Occupy Wall Street ‘fizzled out’ because ‘too many Indians, not enough chiefs’

By Scott Kaufman
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 11:33 EDT
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Tuesday marks the second anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and on CNN Money, Mark Bray, author of the new book Translating Anarchy, said that “72 percent of the people [he] interviewed for [his new book on Occupy Wall Street] had anarchist politics” and believe “the rejection of any sort of compromise with capitalism is the next wave of global resistance.”

When asked if that was “one reason the [Occupy] movement fizzled out,” Bray responded that “it depends on what your criteria for success is.”

“If the goal of the people who made the movement was to adjust tax brackets by two percent,” he said, “then we wouldn’t have bothered occupying the park or having an autonomous social movement. People are right to say that if you want to adjust tax brackets, lobby, join a political party.”

“But,” he continued, “if it was about creating a vision of a different world, a world where people actually have their needs met, a humane society — regardless of our politics, something is drastically wrong, and we need to fundamentally change things.”

Robert Reich, the Labor Secretary under Bill Clinton, responded by asking whether the democratic principles of these anarchists were responsible for the movement’s “downfall.”

“Everybody told me that the only way they could make a decision is if 90 percent, 95 percent, 100 percent of the people participating agreed.”

Bray responded that, “historically speaking, most anarchist unions did majority voting, and that [he] had a critique of consensus too … although the idea is not get to everyone to vote and agree, but to come to a solution everyone can live with.”

Former Lehman Brothers Vice President Lawrence McDonald then added that the movement could’ve “been swinging [its] big stick about Glass-Steagall, because it had a lot of momentum. It was too many Indians, not enough Chiefs.”

Scott Kaufman
Scott Kaufman
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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