Yesterday I posted about an article criticizing Occupy for its anti-politics, its inability or refusal to ‘act politically.’ It is hardly uncommon to encounter this sort of argument. It’s usually pretty vague and feels like an old man just railing at nothing.
The call to ‘engage’ is not sounded in a productive way, this is crucial. It makes reference to various theoretical problems posed by Occupy’s behavior but it remains high above the ground. The call the ‘engage’ is never born out into practical advice, into a discussion of what ‘engagement’ entails, how it might be navigated, and what might arise unexpectedly. In short, it is not knowledge that is contracted to or meant to aid those it criticizes. The grit of what ‘acting politically’ means, day to day, decision to decision scenario by scenario is not even relevant to these arguments.
Well, the above article was published today in Time: “Occupy Sandy: Why Activists Are Working with NYC Mayor, Police.”
The article describes how Occupy activists’ response to Sandy has been incredibly important both for those they’ve helped, but for popular understandings of Occupy as well. Because it’s in Time, it does not move to locate these actions within Occupy’s story, but mostly just covers the situation, which is important for Time’s audience who are not likely to have a detailed understanding of Occupy’s biography beyond the mainstream news coverage in 2011.
There are a lot of threads here, and I am trying to get better about writing here on WOP more causally so I am not going to try to lay them all out in full now. Rather, because this blog is as much for me as any audience, the following should suffice:
-A ‘moment in the spotlight’ for Mutual Aid, both because of the situation and the way in which Occupy has acted and promoted the phrase
-An example of Occupy almost transcending politics, coming back into it only when officials ‘catch up’
-More later, laundry now.
-Suggestions? Ideas? Write me!