Abstract

This essay puts forward the basic premises around which the Occupy movements in the United States are organized, locates the movement globally, argues that the movements themselves are the ones that should determine their own success, and then distinguishes these positions from those that Michael Kazin puts forward in his article, "The Fall and Rise of the U.S. Populist Left." Kazin argues that the way to determine if the Occupy movements will be successful is if they articulate "what a better country would look like and what it would take to get there." This, however, is the wrong way to evaluate the Occupy movements. The intention of the thousands of assemblies taking place around the United States, as well as in Greece and Spain, where I have been most recently, is to open spaces for people to voice their concerns and desires—and to do so in a directly democratic way. These movements emerged in response to a growing crisis, the heart of which is a lack of democracy. People do not feel represented by the governments that claim to speak in their name. The Occupy movements are not based on creating either a program or a political party that will put forward a plan for others to follow. Their purpose is not to determine "the" path that a particular country should take but to create the space for a conversation in which all can participate and in which all can deter-mine together what the future should look like. At the same time, these movements are attempting to prefigure that future society in their present social relationships.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1946-0910
Print ISSN
0012-3846
Pages
pp. 74-75
Launched on MUSE
2012-03-22
Open Access
N
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