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The L: Let’s talk about that idea of revolution. Do you think you’re working towards one, with Occupy?
MA: I’m under no illusions that a revolution will happen in my lifetime. I think it’s about advancing a sort of historical struggle, or a world that is a bit more humane and a bit more livable, a bit more sustainable. It’s a struggle that’s been going on for as long as human beings have been around. It’s about trying to advance that just a tiny bit while you’re alive. It’s about developing ideas and tactics that are new and effective and that you can pass off to people who will engage in that struggle after you.
The L: What do you think is the most valuable tool this movement has delivered to people who might continue to carry the struggle?
MA: The notion that in the face of a political system, an economic system, that so obviously serves the interests of the ruling class—that in the face of that you don’t need to retreat into cynicism or give up, but you can self-organize. You find each other and you do things like talk about what vision or more livable you like. And when that happens at a mass scale, it’s really threatening. So I think that collective self-organization and direct democracy—I think that’ll be one of our most important legacies, although that sounds way too…I don’t want to talk about Occupy Wall Street as history.
The L: So what happens after May 1?
MA: I take a long vacation. [laughter] Yeah, I don’t know. I just learned last week that there were folks in OWS already planning something for May 12 and May 15, which I was delighted to hear. And I think that’s one great thing about OWS, that you don’t just have a handful of people who have to do everything—that other people will see a need and take responsibility for it.
In terms of big picture, I haven’t been involved in any conversations about that. What happens this year, what happens with the election—whether we take a stance on the election. Given what I know, we’ve been so absorbed in May Day planning we haven’t looked far into the future, but I have some ideas that I think we should do.
A look back at the first eight months of the movement, culminating with the events of May Day.
May 9, 2012