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Get Your Visa Occupy Card Here!

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Who else needs an Occupy debit card?

Wow. So what the 99% want is a banking structure with the fees made more transparent? There’s a revolution for you!

Here’s a defense of the card. It frames itself as “beyond reform versus revolution.” By which we mean not reform or revolution but more corporate capitalism. And evidently noted supporter of the 99% Visa is on board, which really makes me feel this is going somewhere positive.

All systems that you want to change – no matter how you want to change them
– are most easily (and effectively, in my opinion) changed from within. The
vision I want you to imagine is the ability to hand 10 strangers each day a
card with “Occupy” emblazoned on the front of it. Imagine the ability, when
one out of those ten asks what the hell this card is about, to explain to a
stranger how you are a member of co-operatively owned organization where
your voice is *as equally valuable and important* as any other co-owner of
the group. Let’s be real: the stranger might notice the VISA logo on the
card as well, but she’ll remember your explanation of what you’re doing
with this piece of plastic, and how it is different from other cards out
there.

Imagine, if you dare, a financial forum where instead of just being forced
to participate in a system, you can participate in discussions of its
flaws, how to reform it, what parts of it to completely discard, and how
your own agency within it can be harnessed to make those changes. Imagine
being able to decide with other members of your institution about the level
of participation in the system you want to have – what bank on this fine
Earth would even *entertain discussion* of the merits or lack thereof of a
financial company like VISA? What if such a participatory cooperative
became powerful enough to abandon entities like VISA entirely? When the
membership of that participatory institution controls the institution, and
is empowered to politicize the direction that institution takes,
revolutionary possibilities start to become very realistic indeed.

Meanwhile, in other bizarre Occupy-related ideas, Occupier and Google software engineer Justine Tunney is trying to kickstart a campaign to raise a $1 million in order to fund an Occupy nonviolent militia. Wait, what? (Thanks to Stephen Attewell for sending this one to me.) So, like, what would this anti-corporate militia do? Would it go after the pro-corporate Occupy debit card people? Who is going to run this thing? Collective unanimity? And buying body armor? Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to go over well. Nor happen. And if they do raise this money, will it be administered with the great skill and competence of the Occupy Rolling Jubilee debt group? Why wouldn’t give money to these brilliant ideas!

While I suppose one could see all this as a sign of the great diversity of Occupy-related ideas (and diversity is always good, right?), it tells me that a) Occupy has become a meaningless catch-all and b) the modern left has no coherent critique of capitalism that it can act upon. Capitalism is good or awesome or terrible or needs reform or opens you up to cool marketing opportunities in the hands of the right people by which I mean me now give me some money or whatever. I actually don’t have a major problem with the idea (at least in theory) of Occupiers creating financial institutions that realistically operate in the modern economy because we presently live in a capitalist society and that’s not exactly going away tomorrow. But this card deal doesn’t even apologize for being pro-capitalist. It also opens the possibilities for grifters to create Occupy-related scams, which worries me.

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