The Occupy Wall Street event has picked up tremendous momentum since it began on September 17, when a few hundred people from all walks of life gathered near Wall Street to protest social and economic injustice and crony capitalism. From day one, however, they were ridiculed for not having a clear message and a list of demands that could be reduced to neat sound bites. But as Mc Kenzie Ward explains in this article Wall Street itself is more of a concept or an abstraction, and so, perhaps, the best way to occupy it is by taking over a quasi public square and turning it into something like an allegory.
"Wall Street is a name for an abstraction with the double sense of a rentier class which uses vectoral power to control resources that bypasses political processes which at least had to negotiate with popular interests. Against this, the occupation proposes another abstraction, and it too has a double aspect."
"Occupy Wall Street took over a more or less public park nestled in the downtown landscape of tower blocks, not too far from the old World Trade Center site, and set up camp. It is an occupation which, almost uniquely, does not have demands. It has at its core a suggestion: what if people came together and found a way to structure a conversation which might come up with a better way to run the world? Could they do any worse than the way it is run by the combined efforts of Wall Street as rentier class and Wall Street as computerized vectors trading intangible assets?"
"It may sound counter-intuitive, but there really is no politics in the United States. There is exploitation, oppression, inequality, violence, there are rumors that there might still be a state. But there is no politics. There is only the semblance of politics. Its mostly just professionals renting influence to favor their interests. The state is no longer even capable of negotiating the common interests of its ruling class."
"While intellectuals have gotten into the habit of talking about The Political, the occupation has proceeded by creating a lower-case-politics which is abstract and yet at the same time completely everyday. Its no accident that it started with what we might broadly define as 'anarchists', who have been working on both the theory and the practice for some time now."
"An occupation is conceptually the opposite of a movement. A movement aimed for some internal consistency within itself but uses space just as a place to park its ranks. An occupation has no internal consistency in its ranks but chooses meaningful spaces which have significant resonance into the abstract terrain of symbolic geography."
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