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How Occupy Wall Street Is Beating the Liberty Movement

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 17 10:40 PM
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      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      How Occupy Wall Street is beating the Liberty Movement
      Jayel Aheram
      Nov 14, 2012 at 4:23 PM
      By Jayel Aheram

      Occupy Sandy (Photo by Gabrielle Alfiero)

      When a group of young libertarians gathered in Pepperdine last week for
      a Students for Liberty conference, they probably did not expect to begin
      their day listening to a speech advocating for greater cooperation
      between the Liberty and the Occupy Wall Street movements.

      However, that was the message of left libertarian philosopher Prof. Gary
      Chartier, who called for the ideologically disparate movements to work
      together to change the world. Calling it an “alliance worth rebuilding,”
      Chartier reminded the young libertarians that the dissidents of the
      Occupy Movement correctly identified a host of problems stemming from
      state-sanctioned violence and coercion. From the bank bailouts and
      massive debt, to war and empire, libertarians and occupiers alike are
      united in their opposition to these manifestations of state aggression.
      He urged libertarians to reach out to the dissidents and help them see
      that more state aggression and violence are not solutions to these
      problems. Chartier confidently stated, “libertarians know, and can
      readily explain, how concerns like these can be addressed without the
      state.” And while I believe this to be true, I also believe that the
      Liberty Movement can learn a thing or two from their brothers and
      sisters in the Occupy Movement.

      It is the Occupy Movement which is leading the way in providing
      non-state, non-hierarchical solutions to not only disaster relief, but
      also to personal debt slavery. Their efforts with Occupy Sandy—providing
      disaster relief to the victims of Hurricane Sandy—garnered praise from
      not only the left-leaning New York Times, but also Glenn Beck's The
      Blaze. It turns out the decentralized structure of the Occupy Movement
      was better, faster, and more efficient in providing relief to hurricane
      victims, beating out FEMA and more established organizations like the
      Red Cross in their own game. The dissidents of the Occupy Movement are
      now applying this ethos of voluntarism and charity with their latest
      activist effort: Rolling Jubilee.

      What is Rolling Jubilee? From their website:

      Banks sell debt for pennies on the dollar on a shadowy speculative
      market of debt buyers who then turn around and try to collect the full
      amount from debtors. The Rolling Jubilee intervenes by buying debt,
      keeping it out of the hands of collectors, and then abolishing it. We’re
      going into this market not to make a profit but to help each other out
      and highlight how the predatory debt system affects our families and
      communities. Think of it as a bailout of the 99% by the 99%.

      This is an absolutely brilliant anti-statist solution to the personal
      debt crisis affecting many people in this country. While the Liberty
      Movement likes to talk about shrinking the size of the State and how
      people can work together to solve problems without the State, the Occupy
      Movement is putting these ideals into concrete actions with Occupy Sandy
      and Rolling Jubilee. We libertarians often hear from people, “Well, who
      is going to provide disaster relief without FEMA?” We now have a
      successful model to point to: Occupy Wall Street.

      This is ironic, considering that the Occupy Movement has been the target
      of much mockery from those within the Liberty Movement. Libertarians are
      guilty of painting occupiers with broad strokes which oversimplified the
      breadth of anger, frustration, and legitimate grievances articulated by
      the Occupy Movement.

      Libertarian celebrity Peter Schiff famously visited the occupation in
      New York City to condescendingly “educate” young people burdened with
      debt and homelessness about how, if they just try little harder, they
      will be successful as he is in our glorious Free Market! Never mind that
      many of these young people were made jobless by a recession and enslaved
      by a student loan scheme engineered by the State and its corporatist
      parasites. Far from being socialists who want to use state aggression to
      take everyone’s fiat money, the “useful idiots” of the Occupy Movement
      turn out to be practitioners of the very model of society libertarians
      strive for.

      I have said that the brilliant dissidents of the Occupy Movement are
      “participating in a grand libertarian experiment. At its core, the
      Occupy movement is an experiment in a voluntaryist model of society
      devoid of state violence and coercion. This is not mere political
      disobedience, but a dissent from the violent and coercive State.” With
      Occupy Sandy and Rolling Jubilee, they have progressed beyond mere
      dissent and have demonstrated what a society devoid of state aggression
      and based on charity between people could look like.

      My hero, the great libertarian thinker Ron Paul, once said of us
      libertarians, “we endorse the idea of voluntarism, self-responsibility,
      family, friends, and churches to solve problems, rather than saying that
      some monolithic government is going to make you take care of yourself
      and be a better person.” What speaks louder than words than an
      endorsement made manifest by action? If we libertarians emulate the
      creativity and activism of the Occupy Movement to solve problems with
      non-state solutions, we can propel the Liberty Movement forward and
      truly foment a revolution outside the constraints of electoral politics.
      Not mere political revolution that comes and goes every four years, but
      a truly lasting social revolution based on voluntarism,
      self-responsibility, and charity.

      In his electric and inspiring speech, Chartier described a society
      “rooted in non-violent, voluntary cooperation.” I am happy to say that
      this better world is possible and it might look like Occupy Wall Street.

      1. I do not think it is necessary to say it, but I will say it anyway: I
      am a fierce advocate for a truly Free Market. However, Peter Schiff
      loses credibility when he attacks the government’s massive interference
      in the market—you know, like the Federal Reserve’s currency
      manipulation, bank bailouts, TARP, Solyndra, all the expensive and
      wealth-destroying wars—and at the same time propagates the pretense that
      this country has a functioning Free Market. Sure, it is freer than some
      countries, but why pretend that everyone can make it if they merely try?
      In a country where the powerful and the connected enjoy built-in
      advantages—advantages arising from the parasitic relationship between
      subsidized corporate entities and the government—why pretend that this
      somehow will not create losers in our society? A big protip to my fellow
      libertarians: how about we stop blaming the victims of the State?

      2. Let us be honest here which group is more statist: who exactly is
      running for office and trying very hard to become part of the two-party
      apparatus? Hint: it is not the Occupy Movement. This is why I have
      tremendous respect for the leadership of Young Americans for Liberty.
      Unlike their more opportunistic counterparts elsewhere in the Liberty
      Movement, you have a group of engaged, young people who truly endorse
      the idea of liberty and peace.

      3. Speaking of social revolution, I stole this compelling idea from my
      friend Charles Davis. He wrote:

      Reject violence, including in your language. Volunteer. Build up
      the organizations you'd like to see fill the void left by slashed
      government social programs. Turn your back on materialism and live
      frugally. Basically, be the person you would like to see more of in
      society. What we need isn't some anarchist political revolution, we need
      an anarchist social revolution: we need a society of anarchists. Help
      make them.

      I guess in our case, we need a libertarian social revolution and in
      order for that to happen, we need to make a society of libertarians. And
      in case you are wondering how to go about doing that, did you know Young
      Americans for Liberty has this awesome "Choose Charity" initiative? Get
      going and spread the message of voluntarism and charity at the same time
      actually helping people.

      Dan Clore

      New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
      in charge on this island?
      Professor: Why, no one.
      Skipper: No one?
      Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
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