From:   Tarak Kauff <>
Sent time:   Friday, November 11, 2011 7:40:24 AM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] An OWS Seminar on the Commons?

Aren't we collectively (all the occupations) gradually developing a strategy to do precisely that - "eliminate the old powers" ? So that being the case, does there have to be a separation between the effort to develop an interim strategy for the commons and the longer term, broader view? I know that at least in some segments of the occupation, strategies for dismantling the capitalist corporate state are actively being discussed and thought about.  Some of us have been thinking on this for a long time and well before it happened in the U.S. envisioned the occupy movement as a major step in that direction. Zinn, in a sense foreshadowed its comiing in his chapter, The Revolt of the Guards (recommended reading) written I believe in 2003 and added to a revised People's History. . 
Tarak Kauff
Veterans For Peace
845 679-3299

“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.  Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.
Frederick Douglass

On Nov 11, 2011, at 9:19 AM, wrote:

There's a difference between "immanence" and "interim":
A workers' strike, especially if it's a sit-in (occupation) has to form interim committees for food, health, safety, etc.
Same with a liberated zone in a revolutionary war fought over geographical (rather than industrial) battle lines.
But those interim committees can't grow over in a linear fashion into a revolutionary society. Thus they cannot be immanent, nor can they prefigure. They CAN inspire a vision of what a society run along similar comradely lines would be like.
But to make that vision a reality requires a rupture, a break with the old society, its ruling class and their state.
Thus the beautiful commons described by Orwell in Homage to Catalonia (Barcelona under the workers rule) was crushed for lack of a strategy to eliminate the old powers.

---------- Original Message ----------
From: Snafu <>
Subject: Re: [september17discuss] An OWS Seminar on the Commons?
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2011 08:54:49 -0500

On 11/11/11 8:26 AM, wrote:
> why should our starting point be how OWS committees deal with the
> Commons?
Because the theme of the forum would be how to develop a concrete
politics around the commons. And the committees are an integral part of
the movement as they deal with very specific problems. This would allow
us to approach this issue from the ground up. It is a matter of using
the notion of the commons for composing differences not for
superimposing a theory from above.

> shouldn't it be how entire neighborhoods and industries, and the
> working class as a whole, will create a Commons once we get rid of the
> banks and corporations and their state?
I don't see revolution as a process that can be broken down in stages.
The politics of the commons is immanent to existing practices. It is
only by struggling for the commons on a daily basis that we can produce
a practical understanding of the Common in general. This is what the
movement is doing already so there is no *before* and *after.* We should
not idealize the capital-C Commons as it is extremely difficult to
manage small-scale resources (think of the very difficulties Zuccotti is
facing to manage itself) let alone jumping to large-scale solutions.
There is only one known infrastructure that can deal with large-scale
management of the Commons and that is the state. However, I believe we
are trying to build something different here, something that would
eschew the well-known shortcomings of a large-scale bureaucracy.

> ---------- Original Message ----------
> From: Snafu <>
> To:
> Subject: Re: [september17discuss] An OWS Seminar on the Commons?
> Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 23:52:57 -0500
> So for instance, how is Empowerment & Education dealing with the
> question of the Commons? And Urban Planning? And Food or OSS? I would
> try to decentralize these questions as much as possible. And invite
> the speakers on the basis of our needs and with the clear goal in mind
> of drafting a document-- perhaps something along the lines the Charter
> for Innovation, Creativity, and Access to Knowledge drafted by the
> Free Culture Forum in Barcelona (