Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy Fail:

It brought the issue of economic misery back into the spotlight, but missed out on an opportunity to generate results. The Occupy movement should have had leadership that would (a) set goals, (b) be good spokespeople for those goals, (c) discipline those elements that threaten the movement's public image.

The goals needn't be specific policy items, like restricting drilling in the Gulf (although Matt Taibbi has a list of five to start with). The problem with our politics today are the result of us having a non-representative government (both R & D). To fix that, you have to get out and vote. The lesson of 2010 is that with a 30% falloff in voting, you get nutcases like Allen West into the House of Representatives.

Recently Matt Taibbi wrote of the Occupy movement:n (emp add)
... there were scads of progressive pundits like me who wrung our hands with worry that OWS was playing right into the hands of assholes like Krauthammer. Don't give them any ammunition! we counseled. Stay on message! Be specific! ...

... OWS is tired of all of this. They don't care what we think they're about, or should be about. They just want something different.

People don't know exactly what they want, but as one friend of mine put it, they know one thing: FUCK THIS SHIT! We want something different: a different life, with different values, or at least a chance at different values.

People want to go someplace for at least five minutes where no one is trying to bleed you or sell you something. It may not be a real model for anything, but it's at least a place where people are free to dream of some other way for human beings to get along, beyond auctioned "democracy," tyrannical commerce and the bottom line.

People want out of this fiendish system, rigged to inexorably circumvent every hope we have for a more balanced world. They want major changes. I think I understand now that this is what the Occupy movement is all about. It's about dropping out, if only for a moment, and trying something new, the same way that the civil rights movement of the 1960s strived to create a "beloved community" free of racial segregation. Eventually the Occupy movement will need to be specific about how it wants to change the world. But for right now, it just needs to grow. And if it wants to sleep on the streets for a while and not structure itself into a traditional campaign of grassroots organizing, it should. It doesn't need to tell the world what it wants. It is succeeding, for now, just by being something different.
That is not a formula for success in implementing change. You have to engage the governing elements, and the way to do that is to elect people who represent your interests. But we're not hearing anything like that now. Instead, it's getting darker and more chaotic:

On the eve of destruction - Before cops broke up Occupy Oakland, the debate over nonviolence was already unraveling the movement (Salon)

The uncertain future of Occupy Wall Street - Organizers debate how to focus their energies (Salon)

Occupy’s Asshole Problem: Flashbacks from An Old Hippie (Nicole Sandler)

The Occupy movement is drifting towards a resigned fatalism, much like the stoicism that kept the peasants from rising for almost 2,000 years. That is something we do not need, but Occupy is taking us there.


Quiddity puzzles it out. It's about ...

I've been asking my liberal friends the simple question, "What does this movement intend to accomplish?", and I've yet to get the same answer from two people.

How about this. OWS is "a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." It means nothing, so it can mean anything. It's an extension of the Obama campaign. No specifics. Just vague generalities. It doesn't matter what you are protesting, just so long as you are protesting. Come to the show and we'll give you things to protest. Today we'll march on an executive's house. Tomorrow, we'll shut down a Burger King. Then we'll march back to the park and do it all again tomorrow! It's the protest we need. It's a protest you can believe in, because we are the protesters we have been waiting for. Hope! Change!

Most importantly, it's an opportunity for concerned people to get together and talk about everything and anything except for Barack Obama and this Congress' dismal record. It's a way of systematically wasting the time and energy of thousands of anguished, enraged liberals, so they don't do something like, you know, wake up, march on Washington and demand the Congress and the President change their course. No, it's about Wall Street bankers, and greedy corporations, and shutting down Burger King, and general assemblies and drum circles and camping in the park, and Social Justice, and corporate greed, and free empathy tables, and "occupy legoland." It's whatever it takes to keep you occupied and neutralized. And very soon it's going to be about being a victim of those horrible cops when they finally shut the whole thing down. #OccupyFail.

By Anonymous jms, at 11/14/2011 4:48 PM  

jms' "I've been asking my liberal friends ... " seems to be a poll of two. (But can we seriously believe they are his friends?) What seems clear is that OWS is occupying his mind, which suggests the message is working.

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 11/15/2011 4:27 AM  

Funny, OWS is on my mind a lot, but the message I keep getting from the demonstrators is "fuck you." So if that's the message the demonstrators are intending to send to middle America, they better be damn certain that their extremism really represents the wishes of 99% of the population.

But in a way I'm OK with OWS. I can't think of a better way to expose the squalor of Obama's brand of low-rent Socialism than to let OWS impose an Obamaville squatter camp on downtown New York City for a while. It's worth showing the country that Socialism fails on a local level as well as a national level.

By Anonymous jms, at 11/15/2011 5:54 AM  

the message I keep getting from the demonstrators is "fuck you."

To the 1% yes, that is true. And as a conservative, you should always be aware when the peasants revolt that you could be their next target when they are through with those above you.(/sarcasm tag)

By Blogger Dark Avenger, at 11/15/2011 7:27 AM  

Even supporters are starting to realize that OWS needs to deal with its asshole problem.

By Anonymous jms, at 11/15/2011 5:24 PM  

Does that justify rousting the OWS protestors in the middle of the night with pepper spray?

You can always find someone in a movement who you can bitch and moan about, is the link to a reincarnation of Pretty Boy Floyd or Saul Alinsky?

By Blogger Dark Avenger, at 11/15/2011 5:48 PM  

Notice how effective the tea parties were as single-day events? Even the Grateful Dead knew that you had to move from town to town pretty quickly to keep the lot scene fresh. Let's throw a big event and never leave. That will make our movement more and more popular. #occupyfail

Constructive criticism. Dead serious. What if the occupy rally was *every weekend* instead of continuous?

By Anonymous jms, at 11/15/2011 6:09 PM  

jms sounds like he has 'rhoids as his own A**H**E problem. Maybe a little Preparation OWS would help, or not?

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 11/15/2011 6:45 PM  

They could even have demonstrations on the weekdays, and complain that they have a lot of supporters who would be there but they have to work that day.

That's the ticket, jms, yeah!

By Blogger Dark Avenger, at 11/15/2011 7:21 PM  

I suspect that Preperation OWS would tend to, um, rub raw the, um, resentments ...

By Anonymous jms, at 11/15/2011 7:23 PM  

I read "Rules for Radicals" when I was in college, and it's a bit scary and stupid to think that OWS is derived from that work.

But never let facts get in the way of a good Hate-mongering, I always say.

By Blogger Dark Avenger, at 11/16/2011 3:23 AM  


"I suspect that Preperation [sick!]OWS would tend to, um, rub raw the, um, resentments ... "

might depend upon his choice between the 1% or 99% solution of Preparation OWS.

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 11/16/2011 4:47 AM  

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