Occupy Earth?

It’s time to do something. Humanity is facing an existential emergency – this is not news. War, climate collapse, and global wealth inequality are fanning the flames of an apocalyptic catastrophe – if we – the people of the world, the 99% – don’t act now.

The person who came up with the idea that “we are the 99%,” David Graeber. was one of the founders of the Occupy movement in New York (2011-12). He was also co-author with David Wengrow of the Dawn of Everything, and died weeks after finishing this groundbreaking book, subtitled A New History of Humanity. Let’s make this proposal in his honor:

We propose to reinvigorate the Occupy Earth movement by setting up a robust internet presence for a discussion of three demands on the global powers that be:

  1. Stop all wars
  2. Save the earth
  3. Share the wealth

(SSS) Such a discussion could be instantly translated in all languages. Lenin famously said that the capitalists will sell you the rope to hang them with – could that rope be the internet? Once the discussions were going strong, we would collectively set a date (5 years from now?) for everyone who agreed with these demands to take off work or whatever else they’re doing and gather in their local commons – zocolos or central plazas – and stay there until the demands are authentically addressed by the people currently in power, not just the governments, but banks and corporations as well. Each gathering would decide how to organize themselves, as was done in the Occupy movement.

This proposal will be labeled “anarchist,” as even Graeber supportively called the original Occupy movement. But such labels get in the way of achieving the goals for which we are advocating. Down with ismism. Even now, with the left at its weakest internationally in decades, leftists are quick to dismiss any deviation from whatever orthodoxy they follow. I see this proposal more as a strategy for uniting as many people as possible around basically human-centered principles and letting them decide how to proceed. One of the Dawn’s implications is that there is more than one way to organize a society. The development of hierarchies was to a large degree a matter of choice; numbers of large indigenous civilizations opted for much more egalitarian systems, most famously, the pre-Aztec city-state of Teotihuacan.

Dawn seems to rebuke the Marxist notion that all history is the history of class struggle and implicitly questions the stage theory of social evolution (slavery into feudalism into capitalism into socialism etc.), but it’s apparent that class warfare has dominated the nineteenth through twentieth centuries. Three major, genocidal wars have been waged to prevent the working class from seizing power, World Wars I, II, and III, III being the perpetual smaller wars that have been raging all over the world since the end of II. 

Instead of fostering anarchy (and failing to sustain itself as the old Occupy movement did) perhaps the model is in the Paris Commune or the original Soviets. Or maybe some new model. The history of the left and the small-c communist movement is replete with evidence that there’s a lot we don’t understand. All of which can be debated in our international on-line forum. Positions can be voted on. How the network would evolve is anyone’s guess, but I would imagine there would be subgroups addressing all kinds of issues. 

Business as usual is no longer an option. People who can envision an alternative to rapacious capitalism need to unite worldwide, and we need to do it now, if not yesterday. We can’t wait for leaders. If you like this proposal and would like to join the conversation, please comment here or contact me on Messenger or Subscribe here

Maybe there are people already doing something similar to this. If so, so much the better, let’s hook up. If you know of any such efforts, let us know in the comments.







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