Monday, April 30, 2012

Should we be thankful for Occupy Assemblies?

"The anarchists’ way of operating was changing our very idea of what politics could be in the first place. This was exhilarating. Some occupiers told me they wanted to take it home with them, to organize assemblies in their own communities. It’s no accident, therefore, that when occupations spread around the country, the horizontal assemblies spread too.
At its core, anarchism isn’t simply a negative political philosophy, or an excuse for window-breaking, as most people tend to assume it is. Even while calling for an end to the rule of coercive states backed by military bases, prison industries and subjugation, anarchists and other autonomists try to build a culture in which people can take care of themselves and each other through healthy, sustainable communities. Many are resolutely nonviolent. Drawing on modes of organizing as radical as they are ancient, they insist on using forms of participatory direct democracy that naturally resist corruption by money, status and privilege. Everyone’s basic needs should take precedence over anyone’s greed."

I'll have to agree that the assembly allows everyone to have a voice.  It is a way to try to keep from developing a hierarchy.  In general I like it.  But I also have two complaints;

1) arguing over minutia for hours (which I saw watching a Denver Assembly) does no one any good.  If you argue over a position, a plan, or something important, then yeah. It's great.  If you just go round and round over nothing, then that's just time wasted.

2) the loudest person still gets the biggest voice.  The wall flower probably still won't talk.  The shy, the easily cowed, will have less voice.  The brash extrovert will be heard the most. It's human nature.  So don't think the Assembly somehow magically gets everybody equally involved.

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