Occupy and the constitution of anarchy

2019-02-15T11:25:24Z (GMT) by Ruth Kinna Alex Prichard Thomas Swann
This paper provides the first comparative reading of the minutes of the General Assemblies of three iconic Occupy camps: Wall Street, Oakland and London. It challenges detractors who have labelled the Occupy Wall Street movement a flash-in-the-pan protest, and participantadvocates who characterised the movement anti-constitutional. Developing new research into anarchist constitutional theory, we construct a typology of anarchist constitutionalising to argue that the camps prefigured a constitutional order for a post-sovereign anarchist politics. We show that the constitutional politics of three key Occupy Wall Street camps had four main aspects: (i) declarative principles, preambles and documents; (ii) complex institutionalisation; (iii) varied democratic decision-making procedures; and (iv) explicit and implicit rule making processes, premised on unique foundational norms. Each of these four was designed primarily to challenge and constrain different forms of global and local power, but they also provide a template for anarchistic constitutional forms that can be mimicked and linked up, as opposed to scaled up.