Home > General Comment > The end of politics as usual: The case for welcoming racists and gun nuts into Occupy

The end of politics as usual: The case for welcoming racists and gun nuts into Occupy

I find this woman fascinating. She has expressed an opinion that has been labeled anti-Semitic and probably is. Should she be expelled from the Occupy movement? Should she have lost her job?

Assume, for a moment, that she really is an egregious anti-Semite. What then should we do with her?

Then there was the guy who walked through an Occupation site in Seattle with a rifle. This also occurred in Atlanta (pictured above).

The actions and statements of these individuals raise some difficult problems for the Occupy movement that will have to be dealt with sooner or later — perhaps in the form of proposals by well-meaning but misguided folks who do not want their protest associated with that of racists, and the like. I like the exchange (below) between three folks with differing opinions on the significance of the guy in Atlanta showing up to an Occupy site with his rifle:

shoelessjoe2555: so what is he going to do if they kick them out? shoot the police? How is that peaceful or helpful at all? what a dumbass

420PATROCK: @shoelessjoe2555 You Obviously don’t like freedom. If I am using my 1st amendment and was physically forced to leave I’d be fighting till death! I SUPPORT THE 2ND AMENDMENT OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION! WE ALL SHOULD!! Can’t believe the ignorance of my fellow citizens!

shoelessjoe2555: @420PATROCK LOL. its not about the first ammendment. You can use the first ammendment, but that has nothing to do where your BODY PHYSICALLY IS!! IF it is illegal to gather in streets, that has nothing to do with your 1st ammendment right to free speech. No one is trying to silence you. There just telling you that you must respect the other laws as well. People are emotional, and bringing an assault rifle sets the wrong example. What if others take your lead, and bring guns, but they are crazy?

shoelessjoe2555: @420PATROCK What if someone who may not be as stable as you are, brings a gun, and when the police tell him that he has to move, he opens fire. The police will have to retaliate, and innocent people will get hurt. All of that, because one dumbass decided to bring an AK-47 to a protest. This isnt about protection, this is about attention. You cold have just as easily brought a concealed pistol, just in case and not told anyone, if it was just about protection. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

420PATROCK: @shoelessjoe2555 YOUR FULL OF WHAT IFS! It’s because of ignorant people like you that people like me DIE! You have no clue! READ THE 1ST AMENDMENT! … PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!! WHEN THAT IS VIOLATED.. you have the 2nd amendment.

420PATROCK: @shoelessjoe2555 Watch Occupy AZ. video. They have the right idea. Border Guard. Maybe you should educate yourself and participate in your state. Maybe get involved with the public or a Militia. You obviously have no clue what is going on. I bid you farewell sir.

ABGAN100: @shoelessjoe2555 If some one is unstable they are going to kill regardless of the law look a Andrew Brevick in Norway he dressed up as a police officer and then shot and killed nearly 80 people men women and children no one was able to oppose him because of Norway’s strict gun laws. If some one is intent on killing no law is going to stop them, and the police rarely arrive one time.

The concerns raised by the behavior of these individuals usually appears to us in this form, “Do you endorse, support, or agree with these statements or behaviors?” It also has been used in an attempt to discredit the Occupy movement. This is how the media plays them up, and how the state wants the question to be posed.

That it appears both as a personal question of endorsement, and, at the same time, a political question is not a coincidence. Since, we constitute both the media and the state, the latter only reflect our attitudes. In fact, the incidents resonate precisely because they induce a response from us — they are a provocation. Which is not to say they were consciously or deliberately done. Rather, the provocation is independent of the intention.

So, let’s make two sets of assumptions: in the first, the guy is a sincere believer in gun rights or a gun nut (depending on your leanings). And the woman is really an anti-Semite Jew-hater. In the second set of assumptions, both are plants designed to discredit the Occupy movement and to make people uncomfortable with it. It is an attempt to establish a narrative to create the conditions for marginalizing and crushing the Occupy movement.

I would argue either set of assumptions present all of us with the same options: political or direct. The political option is to respond to the provocation, irrespective of the intentions that are behind it, to “distance” the Occupy movement. The second option is that of association: refuse personally to associate with the individuals concerned.

The first option is appropriate to a political movement, and if the Occupations are to become merely political, that will do it. On the one hand will be all the people against guns or racism in any form. In the case of guns some will favor gun control, others will be responding to their fears, still others will have pacifist arguments. In the case of the woman’s anti-Semitic remarks, similar divisions will apply. Against both will be people who raise constitutional issues, or are themselves anti-Semitic or NRA members. Voting will be held, and, depending on the character of the voting process in each Occupy site, a resolution of consensus will pass or be defeated.

Whether or not the proposal passes to distance the Occupy movement from these disturbing behaviors the fact is, the Occupy movement will be politicized and subjected to one after another of these sorts of things. Someone will always be able to say or do something provoking a demand for a collective response both within and without the Occupy site.

Of course, this sort of politicization of the Occupy movement, in fact, may be difficult or impossible to derail, since, in the present context of capitalist relations, we are entirely political animals. However, an argument should at least be made for why this process is neither inevitable or necessary.

The real question raised by the Occupy movement is whether voluntary association is to replace the state, i.e., “politics as usual”. While no proposal can constitute a definitive establishment of the Occupy as a merely political movement the possibility still exists that this is what it will become in the final analysis unless clearly opposed.

We need to be clear on one thing: association is not normal for us. It requires us to do stuff we are not used to doing: like making up our own mind about what is right and acting on this decision ourselves.  Association requires each person to make her own decision on how to constitute her personal relationships and associations — there is no shortcut for this. There is no “one size fits all” approach to this process; it is by its nature empirical – the result of personal experiment and reflection. Gradually, I imagine, people learn how to establish those relations best suited to their own individual preferences.

I can’t say for sure that this is accurate, but it seems to be the only way it can happen. At least, I know of no other way.

The problem is that not just society, but each of us emerges from capitalist society with all the birthmarks of the previous epoch. Frankly, we are not nice people — we are greedy, selfish, hostile, antisocial; and we praise these vile attributes as virtues. People are going to be attracted to the Occupy movement with a range of anti-social attitudes and behaviors — not all of them as easily identifiable as a gun owner striding through the crowd; or, as bizarre as the proposal to run the Zionist jews out of the country.

What’s more, here is a big hint: if, by some luck of the draw, we actually do realize a stateless society, these same folks are not going to be magically transformed into model citizens of the commune — nor will pedophiles, rapists and serial murderers for that matter.

The Occupy movement has the potential to become what the Tea Party has become: just another political movement contending for power. And, it can become as successful as the Tea Party — in other words, not at all; just another voice in the cacophony of democracy

Or, there is a small possibility that it can become the “non-state” — society managing its own affairs directly and unmediated by politics. The deficiency of the Occupy movement is that most of the participants are entirely unaware of this other possibility. But, that is how shit works, unfortunately. The non-state is created out of the efforts of folks completely motivated by political ideology. They do it because they have no choice; because politics itself only starves them and defeats them.

However, since this is the nature of all politics presently, even the collapse of the Occupy movement into just another failed politcal movement will produce another associative movement of the same type in the future.

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  1. October 31, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    You lost me with the expression of antisemitism in the above photos. You mean the part about “pimps and drug dealers” on the woman’s protest sign?
    And about the guns, they should NOT bring guns to ANY protest. There needs to be someone delegated to check in the guns,like Wyat Earp’s Dodge City. Actually, I don’t think it’s a good idea to run this kind of protest for too long. It’s only good as long as it’s fresh. Rot will inevidably set in. Reinvent and keep it fresh.

  2. November 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Genie,

    The opinion expressed by the woman is in the link in paragraph following her picture.

    My argument in the post is that we do not need a sheriff to collect the guns. People, for the most part, can police themselves in such matter.

    I do agree that the movement should remain fresh. I think this can best be accomplished by spreading it always to new areas.

  3. November 2, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Oh I’m sorry, I was looking for something on her sign. Indeed,her statement is rather curt. However, I believe it is the Zionists who invented running people out of a country in this century, so perhaps she speaks from that concept. Makes sense when you think of it that way! Of course, all decent people find the concept and God forbid the act, offensive.

    I was watching this interesting documentary on the women of the sufferage movement. The signs they used and how they would change their sign messages and tie in their movement with every changing event that involved president Truman. I wrote down some for my occupy signs. Surprisingly, the police tactics used against these women would escalate and they were being arrested and imprisoned for up to 30 days! Can you imagine! But they were NEVER going to go away and once that messaged was realized, Truman caved. Like the saying goes: “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.” Being women, things never got out of control. Kind of an easy movement compared to others. I wonder, what if you just sent your women folk out and we were all nice and orderly…just marched around with our signs…no violence from either party! Maybe a bit of jail time….lol

  1. November 18, 2011 at 4:32 pm
  2. November 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm

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