Marxist theory and the politics of occupy

Conference paper


Bates, D. 2015. Marxist theory and the politics of occupy.
AuthorsBates, D.
TypeConference paper
Description

The Occupy Movement emerged in late 2011, and appeared to assume the status of a global phenomenon. Though there has been an extensive commentary in the popular media who have deemed Occupy to be the latest wave of anti-capitalist mobilisation, there has yet to be a comprehensive in-depth theoretically informed analysis of this movement.

This paper looks at the relationship between the ideological framing of Occupy and wider meta-theoretical considerations. Specifically we will assess the extent to which contemporary and classical theoretical approaches speak to the framing of Occupy. Do Marxist and post-Marxist, anarchist and post-anarchist theories engage with the concerns of Occupy? Does Occupy represent something new which cannot be captured through established radical political thought? And crucially, are there any possibilities of a meaningful dialogue between Occupy and Marxism? Clearly many Marxists did not hold out any hope for the possibilities of a dialogue. For example, Alex Callinicos maintains that Occupy’s failure to ‘maintain itself’ can be explained by
‘the absence of a sustained revival of working class militancy, which would give a social weight to the protest spectaculars offered by the movements. But the situation hasn't been helped by the domination of the anti-capitalist movement by "horizontalist" hostility to political parties and by unworkable (and ultimately undemocratic) methods of decision-making based on consensus.’ (Callinicos, 2013)

Is Callinicos right? Is there a better way of thinking about Occupy which reaches beyond the categories of classical Marxism? The paper will venture to provide a substantive answer to these questions.

Year2015
ConferencePolitical Studiies Association Annual Conference
Official URLhttp://www.psa.ac.uk/conference/conference-highlights-2015
Publication process dates
Deposited28 May 2015
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/87550/marxist-theory-and-the-politics-of-occupy

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