Friday, October 21, 2011

The Situation: Occupy Wherever

"In a society that has abolished every kind of adventure the only adventure that remains is to abolish the society."
Guy Debord and the Situationists brought game to the spectacle of street protests. It was performance waged with style and subversion that ultimately turned May 1968 into a touchstone for future generations. Did they result in any systemic change? No, but they did cause adjustments and shifts in the system that led to limited forms of progress. Even if this was just an illusion of progress they still raised awareness and opened new ground for future movements to effect change.

So what's going on with the Occupy Wall Street movements flourishing around the globe? First, as should be expected, they're taking on different levels of intensity depending on local or national circumstances. Second, they've crystallized a consensus that is widely shared across a variety of demographics, cultures, political systems and ethnic groups. Third, the potency for change, whether small or large, systemic or not, real or illusory, is still yet to be seen. In the meantime, as Jacques Rancière has suggested, the emancipated spectator is free to find anything valid on his own terms without leaders determining a frame of reference. Be realistic - demand the impossible.

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