05 December 2011

Political Theorists on OWS (2) ~ Bernard Harcourt

Bernard Harcourt has written two extended pieces - this this one in The New York Times and this one at The Guardian - contending that the Occupy movement "represents a new paradigm of political resistance – what we might call 'political disobedience' – that demands a new vocabulary." He may well be correct - or at least he may be correct that absent some such new vocabulary the movement risks being absorbed into politics as usual (electoral or otherwise). That, of course is among the worries that Arundhati Roy articulates in her recent assessment of the movement and its potential problems. So, as a starter, Harcourt might resist the notion that the movement is "leaderless." Consider an analogy - proclaiming one's atheism is parasitic on the existence of theism. If the aim is to formulate a "new paradigm" leaving the central features of the old in place - however tacitly - seems to me a rather considerable mistake.

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