Wednesday Mar 07, 201202:42 PM GMT
'Occupy Wall Street suffers from leadership crisis'
Wed Mar 7, 2012 2:41PM
Interview with Webster Tarpley, author and historian.
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The problem of course is we have anarchists in the leadership.... If you want to take power, you have got to have demands; you have David Graeber, the mush headed anthropologist, who seems to be the guru of this movement. I think he operates from London. He went to Yale and now he is in London”.

More than 70 anti-corporatism protesters have been arrested in the United States in the latest wave of the detentions of Occupy Movement protesters.


The detainees, charged with trespassing, are the American students protesting cuts to higher education.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Webster Tarpley, author and historian from Washington, to further discuss the matter.

The program also provides insights of two additional guests: Joshua Blakeney, staff writer of the Veterans Today from Calgary, Canada, and the Occupy Movement protester, Mark Mason from San Francisco.

What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Dr. Tarpley, let’s talk about the way that the police has been treating these protesters. The police are saying we have to get involved because we do not want things to become violent.

The protesters --on the other hand-- are saying that, no, this is a systematic crackdown on the protests.

So basically what is your belief on this?

Tarpley: Well, naturally we are in the run of class struggle and the mass strikes. So repression is inevitable. The question is: can you win?

I think it focuses a little bit narrow in the sense that the Occupy Wall Street is really the tail end of something bigger, which is what started in Madison, Wisconsin last February; the Occupy Madison which was a general strike to shutdown the entire state, fighting a fascist governor [Scott] Walker who wanted to destroy all the unions and this is ongoing.

The people in Wisconsin were able to gather one million signatures, the biggest effort proportionally of that type in the history of the United States that has ever happened.

This is where the action is. We also have in Michigan right now; signatures have been gathered to stop the fascist governor of that state, [Rick] Snyder, from taking over the city of Detroit, essentially ending democracy and ruling it as a dictator.

We have unfortunately had a defeat in Indiana, where the union busting bill has gone through with Governor Mitch Daniels, but we have also got a victory in Ohio where the movement there was able to defeat the fascist governor [John R.] Kasich by 61 to 39 percent.

Of course when the communications workers, the transport workers, the teachers, came to Wall Street, that Zuccotti Park demonstrations, that really got going and got on the map.

So it is a mass strike. The problem we have is it is not successful in the Occupy Wall Street. The Zuccotti Park, I think you would have to say, is a failure.

Success would be: are you on your way to a hundred members of the House of Representatives? Are you on your way to ten senators? Have you forced through the Wall Street Sales Tax? Have you stopped foreclosures? Are you on your way to seizing the Federal Reserve?

In other words, what have you done to concretely smash the power of finance capital?

We would have to say the Occupy model with the facilitators and consensus and the 90 percent threshold to get anything approved. This has not been successful.

And I think anybody who wants to repeat that should have it examined.

It is time to come on to a different approach; especially you have got to put forward hard-hitting class-based demands.

Press TV: Dr. Tarpley, basically when we are speaking of how can this movement be effective, is it about, as our guest in Calgary was saying, giving specific agendas, setting out outlining demands or when you mean that they have not been successful, what do you mean they should be doing to have that effect that you were speaking about?

Tarpley: The goal of revolution is to take power. It is not to change the conversation or to force the moving of a meeting from one place to another.

I think this is a pitiful, pathetic scale of expectation. You have got to dare to struggle to dare to win and winning again means getting a hundred representatives into the House of Representatives to fight for the measures that you want; getting ten Senators, forcing through some legislation, we could have had a Wall Street Sales Tax.

A one percent tax on all Wall Street turnover passed last autumn. That could have been forced to the Congress with the right kind of leadership.

Hit Wall Street where it hurts, make them pay, break their power, smash their stranglehold over all the engines of this government.

The problem of course is we have anarchists in the leadership.

Press TV: Mr. Tarpley, you are calling this a revolution then and you are saying it lacks leadership and that is the problem.

Tarpley: It had better be. If you want to take power, you have got to have demands; you have David Graeber, the mush headed anthropologist, who seems to be the guru of this movement. I think he operates from London. He went to Yale and now he is in London.

Graeber says, no, we should not have any demands; I will go with Fredrick Douglass; this is wisdom.

Fredrick Douglass said, power is nothing without a demand. If you want something, you have got to get out there and demand it.

Adbusters that was just mentioned, I really wonder who they are; what is their relation to NATO intelligence?

They come on as the situation is international. Well, that was founded by NATO intelligence to destabilize General [Charles] de Gaulle of France, back around 1960.

Who are these people?

Press TV: Dr. Tarpley, basically when you say that you are criticizing this movement for not being strong enough, you are calling it a revolution, there has been a question asked very frequently now I am hearing in the media in the US and elsewhere, should this movement become violent?

Should this movement get involved in actions that could be construed as violent?

Tell us what you mean then by that?

Tarpley: No, of course not. Only an anarchist lunatic, a police agent, would recommend such a thing. You have got to build your strength with demands, once you have got Zuccotti Park, let us say.

The main role of the mass strike is spread the strike, bring in new groups, bring in labor, bring in women, blacks, Hispanics, bring in soldiers, have something to say about war and peace. They did not even have that.

There was no comprehensive anti-war demand made until very very late in the day.

Do not listen to Adbusters in Vancouver, British Columbia. Forget about David Graeber.

You have got to show... if you have got a group of students and homeless in a park, you have got to show that you are willing to fight for the other people in the society; you would better be fighting for a Wall Street Sales Tax to pay for unlimited, unemployment benefits.

99 weeks plus stop all foreclosures. We had that; the Frazier-Lemke [Farm Bankruptcy] Act of the 1930’s; Medicare for all; anybody who wants it, gets it.

Seize the Federal Reserve and start issuing one trillion dollar tranches of credit.

You have got to get out there.You cannot offer people a utopia; you cannot tell working people that they should come and enjoy the utopian thrill of being in a commune in a park. They cannot do that.

You have got to get out there and show that you are fighting for them. Then when the police come after you, they will be willing to fight for you.

The failure of Zuccotti Park is that they were not willing to fight for anybody in a serious way and when the time came, nobody was willing to fight for them.

MY/MSK/JR
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