Skepoet interviewed me, covering a range of issues related to my core argument in my occupation of the Marxist Academy.

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  1. Tim
    May 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I’ve been catching up on past archives. Invigorating stuff, even if I frequently disagree. You should consider submitting material to Jacobin (http://jacobinmag.com/blog/), in my opinion one of the better leftwing journals in the U.S. today.

  2. May 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Hi Jehu. I am writing from Argentina, where we had very interesting moments from the end of 2001 up to the end of 2002. Like a lot of people I fully engaged in the movement of the Asambleas from the very beggining, in the city of Rosario. In that city, unlike Buenos Aires, the movement was more “pure”, in the sense that the classical leninist/trotskyst/otherst organizations didn’t care about it. Lucky of us.
    That movement was different to your Occupy movement in a lot of ways. But I think that in some important aspects they may be close.
    What was the most important (to me) was to see ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and non-ordinary people (old militants) doing things extraordinary even for them. I can say, without a doubt, it was by far the most powerful experience in my entire life.
    That experience drove me to 3 new thoughts.
    1) You don’t need any leninist/trotskyst/otherst organization to create such a wonderful movement. When they arrived to capturate the direction of the movement, the people in the asambleas treated them nice, like people. But the far-left-burocratical-machine couldn’t stand that and acted like a machine. So, they were expelled.
    2) Although the majority were ordinary people, thew weren’t doing ordinary things, and as the experience was developing, they began to think, talk and act, and to relate to each other, in a very different way. Some people were non-ordinary (they had past experiences as militants in leftists organizations -as I-, or they were in some of that organizations at the time). Anyway, something extraordinary was happening to us, because we were having the opportunity to be a part of the movement WITH all our past experiences and knowledges, BUT in a non-alienated way. It was hard, but it was beautiful. People, ordinary people, can change the way they live, but in doing so they became different, extraordinary. So, in my view, ordinary people can’t change anything, but they can became extraordinary, and in doing so they can change everything. Other point: People with some special knowledge in economics, politics, sociology, mass media, history, etc can do a lot for the movement but only if they find the way to feel a part of it and to assume that you are one more participant, with all your differences, but only one more.
    3) The possibility to became extraordinary depends on a very traumatic event. Back in those days everybody felt we were in the end of an epoch. And the future was very obscure, dark, terra incognita. So I think people can became extraordinary in extraordinary times. And it is not only a matter of saying “why not…?”, “what if….?”, but also the extreme complexity that humans have, even when we act so normal…
    So, in conclusion, the diccotomy between spontaneous or party-directed movements is abstract because the leninist approach takes the people implicitly as always ordinary and the spontaneous approach I think do the same. In revolutionary times is there a grate chance for everybody to became extraordinary. This include old militants.

    • May 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm

      I agree with you on this. I was lucky enough to spend time in Argentina during the crisis and the spirit of struggle exhibited by ordinary people overwhelmed me. I thank you for you comments.

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