The hyphenated anarchists can be a combative bunch. I’ve done my share of arguing from an Ancap perspective, against sects of the movement I believe wish to achieve freedom- so long as it is done their way. Tired and stale as the news on it may be, the Occupy Movement lends itself well to unification behind a few vital, strategy-related principles for pushing back the state. Libertarian and anarchist circles have reacted to the Movement in a number of ways, ranging from complete dismissal to complete embrace. The implications of the current Movement, which has now spread to Europe, are too large not to take advantage of, but in a measured way. Because the Movement presents an opportunity for all libertarian sects to make progress, I will include all factions under the umbrella term “Anti-States” for the purposes of this piece.
The Occupy Movement is by no means monolithic. Indeed, it has no unifying theme at all. Occupiers range from well-educated End the Fed types to tired old hippies looking for something, anything, to whine about. Many are just disgruntled and jobless, with no conception of why. It’s understandably sexy to any Anti-State to watch an affront to the establishment. Many have balked, because much of the Movement is not only diametrically opposed to the Anti-State’s ends, but is also employing some rather grotesque means to get there (many have no idea where “there” is). Others have fully embraced the Movement, albeit without a coherent strategy for battling against the coercive State.
The most obvious and probably the most important fact about OWS is that tens of thousands of would be activists are gathered in unison, revolting against the harsh realities that have resulted from public policy. It should not be an immediate concern that so many protesters are ignorant as to what has caused their misfortune. The Anti-State’s first job is to educate. The pupils have gathered in mass.
Though the protests lack cohesiveness, anti-capitalism is ubiquitous. An overwhelming majority of protesters have reversed causality, and demand that the benevolent state bring the corporations and bankers under control. Lost is the fact that our fascist system demands an unchecked state to empower and protect big business; without the state’s monopoly on force, there would be no TARP. There would be no bailouts. There would be no protection for the all powerful central bank, which has destroyed our currency. The goal of the powerful State is more power. The means of gaining and retaining that power are found within the realm of the State’s partnership with industry. The fascist machine is self-feeding, and only grows until it is dismantled completely.
The semantic battle over the word “capitalism” aside, it is lamentable that so few recognize that we have lived in a de facto fascist state, and at the very least a feudalist one, for the greater part of America’s history. Capitalism in the minds of the majority of Americans is a concept far displaced from laissez faire policy. In picturesque straight jacket fashion, the people clamor for a larger and more coercive State to save them from the ills of the large and coercive State.
Through provocative signs, personal interaction, observance of police brutality, and any other opportunities that may present themselves, the Occupy Movement gives Anti-States a chance to educate and spark thought in the minds of thousands of people who are clearly not apathetic. At the same time, we have the opportunity to offer a different perspective to the world as it watches; a perspective of peace, intellect, and virtue. As the police riot, we film. As the statists defecate, we educate. The media cannot contain the raw footage, the real time stories, or the reality on the ground as it once could.
As any modern activist knows, ideas spread quickly and exponentially. Fertile minds are hard to find, but the sheer numbers participating in and paying attention to the Occupy Movement are promising. The Anti-State works in the arena of ideas, teaching people TO think, rather than WHAT to think. OWS is an opportunity not to be missed, and it’s probably spread to a city near you. Get out there. Pour some gas on the fire.