[On the road today and tomorrow; must go to Southern California for a bit to attend a memorial service for a man who died suddenly weekend before last. His wife is a close friend; she was out of town when he died, and the whole past week has been excruciating for her. I will be in Oakland in spirit, but there is more than one kind of Solidarity. Sometimes Solidarity starts with friends and family.]
Oakland is only 80 miles away, but it is worlds away in radical thought, action, and spirit. Oakland gets no respect, at least in the mainstream, because of it.
So it's with sort of a mordant chuckle that I read things like Ian's airy post about the events in Oakland last week:
But the police and mayor are also doing the necessary work of educating people. These folks would not believe those of us who told them that simple peaceful protest would not accomplish anything. Only the police, and a Democratic mayor whose resume is that of a DFH, could convince them of that.
"These folks would not believe...?" Sure. Someone is wiser in radical action than the good folks of Oakland, California, USA? Wiser specifically than the good folks of Occupy Oakland and their many radical kin?
I think not.
Who is teaching whom in the Movement is one of those grand questions that arise from time to time, receive their momentary consideration, then revert to whatever subconscious realm usually dwell within.
I look at the Oakland General Strike called today as a test of the support the Movement-Becoming-Revolution really has. If it is as large and as broad and as deep as it is sometimes made out to be (certainly the favorables for the Movement are high at this time), then it's likely the Movement will be goosed to the next level, and that will mean... that the Revolution is here and it's real.
That's the real question, the one that dogs so many of those who support the Movement, but haven't yet seen a vision of the future emerge from it.
Or if they have seen a vision, it's not the one they want.
Was the Bolshevik vision fully formed -- or formed at all, as far as that goes -- before the October Revolution? Did the Mensheviks even have a vision? "Let's depose the Tsar! OK! Now what should we do? Become the Tsar! YAY!"
And who says today's nascent Revolution, though global in scope, is intended to overthrow the Overclass? In fact, there are many signs it is intended to do no such thing. If it is purposeful toward the outer darkness at all, this Revolution aborning is intended to sidestep the Overclass and its governmental handmaidens and its running dogs. "Another World Is Possible."
One the Overclass can join if they like.
It's almost as if the Revolution were saying: "There is no Tsar; there never was."
Now THAT is Revolutionary thinking.
Can it stay in that space? Outside of -- and well beyond -- the Winter Palace? This is the test. The General Strike in Oakland will not be the proof or the answer, but it may well provide the models for future direction and the clues to whether we'll see the emergence of a New Tsar or something else again entirely.
If you don't overthrow the Overclass but you make it irrelevant instead, extending an implicit invitation to join with the Revolution that sidesteps the whole apparatus of authority and control from the top, that mocks and derides its efforts to impose its power, that exposes its fundamental rot and corruption, and that enables one and all to take control of their own fate from the Masters of the Universe who deign to Rule Over Us -- Rule over the Rabble is such a bother -- the transformations can be almost unlimited, ongoing and always astonishing.
The minute the Winter Palace becomes the central objective, the Revolution has failed as a Revolution. It becomes a form of Establishment-making.
Which is why, after Lenin's death, the consolidation phase of the Soviet Revolution under Stalin became more and more a symbolic re-capitulation of the Tsar's reign and regime. The danger in all Revolutions is becoming what you were opposed to.
We can look at our own Revolutionary past for clues to how that happens.
It is not Revolutionary to claim that you would be better at doing what the Palace currently does if you were in charge. It is not Revolutionary to claim that the policies of the Palace are wrong, but that if you were in charge you would implement correct policies. It is not Revolutionary to demand that power be handed to you. Nor is it Revolutionary to seize power from those who hold it now.
What is Revolutionary is recognizing you already have the power, within your own being, to be the change you seek.
The Genius of the Movement so far is that the core principles and actions springing from them are mostly just this: demonstrating another possible world, and showing and telling how to do it in real time. At this moment, it's only a sketch and an outline. There is only so much you can do from a tent in a park in the middle of winter with thousands of shivering people all around.
You show what you can of this demonstration; people respond to what they see and experience and they carry it forward, well beyond the temporary set up in the plazas and the parks, and that becomes the core of the Revolution going on everywhere. That's why, ultimately, the Revolution a-borning cannot be stopped and it cannot be killed.
In this context, the Occupations themselves only matter to the extent they serve as catalysts for enlightenment. The heavy lifting is well beyond the Occupations, but there are signs has already commenced.