The affirmative answers the question of what is the underlying force of social relations with desire and a misunderstanding of racisms impact of islamaphobia. This search for meaning in everyday politics at the macro and micro level is disempowering to secure equality.
Their articulation of agency rests on an anti-institutional conception of “the individual” which is suspiciously similar to conservative Libertarianism. This retains complicity with the ideological structures of capital that re-entrench domination and control at the mirco-level, turning the aff.
David Marcus 2012 (Associate book editor at Dissent "The Horizontalists" Fall, http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-horizontalists)
There is a much-recycled and certainly apocryphal tale told of an ethnographer traveling in India. Journeying up and down the Ganges Delta, he encounters a fisherman who claims to know the source of all truth. “The world,” the fisherman explains, “rests upon the back of an elephant.”
“But what does the elephant stand on?” the ethnographer asks.
“And the turtle?”
“Ah, friend,” smiles the fisherman, “it is turtles all the way down.” As with most well-circulated apocrypha, it is a parablethat lacks a clear provenance, but has a clear moral: that despite our ever-dialectical minds, wewill never get to the bottom of things; that, in fact, there is nothing at the bottom of things. What we define as society is nothing more than a set of locally constructed practices and norms, and what we define as history is nothing more than the passage of one set to the next. Although we might “find the picture of our universe as an infinite tower of tortoises rather ridiculous,” as one reteller admitted, it only raises the question, “Why do we think we know better?” Since the early 1970s we have wondered—with increasing anxiety—why and if we know better. Social scientists, literary critics, philosophers, and jurists have all begun to turn from their particular disciplines to the more general question of interpretation. There has been an increasing uneasiness with universal categories of thought; a whispered suspicion and then a commonly held belief that the sum—societies, histories, identities—never amounts to more than its parts. New analytical frameworks have begun to emerge, sensitive to both the pluralities and localities of life. “What we need,” as Clifford Geertz argued, “are not enormous ideas” but “ways of thinking that are responsive to particularities, to individualities, oddities, discontinuities, contrasts, and singularities.” This growing anxiety over the precision of our interpretive powers has translatedinto a variety of political as well as epistemological concerns. Many have become uneasy with universal concepts of justice and equality. Simultaneous to—and in part because of—the ascendance of human rights, freedom has increasingly become understood as an individual entitlement insteadof a collective possibility. The once prevalent conviction that a handful of centripetal values could bind society together has transformed into a deeply skeptical attitude toward generalstatements of value. If it is, indeed, turtles all the way down, then decisions can take place only on a local scale and on a horizontal plane. There is no overarching platform from which to legislate; only a “local knowledge.”As Michael Walzer argued in a 1985 lecture on social criticism, “We have to start from where we are,” we can only ask, “what is the right thing for us to do?” This shift in scale has had a significant impact on the Left over the past twenty to thirty years. Socialism, once the “name of our desire,” has all but disappeared; new desires have emerged in its place: situationism, autonomism, localism, communitarianism, environmentalism, anti-globalism. Often spatial in metaphor, they have been more concerned with where and how politics happen rather than at what pace and to what end. Often local in theory and in practice, they have come to represent a shift in scale: from the large to the small, from the vertical to the horizontal, and from—what Geertz has called—the “thin” to the “thick.” Class, race, and gender—those classic left themes—are, to be sure, still potent categories. But they have often been imagined as spectrums rather than binaries, varying shades rather than static lines of solidarity. Instead of society, there is now talk of communities and actor networks; instead of radical schemes to rework economic and political institutions, there is an emphasis on localized campaigns and everyday practices.The critique of capitalism—once heavily informed by intricate historical and social theories—has narrowed. The “ruthless criticism of all,” as Karl Marx once put it, has turned away from exploitative world systems to the pathologies of an over-regulated life. As post-Marxists Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe declared in 1985, Left-wing thought today stands at a crossroads. The “evident truths” of the past—the classical forms of analysis and political calculation, the nature of the forces in conflict, the very meaning of the Left’s struggles and objectives—have been seriously challenged….From Budapest to Prague and the Polish coup d’état, from Kabul to the sequels of Communist victory in Vietnam and Cambodia, a question-mark has fallen more and more heavily over the whole way of conceiving both socialism and the roads that should lead to it. In many ways, the Left has just been keeping up with the times. Over the last quarter-century, there has been a general fracturing of our social and economic relations, a “multiplication of,” what one sociologist has called, “partial societies—grouped by age, sex, ethnicity, and proximity.” This has not necessarily been a bad thing. Even as the old Left—the vertical Left—frequently bemoaned the growing differentiation and individuation, these new categories did, in fact, open the door for marginalized voices and communities. They created a space for more diversity, tolerance, and inclusion. They signaled a turn toward the language of recognition: a politics more sensitive to difference. But this turn was also not without its disadvantages. Gone was the Left’s hope for an emerging class consciousness, a movement of the “people” seeking greater realms of freedom. Instead of challenging the top-down structures of late capitalism, radicals now aspired to create—what post-Marxists were frequently calling—“spaces of freedom.” If one of the explicit targets of the global justice movement of the late 1990s was the exploitative trade policies of the World Trade Organization, then its underlying critique was the alienating patterns of its bureaucracy: the erosion of spaces for self-determination and expression. The crisis of globalization was that it stripped individuals of their rights to participate, to act as free agents in a society that was increasingly becoming shaped by a set of global institutions. What most troubled leftists over the past three or four decades was not the increasingly unequal distribution of goods and services in capitalist societies but the increasingly unequal distribution of power. As one frequently sighted placard from the 1999 Seattle protests read, “No globalization without participation!” Occupy Wall Street has come to represent the latest turn in this movement toward local and more horizontal spaces of freedom. Occupation was, itself, a matter of recovering local space: a way to repoliticize the square. And in a moment characterized by foreclosure, it was also symbolically, and sometimes literally, an attempt to reclaim lost homes and abandoned properties. But there was also a deeper notion of space at work. Occupy Wall Street sought out not only new political spaces but also new ways to relate to them. By resisting the top-down management of representative democracy as well as the bottom-up ideals of labor movements, Occupiers hoped to create a new politics in which decisions moved neither up nor down but horizontally. While embracing the new reach of globalization—linking arms and webcams with their encamped comrades in Madrid, Tel Aviv, Cairo, and Santiago—they were also rejecting its patterns of consolidation, its limits on personal freedom, its vertical and bureaucratic structures of decision-making. Time was also to be transformed. The general assemblies and general strikes were efforts to reconstruct, and make more autonomous, our experience of time as well as space. Seeking to escape from the Taylorist demands of productivity, the assemblies insisted that decision-making was an endless process. Who we are, what we do, what we want to be are categories of flexibility, and consensus is as much about repairing this sense of open-endedness as it is about agreeing on a particular set of demands. Life is a mystery, as one pop star fashionista has insisted, and Occupiers wanted to keep it that way. Likewise, general strikes were imagined as ways in which workers could take back time—regain those parts of life that had become routinized by work. Rather than attempts to achieve large-scale reforms, general strikes were improvisations, escapes from the daily calculations of production that demonstrated that we can still be happy, creative, even productive individuals without jobs. As one unfurled banner along New York’s Broadway read during this spring’s May Day protests, “Why work? Be happy.” In many ways, the Occupy movement was a rebellion against the institutionalized nature of twenty-first century capitalism and democracy. Equally skeptical of corporate monopolies as it was of the technocratic tendencies of the state, it was ultimately an insurgency against control, against the ways in which organized power and capital deprived the individual of the time and space needed to control his or her life. Just as the vertically inclined leftists of the twentieth century leveraged the public corporation—the welfare state—against the increasingly powerful number of private ones, so too were Occupy and, more generally, the horizontalist Left to embrace the age of the market: at the center of their politics was the anthropological “man” in both his forms—homo faber and homo ludens—who was capable of negotiating his interests outside the state. For this reason, the movement did not fit neatly into right or left, conservative or liberal, revolutionary or reformist categories. On the one hand, it was sympathetic to the most classic of left aspirations: to dismantle governing hierarchies. On the other,its language was imbued with a strident individualism: a politics of anti-institutionalism and personal freedom that has most often been affiliated with the Right. Seeking an alternative to the bureaucratic tendencies of capitalism and socialism, Occupiers were to frequently invoke the image of autonomy: of a world in which social and economic relations exist outside the institutions of the state. Their aspiration was a society based on organic, decentralized circuits of exchange and deliberation—on voluntary associations, on local debate, on loose networks of affinity groups. If political and economic life had become abstracted in the age of globalization and financialization, then Occupy activists wanted to re-politicize our everyday choices. As David Graeber, one of Occupy’s chief theoretical architects, explained two days after Zuccotti Park was occupied, “The idea is essentially that “the system is not going to save us,” so “we’re going to have to save ourselves.” Borrowing from the anarchist tradition, Graeber has called this work “direct action”: the practice of circumventing, even on occasion subverting, hierarchies through practical projects. Instead of attempting “to pressure the government to institute reforms” or “seize state power,” direct actions seek to “build a new society in the shell of the old.” By creating spaces in which individuals take control over their lives, it is a strategy of acting and thinking “as if one is already free.” Marina Sitrin, another prominent Occupier, has offered another name for this politics—“horizontalism”: “the use of direct democracy, the striving for consensus” and “processes in which everyone is heard and new relationships are created.” It is a politics that not only refuses institutionalization but also imagines a new subjectivity from which one can project the future into the present. Direct action and horizontal democracy are new names, of course, for old ideas. They descend—most directly—from the ideas and tactics of the global justice movement of the 1990s and 2000s. Direct Action Network was founded in 1999 to help coordinate the anti-WTO protests in Seattle; horizontalidad, as it was called in Argentina, emerged as a way for often unemployed workers to organize during the financial crisis of 2001. Both emerged out of the theories and practices of a movement that was learning as it went along. The ad hoc working groups, the all-night bull sessions, the daylong actions, the decentralized planning were all as much by necessity as they were by design. They were not necessarily intended at first. But what emerged out of anti-globalization was a new vision of globalization. Local and horizontal in practice, direct action and democracy were to become catchphrases for a movement that was attempting to resist the often autocratic tendencies of a fast-globalizing capitalism. But direct action and horizontal democracy also tap into a longer, if often neglected, tradition on the left: the anarchism, syndicalism, and autonomist Marxism that stretch from Peter Kropotkin, Emma Goldman, and Rosa Luxemburg to C.L.R. James, Cornelius Castoriadis, and Antonio Negri. If revolutionary socialism was a theory about ideal possibilities, then anarchism and autonomism often focused on the revolutionary practices themselves. The way in which the revolution was organized was the primary act of revolution. Autonomy, as the Greco-French Castoriadis told Le Monde in 1977, demands not only “the elimination of dominant groups and of the institutions embodying and orchestrating that domination” but also new modes of what he calls “self-management and organization.” With direct action and horizontal democracy, the Occupy movement not only developed a set of new tactics but also a governing ideology, a theory of time and space that runs counter to many of the practices of earlier leftist movements. Unlike revolutionary socialism or evolutionary social democracy—Marx’s Esau and Jacob—Occupiers conceived of time as more cyclical than developmental, its understanding of space more local and horizontal than structural and vertical. The revolution was to come but only through everyday acts. It was to occur only through—what Castoriadis obliquely referred to as—“the self-institution of society.” The seemingly spontaneous movement that emerged after the first general assemblies in Zuccotti Park was not, then, sui generis but an elaboration of a much larger turn by the Left. As occupations spread across the country and as activists begin to exchange organizational tactics, it was easy to forget that what was happening was, in fact, a part of a much larger shift in the scale and plane of Western politics: a turn toward more local and horizontal patterns of life, a growing skepticism toward the institutions of the state, and an increasing desire to seek out greater realms of personal freedom. And although its hibernation over the summer has, perhaps, marked the end of the Occupy movement, OWS has also come to represent an important—and perhaps more lasting—break. In both its ideas and tactics, it has given us a new set of desires—autonomy, radical democracy, direct action—that look well beyond the ideological and tactical tropes of socialism. Its occupations and general assemblies, its flash mobs and street performances, its loose network of activists all suggest a bold new set of possibilities for the Left: a horizontalist ethos that believes that revolution will begin by transforming our everyday lives. It can be argued that horizontalism is, in many ways, a product of the growing disaggregation and individuation of Western society; that it is a kind of free-market leftism: a politics jury-rigged out of the very culture it hopes to resist.For not only does it emphasize the agency of the individual, but it draws one of its central inspirations from a neoclassical image: that of the self-managing society—the polity that functions best when the state is absent from everyday decisions. But one can also find in its anti-institutionalism an attempt to speak in today’s language for yesterday’s goals. If we must live in a society that neither trusts nor feels compelled by collectivist visions, then horizontalism offers us a leftism that attempts to be, at once, both individualist and egalitarian, anti-institutional and democratic, open to the possibilities of self-management and yet also concerned with the casualties born out of an age that has let capital manage itself for far too long. Horizontalism has absorbed the crisis of knowledge—what we often call “postmodernism”—and the crisis of collectivism—what we often call “neoliberalism.” But instead of seeking to return to some golden age before our current moment of fracture, it seeks—for better and worse—to find a way to make leftist politics conform to our current age of anti-foundationalism and institutionalism. As Graeber argued in the prescriptive last pages of his anthropological epic, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, “Capitalism has transformed the world in many ways that are clearly irreversible” and we therefore need to give up “the false choice between state and market that [has] so monopolized political ideology for the last centuries that it made it difficult to argue about anything else.” We need, in other words, to stop thinking like leftists. But herein lies the problem. Not all possibleforms of human existence and social interaction, no matter how removed they are from the institutions of power and capital, are good forms of social organization. Although it is easy to look enthusiastically to those societies—ancient or modern, Western or non-Western—that exist beyond the structures of the state, they, too, have their own patterns of hierarchy, their own embittered lines of inequality and injustice. More important, to select one form of social organization over the other is always an act of exclusion. Instituting and then protecting a particular way of life will always require a normative commitment in which not every value system is respected—in which, in other words, there is a moral hierarchy. More problematically, by working outside structures of power one may circumvent coercive systems but one does not necessarily subvert them. Localizing politics—stripping it of its larger institutional ambitions—has, to be sure, its advantages. But without a larger structural vision, it does not go far enough. “Bubbles of freedom,” as Graeber calls them, may create a larger variety of non-institutional life. But they will always neglect other crucial avenues of freedom: in particular, thosesocial and economic rights that can onlybe protected from the top down. In this way, the anti-institutionalism of horizontalism comes dangerously close to that of the libertarian Right. The turn to previous eras of social organization, the desire to locate and confine politics to a particular regional space, the deep skepticism toward all forms of institutional life not only mirror the aspirations of libertarianism but help cloak those hierarchies spawned from non-institutional forms of power and capital. This is a particularly pointed irony for a political ideology that claims to be opposed to the many injustices of a non-institutional market—in particular, its unregulated financial schemes. Perhaps this is an irony deeply woven into the theoretical quilt of autonomy: a vision that, as a result of its anti-institutionalism, is drawn to all sites of individual liberation—even those that are to be found in the marketplace. As Graeber concludes in Debt, “Markets, when allowed to drift entirely free from their violent origins, invariably begin to grow into something different, into networks of honor, trust, and mutual connectedness,” whereas “the maintenance of systems of coercion constantly do the opposite: turn the products of human cooperation, creativity, devotion, love and trust back into numbers once again.” In many ways, this is the result of a set of political ideas that have lost touch with their origins. The desire for autonomy was born out of the socialist—if not also often the Marxist—tradition and there was always a guarded sympathy for the structures needed to oppose organized systems of capital and power. Large-scale institutions were, for thinkers such as Castoriadis, Negri, and C.L.R. James, still essential if every cook was truly to govern. To only “try to create ‘spaces of freedom’ ‘alongside’ of the State” meant, as Castoriadis was to argue later in his life, to back “down from the problem of politics.” In fact, this was, he believed, the failure of 1968: “the inability to set up new, different institutions” and recognize that “there is no such thing as a society without institutions.” This is—and will be—a problem for the horizontalist Left as it moves forward. As a leftism ready-made for an age in which all sides of the political spectrum are arrayed against the regulatory state, it is always in danger of becoming absorbed into the very ideological apparatus itseeks to dismantle. For it aspires to a decentralized and organic politics that, in both principle and practice, shares a lot in common with its central target. Both it and the “free market” are anti-institutional. And the latter will remain so without larger vertical measures. Structures, not only everyday practices, need to be reformed. The revolution cannot happen only on the ground; it must also happen from above. A direct democracy still needs its indirect structures, individual freedoms still need to be measured by their collective consequences, and notions of social and economic equality still need to stand next to the desire for greater political participation. Deregulation is another regulatory regime, and to replace it requires new regulations: institutions that will limit the excesses of the market. As Castoriadis insisted in the years after 1968, the Left’s task is not only to abolish old institutions but to discover “new kinds of relationship between society and its institutions.” Horizontalism has come to serve as an important break from the static strategies and categories of analysis that have slowed an aging and vertically inclined Left. OWS was to represent its fullest expression yet, though it has a much longer back story and still—one hopes—a promising future. But horizontalists such as Graeber and Sitrin will struggle to establish spaces of freedom if they cannot formulate a larger vision for a society. Their vision is not—as several on the vertical left have suggested—too utopian but not utopian enough: in seeking out local spaces of freedom, they have confined their ambitions; theyhave, in fact, come, at times, to mirror the very ideology they hope to resist. In his famous retelling of the turtle parable, Clifford Geertz warned that in “the search of all-too-deep-lying turtles,” we have to be careful to not “lose touch with the hard surfaces of life—with the political, economic, stratificatory realities within which men are everywhere contained.” This is an ever-present temptation, and one that, in our age of ever more stratification, we must resist.
The 1AC’s arguments about subjectivity through the lens of individual resistance transforms politics into rampant consumerism- they are the psychosis politics of the free-thinking subject born to shop
Burch 1995 (Mark, Anarchives Volume 2 Issue 20 Language Is A Virus “The Biosemiotics of Consumer Fascism” http://www.hackcanada.com/canadian/zines/anarchives/anarchives_2_20.txt)
The last two decades have seen dramatic changes in the world. There has been the fall of communism, the "victory" of capitalism, and even talk of "the end of history." There has been a rise in globalism, concern for the environment, the biosphere, and biodiversity. The symbol of Gaia as the whole system of Earth is gaining acceptance, and symbols of the earth are everywhere, on Burger King and McDonald's products and on "environmentally friendly" paper grocery bags. Is this a good sign? James Lovelock, one of the originators of the Gaia hypothesis, is quoted by Myrdene Anderson (1990) as saying that Gaia is an empty sign with nearly infinite capacity for signification, but is filling up mostly with rubbish. The planets proliferate; we have Planet Hollywood and Planet Reebok--"where there are no limits." Masahide Kato (1993) claims that the earth symbol which is appearing everywhere is the new corporate logo of transnational capital (TNC), because it signifies the role of the strategic gaze in constructing a homogeneous social totality. In line with the principle outlined above, that objectification precedes consumption, it is clear that Earth is poised to be consumed. I feel that the fall of communism is a sign that the hegemony of TNC is complete, so that it no longer needs the false duality between the US and the USSR (Derrida has even analyzed the Beatles song, "Back in the US, Back in the US, Back in the USSR...and Georgia's always on my m-m-m-m-m-mmind!" in terms of this false dichotomy) to serve as a vice which crushed the non-aligned nations. As to the new globalism, it is a one-dimensional globalism, definitely on the terms of TNC. There is zero tolerance for deviance. Just as deviance has been increasingly medicalized (Conrad & Schneider, 1992), and medicine is governed by militaristic metaphors, so US militarism is governed by medical metaphors. We don't fight wars any more, we conduct "surgical strikes." Antibiotics were the "magic bullets," and bombs look like giant pills. The concern for biodiversity is limited to potential products, cures for cancer, AIDS, etc. which may lay undiscovered in some rain forest plant. The only way to preserve cultural diversity is to have the natives produce some commodity for consumers to buy--rugs, clothes, or "rainforest crunch." Americans are cultural omnivores, and the background conversation is still dominated by consumption. DESSERT: CONSUMER CULTURE AS ONCOMEME A cell is a biosemiotic community. There is a center, occupied by the nucleus, and a periphery, bordered by a membrane. Hormones and neurotransmitters are signs that are received by and through the periphery and are transduced into analog signals or make their way to the nucleus, where they initiate longer term changes in the cell's metabolism. The DNA in the nucleus of a healthy cell is in two-way conversation with the periphery, contrary to the early dogma which stipulated a one-way flow of instructions from the DNA. A cancerous cell, however, is in one-way communication and proliferates out of proportion to its place in the organism. There is a two-step process by which a cell becomes cancerous and grows into a tumor. The first step is carcinogenesis, and results from DNA damage; the second step is tumorigenesis and results from the cell being cut off from communication with cells at its periphery, which activates genes called oncogenes. Alternatively, an oncovirus can insert an oncogene into the cell's DNA and cause the cell to proliferate. An oncogene usually codes for a truncated receptor, that generates signals for cell growth and proliferation without feedback control (Darnell, et. al., 1990). The transformed cell becomes aggressive and can kill other cells. The growing tumor can secrete growth factors which redirect blood vessels and initiate vascularization. Finally, specialized cells can metastasize and colonize other tissues of the body. Cancer, once thought to be an anarchistic riot of cell growth, is actually a highly organized system, in which a part assumes control of the whole. One can see that there are homologies between the imperialist notion of center and periphery and capitalism's uncontrolled economic growth, and the processes which are involved in tumorigenesis. I believe that consumer culture also proliferates itself by similar mechanisms. By image colonization and pseudo-objectivity, external memes are planted in the self system and reproduce by echogenesis. People are alienated from each other and their culture by a discourse of objects. Education and socialization consistently repress the individual. The autonomous self is faced with a double bind--conform or be marginalized ("If you are not with us, you are against us."). In conformity the self withers away, leaving a false self which is hollow and hungry and born to shop. In marginality, you get to keep your self, but you can't do much with it, because there is no reflection that validates it. Radical Islamic practice is a catastrophe for queer folk, women, and religious non-Muslims -- its promotion represents part of the divide and conquer strategy of global capitalism Hedges '13 Chris, TruthDig, "Murdering the Wretched of the Earth" 8/13 http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/murdering_the_wretched_of_the_earth_20130814/
Radical Islam is the last refuge of the Muslim poor. The mandated five prayers a day give the only real structure to the lives of impoverished believers. The careful rituals of washing before prayers in the mosque, the strict moral code, along with the understanding that life has an ultimate purpose and meaning, keep hundreds of millions of destitute Muslims from despair. The fundamentalist ideology that rises from oppression is rigid and unforgiving. It radically splits the world into black and white, good and evil, apostates and believers. It is bigoted and cruel to women, Jews, Christians and secularists, along with gays and lesbians. But at the same time it offers to those on the very bottom of society a final refuge and hope. The massacres of hundreds of believers in the streets of Cairo signal not only an assault against a religious ideology, not only a return to the brutal police state of Hosni Mubarak, but the start of a holy war that will turn Egypt and other poor regions of the globe into a caldron of blood and suffering. The only way to break the hold of radical Islam is to give its followers a stake in the wider economy, the possibility of a life where the future is not dominated by grinding poverty, repression and hopelessness. If you live in the sprawling slums of Cairo or the refugee camps in Gaza or the concrete hovels in New Delhi, every avenue of escape is closed. You cannot get an education. You cannot get a job. You do not have the resources to marry. You cannot challenge the domination of the economy by the oligarchs and the generals. The only way left for you to affirm yourself is to become a martyr, or shahid. Then you will get what you cannot get in life—a brief moment of fame and glory. And while what will take place in Egypt will be defined as a religious war, and the acts of violence by the insurgents who will rise from the bloodied squares of Cairo will be defined as terrorism, the engine for this chaos is not religion but the collapsing economy of a world where the wretched of the earth are to be subjugated and starved or shot. The lines of battle are being drawn in Egypt and across the globe. Adli Mansour, the titular president appointed by the military dictator of Egypt, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, has imposed a military-led government, a curfew and a state of emergency. They will not be lifted soon. The lifeblood of radical movements is martyrdom. The Egyptian military has provided an ample supply. The faces and the names of the sanctified dead will be used by enraged clerics to call for holy vengeance. And as violence grows and the lists of martyrs expand, a war will be ignited that will tear Egypt apart. Police, Coptic Christians, secularists, Westerners, businesses, banks, the tourism industry and the military will become targets. Those radical Islamists who were persuaded by the Muslim Brotherhood that electoral politics could work and brought into the system will go back underground, and many of the rank and file of the Muslim Brotherhood will join them. Crude bombs will be set off. Random attacks and assassinations by gunmen will puncture daily life in Egypt as they did in the 1990s when I was in Cairo for The New York Times, although this time the attacks will be wider and more fierce, far harder to control or ultimately crush. What is happening in Egypt is a precursor to a wider global war between the world’s elites and the world’s poor, a war caused by diminishing resources, chronic unemployment and underemployment, overpopulation, declining crop yields caused by climate change, and rising food prices. Thirty-three percent of Egypt’s 80 million people are 14 or younger, and millions live under or just above the poverty line, which the World Bank sets at a daily income of $2 in that nation. The poor in Egypt spend more than half their income on food—often food that has little nutritional value. An estimated 13.7 million Egyptians, or 17 percent of the population, suffered from food insecurity in 2011, compared with 14 percent in 2009, according to a report by the U.N. World Food Program and the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). Malnutrition is endemic among poor children, with 31 percent under 5 years old stunted in growth. Illiteracy runs at more than 70 percent. In “Les Misérables” Victor Hugo described war with the poor as one between the “egoists” and the “outcasts.” The egoists, Hugo wrote, had “the bemusement of prosperity, which blunts the sense, the fear of suffering which is some cases goes so far as to hate all sufferers, and unshakable complacency, the ego so inflated that is stifles the soul.” The outcasts, who were ignored until their persecution and deprivation morphed into violence, had “greed and envy, resentment at the happiness of others, the turmoil of the human element in search of personal fulfillment, hearts filled with fog, misery, needs, and fatalism, and simple, impure ignorance.” The belief systems the oppressed embrace can be intolerant, but these belief systems are a response to the injustice, state violence and cruelty inflicted on them by the global elites. Our enemy is not radical Islam. It is global capitalism. It is a world where the wretched of the earth are forced to bow before the dictates of the marketplace, where children go hungry as global corporate elites siphon away the world’s wealth and natural resources and where our troops and U.S.-backed militaries carry out massacres on city streets. Egypt offers a window into the coming dystopia. The wars of survival will mark the final stage of human habitation of the planet. And if you want to know what they will look like, visit any city morgue in Cairo.
you should prefer our disadvantage to the 1ac politics because it explains why the Occupy movement was a massive failure. like Occupy, the 1AC's refusal to identify a concrete demand on the US government folds their speech act into dissent-for-its-own sake, a meaningless exercise in self-indulgent liberation rhetoric that only re-entrenches status quo power relations.
Frank 2012 (Thomas, Author of What's the Matter with Kansas? and editor of The Baffler "To the Precinct Station: How theory met practice …and drove it absolutely crazy" http://www.thebaffler.com/past/to_the_precinct_station)
A while later I happened to watch an online video of an Occupy panel discussion held at a bookstore in New York; at some point in the recording, a panelist objected to the way protesters had of saying they were “speaking for themselves” rather than acknowledging that they were part of a group. Another one of the panelists was moved to utter this riposte: What I would note, is that people can only speak for themselves, that the self would be under erasure there, in that the self is then held into question, as any poststructuralist thought leading through anarchism would push you towards. . . . I would agree, an individualism that our society has definitely had inscribed upon it and continues to inscribe upon itself, “I can only speak for myself,” the “only” is operative there, and of course these spaces are being opened up . . . My heart dropped like a broken elevator. As soon as I heard this long, desperate stream of pseudointellectual gibberish, I knew instantly that this thing was doomed. * * * “There is a danger,” the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek warned the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park last year, and he wasn’t referring to the New York Police Department. “Don’t fall in love with yourselves.” We have a nice time here. But remember, carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal lives. Will there be any changes then? Žižek’s remarks appear in n+1 magazine’s Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America (Verso, $14.95), the first book, and one of the most eclectic, to appear on the subject of last year’s protests. That volume was eventually followed by numerous others ranging from speeches delivered to the encampments (Noam Chomsky’s Occupy; Zuccotti Park Press, $9.95) to historical considerations of the protest (Todd Gitlin’s Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street; HarperCollins, $12.99) to collective memoirs by participants (Occupying Wall Street: The Inside Story of an Action that Changed America; Haymarket, $15). Before considering them, I have to ask that the usual disclaimers be applied with prejudice: Todd Gitlin is a friend of mine whose work I admire; Joe Sacco, who drew the cartoons that accompany the Chris Hedges entry, is another acquaintance and a onetime Baffler contributor; Will Bunch, whom I have never met, reviewed my last book (he was ambivalent about it); I know several of the contributors to the n+1 anthology; other friends of mine contributed to the quasi-official Occupy memoir; and still other friends appear in these books’ pages, making statements, being quoted, that sort of thing. Left-wing actions are like family reunions, I guess. Nearly all of these books wander more or less directly into the “danger” Žižek warned against. They are deeply, hopelessly in love with this protest. Each one takes for granted that the Occupy campaign was world-shaking and awe-inspiring—indeed, this attitude is often asserted in the books’ very titles: This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement (Berrett-Koehler, $9.95), for example. The authors heap up the superlatives without restraint or caution. “The 99% has awakened,” writes the editor of Voices From the 99 Percent: An Oral History of the Occupy Wall Street Movement (Red and Black, $15.99). “The American political landscape will never again be the same.” What happened in Zuccotti Park was “unprecedented,” declares Noam Chomsky. “There’s never been anything like it that I can think of.” But that is nothing when compared to the enthusiasm of former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges. In Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (Nation Books, $28) he compares Occupy to the 1989 revolutions in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. The protesters in New York, he writes, were disorganized at first, unsure of what to do, not even convinced they had achieved anything worthwhile, but they had unwittingly triggered a global movement of resistance that would reverberate across the country and in the capitals of Europe. The uneasy status quo, effectively imposed for decades by the elites, was shattered. Another narrative of power took shape. The revolution began. Or had it begun twelve years previously? In 1999, you might recall, lefties nationwide swooned to hear about the WTO protests in Seattle; surely the tide was beginning to turn. Then, in 2008, liberal commentators swooned again for Senator Barack Obama: he was the leader we had been waiting for all these years. Then, in 2012, they swooned in precisely the same way for Occupy: it was totally unprecedented, it was the revolution, et cetera. I don’t object to any of these causes, as it happens—I supported Occupy; I voted for Obama; I was excited about the 1999 protests—but I can’t stand the swooning. These books were written by educated people, certain of them experts on social movements. Why must they plunge so ecstatically into uncritical groupthink? “Groupthink”? Yes. With a few exceptions here and there, these books are amazingly, soporifically the same. They tell the same anecdotes. They quote the same “communiqués.” They dwell on the same details. They even adopt, one after another, the same historical interpretations. (It is important to acknowledge the exceptions to this rule. Both the n+1 anthology and Todd Gitlin’s Occupy Nation deserve praise for occasionally taking a critical stance. The others are pretty much indistinguishable in their enthusiasm.) And for the most part, what Žižek called our “normal lives” are not really part of the story. Nor are the “changes” that Occupy failed to secure. Even to bring them up, the reader senses, would be the act of a dullard. What matters, as author after author agrees, is the carnival—all the democratic and nonhierarchical things that went on in Zuccotti Park. The details of that carnival are the subject matter of nearly all the books reviewed here—details that are described with loving, granular singularity. Should the reader be interested, she can now learn as much about what happened in Zuccotti Park in New York City during those magical sixty days of OWS as she can from other books about the inner workings of the Obama Administration, or the decision-making of Congress. Indeed, measured by words published per square foot of setting, Zuccotti Park may well be the most intensely scrutinized landscape in recent journalistic history. We know just about everything that went on there, and the tales are repeated from book to book: how the drummers kept everyone awake, what happened on the Brooklyn Bridge, how the “people’s mic” worked, where the idea for General Assemblies came from, how everyone pitched in and cleaned the park one frantic night to keep from being evicted the next day. Measured in terms of words published per political results, on the other hand, OWS may be the most over-described historical event of all time. Nearly every one of these books makes sweeping claims for the movement’s significance, its unprecedented and earth-shattering innovations. Just about everything it does is brilliantly, inventively, mind-blowingly people-empowering. And what do we have to show for it today in our “normal lives”? Not much. President Obama may talk about the “top 1 percent” now, but he is apparently as committed as ever to austerity, to striking a “grand bargain” with the Republicans. Occupy itself is pretty much gone. It was evicted from Zuccotti Park about two months after it began—an utterly predictable outcome for which the group seems to have made inadequate preparation. OWS couldn’t bring itself to come up with a real set of demands until after it got busted, when it finally agreed on a single item. With the exception of some residual groups here and there populated by the usual activist types, OWS has today pretty much fizzled out. The media storm that once surrounded it has blown off to other quarters. Pause for a moment and compare this record of accomplishment to that of Occupy’s evil twin, the Tea Party movement, and the larger right-wing revival of which it is a part. Well, under the urging of this trumped-up protest movement, the Republican Party proceeded to win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives; in the state legislatures of the nation it took some six hundred seats from the Democrats; as of this writing it is still purging Republican senators and congressmen deemed insufficiently conservative and has even succeeded in having one of its own named as the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate. * * * The question that the books under consideration here seek to answer is: What is the magic formula that made OWS so successful? But it’s exactly the wrong question. What we need to be asking about Occupy Wall Street is: Why did this effort fail? How did OWS blow all the promise of its early days? Why do even the most popular efforts of the Left come to be mired in a gluey swamp of academic talk and pointless antihierarchical posturing? The action certainly started with a bang. When the occupation of Zuccotti Park began, in September 2011, the OWS cause was overwhelmingly popular; indeed, as Todd Gitlin points out, hating Wall Street may well have been the most popular left-wing cause since the thirties. Inequality had reached obscene levels, and it was no longer the act of a radical to say so. The bank bailouts of the preceding years had made it obvious that government was captured by organized money. Just about everyone resented Wall Street in those days; just about everyone was happy to see someone finally put our fury in those crooks’ overpaid faces. People flocked to the OWS standard. Cash donations poured in; so did food and books. Celebrities made appearances in Zuccotti, and the media began covering the proceedings with an attentiveness it rarely gives to leftist actions. But these accounts, with a few exceptions here and there, misread that overwhelming approval of Occupy’s cause as an approval of the movement’s mechanics: the camping out in the park, the way food was procured for an army of protesters, the endless search for consensus, the showdowns with the cops, the twinkles. These things, almost every writer separately assumes, are what the Occupy phenomenon was really about. These are the details the public hungers to know. The building of a “community” in Zuccotti Park, for example, is a point of special emphasis. Noam Chomsky’s thoughts epitomize the genre when he tells us that “one of the main achievements” of the movement “has been to create communities, real functioning communities of mutual support, democratic interchange,” et cetera. The reason this is important, he continues, is because Americans “tend to be very isolated and neighborhoods are broken down, community structures have broken down, people are kind of alone.” How building such “communities” helps us to tackle the power of high finance is left unexplained, as is Chomsky’s implication that a city of eight million people, engaged in all the complexities of modern life, should learn how humans are supposed to live together by studying an encampment of college students. The actual sins of Wall Street, by contrast, are much less visible. For example, when you read Occupying Wall Street, the work of a team of writers who participated in the protests, you first hear about the subject of predatory lending when a sympathetic policeman mentions it in the course of a bust. The authors themselves never bring it up. And if you want to know how the people in Zuccotti intended to block the banks’ agenda—how they intended to stop predatory lending, for example—you have truly come to the wrong place. Not because it’s hard to figure out how to stop predatory lending, but because the way the Occupy campaign is depicted in these books, it seems to have had no intention of doing anything except building “communities” in public spaces and inspiring mankind with its noble refusal to have leaders.Unfortunately, though, that’s not enough. Building a democratic movement culture is essential for movements on the left, but it’s also just a starting point. Occupy never evolved beyond it. It did not call for a subtreasury system, like the Populists did. It didn’t lead a strike (a real one, that is), or a sit-in, or a blockade of a recruitment center, or a takeover of the dean’s office. The IWW free-speech fights of a century ago look positively Prussian by comparison. With Occupy, the horizontal culture was everything. “The process is the message,” as the protesters used to say and as most of the books considered here largely concur. The aforementioned camping, the cooking, the general-assembling, the filling of public places: that’s what Occupy was all about. Beyond that there seems to have been virtually no strategy to speak of, no agenda to transmit to the world. * * * Whether or not to have demands, you might recall, was something that Occupy protesters debated hotly among themselves in the days when Occupy actually occupied something. Reading these books a year later, however, that debate seems to have been consensed out of existence. Virtually none of the authors reviewed here will say forthrightly that the failure to generate demands was a tactical mistake. On the contrary: the quasi-official account of the episode (Occupying Wall Street) laughs off demands as a fetish object of literal-minded media types who stupidly crave hierarchy and chains of command. Chris Hedges tells us that demands were something required only by “the elites, and their mouthpieces in the media.” Enlightened people, meanwhile, are supposed to know better; demands imply the legitimacy of the adversary, meaning the U.S. government and its friends, the banks. Launching a protest with no formal demands is thought to be a great accomplishment, a gesture of surpassing democratic virtue. And here we come to the basic contradiction of the campaign. To protest Wall Street in 2011 was to protest, obviously, the outrageous financial misbehavior that gave us the Great Recession; it was to protest the political power of money, which gave us the bailouts; it was to protest the runaway compensation practices that have turned our society’s productive labor into bonuses for the 1 percent. All three of these catastrophes, however, were brought on by deregulation and tax-cutting—by a philosophy of liberation as anarchic in its rhetoric as Occupy was in reality. Check your premises, Rand-fans: it was the bankers’ own uprising against the hated state that wrecked the American way of life.Nor does it require poststructuralism-leading-through-anarchism to understand how to reverse these developments. You do it by rebuilding a powerful and competent regulatory state. You do it by rebuilding the labor movement. You do it with bureaucracy. Occupiers often seemed aware of this. Recall what you heard so frequently from protesters’ lips back in the days of September 2011: Restore the old Glass-Steagall divide between investment and commercial banks, they insisted. Bring back big government! Bring back safety! Bring back boredom!But that’s no way to fire the imagination of the world. So, how do you maintain the carnival while secretly lusting for the CPAs? By indefinitely suspending the obvious next step. By having no demands. Demands would have signaled that humorless, doctrinaire adults were back in charge and that the fun was over. This was an inspired way to play the situation in the beginning, and for a time it was a great success. But it also put a clear expiration date on the protests. As long as demands and the rest of the logocentric requirements were postponed, Occupy could never graduate to the next level. It would remain captive to what Christopher Lasch criticized—way back in 1973—as the “cult of participation,” in which the experience of protesting is what protesting is all about.