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Where did #OccupyWallStreet come from?

There seems to be a great deal of confusion on DailyPaul about where #OccupyWallStreet came from, who organized it, and what it hopes to accomplish. A great deal of this confusion arises out of the habit of regarding all politics as being rooted in state power and partisan elections. When the political field of view is limited to Republican-Democratic conflict, it is impossible to locate #OccupyWallStreet, which results in false conjectures and the occasional conspiracy theory. It is this basic error explains the derisive reactions among both liberals and conservatives in the early days of the Occupy protest.

The #OccupyWallStreet protests are not a project of Big Labor, the Democratic Party or a shady conspiracy of big government liberals. It is the project of anarchists.

It is this fact, incomprehensible within the accepted conventional political wisdom, which explains the reluctance of labor unions to embrace the protests in their early days: the unions have always been shy of lending their support to something they can’t control, preferring to march at the margins while keeping the membership away from “direct action”.

As someone who participated at the margins of the anti-caplitalist/anti-globalization movement (Salon.com, Economist.com)of the 1990s, the key indicators were immediately obvious:

  • No leadership, and a refusal to elect leadership;
  • No demands, which by their very nature grant authorities legitimacy;
  • Direct action, in this case manifested as a squat/"occupation";
  • Radical democracy, with a focus on consensus and self-direction;
  • Diversity of tactics, the mix of urban camping, marches & voluntary arrests;
  • Affinity groups & parallel institutions, the "+50 committee" doing everything from floating surveillance balloons to printing a newspaper to running a library;

American Anarchism, while impoverished by the institutionalization of “Libertarian”/right anarchists, remains an incredibly tolerant of great diversity of philosophies and actions (including the infamous Black Bloc , the history of which you should review). Infoshop.org, the default anarchist portal since 1995, defines the following
Anarchism is a generic term describing various political philosophies and social movements that advocate the elimination of imposed social hierarchy, including the state and Capitalism. These philosophies use 'anarchy' to mean a society based on voluntary cooperation of free individuals. Philosophical anarchist thought does not advocate chaos or anomie — it intends "anarchy" to refer to a manner of human relations that is intentionally established and maintained.

American anarchism is equally tolerant of Georgism as of social credit, eco-anarchism, and yes, anarcho-syndicalism. In my experience, the specific economic philosophy in any individual subscribes to is usually irrelevant to the collective action agreed upon by any group of anarchists because the actions are entirely voluntary.

Enough of the pop-history lesson.

I strongly recommend this short interview with David Graeber, one of the organizers of #OccupyWallStreet, conducted by the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein: ‘You’re creating a vision of the sort of society you want to have in miniature.’ A researcher of social movements recommends this longer article, written by the same David Graeber, entitled “The New Anarchists”, published in A Movement of Movements (2004).

What will become clear from these articles is that no, #OccupyWallStreet will not convinced to endorse Ron Paul, but yes, the protests can be used to advance the issues which Ron Paul advocates. The interview will suggest what you should do (engage & organize) and shouldn’t do (make speeches during the general assemblies) to engage with those present.

With that, I’ll leave you with a photo from the first day of #OccupyWallStreet: End The Fed