Adventurism and the occupation movement

by

reposted from occupy uci

One thing that is more amazing than the expansion of the strategy of occupation from school to school is the remarkable similarity in the rhetoric of our opposition across terrains. And I don’t mean Capital or university administrations, I’m talking about our most fervent opponents within our own ranks: particularly among the “build the movement first” leftists.

Rather than enter the discourse over the effectiveness of the “demand and march” model of campus activism or movement building as preceding any action, these opportunists and proceduralists have resorted to calling students who take the initiative to liberate buildings and spaces “adventurists.” This same term has been repeated to such a degree between New School and UC-Santa Cruz that it appears that our detractors maintain networks parallel to our own.

[Somewhat ironically, these factions of the “left” have repeatedly sought to co-opt student initiative, breaking and entering into spaces and situations of adventure merely to augment their dwindling memberships while marginalizing our rage. But in so doing, they are presenting a dead end avenue for venting. In fact, these self-proclaimed “revolutionary” organizations are nothing but the parasitic pygopagus conjoined twin of Capital and the State and will die upon the liquidation of both–attaching themselves to any sites of revolutionary adventure like leeches and sucking them dry. In this regard, they are no different than our student governments.]

But while they use the term pejoratively, we actually see it as a compliment. Perhaps the fact that they see adventure so distastefully sheds some light on the impotence of the contemporary Left, that they are so willing to self-castrate the only appendage that has historically been effective in staving off Capital.

But adventure is what is ultimately appealing to the disaffected masses, and what is necessary. The ability to find some excitement, to find a rupture in the daily anesthetized routine of life, is at the root of sports riots, affairs, shoplifting, and amusement parks. Television even fulfills this need when there is a lack of access to rupture or genuine adventure.

This also explains why no one comes to our meetings and rallies. We are tired of work and school, why would we choose to emulate those prisons elsewhere? Why must our “organizing” projects such model replicas of the greater mundanity of alienated life?

Adventure is self-defense, self-learning, mutual experience. We find ourselves and each other in adventure, in life-altering occurrences which tear apart the fabric of the status quo and give us a blank canvas upon which to paint our future.

We can never liberate others for them. We can never impart all of our correct consciousness upon workers, nor can we with words alone convert students to our particular brand of Marxism or Anarchism. What we can do is generalize conflict, and create situations of adventure. Remember how we ourselves came into our own individual politics: most likely through a series of life-changing experiences, through situations of adventure. With this in mind, if we are truly interested in “building the movement,” we have to understand that we can only draw our peers into the politics of liberation through the spaces of liberation and the politics of adventure as well. “Movement” implies a continuation of action; any real movement must move to grow.

Whether we are already cognizant of its existence or not, there is a global subterranean civil war. We are all unwitting participants; our choice is not whether to fight or even who to fight, but how and where to fight. It is up to us to open new fronts, discover new weapons. Others will join the struggle as they pass through these fronts. This war cannot be won with words, guns, or members. Victory in this war depends on the generalization and expansion of adventurism, via the tactics of temporary occupation, expropriation, sabotage, and guerrilla action. If we refuse to fight, we die. If we become content with our victories and refuse to expand and generalize, we die. Only in a constant state of adventure can we experience individual and collective liberation, which inevitably recedes the moment we capitulate to authority or return to the dull, lifeless drawl of the endless meeting.

Rather than condemn adventurism, we must come to recognize the necessity of creating spaces and situations of adventurism and developing a politics of adventurism. Until then, those of us already engaged in clandestine and adventuristic action will continue to do so, as we watch the rest of the “movement” atrophy.

6 Responses to “Adventurism and the occupation movement”

  1. Emmanuel Goldstein Says:

    As a member of a revolutionary marxist organization who was part of and within the Kerr Hall occupation from the beginning of storming through an open window through to end of being part of those sitting down as a human barricade (With another comrade from the same organization) and forcibly being removed by riot cops I rather resent this negative characterization of revolutionary organizations. Though I can hardly speculate as to the situation on your campus, and I can admit this wouldn’t be the first time in history that organizations have lagged behind the mass movement, noone could accuse my organization in Santa Cruz of having acted with anything less then complete solidarity with the first occupation and of acting as some of the firmest, and of being some of the most committed activists in this latest wave of occupations.

    There will exist some tactical diffirences about how and where and in what way and what we need to overthrow capitalism, there are obviously massive organizational diffirences. Personally I would say as to “Building the movement” and escalation you cannot possibly seperate the two, you escalate people’s conciousness through action that draws in more people and transforms what they see as possible. However painting a sectarian picture of us as some sort of “Parasitic pygopagus conjoined twin of Capital and the State”, a rhetorically improved rehash of the old “Left Wing of Capitalism” arguement, is hardly helpful.

    As for recruiting out of the movement, obviously we will seek to convince people of the ideas which we see as most effective for ending capital, just as you will seek to convince others of your own ideas through posts like the one above, or conversations with other occupiers, whatever it is. I could just as easily accuse you of parasitcally latching onto a mass movement that other tactics have contributed to creating in order to infuse your own self proclaimed “Ultraleft” and “adventurist” ideology into it. It wouldn’t be an entirely accurate accusation but neither is yours, I think it would at least be agreeable to allow competing idea’s as much a chance for the masses to latch onto and debate themselves. I know personally from experience in Santa Cruz that it’s been the idea’s I represent that have been the only ones to be censored in the movement, usually at the hands of a few anarchist vigilantes who like to conceal/dispose/destroy any literature they disagree with.

    • butternut Says:

      It’s only so fitting that you chose the moniker of Emmanuel Goldstein, the questionable opposition leader in 1984 whose very existence was most likely manufactured by the government. Talk about being connected at the ass!

      This isn’t about “dividing the Left,” as if the Left was ever unified. The fact is, parts of the Left have more in common with Capitalism and Fascism than actually distinguishes them. At this point in the movement, there are opportunists at every window, who see the struggle not as something that is literally killing us, that has to be won, but as a means for recruitment into hierarchical, authoritarian pseudo-societies. These leeches actually benefit from our daily struggle, they try to profit from our misery. They see us not as students being kicked out of school or workers losing our jobs, but as potential members. And pardon my French, but anyone that says they belong to a “revolutionary Marxist organization” is so full of shit, they’re about to explode. Your own internal contradictions will destroy you faster than Capitalism’s will destroy it (which it won’t). Hilarious, by the way, that a Leninist or Trotskyist scumbag like you would actually call anarchists “sectarian”!

      No one is forcing you to occupy anything. Those that have taken over anything have done so on their own initiative, and without even an ounce of recruitment the movement is growing. Forced Leninism, on the other hand, is quickly atrophying. The reason why you were “repressed” is not because your ideology is subversive, but because it’s fucking authoritarian: admit it, you were there to sell your newspaper and try to evangelize students, to replace Obama with Socialism for those needing hope.

  2. Break_Below Says:

    “If we refuse to fight, we die.”

    Another fantastic example of a group of primarily middle class white men romanticizing struggle. Nope, you refuse to fight, you’ll just inherit your parents jobs and continue on with your less-than-difficult lives.

    This INSANE break-off within radical politics to divide ideologies within a movement is doing nothing but shooting us all in the foot. Yes, we need to fight like hell against capitalism/patriarchy/hegemony/every other form of social control that keeps every one of us compliant in our everyday tasks, but pretending to be a revolutionary makes you look like an idiot to anyone not in your clique and devalues all the struggle that people who don’t have their meal plans paid for and the luxury of being able to learn full time receive. When you are playing this ‘holier-than-thou’ game, all you are doing is dwindling our already lacking numbers with support, and unless you’ve misread your out-of-context zine, Paris ’68 had support in the millions, not the lower-thousands.

    This isn’t saying that we shouldn’t fight like hell, and that tactics that go beyond liberal “writing a letter to your congressmen” are essential to getting anything done. But stop framing this as some sort of Paris ’68 resurrection, as if we, students in the twenty-first century living in sunny California, are somehow rising up against the state. No. What we have here, for the majority of people fighting, isn’t striving for our livelihood: it’s making education (a concept that exists in every culture in one form or another) just again. Yes, the masters tools will never dismantle the masters house, but just throwing trash around his living room is just going to get what the analogy would give you: thrown out, into jails, or used as a martyr. That’s not what we need. We need to make the master see that it isn’t his house anymore, and that everyone wants it back, not just revolutionaries who have probably never faced police repression in their entire lives.

    People need to stop playing revolutionaries and start trying to win our rights back. Stop making this about you and start making it about us.

  3. OjosAbiertos Says:

    Honest question: What is a “proceduralist”?

  4. nobody Says:

    this is no good.

  5. Goin’ Back to Cali’ Says:

    […] Comments: Though some tendencies are claiming that the US strikes and occupations are a victory for adventurist politics and are using them to forward insurrectionary programs, these actions were by no way adventurist. […]

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