphasis upon the most rigorously inclusive, anti-authoritarian practice can the participants within Occupy induce the victims of the existing social order to collectively resist it. For leftists and progressives who come from privileged backgrounds, like Hedges, this is a disconcerting prospect, one that requires them to relinquish the exercise of hierarchical authority to which they have become accustomed if they are going to continue to remain a positive influence within the movement.

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