McKenzie Wark, author of the new book on the Situationists titled The Beach Beneath the Street, said of Occupy Wall Street:
How can you occupy an abstraction? Perhaps only with another abstraction. 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?
These are important questions. Certainly the people are capable of self-governance, particularly as they gain more practice and experience at it. I think the success will be largely determined first by the degree of success the movement achieves in keeping the politics diverse, disallowing figureheads from shaping the politics through charismatic and institutionalized authority, and avoiding explicitly reformist tendencies. As soon as the economic and political institutions are broadly affirmed, the movement will begin to close its most liberatory options. The goals for the short run should be diversity of politics, diversity of tactics, and maintaining the revolutionary impulse. Continue reading