September 4, 2012

Occupy and Occupation


It lately occurred to me (correct me if lots of commenters have already had this idea, but I haven’t seen it) that there’s a nice symmetry between the Occupy terminology and the use of occupation as a term for “job”, what one does.
Since we need to transcend and abolish the whole malign employment model, we have use for a term which can replace “job” (too laden with cash-seeking implications), connoting the entire scope of the human economy, the whole world of our natural, rightful work, and also adding how we must take back our work from those who stole and enclosed it, in the same way we must take back physical space. Occupy has become the seminal term for this physical campaign. So we could revalue and insist upon occupation as the plan to take back our work, the actions of doing so, and the sum of whatever meaningful work we now do, whether monetarily “paid” or not.
We must Occupy our Work, we must Occupy our Occupations. This is a core democracy value and practice, living and working one’s ideal, at the same time that one’s work seeks to fully attain this ideal in every realm including the political.


  1. “Occupy our Occupation” is possibly confusing to the followers of the MSM? Although I would agree with the apparent symmetry in terminology, can one meaning trump another fast enough to leapfrog over the propaganda and conventions?

    I agree with your premise that “this is a core democracy value and practice, living and working one’s ideal, at the same time that one’s work seeks to fully attain this ideal in every realm including the political.” But REDEFINING “occupy’ means you would have to overcome the stereotype as well AS THE ASSOCIATIONS AND CONNOTATIONS. Why not redefine “Republicanism” to mean “of being a core democracy value and practice, living and working one’s ideal.” In other words, take the notion of Republicanism back?

    OR, if one considers our current jobs, and our current economy, one sees that “work” is based on consumption and “extraction”*. Our economy and work effort is solely based upon serving one or the other. It is important to our Democracy that we once again, innovate, create, and uphold a truer form of “value”. If you want to replace the whole maligned employment model(I agree with your assessment), What would you call that?

    *And it is much easier to tear something down than it is to build it, i.e. more profitable.

    Comment by Ike Matus — September 4, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

    • Hi Ike. I’m sure most things are confusing to those who follow the MSM, but we can’t worry about trying to quickly (and therefore superficially) change the minds of masses. We need to be clear in our minds that the number one task is patient, methodical movement-building. If necessary one activist at a time.

      As you point out, this work of revaluing terms could arguably be worth doing for any number of terms. We need triage, which is dictated by the needs of Food Sovereignty. For example, “republicanism” isn’t worth doing because we’re not republicans in any sense. We want and need democracy, not the “republic” which Hamilton and Madison already admitted was a scam from the outset, and was set up by design to thwart democracy, to solve the “problem” of “too much democracy”.


      Similarly, I’ve long used the term economic democracy for organizing and living in accord with the human economy and its natural, historical, organic processes.

      Comment by Russ — September 5, 2012 @ 2:39 am

  2. This is slightly off-topic, but does address the concept of “occupation” post primitive accumulation. Folks have questioned my defense of Karl Denninger, but I think this recent interview by Max Keiser highlights why I believe the man’s heart is in the right place, even if his past loyalties sometimes overwhelm his reasoning. Watch starting at around 12:20.


    Karl is a “classical libertarian” with conservative roots, not a neoliberal. His biggest blindspot lies in failing to comprehend the coercive nature of capitalism.

    Comment by Tao Jonesing — September 5, 2012 @ 12:16 am

    • I’ve been wondering how to plant a new banner on new ground and get a new discussion going. I admit I’m getting a little nostalgic for NC, missing how it brought a constant (if small) stream of eyeballs to this site, some of whom became regulars here. (Also the daily brawls there, which were lots of fun.)

      Since at the moment we still don’t have Food Sovereignty discussions (so far as I can see), I may need to plunge back into the econoblogs to some extent. It seems like those are still the only place on the Internet with any kind of discussion, however flawed.

      I wonder if the really old style listservs and so on are actually still the best discussions. I haven’t looked for food movement discussions there yet.

      Comment by Russ — September 5, 2012 @ 2:38 am

      • NC has seemed to have turned some kind of corner, so I wouldn’t rule the place out. The Automatic Earth is another good choice for you.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — September 5, 2012 @ 10:09 am

      • What corner has it turned?

        Comment by Russ — September 5, 2012 @ 11:22 am

      • Mostly, I’m referring to the sense that NC has become farther detached from partisan politics, and even “progressivism.” The mission seems to have changed, moving more towards TAE, in a sense. That’s all.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — September 5, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

      • That’s different from what I predicted. Maybe I’ll read some and see. Also TAE, which was never on my itinerary (I’ve just read some pieces ad hoc, coming to them from elsewhere).

        Comment by Russ — September 6, 2012 @ 6:52 am

      • Russ,

        I still appreciate your blog and read it whenever I can find the time, however I’ve mostly stopped posting comments to any blogs, due to other projects that I’ve been working on.

        But one sign that NC might be turning a corner is they recently (just the other day) linked to an article by Ian Welsh and this received some comments you might find interesting:


        On the one hand, it does seem like there are only a few *regular* commenters left there who still support the Democrats, or who still defend the current system, such as Paul Tioxin and Synopticist, (so you might want avoid reading them) or who still believe that the system can be reformed. But, on the other hand, one the best commenters, who posted several comments a day and who clearly understood the current system cannot be reformed and must be destroyed (I’m referring to Jsmith) seems to have dropped out, or at least, I haven’t seen any comments by him for several weeks.

        But Hugh is still there, and comments by JTFaraday, Walter Wit Man (who keeps referring to Democrats as Nazis) and several others are usually pretty good, as well.

        Anyway, in case you’re planning to check out some of the articles and comments at NC, I thought this might be helpful.

        Comment by Sophie — September 6, 2012 @ 11:00 am

      • Thanks for the rundown, Sophie. I remember most of them.

        Comment by Russ — September 6, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  3. PS – One thing I forgot to mention, ever since you and DownSouth stopped commenting at NC, I pretty much stopped reading the articles, or I just quickly scan them, and then look for certain commenters such as Hugh, jsmith, Walter Wit Man, etc. The Ian Walsh article is probably the first one I’ve taken time to read in months, and so I really shouldn’t say the site has turned some kind of corner, because all I have to go by are a few commenters that interest me.

    Comment by Sophie — September 6, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  4. Russ,

    Just a brief follow up to my earlier comment concerning Naked Capitalism.

    I didn’t have Internet access for most of the summer, so I’ve been trying to catch up, but other than that one article crossposted from Ian Welsh, as far as I can tell the last really interesting discussion on Naked Capitalism took place all the way back on Aug 21st, beginning with a comment by jsmith expressing doubts about Chris Hedges.

    You might find that discussion interesting, but it looks like those were the last comments posted by either jsmith or Walter Wit Man. They appear to have dropped out, and most of the commenters left are the kind of shallow-minded idiots who could spend all day jabbering on about the antidote du jour, or related trivia.

    Most of the recent comments I’ve read at NC have been pathetic.

    The thing about Naked Capitalism is that (with the exception of Hugh) the best commenters, the ones who are really articulate and passionate about changing the status quo, always end up leaving the site. At least that’s my impression, so I probably won’t bother checking there again for another six months, if ever.

    Anyway, below is the discussion of Chris Hedges, beginning with jsmith’s comment, just in case you might be interested:


    Comment by Sophie — September 11, 2012 @ 10:39 am

    • Thanks Sophie. I’ll check it out.

      Comment by Russ — September 12, 2012 @ 6:36 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: