“They are striking against power”

Photo Credit: Timothy A. Clary

The revolutionists in Nio, they come from that same tradition. They weren’t just striking for better wages or protesting the draft. They are not only socialists, they are anarchists; they were striking against power. You see, the size of the demonstration, the intensity of popular feeling, and the government’s panic reaction, all seemed very hard to understand. Why the commotion? The government here is not despotic. The rich are very rich indeed, but the poor are not so very poor. They are neither enslaved nor starving. Why aren’t they satisfied with bread and speeches? Why are they supersensitive? … Now I begin to see why.

—Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed

Certainly not all of the protesters in Liberty Plaza would identify as anarchists.  But the binding thread, the living heart, of the non-hierarchical, decentralized, self-organizing movement to Occupy Wall Street  lies here.   They are striking against inequity and they are striking against power–the power of banks, of corporations, of the corporate media, of the government, of wealth and privilege.  And the non-structure of the movement itself reflects these essential anarchistic ideals.  The medium is the message.

To much of the rest of the world, all of this is obvious.  But in these Benighted States, where the word “anarchy” is most associated most closely with chaos and destruction, it’s a point that needs to be made.

(About The Dispossessed:  by all means, read this beautiful and important book if you have not yet done so (a good place to buy a copy online is at  Women & Children First.)    Along these same lines, also check out Marina Sitrin’s work on horizontalism (horizontalidad) in Argentina.)


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