My (and Guattari's) impression of the "Occupy Movement"

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Re: My (and Guattari's) impression of the "Occupy Movement"

Postby aletheia » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:58 am

Fixed Cross wrote:See this is exactly why the movement is not yet capable of representing an improvement. They are still inferior in standards to the people they are protesting against, because they have only "no" as a standard. They are not capable of a "yes", because this takes creative minds, and disciplined thinking.

"Civic disobedience" as an ideal, as a measure of potency, this is still pure slave-revolt. Zizek calling out "we are not going away, look at us" is not going to change anything. Neo-Marxism is not going to do the job. We need a revaluation of values -- of value, and it is the question if the occupy movement is a good enough vessel for a philosophical redesigning of western civilization.

I must conclude that the OP is right. But it doesn't have to be like this, in fact I am sure that at one point, if this movement persists (and I am sure that it will), it may acquire political substance, which means a decently worked out value-system, enabling such things as rational representation. I urge anyone who is sympathetic toward this movement and its general sentiment of disapproving of speculative banking/investing, the practice that now passes for capitalism, to take a look at value-ontology (do a search on it) and take from it what suits you.

There are not many thoughts around that can make a true difference in the way economies in the west are being run. "The will to power", for example, only supports the present way of dealing. With a philosophical centralization of the term "value", the study of what value is, how we can recognize and establish it, the current dealings become instantly recognizable as stupid, anti-natural, and doomed to drag whatever gets mixed up in it into chaos, and it sets against it a principle that may very naturally lead to a gradual stabilization of the balance between production and profit, enabling a slow and stable economic growth.


Absolutely. I am disappointed in Zizek's formulations thus far of the movement, his solidarity is admirable, but also of course predictable. His trying to instill some sort of feeling of unity and direction among the movement is weak since he gives no positive values to the movement, he only backs them up in their "no!". We need "no!", certainly! But we also need so much more than this. As you say, the movement will not become relevant (for the/a future) until it becomes philosophical, able to clearly posit itself as a valuing/s counter to the present system and its values. This is not easy work, of course. I must devote some time to thinking on how we may aid the movement toward this end, for certainly it is in need of such assistance.

One possible venue for influence would be the magazine Adbusters from which the movement originated. They take a lot of submissions from readers and unsolicited material. A well-timed and well-developed delineation of the movement and issues/stakes involved from the perspective of value ontology might prove massively effective in the long run. Certainly we do not need any more Zizek's standing around trying to keep things from falling apart without ever seeing how the entire movement lacks a basis upon which it might continue and grow into something significant. Neo-marxism indeed is insufficient here, but we might borrow from it here or there, even re-use some of its notions in a newer and more useful light.

Of course another concern is that there ARE conter-values, more positive ones, out there, as you say within the more individual levels of the movement, and elsewhere. These positive valuations remain generally diffuse and isolate, mere particulars unable to gain control of a larger unit, unable to designate terms common to some milieu. Spreading these notions would be a first necessary step to establishing a fertile soil from which seeds might be sown later on.
'The daemonic genius is the only thing capable of surviving the odds of existence versus no existence... because of what it empirically tolerates though fundamentally defying it, the deepest existence is satyrical. The grin on a primordial sailor, grim to all things human, his enjoyment in the uncertainty. He knows himself by this very factor. Valuing the uncertainty of the universe as an extension of oneself - this sailor is the primordial being.' [Source]


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Re: My (and Guattari's) impression of the "Occupy Movement"

Postby aletheia » Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:27 am

Fixed Cross wrote:Being integral part of the system is not necessarily a bad thing of course, it depends on how one defines "the system". If the system is "the world", then being part of it is better than not to be.


Yes, and even where we define system as 'integrated world capitalism' or whatever it still becomes important for resistance movements to have originated from within this system. Even to the extent that we might say such movements are directly produced BY the system itself. This is indeed not necessarily a bad thing, for how else could such movements truly challenge the system internally, essentially, challenge its foundations and propose and insert counter terms? There must exist a sufficiency of mutually shared and sharable ground between system and resistance. This also serves to place limits around the allowable responses the system can use to address its resistances.

Addressing this point specifically to Pezer, I believe it helps to look at it not atomistically, but organically. The system is an organism part of larger and smaller organic structures, and always changing and subject to change/s. Resistances born of these systems serve to help it test and solidify its own limits, as Deleuze and Guattari write, but this also serves the ends of eventual system-evolution and radical change, the birth of new forms. Only a milieu properly subtle, chaotic and generative of a great many points of contradiction and conflict -- friction -- could serve a sufficient ground for such birthings. A healthy system/organism is one in which many cross- and counter- flows weave in and out of the ordinary status quo structural functionings, allowing an evolutionary potential to be embedded directly within the system itself: alowing the system to BE such an evolutionary potentiality ITSELF.

Looking at the situation as "system here" and "resistance movement there" is too simplistic of course; and I propose that equally too simplistic is the improved understanding that such resistance movements are a part of these systems and are indeed directly produced by these systems themselves. This is an essential understanding, but only a small piece of the overall puzzle. We really need to examine the larger picture here, if we are to get a good look at what is really going on and not get mired in small details of microscopic over-simplification. It is all too easy to allow ourselves to become attracted within a particular situated viewpoint, ideological or otherwise, at the loss of a more comprehensive understanding and ambition.
'The daemonic genius is the only thing capable of surviving the odds of existence versus no existence... because of what it empirically tolerates though fundamentally defying it, the deepest existence is satyrical. The grin on a primordial sailor, grim to all things human, his enjoyment in the uncertainty. He knows himself by this very factor. Valuing the uncertainty of the universe as an extension of oneself - this sailor is the primordial being.' [Source]


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Re: My (and Guattari's) impression of the "Occupy Movement"

Postby Pezerocles » Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:59 am

aletheia wrote:
Fixed Cross wrote:Being integral part of the system is not necessarily a bad thing of course, it depends on how one defines "the system". If the system is "the world", then being part of it is better than not to be.


Yes, and even where we define system as 'integrated world capitalism' or whatever it still becomes important for resistance movements to have originated from within this system. Even to the extent that we might say such movements are directly produced BY the system itself. This is indeed not necessarily a bad thing, for how else could such movements truly challenge the system internally, essentially, challenge its foundations and propose and insert counter terms? There must exist a sufficiency of mutually shared and sharable ground between system and resistance. This also serves to place limits around the allowable responses the system can use to address its resistances.


I think you have lost yourself a little in the abstractions we have made here. How can a system such as integrated world capitalism beget its own end? It is too powerful, it has too many resources at its disposial still. Rather, it is the people within the system that could change it, but only by abandoning it. If you agree with that last sentence, than you will feel how desperate that situation is. I have often thought that the only possible way for enough people to break free at the same time in order to cause significant change like we have been talking about, they would have to be dosed en masse with LSD. Only the young and the willing will, however, even then, be able to make the conection between the possibilities of the mind and the extremely limiting nature of the systems imposed on societies. It is absurd to think that if we were all as unique as we feel, we would all act and look so much alike, and this is a general statement covering very detailed analysis that I am sure you have read; because the little I have read of Deleuze is of that kind, and really all sociological and sociological-ish analysis.

aletheia wrote:Addressing this point specifically to Pezer, I believe it helps to look at it not atomistically, but organically. The system is an organism part of larger and smaller organic structures, and always changing and subject to change/s. Resistances born of these systems serve to help it test and solidify its own limits, as Deleuze and Guattari write, but this also serves the ends of eventual system-evolution and radical change, the birth of new forms. Only a milieu properly subtle, chaotic and generative of a great many points of contradiction and conflict -- friction -- could serve a sufficient ground for such birthings. A healthy system/organism is one in which many cross- and counter- flows weave in and out of the ordinary status quo structural functionings, allowing an evolutionary potential to be embedded directly within the system itself: alowing the system to BE such an evolutionary potentiality ITSELF.

Looking at the situation as "system here" and "resistance movement there" is too simplistic of course; and I propose that equally too simplistic is the improved understanding that such resistance movements are a part of these systems and are indeed directly produced by these systems themselves. This is an essential understanding, but only a small piece of the overall puzzle. We really need to examine the larger picture here, if we are to get a good look at what is really going on and not get mired in small details of microscopic over-simplification. It is all too easy to allow ourselves to become attracted within a particular situated viewpoint, ideological or otherwise, at the loss of a more comprehensive understanding and ambition.


Hmm... Yes, you are right about the system being more biological than it is mechanical, or rather only biological and not mechanical. Like brains, misconcieved as computers or evolution misconcieved as having a goal. It is useful to see brains as computers sometimes and evolution as having a goal, but these are only useful lies, and can only be useful if it is remembered that they are lies.
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Re: My (and Guattari's) impression of the "Occupy Movement"

Postby lizbethrose » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:39 am

Pezer wrote:
I don't think she means take government out of politics, i.e. anarchist communes or isolated monastic monks. I think she means take politics out of government, i.e. take the ideology out of the administration of a territorry.

Interesting idea liz; would you expand for us (that is, if I am right)?


You're mostly correct, Pez. (Well, you may be 'right,' as well, but that's beside the point.) I don't think 'ideology' plays that much a part in politics any more; otherwise, there'd be more distinctions between the two major parties and a better chance for more parties to run for election into the Legislature. Quite frankly, the President has only one power over the Legislature--his veto. It's really all about the Legislature, most of whom--but not all--are playing a 'game' called 'politics.' It's this 'game' that frustrating to so many people.

Yet it's a game that's played in order to get re-elected. And who wouldn't want a job that gives a living income (or better, if you count the perks, :wink: ) doesn't require any real experience, has no time-card, gives you lots of time off, then debates and votes on such important matters as whether or not the motto of the US should be re-affirmed--even though no one has said it shouldn't. None of any of that has anything to do with governance.

The game playing has, imm, led to the corporatism and individual greed that's led to OWS and all the other Occupy groups. It isn't just the need to be 'grass roots' in order to be heard; it's, also, because the game playing starts at the local level. OWS wasn't a movement started by a Canadian ad agency and it's magazine. It's a movement that started with the "Arab Spring" and is moving more and more into the EuroZone, to the detriment of the second largest economy in the Western World--and its stock markets.

If it's nothing else, it's a, sometimes, violent statement--"I put my trust in you; I elected you because of my trust. And look what you've done to my trust."

Don't get me wrong. It's our doing just as much as our electeds. We didn't pay attention--why should we if we've given our trust to people who break that trust? And, if the mess is ever sorted out and basic changes in our country's political/economic systems are made, we'll go back to not paying attention.

Right now, it's most difficult for people to accept that, perhaps, our economic system isn't working for the majority of people--perhaps unrestricted capitalism and free market trade has never existed except in theory--on paper. Perhaps a global economy as we've striven for (in the persons of our 'leaders', elected or not) simply isn't the correct way to go. Old habits die the hardest.
"Be what you would seem to be - or, if you'd like it put more simply - never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise."
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Re: My (and Guattari's) impression of the "Occupy Movement"

Postby Pezerocles » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:04 am

lizbethrose wrote:
Pezer wrote:
I don't think she means take government out of politics, i.e. anarchist communes or isolated monastic monks. I think she means take politics out of government, i.e. take the ideology out of the administration of a territorry.

Interesting idea liz; would you expand for us (that is, if I am right)?


You're mostly correct, Pez. (Well, you may be 'right,' as well, but that's beside the point.) I don't think 'ideology' plays that much a part in politics any more; otherwise, there'd be more distinctions between the two major parties and a better chance for more parties to run for election into the Legislature. Quite frankly, the President has only one power over the Legislature--his veto. It's really all about the Legislature, most of whom--but not all--are playing a 'game' called 'politics.' It's this 'game' that frustrating to so many people.

Yet it's a game that's played in order to get re-elected. And who wouldn't want a job that gives a living income (or better, if you count the perks, :wink: ) doesn't require any real experience, has no time-card, gives you lots of time off, then debates and votes on such important matters as whether or not the motto of the US should be re-affirmed--even though no one has said it shouldn't. None of any of that has anything to do with governance.

The game playing has, imm, led to the corporatism and individual greed that's led to OWS and all the other Occupy groups. It isn't just the need to be 'grass roots' in order to be heard; it's, also, because the game playing starts at the local level. OWS wasn't a movement started by a Canadian ad agency and it's magazine. It's a movement that started with the "Arab Spring" and is moving more and more into the EuroZone, to the detriment of the second largest economy in the Western World--and its stock markets.

If it's nothing else, it's a, sometimes, violent statement--"I put my trust in you; I elected you because of my trust. And look what you've done to my trust."

Don't get me wrong. It's our doing just as much as our electeds. We didn't pay attention--why should we if we've given our trust to people who break that trust? And, if the mess is ever sorted out and basic changes in our country's political/economic systems are made, we'll go back to not paying attention.

Right now, it's most difficult for people to accept that, perhaps, our economic system isn't working for the majority of people--perhaps unrestricted capitalism and free market trade has never existed except in theory--on paper. Perhaps a global economy as we've striven for (in the persons of our 'leaders', elected or not) simply isn't the correct way to go. Old habits die the hardest.


You know, back when I was a statist, I had the idea the the point of ideological warfare was to arrive at a conclusion some day, an agreement, after which governance would be just a boring old job with no games, or as you correctly identify, politics. Part of what made me turn away was realizing that the warfare is, today, an essencial part of the system. Being a government administrator is, as you say, simply easier if it depends on politiquing rather than administrating.

Then I turned a short-lived eye to forms of absolutism that would do away with the games. As I found that intollerable, I became an anarchist. Also other factors, but largely that.
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Re: My (and Guattari's) impression of the "Occupy Movement"

Postby Fixed Cross » Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:26 pm

aletheia wrote:Absolutely. I am disappointed in Zizek's formulations thus far of the movement, his solidarity is admirable, but also of course predictable. His trying to instill some sort of feeling of unity and direction among the movement is weak since he gives no positive values to the movement, he only backs them up in their "no!".

As brilliant as he is in his synthetic work with meanings from all over the place, Zizek is more a thinker/conscience of the times than thinking towards the/any future. As he says, he is a 'monster' - of energy of course... he does not seem to me to contain a dominant signifier in him, despite his claims to Marxism...

We need "no!", certainly! But we also need so much more than this. As you say, the movement will not become relevant (for the/a future) until it becomes philosophical, able to clearly posit itself as a valuing/s counter to the present system and its values. This is not easy work, of course. I must devote some time to thinking on how we may aid the movement toward this end, for certainly it is in need of such assistance.

One possible venue for influence would be the magazine Adbusters from which the movement originated. They take a lot of submissions from readers and unsolicited material. A well-timed and well-developed delineation of the movement and issues/stakes involved from the perspective of value ontology might prove massively effective in the long run.

We should probably exploit any such knowledge of sources and origins. Let us work on such a document in the Forge.

Certainly we do not need any more Zizek's standing around trying to keep things from falling apart without ever seeing how the entire movement lacks a basis upon which it might continue and grow into something significant. Neo-marxism indeed is insufficient here, but we might borrow from it here or there, even re-use some of its notions in a newer and more useful light.

It would be fantastic to operate for a time withtin the Zizekian style/context/setting, making use of the work of the 'Masters of his universe' - Freud, Lacan, Heidegger, Schelling -- Hegel of course... I feel that Zizek is like a plough throught old and forgotten fields, exposing much very fertile soil from beneath the stale surface.

Of course another concern is that there ARE conter-values, more positive ones, out there, as you say within the more individual levels of the movement, and elsewhere. These positive valuations remain generally diffuse and isolate, mere particulars unable to gain control of a larger unit, unable to designate terms common to some milieu. Spreading these notions would be a first necessary step to establishing a fertile soil from which seeds might be sown later on.

This would be an approach to value ontology in the Occupy/"revolutionary" context; to focus on the concept of "terms". It's one way in which we do not have to bridge to entire gap towards a valuing-oriented perspective, as "terms" denotes "values" in that it denotes the (de)notation that is necessary for values to be effective, collectively held/discussed.

We may make a study/pamphlet on the importance of clear terms. We'd be opening the way to clarification of the necessity of holding values in terms of a made conscious self-valuing, without speaking to people about their lack of (conscious) values, which would be taken as an insult, and is simply untrue when it comes to many individuals.

The term "terms" is a bridge towards the term "value", as it speaks to value, though not explicitly of it. And as values are at root held subconsciously, and terms are values selected to be made conscious, we can see the gap such a bridge may span.
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