Devin Balkind: The FLO Consensus

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Devin Balkind
Devin Balkind

The FLO Consensus: Author’s Cut

Devin Balkind

Context within the Occupy Movement

 

Within the Occupy Movement and, from what I understand, in many of the social movements that preceded it, there has always been a conflict between the “revolutionaries” that want to create a crisis to first disrupt, and then destroy, the existing social order; and the “reformers” who want to take control of existing power structures and change society from “the inside”. Within the occupy landscape, the “revolutionaries” gravitate towards the language of “occupy” and “direct action” while the “reformers” gravitate towards the language of “99%” and “protest.”

This essay is concerned with a third group within the occupy movement – a group rarely mentioned by the media and often discounted by the activists who spend their time doing the type of self-promotion that gets them on to panels. I’m referring to the “providers”: activists who invest their time and resources into providing services to individuals and groups within “the movement”. These people are often vocal advocates for “mutual aid” (leftist terminology) or “free aid” (rightist terminology). Since occupy originated more from the left than the right, the term “mutual aid” is most popular, defined on Wikipedia as “voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit.” Within the context of OWS, mutual aid is probably more accurately described as “the revolutionary act of helping people for free.”

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