Last weeks’ summary: In 2012 EVT, Everstate (the ideal-type corresponding to our very real countries created to foresee the future of governance and of the modern nation-state) knows a rising dissatisfaction of its population. Alarmed by the rising difficulties and widespread discontent, the governing authorities decide to do something when new elections start. Dependent upon programmes created to face efficiently past challenges, prisoners of entrenched political groupings, comforted in their vision by the BRICS’ success and renewed optimism, the major parties campaign to come back to the order ante. As a result, habits and the existing system, once the new national representatives are elected and the new government starts ruling, are even more entrenched, almost ossified.
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Yet, something unexpected, dismissed or rather minimised by observers, is also happening during the months leading to the election: the rise of small and sometimes polarised parties, accompanied by an increase in the political mobilisation outside currently eligible parties. In this, Everstate is just exemplifying what is happening all over the Western world.
For example, in May 2012, in Germany in North Rhine-Westphalia, the new Pirate Party again fares very well. In France, the results of the first round of the Presidential elections shows a strong rise of parties on the extreme left and right of the political spectrum. In Greece, thirty-two parties compete during the first May elections, and seven, including those positioned at the extreme, win seats in Parliament. Meanwhile, the Occupy and Democracia Real Ya! – also known as Indignados – movements, born out of Spain’s mobilisation a year before, show their continuing presence, with various protests staged on May Day, then between 12 and 15 May, with varying participation rates. Signs of polarisation can also be found here. #Anonymous, in general, backs those movements from and in the virtual world, besides other operations, and represent a political force and not a criminal activity as some would like to interpret it.
Indeed free association, free speech and free assembly, enhanced by the new technological means of communication and mobilization, added to the general dissatisfaction while security is still being sought, create new extra-parliamentary organisations and mobilizations because the programmes of the classical parties and existing parliamentary groupings do not answer anymore the needs of the citizens and of the nations. The fluidity of the situation, the diversity of the types of organisations and the various stages of polarisation are symptoms of systems trying to evolve and redesign themselves, of the need for radically new programmes, which are in the making, as the underlying socio-political model are outmoded and do not offer any easy efficient solution.
As far as Occupy Everstate is concerned, they have to face some very difficult issues. What gave them their strength and made them truly representative, notably in terms of concerns and identification of crucial issues for the overall security of the nation, their faith in a fully democratic process, also constitutes an impediment as it slows and even sometimes block their decision process. Their main means of action, peaceful protests and sit-ins, so far has not allowed seeing their demands satisfied. Their successes are however far from negligible as they are now part of the political landscape, and are thus heard, when one year ago they were systematically ignored, and as they have succeeded in raising awareness to the plight of the many. Yet, the old ideas and habits they fight are as pregnant, powerful and ruling as ever.
Some groups within the movement are getting tired of obtaining nothing, of seeing the status quo continuing, while they start meeting difficulties to mobilise people. They are following the American debate existing over the “diversity of tactics.” Should they move away from the essential original non-violence – including the respect of laws and of property – of the movements to the “diversity of tactics” which includes also “property damage and armed retaliation against the police” but NOT “extremist tactics such as planting bombs and armed insurrection? (Bramhall, March 2012). True to the democratic foundation of the movement, the general answer is to convene a General Assembly to vote. However, lengthy debates have now been going on for days and nothing is solved. Furthermore the example of the Pirate Party also tempts Occupy Everstate. Should they register formally? This would allow them, maybe, entering parliament and developing their programme, and more important, getting things done (for the leadership and organisation debate going on in Spain, see Tremlett, May 2012). Yet, would they not also loose part of their soul, of their raison d’être? The tension is growing within the movement, while some actions abiding to the “diversity of tactics” start, still very rare, but yet, they happen.
The result of the new elections seems to freeze the contractions that agitate Occupy Everstate. Could this new government, maybe, bring Everstate back to where it was before life became so hard, before unfairness became unbearable, before the only way forward seemed to go to the streets to be heard or even worse? Nobody wants to sleep in the street, to be poor, to be condemned to unemployment, and even less to fight and risk one’s life. This hope, this last hope, isn’t it worth giving it a chance?
Stuart Jeanne Bramhall in “Debating Violence in the Occupy Movement,” Take The Square, 3 March 2012.
Giles Tremlett, “Spain’s indignado protesters face anniversary crackdown,” Guardian.co.uk, 11 May 2012.
The OccupyCal General Assembly approves of… something. November 15 2011 by Daniel Parks from Berkeley, United States (Fingers Up) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. This image was originally posted to Flickr by D.H. Parks at http://flickr.com/photos/8073513@N03/6349212141. It was reviewed on 21 November 2011 by the FlickreviewR robot and confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.