Saturday, September 15, 2012

Low Frequency Struggles

'Early in 2011, in the depths of social and economic crises characterized by radical inequality, common sense seemed to dictate that we trust the decisions and guidance of the ruling powers, lest even greater disasters befall us. The financial and governmental rulers may be tyrants, and they may have been primarily responsible for creating the crises, but we had no choice. During the course of 2011, however, a series of social struggles shattered that common sense and began to construct a new one. Occupy Wall Street was the most visible but was only one moment in a cycle of struggles that shifted the terrain of political debate and opened new possibilities for political action over the course of the year...

Each of these struggles is singular and oriented toward specific local conditions. The first thing to notice, though, is that they did, in fact, speak to one another. The Egyptians, of course, clearly moved down paths traveled by the Tunisians and adopted their slogans, but the occupiers of Puerta del Sol also thought of their struggle as carrying on the experiences of those at Tahrir. In turn, the eyes of those in Athens and Tel Aviv were focused on the experiences of Madrid and Cairo. The Wall Street occupiers had them all in view, translating, for instance, the struggle against the tyrant into a struggle against the tyranny of finance. You may think that they were just deluded and forgot or ignored the differences in their situations and demands. We believe, however, that they have a clearer vision than those outside the struggle, and they can hold together without contradiction their singular conditions and local battles with the common global struggle.

Ralph Ellison’s invisible man, after an arduous journey through a racist society,developed the ability to communicate with others in struggle. “Who knows,” Ellison’s narrator concludes, “but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?” Today, too, those in struggle communicate on the lower frequencies, but, unlike in Ellison’s time, no one speaks for them. The lower frequencies are open airwaves for all. And some messages can be heard only by those in struggle'.

No comments: