The Julian Assange Show: Occupy Movement (E7)

By lambert strether

Certainly more interesting than Meet the Press! But alas, no glass table…

The Occupy movement has united hundreds of thousands across the world to fight social and economic inequality. In the latest edition of Assange’s very own interview programme Julian Assange meets with prominent Occupy activists who say their collective efforts target global institutions.

NOTE Hat tip, Stephen V.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Viana Warlick

    “President Obama has now become a president who personally oversees a covert assassination program that allows a small group of top US officials to monitor, select, and mark for death those it alone deems a threat to national security.”

    To a lesser extent, a less covert fraudclosure effort is underway to protect the National Security of banksters. Where’s Bradley?

    1. LucyLulu

      Morning Joe this am had a dialog about Obama’s assassination list. It was interesting that the only one on the panel that seemed to have issues with this idea was Joe, “the conservative”. While it was unsurprising to hear folks like Steve Rattner supporting Obama’s hit list, what was shocking was listening to Mika’s take on the process. She said she found it reassuring that Obama was so “thoughtful” about the whole process and its moral implications, and his willingness to take personal responsibility, i.e he fully understood the seriousness of what he was doing and wasn’t taking the whole thing lightly. She may find it reassuring but I find it disturbing that despite deep reflection, a constitutional lawyer would be able to justify a “hit list”. I find it even more disturbing that so few Americans, including those who are intelligent and well-informed, purportedly defenders of civil liberties, seem to be able to see a problem with this same “hit list”.

      By the same token, I caught a portion of Romney speaking a couple nights ago. He spoke of shoring up the military lest we end up like Europe, with a social safety net in place of a strong military presence (so as to prevent wars……. wtf, we’re the only ones starting wars). He got cheers from the crowd for this. We’d rather send our kids overseas to kill and be killed than to make sure our children and our elderly are fed. Worse yet, raising questions about these wars with hundreds of thousands of casualties, e.g. in pursuit of WMD that do not exist, gets one labelled as being unpatriotic. How did we come to this place?

  2. EmilianoZ

    The elephant in the room, something that must be said and discussed:

    OWS seems pretty much kaput to me.

    Those guys should have made an autopsy: where did it all go wrong? Why did we fail? Why did the masses stop caring?

    And they’re discussing about details and techniques. That was pretty boring.

    Some people whom I thought were committed to the cause and on whom I relied for information about OWS have just vanished:
    Plutocracy Files hasn’t posted anything since March.
    Stanley W. Rogouski hasn’t posted anything since January.

    1. ToivoS

      Spontaneous uprisings that decry specific goals and organized political collectives always disappear. This was predictable last year that the occupy movement would do so. However, it is not too late and its resurrection is possible. They will have to build a real organization, that has defined spokespeople and have clearly delineated goals.

      The growth of organized labor followed a similar path. In the late 19th century there were numerous labor uprisings but the efforts usually died out (literally at the hands of the police and private militias run by the bosses).

      The union movement became successful once the workers agreed that they had to be organized at the national level.

      1. Valissa

        True, but in the case of labor unions there was a real vested interest for those participating… pay and working conditions. With the US at an earlier economic phase where US workers were needed by a growing manufacturing sector, the worker was able to have some influence on the system. Times are different now. But OWS is basically just another utopian movement, and the history of those everywhere is the same… it appeals to a small group of idealists. Nothing wrong with idealism, but politics has always been about power, influence and money which are the very things utopians and idealists decry.

        I have been to political movement meetings and they are always the same…. talk, talk, talk, and more talk (after a while it gets boring and various problematic group dynamics come to the foreground). Talk doesn’t create change. It doesn’t create jobs. It doesn’t make the world a fairer place. Humans have been complaining about politics for time immemorial. It may feel good to complain with like minded others, but it accomplishes nothing. If people really want change they have to do something in the real world (start a business, support local food movements, volunteer, etc.) not just complain about how bad things are today or tell others what they should be doing differently.

      2. Jill

        Occupy isn’t dead. I am not claiming to be heavily involved with my area Occupy but I was involved to the extent that I could be. We are a very poor city. Last fall, we got hit with fines, made up regulations and bad weather, all at the same time.

        Bad weather is difficult to endure for people who are not in excellent physical condition. We were denied tents, tarps, lights and heaters. To fight that denial took money to hire lawyers. It took people who understood how to file proper permits and how to push them through. This isn’t the kind of knowledge people just have, they have to learn what to do.

        As ordinary citizens, taking on a coordinated action of multiple Federal agencies is difficult. Examples aren’t just being made by beatings and arrests. The govt. has many tools in its tool box. It is using all of them, including denying permits, and other, less lethal forms of harassment to send its message. Learning how to cope with so many different tools the govt. uses to punish people for bringing democracy to the US is going to take time. Mistakes were and will be made!

        The conditions which created the space for Occupy have not gone away. They are more glaring than ever. Notice that the govt. has upped the ante on what it will do to protesters. There’s a reason for that. It’s the same reason “homeland” drones are being outfitted with rubber bullets. People are showing courage and still gathering.

      3. Nathanael

        In fact, its resurrection is *inevitable* as long as the elite remain stupid.

        I consider OWS to be merely the first overt warning sign that the current system is going to collapse. There will be more. The first protests are usually overly idealistic, naive, disorganized, and inchoate. The second round are less so. The third round are still less so.

        It can go in several different directions, but if the elites do not fix the system, it *will* be overthrown; it is only a matter of time. The French Revolution is really the model here. It could have been averted with very mild concessions by the King, but after 100 years of absolute monarchy and suppression of all opposition, he was unable to tolerate any concessions, and so instead he let the country go up in flames.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Was it truly an organic protest movement? Or was it ‘controlled opposition’ (a government operation), from the very beginning? Is natural for a protest movement to die out in less than a year?

      Since the evidence keeps getting stronger and stronger that people controlling the U.S. have controlled social movements in the past, like the hippy movement, or the music industry, etc., I suspcet that Occupy was created or coopted by perps to better control the population.

      Here are the basic facts that compel me to pursue the ‘captured opposition’ lead:

      1. The timing. The Occupy protests seem to accompany the Arab Spring protests in 2011 and a general tansition period. We had a worldwide financial crisis starting 4 years ago, in 2008, then a tumultuous 2 years of dealing with that shock, and then in 2011 we had the protest movements around the world and a hardening of the new paradigm, which is suprisingly kind to bankers, actually.

      Now in 2012 we have an election year and what feels like another transition period. The protest movements have subsided and we have war in places like Syria and Yemen and No. Africa. The treatment of protesters in America has turned more violent and hostile.

      2. The format of Occupy. After researching some cults I found it interesting that Occupy borrows a rule, the “one no vote” rule that allows one person to stop the whole group from acting. Occupy similary adopted the consensus approach. It’s seems obvious that the group will have a hard time functioning with this rule. If one person can prevent the group from acting then it will be easy to tie it up in knots.

      3. The military and police seem to be feeding off of Occupy. They have used the local police and mayors (mostly Democrats) to justify the brutal and fascist treatment of proteters. Americans now think it’s normal that: thousands of American political protesters have been falsely arrested, beaten, and abused in prison. Less than 5% even faced charges, and most of those seem to be misdemeanor property crimes or other “petty” crimes (and places like L.A. threw the book at protesters and treated them even more harshly than others arrested for midsdeanors).

      The police quickly used Occupy to justify the massive armament of local police. Obama had a program where the military pushed its military hardware so that every little hamlet in America has a SWAT team with tank and full firepower ready to aim at the next Tea Party patriot or Occupy protester that gets to rowdy.

      The police are also trolling Occupy and giving drugs and food and money to people in an apparent effort to lure a victim into becoming a snitch or a pansey. The police/military/fascists did military operations on May Day this year where they appear to have entrapped Occupy protesters into a plot to “bomb” a bridge in Ohio.

      This has all the hallmarks of an American fascist production.

      1. Warren Celli

        Good comments all, the Arab Spring itself is part of the orchestration.

        The global goal has shifted from the old fashioned Vanilla Greed for Profit to the newer Pernicious Greed for control. Herd thinning and perpetual conflict in the masses is now the goal. Expensive Arab dictators get in the way of creating intentional chaos.

        “Thanks for all your help folks building our power — now we are going to kill your over consuming asses.”

        Fear and divisiveness are in. Soon the drone rockets will be miniaturized and made cheaply like Chinese firecrackers and placed on every traffic light in Scamerica. Coupled with face recognition software, license plate reading software, outstanding warrant lists, back taxes owed, etc. No police cruisers needed, just a fat donut eating 1% cop in the local 1% Herd Thinning Station overseeing the murder.

        Are we tired yet of all the cop loving TV shows that glorify these sell out losers and make normal kicking down doors, abusing citizens in interrogation, entering property without warrants always with a bogus save the little child or old granny situational ethics excuse that might happen once in a million years.

        Shun the cops, troops and corporate media shills. They are most complicit as they provide the brainwashing and muscle to kick the asses of those who oppose the immorality.

        And shun the electoral process with proactive boycotts.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Well put.

          Divisiveness is indeed in. Sometimes I make the mistake of reading the comments to stories dealing with Occupy Protester v. Cops in papers like the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s insane. So many people have been trained to accept police violence that they don’t think twice about media stories that describe “violent” protester action by putting their hands up to prevent blows from billy clubs. It makes you realize this whole drama of the protester vs. cops has been staged through years of propaganda. Like you note, cop shows are a huge part of it. Most to all of our media is complicit.

      2. wunsacon

        I do *not* look at OWS itself to clue me in on their legitimacy but at the *reactions* of officials and the MSM. I doubt OWS was created by the plutocrats themselves, because the official/unofficial responses and attempts to vilify OWS look legit. (Of course, I’m not 100% on that but think my analysis/conclusion here more likely than not.)

        Now, the Tea Party, on the other hand, was quickly absorbed right back into the Republican party. I’m very sure *that* was scripted. Less than a year after the 2008 election, McCain’s VP pick was the lead speaker at the first TP convention. And anger over bailouts has been replaced not by a demand for clawbacks but by clamor in favor of the usual right-wing issues.

        So, contrast the histories of these two: TP vs OWS. One looks like a certain fake. The other? Looks far more legit. Don’t you think?

        (I wonder what % of OWS-ers are going to vote “D” versus what % of TP-ers are going to vote for “R”. I’ll be embarrassed if the %’s are close…)

        >> Is natural for a protest movement to die out in less than a year?

        The plutocrats are doing a marvelous job!

        1. Walter Wit Man

          I don’t accept that the Tea Party is more organic than Occupy.

          The Tea Party may be more obviously controlled opposition than Occupy though; I’ll give you that. TP corporate sponsors/string pullers were more obvious and it was more obviously geared to support Republicans. But this doesn’t mean the differences for the TP and OWS weren’t designed by the perps to be different–or that the perps dropped the party specific stuff after it didn’t work so well with the TP.

          But I think both OWS and the TP attracted mostly sincere people with legitimate grievances. The fact they were tricked to waste their time in controlled opposition operations is not their fault.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Ugh. I don’t accept that Occupy is more organic than the TP. Got them mixed up above. Unless we’re talking about what they’re eating for breakfast.

          2. wunsacon

            >> The fact they were tricked to waste their time in controlled opposition operations is not their fault.

            Vis-a-vis “controlled opposition”, the evidence is already in on the TP. Still waiting for evidence on OWS. Again, the evidence you offer persuades me of the inverse proposition.

          3. Walter Wit Man

            I agree there are no smoking guns. Just suspicious facts. But I am at a loss as to why you think the suspicious facts (which are not dispositive, just suspicius, such as the timing) compel the opposite conclusion, that Occupy is organic.

            If you accept that Occupy had its nadir in 2011, and that the establishment used aggressive police tactics and other media tactics to quell the protests so that now Occupy is weakened in 2012, how does this lead to the conclusion that it was organic?

            Granted, maybe the police/media/politicians would indeed act they way they did if it was organic–offering half-hearted support but then unleashing a fascist quasi-military response to crush the movement. But if they had planned Occupy then they would have surely planned the fascist response. And it seems to me they had the fascist response ready to roll.

            Can you think of a single Democratic politicians for instance who made a big stink about the police response? I find it odd that thousands, if not tens of thousands, of protesters, mostly Democrats probably, were arrested for protesting and most were never charged with a crime. They were beaten, abused in prison, and falsely arrested and treated harshly. There was a massive police response to non violent political protest. It’s strange to me that an political party, the Democratic party, and the “organic” OWS movement, did not make a bigger stink about these abuses.

            I am not resting my case on these facts. These are not smoking guns. These are suspicious facts warranting further study. We will probably never know the full story because the government keeps so many secrets, for one. Obama promised to open up government and of course has done the opposite.

          4. Walter Wit Man

            Ugh. That should be the opposite of nadir, zenith. Trying to do too much here . . .

          5. They didn't leave me a choice

            Your arguments are pretty void of content even if you didn’t fuck up every single post. Basically all you have to back up your ridiculous non-organicity claim is the timing of the protests? Pray tell, when /should/ the protests have began to not raise your suspicion? Fuck it, didn’t it take like 3 or 4 years during the last great depression for the protest movements to start mobilising for real? Your paranoia sounds exceedingly like a government psy op to discourage the people here from taking part in legitimate protests.

      3. wunsacon

        IMHO, your “exhibits” 1-4 undercut your proposition.

        >> Since the evidence keeps getting stronger and stronger that people controlling the U.S. have controlled social movements in the past, like the hippy movement, or the music industry, etc., I suspcet that Occupy was created or coopted by perps to better control the population.

        Yes, TPTB try to control social movements. That doesn’t mean the social movements weren’t/aren’t organic. It just means they have to keep on their toes.

      4. Nathanael

        You’re making the intentionality error. It’s pretty clear to anyone who studies these things seriously that OWS was an organic, grassroots phenomenon.

        Like most of those, it was wildly disorganized and fairly easy for the elite to take over / neuter. The fact that the elite did such a poor, hamhanded, brutal job of dismantling Occupy just shows what completely morons the elite actually are.

        The conditions which create protest movements usually create several waves of them. When you only study history casually, you usually don’t notice the dozens of movements which “died out” before the wave which actually won.

        We have the conditions. The second wave of protests will be more organized, less naive, and even more beyond the comprehension or control of the elites. In fact, not being an expert in social movement tactics, I couldn’t predict most of the tactics (though occupying to-be-illegally-foreclosed homes is going to continue as a tactic, since it’s a pure 100% winner in public relations terms).

        Even so, the second wave will probably “die out”. I wouldn’t dare to predict what the third wave will look like. The elites, if they had any sense (which they don’t) would promptly address the worst of the problems, by providing everyone with food, basic health care, and jobs (to keep people busy) — then the conditions for protest, rebellion, and revolution would die out. But the elites don’t have any sense.

      5. LucyLulu

        The arming to the gills of the police against protest movements is not new to OWS. Look back through the last few decades, from Bloody Sunday in Selma, AL in 1965 to the Kent State and Jackson Mississippi shootings in 1970 to more recently the 2003 free trade protests in Miami. The police force has historically attracted those with personalities that lean towards themes of power and dominance. The conflicts with protesters may well be the highlights of their careers.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Fair point. But Occupy is legitimizing the use of this military hardware. The LRAD were used for only like the second time during the protests last Fall. Drones have been used for the first time just recently against the American people.

          Also, there are other points that show how the police/military are feeding off Occupy and using it to aggrandize their power. Feds are apparently treating protesters as terrorists which may give them secret warrants or some sort of secret power. The police/military has been surveilling protesters and targeting them. Obama’s administration even organized and managed the nation-wide crackdown against Occupy last Fall and encouraged the police to abuse and mistreat protesters.

          1. Cocomaan

            “The LRAD were used for only like the second time during the protests last Fall. Drones have been used for the first time just recently against the American people.”
            An LRAD was deployed at the 2004 GOP convention. That took a few seconds of googling to find out. Drones were in use against people that were not Americans for years prior to these protests, and were in deployment on the US/Mexican border years ago. This military hardware has been in use prior to these protests. You are just noticing it now.

            “Feds are apparently treating protesters as terrorists which may give them secret warrants or some sort of secret power.”
            Feds have been treating non violent citizens as terrorists for quite a long time. Ask anyone in federal prison on nonviolent drug dealing charges about being treated like a terrorist. In fact, most deployments of counterterrorism law have been drug related.
            But really, you are reinventing the book. The feds have treated their own citizens like terrorists for a long, long time. Look up COINTELPRO. It really doesn’t take a (global) conspiracy to create a leftist protest movement centered around debt and economic justice for the feds to treat its citizens like terrorists. It’s been like this for ages.

            “Obama’s administration even organized and managed the nation-wide crackdown against Occupy last Fall and encouraged the police to abuse and mistreat protesters.”
            Plenty of DHS memos have been leaked, and none of them mention what you are talking about.

            I’ve been involved with occupy philadelphia since inception. Your speculation is entertaining, but it gets very specious very quickly once you start looking at the evidence behind your claims.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            okay smarty pants. You didn’t disprove anything.

            Did I say it was the first use of LRADs? No, I wrote is was “like” the second. I thought the first use was in 2009 in Pittsburgh, as far as I know.

            Maybe they were first deployed in 2005 at the GOP convention but not used.

            Your affiliation with Occupy Philly is affecting your ability to interpret evidence. What’s your point? That the fascist response to Occupy is nothing to worry about?

            I obviously knew what I was talking about before I googled and after googling my statement was vindicated.

            The LRAD was used for “like” the second time at Oakland last year. Hardly anyone reported it. If you read this website I re reported it in comments here. These facts were not widely distributed because I suspect there is fascist control of the media and I suspect that many ‘Occupiers’ are really government stooges and they aren’t concerned with highlighting civil rights abuses.

          3. Walter Wit Man

            Also, I wrote that drones were used against AMERICANS for the first time. I’m obviously aware they have been used previously on foreign soil (and that they have been used on the border–so I guess that’s American soil technically).

            But this is the first regular police use of drones on American soil targeting Americans.

            So the two facts you tried to correct me on didn’t even need correcting . . . I was right.

          4. Walter Wit Man

            I don’t have time to correct your third factual error, involving the Obama administration involvement in the Occupy crackdowns, but of course its complete bunk.

            The mere fact many local police forces decided to crack down on Occupy at roughly the same time is suspicious in and of itself.

          5. Cocomaan

            “okay smarty pants. You didn’t disprove anything.”
            What is there to disprove? Your evidence that Occupy is a sham created by the federal government and corporate cabal is that:
            – It has petered out after a few months
            – It uses direct democracy
            – It seems to be increasing trust in law enforcement and allowing for the deployment of technologies provided by the federal government

            I specifically dismantled your third argument, because trust in the police has declined and all those technologies have been deployed beforehand (I notice you dropped the claims about drones and about trust in law enforcement!), and the first two are stretches, at best. In order to disprove you, I’d have to accept that you’ve proven anything, and you really haven’t. It’s complete conjecture, and sloppy conjecture at that.

            “Your affiliation with Occupy Philly is affecting your ability to interpret evidence.”
            What evidence? That there is an election this year and it appears to you that there is no protest movement, meaning we are in a transition period, which somehow means that the government planned an entire leftist movement that also happened to spread internationally? Did the fascists also plan the protests in Canada?
            I’m not neutral in any argument, not by any means, but I’m also not going to make the common mistake of acting as if I’m an objective observer. Just a suggestion, but I wouldn’t make that mistake if I were you.

            ” What’s your point? That the fascist response to Occupy is nothing to worry about?”
            My point is that your assertion that Occupy is some kind of conspiracy by the government to do… something, is foolish and has no evidence to back it up. As for fascist response, I’m all too aware of the response and what it entails.

            “These facts were not widely distributed because I suspect there is fascist control of the media and I suspect that many ‘Occupiers’ are really government stooges and they aren’t concerned with highlighting civil rights abuses.”
            Hahaha, this is just preposterous. You should have visited an occupy site while they were still active, you may have learned something about your local chapter.

          6. Cocomaan

            “The mere fact many local police forces decided to crack down on Occupy at roughly the same time is suspicious in and of itself.”
            It’s been well documented that mayors of American cities coordinated their responses. There has been absolutely no evidence that the federal government has been involved, even with leaks and FOIA documents. If you have evidence to the contrary, please post it! I will wait.

          7. Walter Wit Man

            You have dismantled nothing. You are obfuscating and nibbling around the edges.

            Again, I was absolutely correct on my statements re LRADs and was correct about my statement about drones. You are trying to create a strawman because you so want to “dismantle” my comment that you need to build it up into something its not to achieve your goal.

            I am not walking my statement about drones back. Look, I understand that Obama did not all of a sudden start enacting fascism. It’s a gradual process and Obama is expanding on the work of previous fasicsts, like W and Clinton.

            Also, I agree that I mostly have conjecture. I am not privy to the perp deliberations so I have to try to piece together pieces of information. I acknowledge that I’m drawn to the “conspiracy” theory because I believe the perps have committed similar actions in the past and the basic facts give rise to a similar implication. I acknowledge that the “case” is not ready for a jury. That’s why I say these suspicious facts warrant further investigation.

            But my facts re the police is absolutely correct . . . there is a ratcheting up of the police state.

            I will leave a further analysis of the federal role in the Occupy crackdowns for another day . . . because it is convaluted and I don’t have time to treat it the way I would like to treat it . . . but you have “dismantled” nothing and my first two suspicious facts are totally correct and your attempts at debunking failed miserably.

            Your goal is to frustrate rather than to get to the truth.

          8. Walter Wit Man

            Here is a start if you care to research the federal role (and they are acting on behalf of the elite):

            Read through the articles. Also, see the stories about the CIA having a liason in New York and the intelligence ties the NYPD has. Also, if the government is treating protest as “low level terrorism”, which there is evidence Obama is doing despite his stated repudiation of this Bush-era doctrine, then they probably won’t even tell us. The government claims the right to do all sorts of things in secret so if Occupy has been targeted by the intelligence agencies or police, we pobably won’t know. Again, we have confirmation the police are running federal DRE programs (which is suspicious and is probably a cover for an even more sinister program). We know the feds are using undercover cops and entrapping political activists in crimes they are suggesting.

            We know the feds are surveilling the protesters.

            Seems like you have a lot of excuses for fascism. Reminds me of Obama fans who will never admit any error that their messiah committed.

            You seem very interested in throwing dust in the air.

          9. wunsacon

            >> But my facts re the police is absolutely correct . . . there is a ratcheting up of the police state.

            “No duh.” The 50’s and 60’s civil rights movements were subject to unwarranted attention and harassment from authorities. So, were those movements inorganic / “controlled opposition”, too?

            It’s good to kick around conspiracy theories, because many conspiracies are factual. But, not everything is a contrivance.

          10. Walter Wit Man

            Re the Civil Rights movement . . .

            Maybe those efforts were partially controlled opposition, actually. I don’t know. I haven’t looked into it closely enough.

            But that’s a good example of the type of history I’ve been reexamining. Contra Lambert below, I think this CT angle of history is desperately needed right now. The CT stuff is labelled CT to get us not to look at it. The most important history of the U.S. the last 100 years or so may indeed be its secret history! Indeed, we are finding out that incidents like the Gulf of Tonkin were fabrications and that the U.S. had a huge number of secret programs and has a secret government and indeed may even be operating under emergency, or secret, law, right now.

            In fact, I now look to CT websites before I look to “news” websites. The media is completely complicit. Of course there are disinformation agents that are now also attracted to these CT sites so one must be careful . . . but contrarary to the CW the elite have sold us on, the internet is not to be feared for its false information, in fact, the opposite is the truth. The best information is found in the backcorners of the internet and not on the mainstream “news” sites. In fact, the newspapers and media might be the original conspiracy theory because they are the controlled opposition that we have been tricked into trusting.

            Re the civil rights movement . . . I have recently realized the absolute war our government waged against black people in the 60s and 70s and 80s. Black groups were targeted by the government for disruption. They were targeted for assassination. Drugs were introduced to these communities and gangs like the Jamaican Shower Posse were helped by people in the government.

            And yes. I bet the “real” truth is crazy. I am indeed open to mindblowing options that people like MLK Jr. were perps (not saying I believe this–just that I now quesiton all my assumptions and that’s it’s more probable in my mind than ever before).

            Although, I am more familiar with possible government operations from after the civil rights movement:

            Like, I beleive Jim Jones, the Manson Family, and the Underground Weathermen were all government agents that were partially tasked with undermining black political groups.

            Anyway, that’s a whole nother can o worms . .. .

            But one can certainly argue that the Civil Rights Act was not very effective at ameliorating the vestiges of slavery and ending discrimination. One could argue that it was a weak remedy that was sold in an effort to weaken stronger reforms. Of course then Nixon and the political establishment then used the war on drugs to keep the black community down.

  3. Jill


    I have wondered also if this was planned by the govt. In my own experience, if it was, Occupy has not ended up as the exclusive domain of govt. agencies. It got infiltrated by ordinary people!

    At some point we are going to have to meet together. We just have to expect the govt. is going to be there. If someone tells you to commit violence you should simply ask them what agency they work for! In the meantime, we should continue to speak our minds and work for justice. IMO, this must remain an open movement for it to be effective, precisely because there will be govt. infiltration. The best way around that is complete openness. Everyone should know everything. That way, questions can be raised. Cults don’t allow questions and they do hide things.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Well, my hunch is that Occupy did get infiltrated by ordinary people after it was started by perps! Kind of like the hippy movement. Maybe it was a siren song to potential troublemakers so that they could be controlled and then once these people have been corralled they can be demonized to the greater population. Which explains the cops luring Occupy protesters into bombing bridges . . . just as it explains Manson. It also explains the false characterization that the protesters are “violent.”

      So while I agree that the people engaging in senseless violence at these protests are usually cops*, there are also those working the exact other side of this mindfuck and concern trolling the protesters with undue concern about violence.

      *like the most recent examples of lone protesters “hitting” the cops with a wimpy stick from a protest sign, and then running away unmolested and “getting away”, while doing no real damage to the cops while they get an excuse to wail away at the other protesters. The examples of the so-called ‘Black Bloc’ protests in Oakland one day last year (the mountain made out of the mole hill), was not a police operation, imho, but was indeed an example of small group of genuine protesters who engaged in relatively low-level property destruction. The most recent ‘Black Bloc’ action in San Francisco, was probably the police.

      1. LucyLulu

        David Graeber was an initial organizer, probably given more credit than anybody else in getting the movement started in NYC. Do you think that he was a perp? Or was it the role played by Adbusters? Can you be more specific?

        Knowing early Tea Partiers, I agree with those who think it started as a grass roots movement that then got co-opted by the Republican Party. I base that on my observations from the timeline of when parties first became involved. The timeline on OWS is more compressed but it seems, at least to me, that similar dynamics were involved, with attempts to co-opt the movement coming later.

        OWS isn’t dead but it certainly isn’t making the same headlines. I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing. In my own community, OWS continues on behind the scenes, working with Jeff Thigpen on the MERS/banking lawsuit, occupying foreclosed homes, fighting fracking in NC, along with other smaller roles.

        Timing is everything. The time for movements such as OWS to be able to succeed isn’t upon us yet. The next global financial crisis perhaps……

        1. Walter Wit Man

          I hate to say it, but I don’t know about David Graeber. I wanted to like him and I liked his comments on this site and others re Occupy and “violence.” I was looking forward to reading his book and read the write-ups Lambert did on him.

          But just a day or so after he joined me here on this website and made some good comments about violence concern trolling, he appeared in some newspaper or journal wearing what appeared to be a t-shirt appearing to advocate violence. WTF? I gave him the benefit of the doubt on that one, thinking he had some good reason for doing this, and maybe he does. But it was odd. Then seeing him appear with Julian Assange also made me suspicious–he’s helping backstop the history of Occupy and helping Assange with his “garbage” talk about undesirable protesters.

          So while I was prepared to view Graeber as a good guy and really liked what he had to say, and acknowledge he could very well be a good guy, I unfortunately wonder now.

          I want to hear what he says about why he wore that t-shirt.

          1. David Graeber

            What, “Violent Anarchists for Communism”?
            I just thought it was funny, to tell you the truth. You know, make fun of stereotypes? Well, I guess irony doesn’t always work on TV.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Yeah, that was the t-shirt. I figured it was ajoke. It was just a bit disconcerting after seeing your comments just days before when you were defending against accusations that anarchists were violent. It was especially disconcerting because it was such a juxtaposition to the white good guy imagery I had noticed in Chris Hedge’s productions.

            As Assange said during the discussion above, these images in the media have an effect. Interesting to me that that Assange was so focused on the imagery of Occupy, the “marking” was the term I think he used in the above clip.

          3. David Graeber

            Well he’s obsessed with the imagery because he’s not really in touch with the practice. He’s an internet, media person.

    1. Glenn Condell

      ‘I still say that Occupy needs a political arm …..’

      In this pair of posts David Malone (Golem XIV) explores the formation of a new political party with the aim of electing MEPs (subversive ones like Nigel Farage, not seat-shining servants of the 1%) rather than local pols. The idea is to avoid the divisive entanglements associated with having to have a united position on everything (abortion, school lunches, gay marriage, whatever) and concentrate on what everyone can agree upon as the basis of the platform – financial reform:

    2. Ray Duray

      While it may be fun to speculate on how sinister forces conspired to create the Occupy movement in order to bitch about these same sinister forces, it might make more rational sense to send an investigative reporter out to find out just how it was that Occupy was conceived, struck a nerve and surprised just about everybody.

      The New Yorker set out to do just that:

      I think they may have discovered something by extending their reach beyond the armchair.

      I speak with a certain authority, having watched Occupy Wall Street from a satellite perch for quite a long while now:

      One thing about our lead story at the moment, the Assange interview, is that Julian has identified four leaders of the OWS movement. Believe me, this is a monumental advance for a movement that really got off on the wrong foot by having a pack of fools demanding that they be “leaderless”. Sheep aren’t even this dumb.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        I noticed this too. That this video appears to have Assange appointing “leaders” to the leaderless movement.

        If they are perps then this may even be worse than having no leaders.

        Plus, it’s not like there weren’t “leaders” who were controlling events. How were the consensus rules put in place in every Occupy event? Did someone make this decision or did the whole movement just come up with this organically?

  4. John Doe

    Walter Wit Man-

    You have connected the dots. I coordinated the OWS movement and you are correct, although I cannot reveal my superiors, they are up the chain. Given the breadth of the plot, we thought this conspiracy was inpenetrable. I want to be the first to congratulate you on uncovering and revealing the true nature of these events. The armchair has not failed you.

      1. Walter Wit Man


        You have connected the dots. The armchair has not failed you. You have discovered my methods.

        Please come by your nearest Occupy gathering to pick up your [recording device] prize.

  5. JIm

    Popular democratic political movements are relatively rare in history.

    They seem to demand both intelligence and social experience in organizing(consisting usually of long lists of previous failures)—as distinct from conceptual experience alone.

    For example in Poland in 1956, 1970 and 1976 in Poznan, workers marched to the center of a city and often burned party headquarters and wrecked buildings before engaging in violent confrontation with the police. After which they engaged in extended postmortems about what went wrong. In all three situations one could argue that they acted before they thought—they were courageous but doomed. The workers grievances were many but grievances alone do not cause democratic movements.

    Movements happen when they are organized and they happen in no other way.

    The uprisings in Poznan were a destructive assertion by a large mass of associated strangers who were well-meaning but comparatively innocent in political terms.

    But out of such failures in 1956, 1970 and 1976, the insights from the actual social experience in the streets were reformulated and sophisticated and they then led to the later organizing strategy and success of Solidarity in August of 1981.


  6. Enraged

    From what I understand, OWS has, to a large extent, joined The99Declaration. That being said, the movement is still very alive, occupying houses about to be seized. Just recently, a case in MN made headlines. They can’t gather in public parks but they are active with homeowners.

  7. Walter Wit Man

    Some thoughts on listening to the show:

    History. Thanks to Lambert I’m aware of some of the earlier efforts at describing the history of Occupy, but it’s interesting to hear that Spanish and Egyptian protesters came to America and advised the Americans. It’s also interesting that these leaders on hand with Assange claim to be influenced by Egypt and Spain, etc.

    Tactics. As mentioned above, I don’t think the consensus approach is smart. It means it is really hard to do anything. Nothing will get done. One person, one plant, one cop, can totally throw everyone in dissaray.

    David Graeber talks about new forms of direct democracy and facilitation of consensus . . . . and not just using social media to spread a message . . . some brag about using the human microphone and mic checks.

    But it simply sounds like empty platitudes to me.

    Notice that Assange calls some people in Occupy that they don’t like, “the garbage.” Like Hedges calls some a “cancer.” This is a huge red flag for me. It’s intentionally divisive. They go on to talk about naked people and drumming.

  8. Susan the other

    Curious. Kinda boring level of energy but good questions. “Clearly the West is over.” “So how do we govern ourselves now?” And no one posits the obvious: we throw capitalism and profiteering overboard and drink all the rum ourselves. But the experiment obviously is that thinking, talking and showing up will change social structures, constantly. It is very high level, witness the alternative banking group.

  9. Eureka Springs

    “From what I understand, OWS has, to a large extent, joined The99Declaration. ”

    If true, it’s difficult to imagine a more succinct line which shouts co-optation from the rooftops.

    1. Nathanael

      Most people aren’t very radical. They just want their bread, and their circuses, and to keep busy (a job), and to be treated with some respect (rather than beaten by thuggish police), and to be comfortable and secure in their homes (rather than having them stolen by crooked rich people).

      The problem we are having right now is that the controlling portion of the 1% are mentally ill in a socially destructive way. They are incapable of “allowing the widow to have her mite”. They are kleptocrats; and they can never steal enough or abuse the poor enough to be happy, though they keey trying.

      The desire to get this elite out of power so that people can go back to boring lives — this desire unifies people who otherwise have little in common. This is the situation which allowed for the French and Russian Revolutions. It also allows for dishonest folks like Hitler and Mussolini and Golden Dawn to appeal to populism to get into power.

      Occupy, like the “99 declaration” is just another manifestation of the “throw the bums out” reaction to a dysfunctional society. There are many such manifestations. There will be more, unless the elite remove the kleptocrats themselves by ‘palace coup’. Eventually, the bums will get thrown out. The big question is what will happen next: in the French Revolution, Napoleon happened.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think that’s true, institutionally (so far as Occupy can be thought of as an institution). And I don’t think the ideas or the experience or the relationships are going to go away. Presumably there are a lot of “lessons learned” conversations going on now. I know there are in the circles I frequent.

  10. F. Beard

    When will OWS call for a debtor strike? Let’s everyone quit making their debt payments until the bankers themselves call for a universal bailout of the population.

    It’s only money.

  11. Ray Duray

    [Note: This got put in a reply upstream inadvertently. It should have been here. NC could sure use an “edit” feature in the comments, please.]

    While it may be fun to speculate on how sinister forces conspired to create the Occupy movement in order to bitch about these same sinister forces, it might make more rational sense to send an investigative reporter out to find out just how it was that Occupy was conceived, struck a nerve and surprised just about everybody.

    The New Yorker set out to do just that:

    I think they may have discovered something by extending their reach beyond the armchair.

    I speak with a certain authority, having watched Occupy Wall Street from a satellite perch for quite a long while now:

    One thing about our lead story at the moment, the Assange interview, is that Julian has identified four leaders of the OWS movement. Believe me, this is a monumental advance for a movement that really got off on the wrong foot by having a pack of fools demanding that they be “leaderless”. Sheep aren’t even this dumb.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think by “identify” you mean “arbitrarily elevated.” Next stop, Dancing With The Stars!

        Adding… Oops, responding to parent of this comment, not this comment.

  12. Lambert Strether Post author

    I see no point in engaging with the CT stuff on this thread. It’s wankery. That is all.

    NOTE Except adding, of course there’s some intel operative on the show. At the systemic level, one takes that as given and moves forward, builds a system that takes that reality into account and rolls with it. “Spot the operative” is a lot like bird-watching, or putting on one’s anorak and train-spotting. It’s fun, and useful in a peripheral sort of way, but it’s more important to save the entire forest of which the birds are a part, or start rerouting the trains, instead of writing down the engine numbers.

    UPDATE Heck, there are probably two operatives on the show. One for DHS, one for Putin. And that is all.

    1. They didn't leave me a choice

      Amen brother. This thread is filled up with so much worthless wankery that it’d almost be better for Yves to cleanse it with fire and close it from posting. I have no idea if all these posters are honestly discouraged and want to discourage everybody else, or (excuse my own CT) part of government propaganda. Either way, the discussion is so low level, unenlightening (and unenlightened) and, quite frankly, shitty, that deleting it all would not be amiss.

  13. Doug G.

    Well, Assange asked great questions. The collection of folks being interviewed were cartoon characters. The twinkling eyes behind the answers about instituting force within the OWS made me physically sick. The “pinstripe hoodie?” with the “ahmmmmm” interrupters punctuating his speech, dripping with supplication… yikes. The vegan with the smudged eye shadow and piercing scars. The young “master”. Tea Party, OWS, all the same; co-opted the same way a fire is started to create a firebreak.

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