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One voice (of many) who's been involved in Occupy:

One thing that's super important to keep in mind: "political" doesn't have to be electoral politics. Many would argue that electoral politics are really much closer to rooting for a sports team than anything truly political.

Politics is fundamentally about power. You shift power relations, and elections reconfigure themselves around the new state of power relations. Obama beating Romney just means one segment of the empowered has dominated another segment of the empowered. Maybe a segment of the empowered whose base of power comes from liberal cosmopolitanism and a rationalized Rawlsian State, but the empowered nonetheless.

One hope of many Occupiers is the entrance of relatively marginalized and excluded people into the political sphere, by community organizing and other types of organizing, to create new and alternative structures of power. Obama and Romney don't give a shit about elderly monolingual Russian immigrants on Coney island (or, being more clinical, they have no political incentive to cater to them, because there's no payoff). And it's hard, too: there has never been a FEMA which is able to anticipate all the possible disasters (Katrina in NYC???) or know all the secret hidden knowledge that hasn't been made knowable to the almighty state (wait, there's a large population of elderly Russian immigrants in Coney island that we need a staff of translators on-hand for?). Certainly you can figure out solutions post-facto or figure out ways they could have known post-facto, but post-facto people are already dead. And if those solutions were obvious before the problems initially arose, why didn't FEMA build them? Indeed: why didn't you contact FEMA to tell them "Oh, you should have Russian translators in case a big hurricane hits NYC"?

But local communities inherently have all this hidden knowledge bound up in them, and they're able to use it. And many Occupiers, to the extent they have an ideology, believe in the practice of community organizing and interaction not only as the means to leverage this knowledge but also as a way to further it and have communities self-organize into even stronger and more interconnected power structures. A person who gets some much-needed potable water from a volunteer associated with Occupy has a decent probability of volunteering with Occupy themselves, and identifying with it (to some extent) in the future.

Compare to entrepreneurship: entrepreneurship is exploring a market landscape to find a scalable business model that meets some business need that can't be computed before it has actually succeeded. Occupy, by analogy, is an organic, leaderless movement that asks individuals to explore the landscape of social networks to find opportunities to build new decentralized networks, self-sustaining and self-repairing, to fulfill needs that have previously been unsatisfied, such as providing power or, in this case, disaster relief. Ultimately the hope of many is to scale out discovered solutions to all disempowered communities, by building the knowledge and tools--technical, but even more so political and social--to succeed via practice.




tl;dr - This comment is worth reading in its entirety.


Believe it or not, it was relentlessly pruned before publishing. Made me sad that I had remove the explicit Hayek-isms and a Mandelbrot reference, of all things...


Mandelbrot is sooooo last century. It's all about the Mandelbulb these days ^w^

Seriously though, it's beyond enchanting to realise I'm in the company of such enlightened souls here on HN.

Eyes open. No fear.

Let's do this.




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