This is an excerpt of an interview conducted by Andrew Sernatinger (A.S.) with Pham Binh (P.B.) of Occupy Wall Street for Solidarity’s Web zine.
A.S.: Where is the Occupy movement going now, especially with general elections on the horizon? David Graeber, the anarchist anthropologist, has shrugged off concerns that the movement is toast now that the camps are gone saying instead, “Occupy is shedding its liberal accretions and rapidly turning into something with much deeper roots.” Thoughts?
P.B.: People have been concerned that Occupy was toast before it even went into the toaster because of alleged difficulties such as the lack of demands, ideology, or agreed-upon political strategy; then Occupy was too middle class, white, straight, and male to gain traction with workers, women, LGBTs; and now it’s the evictions. Occupy is anything but a one-trick pony, unlike the summit-centric global justice movement of 1999-2001 that many socialists have one-sidedly compared Occupy to.
In terms of where Occupy is going, the difficulty lies in thinking of it as a definite thing with a definite direction. It’s everywhere and nowhere all at once. Occupiers now work closely with previously existing campaigns and organizations in addition to launching their own. There are new activist initiatives in neighborhoods and workplaces that do not call themselves Occupy, are not formally linked to it, but are nonetheless inspired by it and would not exist without Occupy’s example.
These are some of the “deeper roots” comrade Graeber is talking about and he’s right.
The evictions forcibly decentralized Occupy and, to a certain extent, separated the component parts of the encampments. No more one-stop shopping. Direct action, traditional protest marches, discussion circles, study groups, activist training, the people’s library, mutual aid, literature and newspaper creation, organic gardening, General Assemblies, and spiritual activities take place mostly separately from one another.