As the “do-it-ourselves” uprisings and occupations that have swept across the globe from Egypt to United States are proving, the ethical practices that anarchists have long advocated are becoming powerful everyday experiences for millions, with people self-organizing everything from civic defense and trash collection to tent encampments and general assemblies. Indeed, the contours of the US occupy movement in particular could be viewed, in large part, as anarchism in action. Yet despite its obvious debt to anarchism, OWS and its lightning-speed proliferation across North America seemed to come as a surprise to anarchists, and in many ways, our learning curve as antiauthoritarians has been just as great as for those many liberals and political newcomers who overwhelmingly populate(d) the spaces of occupy. That surprise has created novel challenges and contradictions for anarchist theory and practice as well as anarchists’ own self-understanding. More surprisingly still, it also appears to have cracked open the potential for fundamental social transformation in a way that our recent anticapitalist efforts never could on their own. Cindy will offer some reflections on occupy anarchism within the quirky, compelling experiment of occupy everything and then facilitate a conversation.
Cindy is an Institute for Anarchist Studies board member, an active participant in Occupy Philly, and the author of Anarchism and its Aspirations.