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占领华尔街的终结或许意味着新的开始

David Whitford 2011年11月21日

占领华尔街运动的发起人之一准备宣布胜利。但问题是:“这是对什么的胜利?”

    电话那一端,是身处温哥华的卡勒•拉森。这位白发苍苍的老人是占领华尔街运动的布道者。我还没来得及开始我的采访,他就用浓厚的东欧口音催促我回答他的问题:“你们《财富》杂志(Fortune)那边气氛如何?你害怕吗?有没有一种地动山摇的感觉?”

    当时是10月末,这场由拉森及其在《广告克星》(Adbusters)以“文化干扰者”自诩的全体同仁吹响号角的运动已延续了6周时间。“你们准备好迎接解放广场(Tahrir Square)时刻的来临了吗?”《广告克星》7月份在其网站上发布了这样一个问题。“9月17日,涌入曼哈顿下城,采用和平手段搭起帐篷、厨房和路障,一举占领华尔街。”现在看起来,将这场运动与解放广场抗议活动相提并论,似乎太过牵强了。甚至连拉森本人(他于1942年出生在被德国占领的爱沙尼亚,孩提时代的部分时光在一个难民营度过)都觉得美国还远远不具备爆发突尼斯式“硬政权更迭”的条件。要不然的话,这倒是个好主意。

    但现如今,冬天即将来临。作为占领运动的两大中心,纽约和奥克兰的市长已经派遣防暴武装关闭了各自城市的露宿营地,接下来会发生什么事情?在那次访谈中,拉森对我说,我们所了解的占领运动或许正走向终结。“部分富有英雄气概的人民将继续逗留在那里,露宿在雪地里,用非凡的勇气激发我们所有人的斗志。但总的来说,我认为这场运动现在已发展到顶峰了,或许正步入第二个阶段。人们将回到家中,筹备并启动各式各样的计划,”拉森做出了这样的预测。

    警方摧毁祖科蒂公园(Zuccotti Park)的营地数小时之前,《广告克星》发布了最新一期的“战术简报”。拉森在这份简报中声称,他注意到了一种“不祥的气氛”,并建议抗议者们采取以下反应:“我们要宣称‘胜利’,开庆功会,要像过节一样,操办一场庆典,或者举办一场狂欢活动,以盛大的姿态庆祝、纪念,欢庆我们所取得的成就,我们结交的同志,一起展望未来的荣光。想象一下,在某个尚未公布具体时间的礼拜六,或许就在12月17日吧,那天正好是我们这场运动爆发三个月的纪念日。在世界上每一个被我们占领的地方,我们再次走向街头,让那里成为我们欢庆胜利的海洋。”只有时间能够证明这一切。

    自上世纪60年代以来,我们从未见过这样的事情,至少没有见过这么大规模的左派运动。我最近花了几天时间走访了纽约、波士顿、华盛顿特区、丹佛、洛杉矶和奥克兰等地的占领地(11月2日那天,我在奥克兰,正好碰上了大罢工活动,游行队伍一度令这座全美第五大港口城市陷于瘫痪),我想说的是:无论你对抗议者有何感受(如果你觉得很矛盾,很困惑,和你一样的人还有很多),不可否认的是,他们给人们留下了极其深刻的印象。搭建在全美各地城市广场上的帐篷王国、街道上如潮水般涌动的抗议人群,4千多人被警方逮捕——这些都是我50多年的人生里生平头一次看到的景象。

    我并不奇怪为什么会爆发这场运动。但我的确有点好奇,为什么是现在呢?不断扩大的贫富差距,华尔街的腐化堕落,以金融创新之名甚嚣尘上的投机行为,被腐蚀的美国梦,巨额资金和特殊利益集团对民主体制的持续腐蚀,若隐若现的环境灾难,占领运动议程关注的问题中没有哪一项不是广大民众已经关注数年的问题。

    拉森声称他已经忘记了他在1998年接受伦敦《生态学家》杂志(The Ecologist)采访时所说过的一番话。他当时表示,全球经济是一台“末日机器”,“这座星球上每一个了解形势发展的人都能感觉到这一点,但又都不愿意承认。这台机器一直躲在幕后,一旦它来到前台,就会催生出剧烈的社会变革。”我给拉森重读了一遍这番话,并问他是否认为这个时刻已经最终到来。“完全正确!”他说。

    Kalle Lasn, the white-haired evangelist of Occupy Wall Street, was on the phone from Vancouver, pressing me in his thick Eastern European accent. "So how do you feel there at Fortune?" he asked before I could begin my interview. "Are you scared? You feel that some sort of a heave is happening underneath your feet?"

    It was late October, six weeks into a movement that Lasn and his crew of "culture jammers" at Adbusters magazine take credit for launching. "Are you ready for a Tahrir moment?" Adbusters posted on its website in July. "On Sept 17, flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street." Now Tahrir may have been a stretch. Even Lasn, who was born in German-occupied Estonia in 1942 and spent part of his childhood in a refugee camp, doesn't think that America is quite ready for Tunisia-style "hard regime change." Otherwise, good call.

    But what's next, now that winter is on its way and mayors in New York and Oakland, two of the movement's epicenters, have sent riot squads to shut down the camps in their cities? Lasn told me during the same interview that perhaps the occupation as we know it was coming to an end. "Some heroic people will hang in there and sleep in the snow and inspire us all with their guts," he predicted, "but by and large I think this movement is kind of peaking now and probably moving into its second phase, where people will go home and initiate myriad projects of all kinds."

    In the latest "tactical briefing" issued by Adbusters hours before police began dismantling the encampment at Zuccotti Park, Lasn noted the "ominous mood" and suggested a possible response: "We declare 'victory' and throw a party … a festival … a potlatch … a jubilee … a grand gesture to celebrate, commemorate, rejoice in how far we've come, the comrades we've made, the glorious days ahead. Imagine, on a Saturday yet to be announced, perhaps our movement's three month anniversary on December 17, in every #OCCUPY in the world, we reclaim the streets for a weekend of triumphant hilarity and joyous revelry." Time will tell.

    Not since the 1960s have we seen anything like this, at least on the Left. I recently spent a few days visiting Occupy sites in New York, Boston, D.C., Denver, Los Angeles and Oakland (I was in Oakland on November 2 for the general strike and the march that briefly closed the country's fifth busiest port) and I'm telling you: No matter how you feel about the protesters (and you're not alone if you're conflicted or confused), you would be impressed. Tent cities in the public square in cities all over America, crowds of marchers in the streets, over 4000 arrests nationwide—in my lifetime, and I'm past 50, that's new.

    I don't wonder why this is happening. I do wonder, a little, why now? There's nothing on the crowded Occupy agenda—the growing gulf between rich and poor, corruption on Wall Street, runaway speculation disguised as financial innovation, the erosion of the American dream, the steady undermining of democracy by big money and special interests, and looming environmental disaster—that hasn't been a concern of many for many years.

    Lasn claims he had forgotten but back in 1998 he told The Ecologist in London that the global economy was a "doomsday machine" and that "everyone on the planet who knows what's going on can feel it, but we're denying it. It's waiting there in the background and as soon as it comes to the forefront, then that will be the catalytic moment when dramatic change will be possible." I read Lasn's words back to him and asked him if he thought that moment had finally arrived. "Exactly!" he said.

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