Dan LaBotz: The Power of Occupation




This beautifully written article by author/activist Dan LaBotz asks, “Where does the tremendous power of the occupation of city spaces, particularly the square, come from?” He replies that it’s powerful because it resonates with the long history of popular revolts, since ancient times, that were often rooted in the utopian dimensions of the city itself. Social ecologists will recognize many parallels with Murray Bookchin’s writings since the early 1960s that sought to reclaim the city’s legacy of freedom for today’s revolutionaries.

It’s hard to do justice to this piece in a short excerpt, but here’s a passage that helps set the stage for what follows:

We are witnessing something that goes beyond the symbolic, something that both threatens the deep foundations of our social structure and, equally important-no, more important- something that touches our deepest spiritual yearnings. The occupation is utopian in the best sense. Whatever its political program, its practice says: “We will no longer live in hatred and competition. We will live in love and community.” And, of course, that would mean turning everything upside down. That is why the occupation frightens and angers the bankers, the CEOs, the politicians and the generals. It says we no longer need your system. We need you no more.

The article appears in this past weekend’s online edition of Counterpunch, and was first published by the journal New Politics.