Why Occupy Values Lead to Occupy Violence
The postmodern seeds of radical criminality.
December 17, 2012 - 7:15 am
Postmoderns almost always miss the irony that while they claim to reject absolute truth, they assert with conviction that their causes alone are just and right. And though they say postmodern, tolerant things like, “If that’s your point of view, cool, and I get it,” they’re really only “cool” with views they like. They’re selectively tolerant. The Occupy movement hypocritically turns (with breakneck speed) back to modernity to judge the actions of the 1%, the corporations, the banks, and many other enemies they believe to be wrong, immoral, even evil. Which leads to the question, who are they to judge?
As a result of the postmodern mindset of the Occupy movement, groups across the country adopted policies that grew out of their expressions of moral neutrality on violence. Despite their non-violent dissertations, the fine print allows for “diversity of tactics” and a “security culture,” which are code words for “don’t ask, don’t tell” on violent behavior.
As described in an article at The Nation:
In the first days of the occupation at Zuccotti Park, the newly formed DAWG approved guidelines for the movement’s public protests. “Don’t instigate cops or pedestrians with physical violence,” it urged. “We respect a diversity of tactics, but consider how our actions may affect the entire group.”That phrase, “diversity of tactics,” can have a hair-raising effect in activist circles. It emerged during the anti-globalization movement as a sort of détente between those using tactics like marches and street blockades and those wanting to do more aggressive things like breaking windows and fighting back against police. But it’s not always a happy compromise; when a day of thousands peacefully marching is punctuated by a broken window, guess what makes the evening news.
In other words, while they publicly give lip service to non-violence, if someone wants to run around smashing windows, that’s his business and his personal choice. No one has the moral right to object because violence is in the eye of the beholder. Occupy Cleveland, like many other Occupy groups around the country, adopted this philosophy in March of 2012:
Our solidarity will be based on respect for a political diversity within the struggle for social, economic and environmental justice. As individuals and groups, we may choose to engage in a diversity of tactics and plans of action but are committed to treating each other with respect and working towards a common goal of peace and justice.
The group’s “common goal of peace and justice’ — which they consider to be the greater good — overrides any disagreements about tactics, even if they happen to be violent in nature. In Cleveland, that led to tolerating a violent ex-con in their camp and allowing known anarchists to join their group, some of whom eventually plotted to blow up a bridge. In an article on “Criminology and Postmodernism,” John Lea explained the justification for postmodernism’s acceptance of crime:
If freedom and the formation of personal identity are to be understood as a process of free self creation by means of endless experimentation and to involve the maximisation of independence from social bonds, then the condition of marginality becomes the general condition for freedom. Violence and “crime” become a choice like all others — simply another experiment in “difference.” The paradox of postmodern society becomes one in which “crime” may be increasing but we cannot know the “causes” of this as they are simply the general conditions of freedom itself. Very little in the way of criminological theory could survive such a fundamental reorientation.