Why Didn’t OWS Transform Into a Political Movement?

Yves here. I’ve not weighed in on the second anniversary of the start of the Occupy Wall Street anniversary because, truth be told, the movement has gone so local and has so many different faces that I’m not certain it’s possible to make good generalizations without doing a lot of investigation.

This short interview seeks to address one of the expectations for OWS, that it become a political force, and why it was never met. Putting aside a sour note where the interviewee treats the re-election of Obama as a force for change (perhaps, but not the sort an OWS supporter would want), the immediate answer is straighforward: OWS didn’t set out to make demands (recall the frustrated criticism in the media about “Who is their leader? What do they want?”

Now on one level, you can argue that what old Sixties types would call consciousness building was probably a useful and necessary first step. But keeping political thinking at a rarefied or abstract level often means that serious fissures emerge when people start grappling with what to do. And there’s an undertone of distaste for the hard work of effecting change (the political version of Thomas Edison’s saying that invention was 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration). Mind you, I’m not saying the work that various Occupy groups are doing isn’t important and valuable. For instance, Occupy Sandy did a better job of providing services in Staten Island than New York City did, and various local Occupy Homes groups have helped stressed borrowers. But whether Occupy will again impact the national policy debate or put pressure on existing political parties remains to be seen.

More at The Real News

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Pelham

    For those paying attention, Occupy was useful. What I’m concerned about is what I’ve been hearing from a wide community of rational, caring people, which is that they were only ever vaguely aware of Occupy and considered it marginal.

    I’m continually surprised at how few people — really bright, decent sorts in both urban and suburban enclaves I’m familiar with — have such minimal political awareness. It’s hard to press them on this but when I have, they tend to testily dismiss the parties and politics as pernicious, untouchable things unworthy of attention or effort.

    For my part, I do pay attention and keep up with events. But, pretty much, I’ve come to the same conclusion. We need something entirely different — and organization, clear ideas, harsh discipline and ruthlessness to match the existing system are necessary ingredients. Unfortunately, Occupy had none of those.

    1. Tim

      You are probably right which is why broken democracies and autocracies are typically followed by popular uprisings that result a dictator coming to power.

      Our government was designed to self eliminate extreme positions. I’m not sure how you return to a pristine true democratic/republic within the same geographic boundaries of a country. America worked because people started over somewhere else, not be revolutionizing Europe. Entrenched interests. Perhaps the closest thing to something that worked was the Mexican revolution, but that still did not work out that well.

    2. jrs

      I was excited by Occupy and managed to make a visit to Occupy L.A.. But sadly I only grasped their true genius after it was all over. I gained more understanding of them but it was mostly more and more awareness of the functioning of the political system.

  2. PaulW

    To be fair, we’re asking OWS to solve problems which, at this stage, cannot be solved. Getting people to change their behavior at the local level is likely the best next step. After all, it isn’t just the corruption at the top that created this situation. The 99% allowed that corruption to form, plus they are also facing lifestyle changes to make things better. In my neighbourhood I’ve seen no effort to change anything. Leads one to the conclusion people won’t change until they have to – hopefully not after it’s too late.

    As for OWS as a political movement, let’s be practical here. US “democracy” is a closed shop. Not much better in other western countries either. The power junkie/money junkie psychopaths at the top are not going to share power willingly. Plus they’re prepared to kill as many as it takes to keep what they have to themselves.

    1. real

      good comment paulw..one of the best comment
      but current govt-corporate driven society won’t allow local leaders to flourish

    2. s spade

      There isn’t going to be any change, except perhaps for the worse. Apart from a brief window (1946-73), the 99% have always had next to nothing, and that window was created by the destruction of Europe and Japan, which made business such an easy score that the 1% was happy to relax the yoke of labor and maximize production in the absence of any competition.

      It is easy to analyze how things could be better, and impossible to prevent Big Money from frustrating all positive change. People are well advised to save their energy for insuring their own survival. That’s difficult enough and is getting harder all the time. I wish this weren’t true, but it is.

      1. wendy davis

        Your comment is a tough one to address by refutation, s spade, given that the 1% is so entrenched, and their minions in Congress and the White House are not acting in our interests.

        That said, consider the gathering affects of Snowden’s NSA revelations have had on the global 99% having become aware the the US Empiricists essential have no clohtes, and will lie about absolutely everything to protect the Empire.

        Consider other whistleblowers slowly stepping out of the shadows; consider a plurality of citizens here and in the UK saying NO to war with Syria. Consider the many prophecies of global Indigenous spiritual leaders agreeing that there’s a new consciousness on the rise that will unite all of us in caring for one another’s fates and well-being, and that of the planet’s health.

        Then do consider that those values (plus honoring the truth) are largely a second or third theme that OWS came to emblify. Feeding the hungry, finding shelter and medical care for the homeless, free libraries, etc. In short, Occupiers extending themselves in service to their fellow humans, not just pontificating via academic philosophies, but embodying it.

        The Oligarchs hate that, and fear it immensely. And of course do all they can to divide us over socail wedge issues and false dichotomies. So to me, battening down to save ourselves, or fearing the future, nasty and painful as it will be once the next crash comes…is playing right into their hands.

        And please understand, I’m not expecting to convince you, just ask you to consider things from a different possible reality.

      2. jrs

        By trying to ensure you own survival you probably of course won’t.

        Noone will actually survive for long on a destroyed planet and ecosystem. Fukishima is one step away from irradiating the entire Northern hemisphere. Meanwhile tar sands exploitation proceeds away full speed.

        We’re never going to survive unless we get a little crazy …

      3. charles sereno

        “It is easy to analyze how things could be better, and impossible to prevent Big Money from frustrating all positive change. People are well advised to save their energy for insuring their own survival.” (s spade)

        I hope no one follows your “advice.” Big Money actually pays people to peddle such compliance.

      4. myshkin

        1946-1973 was made possible by the earlier movements that culminated in FDR’s ascendence, the New Deal legislation and an activist Supreme Court. Not because the 1% felt satisfied and were, “happy to relax the yoke of labor”

        The Wobblies, Eugene Debs, the union movement, WEB Dubois,socialists, artists, workers, other people who invested their lives in the struggle and others pissed enough to listen and join in and those just paying attention and voting, made those few decades a golden era for a select, American middle class, not the decimation of Europe and Japan, (though the stimulus of the war spending finally kicked the sputtering economy firmly and forever out of the great depression.)

        The benefits derived from the humming industrial base at a time when the industrial centers of Europe and Asia lay in ruins, were enjoyed mostly by an American, white, 90%; those who survived the carnage and were able to do so, could do so because the 1% was not in a position to divert the rewards into their own pocket, as seen over the last four decades.

        Of course, to be fair, elite financiers have earned that big cut because they’ve created prosperity out of thin air on Wall Street, at the same time promoting and arranging for the outsourcing and off shoring of jobs and industry on which the middle class had thrived. Inventive work and worthy of all those bonuses and perhaps a free ride in the tumbrel.

        1. s spade

          I’m sure you know that the murder of Big Bill Haywood and the arrest of Debs and the Palmer raids pretty much ended socialist movements in America. Although Roosevelt made a good effort, and pushed through some valuable legislation, the New Deal was largely an economic failure until it was bailed out by WWII. Business made a sweetheart deal with the big industrial unions, which took good care of their members (and very good care of their executives) and never did anything for anyone else.

          Taft Hartley undermined union power, the Communist witch hunts and the National Security State put the kibosh on any remaining tendency toward economic democracy. A booming stock market and rising pension and mutual funds reinforced one another to create an illusion of prosperity that continued until David Rockefeller and his man Kissinger used the Saudis to put the banks and oil companies back in the saddle. This was a fait accompli by 1970, and the middle class has been back pedaling ever since. The only winners have been those who speculated in stocks or real estate, without getting shaken out. Workers have been consistently up against high taxes, high interest rates on credit cards and mortgages, skyrocketing tuition charges, inflation in the prices of those things anyone has any good reason to buy, which goes unmeasured thanks to government finagling with the indexes.

          As to what could happen if enough people wise up to the reality of economic life, I don’t see any signs of that happening. A small minority has always known the score and been unable to make any headway against 24-7 propaganda and advertising, not to mention idiotic entertainment, public fascination with celebrity, fantasies of lottery winnings, etc., etc.

          1. MyWag

            One brick at a time. Each trip to Walmart reinforces the decline of the middle class. At first it was for a family to ‘save’ money. Now that family is dependent because there are less middle class jobs because there are more Walmarts.
            It is a self fulfilling, welfare inducing, job and real small business killer.
            It is a shameful, We the People, power movement. Just ask corporate how faithfully the sheeple follow.

          2. myshkin

            We largely agree on the history then, except for that part about the TPTB “happily releasing the yoke,” and allowing the middle class to benefit.

          3. Calgacus

            the New Deal was largely an economic failure until it was bailed out by WWII.

            This is an important Big Lie of the 1%. The New Deal was a spectacular economic success. The best and most equitable peacetime growth the USA had ever seen. Which is the reason the lies about it have never stopped. That the postwar era in the USA had much to do with the destruction of Europe and Japan is another Big Lie. Last – it is the 30 odd years since the end of the postwar era that are the exception. The worst such long period for the ordinary person in the history of the USA.

    3. Montanamaven

      Yes, a good comment about our “democracy” being a closed shop because it’s not direct democracy but representative when the representatives are crooks. And we must include the hierarchy of the so called labor movement. Unions should not have a hierarchy or “bosses”. That was another accomplishment of OWS; the coalition of rank and file union members and kids. No longer was it the Hard Hats v. Hippies from the Anti War movement of the 60’s and early ’70’s. The melding of the kids, the greens, and the hard hats in 1999 in Seattle freaked out TPTB causing them to scurry under rocks for their meetings. The anti global movement followed TPTB around until they realized it was time to stand their ground. Some really good things came out of OWS as they sought to take over public space and establish the commons. Stand your ground without a gun.

    4. sgt_doom

      You make some great points, and what should be most obvious to all, Mr. PaulW.

      One hears the typical AmericanConsumerBot respond with various snarky remarks, criticisms, etc., while still blithely obvlivious to everything transpiring around them.

      In other words, still completely and militantly ignorant of the environment in which they exist!

      Reminds me of those fools who listen to Thom Hartmann, who claims to be a “progressive” (Mafia responsible for all assassinations since the beginning of time — must workth “within the system” as such a system permits any substantive change, etc., ignores the fact that both Obama and (Hillary) Clinton had the same people on their presidential campaigns as McCain originally did, etc., and most of all remains blithely ignorant that Clinton (Bill) and Obama both had/have 100% neocon administrations, for cripes sakes!!!!!

      The OWS movement (which I believe originated in London) performed massively notable and honorable acts, while having violence continually visited upon them by the nation’s crooked cops, paid off by the banksters.

      Realistically, as you and a few others inferred, the banksters (or global banking cartel, whatever the designation one prefers) is simply too all-powerful today: owning the media, the police, the private military companies (all the major defense contractors each own, or have as a subsidiary, private military corps), networks, etc., etc., and from the Edward Snowden leaked documents everyone should now understand that they control the Internet!

    5. Dan Kervick

      Blacks seeking an end to slavery, women seeking a vote, laborers seeking the right to organize – all of those people could just as well have said “US democracy is a closed shop”. In fact, US democracy was even more closed to those people than it is to “the 99%” in our society.

      Of course the power junkies are not going to share power willingly. That’s why a political movement is needed: something that sets and declares ambitious but clear and well-defined goals, develops a long-term strategy for attaining them, and then spends 10 or 20 or 30 years in the effort.

  3. David Lentini

    Agreed. I was disapponted with the interview, because the discussion never got around to the point of political change. The author who was interviewed seemed starry-eyed over the massing of people, as if OWS was another Burning Man.

    I do think the consciousness-raising effect of OWS was important and useful. And certainly their efforts to help after Sandy were excellent. But the affects of consciousnes-raising are ephemeral, and organizing for relief efforts just leaves OWS in the role of charity organization.

    I agree that too many on the “progressive” side don’t really have the understanding or will to create a new political movement. I think we’ve become too enamored of the consumer society, thinking that our job is to select the right choice rather than make change, and that we are afraid to make the sorts of clear statements of social values needed to create a politcal movement. I noticed the latter very on display with OWS originally, when so many organizers seemed to go out of their way to disclaim any agenda. Sooner or later, we’ll have to make a real stand to make change.

  4. financial matters

    The battle seems to be progressing on many fronts..

    The Emerging Left in the “Emerging” World: Seven Common Threads
    (NC) 9/19/13

    By Jayati Ghosh

    “”What I call “the emerging Left” shares seven common threads that appear in otherwise very distinct political formations and in very different socioeconomic contexts. These are not always “new ideas”—in fact they are more often than not old ideas that appear new because of the changing context and the collective failure of memory, even within the left itself. Still, these seven threads—new attitudes toward democracy, scale and centralization, private property, the discourse of rights, class and other identities, women and gender, and the environment—all represent breaks from 20th century socialist orthodoxy.””




    Money and Morality
    By Brian Werner

    “”Conservatives and liberals alike tend to agree that the government doesn’t have enough money. So conservatives use this as an excuse to cut programs they just don’t like. Liberals say we can increase taxes on the rich, spend less money on the military, and then spend more on social programs. Both viewpoints encourage us to justify moral decisions in terms of the government’s balance sheet. Both viewpoints are wrong.””



    Now is the Time to Cast Off Delusion…


    By Michael Hoexter

    Shared Delusion #2: Duty to Others is of No Consequence

    The de-naturalization of duty yields ultimately a criminogenic environment, where a range of behaviors leading to sociopathy become naturalized.

    Shared Delusion #4: Authority is Always Illegitimate

    “”As with contemporary discussions of government above, the question of “whether or not authority” has replaced the question of “how” can authority be legitimately exercised and maintained to achieve some socially positive end, including a deepening of effective democracy.””

    1. wendy davis

      What irony that Jayati Ghosh was published at the Guardian on the Bill and Melinda Gates-funded ‘Poverty Matters’ tab! Or is it; haven’t read it all yet.

      Uber-capitalists for Monsanto, and the King and Queen of consumer culture; my stars. Aided by Bono, they are helping to kill and recolonize Africa with their ‘philanthropic largesse’.


      But I did clip your other links to read later; thank you, financial matters.

  5. Adriannzinha

    So the premise is why didn’t OWS become a political movement putting forth candidates and others for office?

    Well in my mind that’s probably one of the things that OWS did right and has left it’s legacy unstained in my mind. Even a minimal historical survey or even a contemporary one at that, shows what happens when so-called radicals manage to get into office. In short, they subsequently defend the status quo frequently with even more zeal than the cadre of politicians they replace. Look to Germany and france for instance where openly self-described socialist and green parties make deals and write laws for the vast benefit of corporations, ruling classes, and the capitalist apparatus.

    It’s not to say there aren’t some benefits on a social level from such parties coming into power, but the status quo – the fact that 99% of us will be at the mercy of 1% is not going to change by putting different faces in high places.

    I simply do not see where meaningful change will come from within a thoroughly corrupt, plutocratic system that has thoroughly been discredited. Those who try to enter the system and alter it simply become it’s most effective advocates along the way…Obama is just one recent example.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Agreed. Whether all of it was conscious or not, OWS’s refusal to be “nailed down” had the wonderful effect of making people ask ever more pertinent questions about the system rather than simply dismiss OWS outright as yet another fringe group.

      Subsequently, they were nailed by the police and other enforcement groups so before the main stream media was forced to even acknowledge these groups in any serious way, we all got a taste of what you get when you start raising embarrassing questions about the best of worlds in the best of times. Yet even the fact that OWS was illegally (or unconstitutionally) disbanded by force organized at the top and the fact that the MSM completely swallowed that story, was revelatory to a lot of people.

      Under the present circumstances, It seems as though every well intentioned reformist is looking for a flock and when others don’t want to be part of that flock, they conveniently become part of this new definition of “don’t want to do any real work” leftists.

      1. Dan Kervick

        Well, if one’s sole goal in some effort is not to be part of a flock, it goes without saying not much is going to come of the effort, since human beings are only capable of achieving noticeable results by flocking together.

    2. James Levy

      Systems reach their end when no useful number of people are prepared to kill or die for them any more. The Soviet Union met its fate that way, as did the Austro-Hungarian Empire and loads of other examples. We are nowhere near that tipping point.

      The military and the police are well fed, well paid (by the standards of the communities they are drawn from) enjoy whopping great PR at the hands of our media (support the troops!) and for the most part believe in some variant of a Protestant-based notion of American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny; America is God’s chosen instrument in a fallen world.

      So long as the Power Elite commands the fealty of that military and those police forces, they are invulnerable. Occupy was first intimidated, then crushed. The revolution is never when the people take to the streets. The revolution is when the coercive apparatus of the State refuses to order to fire.

      Unlike the Soviet Union, our Power Elite is not going to go down to demoralization and despair. They have too much to loose. They will take the place down with them. All you have to know is how they embraced Mutually Assured Destruction (better dead than Red) to understand just how in earnest the rulers of this society are.

      1. Cassiodorus

        The Soviet Union collapsed, as Boris Kagarlitsky points out in “The Disintegration of the Monolith,” when the elites switched sides and became advocates of neoliberalism. Gorbachev tried to stop this side-switching (after having aided and abetted it) by appointing members of the old guard, who in turn deposed Gorbachev and staged an unsuccessful coup. Sure, the whole thing collapsed when the military refused to support the coup; but the primary cause of the collapse was the side-switching, and the conversion of Soviet elites to neoliberalism.

        Our problem today is that it doesn’t appear that any side-switching is possible because there still appears to be no alternative to neoliberalism. Occupy could have played an important role in this — but there is still no alternative to neoliberalism in state governance.

        1. Banger

          There is no alternative because there is no alternative. Neoliberalism works for the international ruling class. Until the left decides to take collective action by first creating real and sustainable organizations and communities then learning to leverage power based on actual power relations. Instead, the left continues to wail on the sidelines “it’s not fair!”

          1. Massinissa

            “Until the left decides to take collective action by first creating real and sustainable organizations and communities then learning to leverage power based on actual power relations.”

            Which will never happen.


            1. Banger

              Along the usual politically correct and surface view of politics certainly the left can never revive–but I believe that necessity will bring it back to life under somewhat different flags.

          2. s spade

            Neoliberalism works because it creates opportunities for enough people to provide all the support those in control require to keep it going. Movements on the left up to now have created nothing but riches for a few bloggers. They are doing fine and enjoy your well reasoned unpaid contributions, just so long as you don’t criticize any shortcomings.

        2. danB

          Well, there is no future for neoliberalism if one asks how it is organized -centralization of power- and what is required to maintain this centralized control -basically, enough energy inputs into the economy to pay off those who support the system through the implicit or explicit threat of violence and coercion, and, of course, the class-based corruption that is the hallmark of this ideology. Peak oil is and will continue to destroy neoliberalism. The question is what follows: localization? Again what form of localization, egalitarian or hierarchal?

      2. Banger

        I think many people who post here believe the political process is basically closed. The power elite have a lock on matters and the security services are very strong. Just as important, the mainstream media is almost 100% political in that they align with some faction of the power elite and/or are now part of that elite. The only way the left can begin to have some power is to organize into strong local affinity groups and nurture community which will be, in the future, the only alternative to corporatism. I’ve often said that corporations have a competitive advantage over any other entity in this society and that if the left wanted to have a stronger voice we would have to form our own corporations–but no one has ever expressed even the slightest interest in that or long-term community building projects. Ironically, the left seems to want to encourage collectivism as an idea but is hopelessly hung up on individualism.

      3. Dan Kervick

        Well, the current system can come to an end in all sorts of ways. It could collapse into skinhead fascism; or State-run Baptist Fundamentalism; or the Dictatorship of the Hackertariat; or Ron Paul’s radical libertarianism with every single person a sovereign country; or Bitcointopia; or a Workers’s Sate, or etc. If somebody says to me that their only goal is to end “the system” because they are confident that what happens when it falls will be better than what exist, my instinct is to say “no thanks.”

    3. Montanamaven

      This is often referred to as “The Roach Motel”. The Democratic Party is definitely a roach motel. Movements go in, but they don’t come out. I peaked in the windows; dipped my toes in, but got out before I got stuck.

  6. XO


    Each day, I admire that you still display the OWS banner.

    Ritholtz sported it for a while — until it became unfashionable.

    You are head and shoulders above your “peers.”

  7. Mcmike

    The problem is in the premise. aka the framing. Its a question from hacks looking for a way to define ows as a failure. Its armchair anarchists acting out their self dissapointment. Its conventional people being bewildered that ows refused to act conventionally. Its “battered wives” wondering wheres the fist coming next. Its jaded cynics looking for proof of the fix. Its talking head news dorks trying to talk about ows without talking about ows agenda.

    It is as if everyone is saying: why couldnt you guys be more like the tea party? I.e. sell out, get coopted, make a splash, then get in on the deal making, leave a few batshits lying around for local color…

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      why couldnt you guys be more like the tea party? I.e. sell out, get coopted…

      The tea party was a creation of plutocrats like the Koch Brothers right from the start.

      And unlike OWS, our corporate media pushed their message…right from the start.

      And there’s the bottom line for OWS: our corporate media, which leads our public around by the nose. They easily dismissed OWS as a bunch of smelly hippies, while promoting the living daylights out of a blatant astroturf creation.

      1. nobody

        “We were anarchists and ultra-libertarians, but above all we were peaceful. So, the media tried painting us as racists. But when that didn’t work they tried to goad us into violence. When that failed, they killed our movement with money and false kindness from the theocratic arm of the Republican party. That killed our popular support.

        “I am sharing these observations, so you guys know what’s going on and can prevent the media from succeeding in painting you as violent slacker hippies rebelling without a cause, or from having the movement be hijacked by a bunch of corporatists seeking to twist the movement’s original intentions. If you think this can’t happen, it happened to the Independence Party and the tea party movement. Don’t let it happen to your movement as well.

        “Here’s how they turned our movement into a bunch of pro-corporate Republican Party rebranding astroturf…”


    2. Banger

      Good point about thenTea Party movement. Originally it was the project of the anti-authoritarian, anti-corporatist libertarian right. It morphed into something that was, in the main, completely the opposite. But the Tea Party movement bears no resemblance to Occupy– it was and is a mass movement that currently genuinely makes up a significant part of the Republican Party, while Occupy always was the work of a small fragment of the left. Occupy was a social protest movement that asked rather than answered questions–it did “fail” mainly because it had no strategy or real agenda. The American left/progressives utterly failed in taking advantage of the situation and it is the stunning disunity within that movement that doomed Occupy more than the police.

    3. Dan Kervick

      If a small splinter portion of OWS managed to create a movement that succeeded in achieving in 100% full employment, universal health care, free public higher education, the end of fossil fuel consumption, the eradication of income inequality, the end of homelessness and a secure retirement for everyone, I have no doubt that the majority of OWS would chastise them for selling out to “Big Progress”.

  8. Rich

    Why Didn’t OWS Transform Into a Political Movement?

    Because it was probably started or at least ‘assisted’ by members of the (ahem) “establishment”, and riddled with agents provocateurs and other infiltrators.

    The purpose being, to soak up discontent safely and provide the authorities with a way of determining who the opposition is, while of course being totally ineffectual.

    Just like all third party movements really.

  9. Ché Pasa

    Nathan Schneider is a very pleasant and non-threatening young man – which may have something to do with why he’s become a go-to Authority on Occupy rather than someone more militant. Of course, he has a book out, too.

    He’s been covering the emergence and development of the Occupy Movement from very early on in the process, but he shouldn’t be taken as a neutral observer. He’s not. He has a distinct agenda and objective, which IMHO is to ensure that whatever direction the Occupy idea and movement takes, it is as non-threatening as possible to the powers that be.

    It was, after all, the potential threat Occupy represented to those powers that got its encampments and public demonstrations suppressed with such brutality, energy and universality back in the day.

    As Nathan correctly points out, the movement is now localized rather than nationalized, and its local identities may or may not be directly linked to “Occupy.”

    Localization has always been part of the movement, and the branding of those localized efforts has never required an Occupy label to proceed or succeed.

    Commercialization has been resisted as much as — if not more than — political participation.

    As PaulW says above, American politics, like politics in much of the rest of the world, is a closed shop. The point of it is to protect, preserve and defend the status quo and those on top. The kinds of substantive change Occupy has sought cannot be accomplished through standard political processes. Alternatives take time to develop and mature.

    Developing those alternatives in the face of infiltration, disruption, and surveillance has been the primary focus of a dispersed movement since the violent suppression of Occupy encampments and protests. We saw during the Second Anniversary events in New York that random violence by the police is still one of the primary tactics in dealing with Occupy. But Occupy has developed a wide range of alternative tactics to defeat the violence of the police and the social, political and economic powers those police serve.

    The video clips seen in the background of the interview with Nathan were taken from Paul-Henri Sullivan’s video examination of NYPD tactics during the one year anniversary of OWS last September. The full video is available on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/74606365

    The police tactics were essentially the same during this year’s events in New York.

    Occupy has been evolving however as its dispersed efforts take root and grow.

    1. wendy davis

      An excellent comment, Che Pasa. Occupy is not dead! So many dedicated folks are working behind the scenes on many related projects and alternatives!

      One of my favorites is Mark Vorpahl, who is working hard on labor issues, attempting to show big union bosses as what they are and aren’t, especially their allegiance to Democrats and even more hideously at the present: Barack Obama.

      But there are many others working to create a better world, and certainly trying to lay down some worthy sustainable frameworks in many different sectors, probably, like myself, hoping to rebuild society’s needs in just and truly democratic ways after a nonviolent revolutution.

      This week’s project is protessting the TPP, as is their sister organization, the Peaceful Resistance folks from October2011 who were upstaged by those pesky radicals high-tailing it to Zucotti Park one day.

      1. Ché Pasa

        The tension between the unions and Occupy has sometimes been mutually beneficial; other times, not so much.

        Cleaving to any political party or mindless support of any politician is not part of Occupy culture, and it’s just not going to happen, nor is it likely that folks steeped in Occupy notions of politics (ha!) will spend too much energy on denunciations of individual pols no matter what the party.

        The point being that the system the pols serve is rotten to the core and cannot be redeemed. It is what it is, pols are what they are, and the ideal course sidesteps, delegitimizes and ultimately makes irrelevant the posturings and machinations of politicians and the system they support and serve. I have the feeling you’re on that path yourself.

        The evil that is TPP and the policies that it enables is being exposed, though all the negotiations are purportedly secret. Hah hah.

        Radical upstarts upstaging Kevin Z and Margaret F? Ya don’t say!

        1. wendy davis

          When the first trade union locals (just a few) showed up at OWS NY, we’d all hoped that more would follow, yes? The same for the military members who marched; their signs were some of the most poignant.

          But the solidarity bewteen the West Coast Longshoremen and Occupy during the West Coast Port Shutdowns was heady stuff. We could imagine general strikes against the 1%, even short ones, that would display the power of the people, becoming teachable moments for all.

          But then, of course, the Port Shutdowns ended when Obomba sent in the Coast Guard to guard EGT’s grain transport ships during the strike at the Port of Longview, WA. A bad business all around, with the Gov pressuring negotiations for a new contract (it wasn’t very beneficial in the end), and Trumka selling the ILWU out.

          That history seems to have become a political football already, especially pertaining to the value of OWS help *and* whether or not the union wanted it. Clearly they did, but some union historians won’t let that truth stand. ;~)

          Odd, though, on this thread, ChePasa. As far as I can recall, most every commenter here has said ‘they’ while referring to Occupiers. Is it possible that only a handful of us here were active in the movement? And that Dan Kervick abjured the movement after spotting some Libertarian signs during his sole visit? The signs were a no-no, indeed, but are they not part of the 99%?

    2. Dan Kervick

      Occupy seems totally obsessed with the police, as though waging a permanent war of wits and tactics with the police is the sole end of the movement.

      When I see the police in the streets, I see a bunch of middle class guys with an uncertain future and declining standard of living who should be helping us to fight plutocrats.

      1. Ché Pasa

        The police won’t change sides until they see a benefit for themselves by doing so.

        So long as they believe they’ll always be better off than the ‘losers’ whose heads they’re bashing in and killing they’ll keep on doing it on command like any army you can name. It’s how they’re trained; it’s what they do.

        Occupy is hardly obsessed with the police — while always aware of infiltration and provocation by police and their agents — but the media sure loves the spectacle of confrontations between protesters and police. It’s theater, at least in part.

      2. wendy davis

        While misguided (imo) actions like #Move-In were what the media prized the most highly, they were rare, and did stimulate many discussions as the wide or narrow tactics being useful.

        But two things to remember as you hold this opinion are that many Occupiers ended up with five digit fines for claiming their public right to protest, and that the ranks of poice and sheriffs across the land are stacked with former military. Given all the hardware and software that DHS gave to all the departments of the security apparatus, they would have gotten preferential hiring status because they knew how to use the equipment.

        They had all been trained to see their enemies as ‘the other’, so would not have identified with the protestors. In addition, in places like Oakland, some whopping majority of them live outside the cities the policed fofr, meaning even *less* kinship as they were never part of the communities.

        1. Dan Kervick

          Well, what if right from the start OWS had made a big point of fighting against budget cuts targeting police, fire and other first responders, as well as cuts in veterans benefits? Maybe the alliances would have shaken out differently?

          The way it looked to me is that the antagonistic relationship with police was cooked into the movement, because the sizable anarchist element in OWS regards police officers, the state, the rule of law and the military as inherently evil. Once Occupy associated itself with people who were in the business of destroying property, demonstrating contempt for the rule of law and provoking conflicts with police, they immediately got on the shit list.

          That anarchist crap about trying to spark some sort of comprehensive systemic collapse through destructive black bloc “actions” had nothing to do with the 99%. It’s an extreme minority viewpoint.

          1. RanDomino

            As if the media wouldn’t have cooperated in labeling the camps cesspools of disease and rape, which was the proximate reason given for clearing them, if only the black bloc hadn’t smashed a few windows?
            As if they wouldn’t have just invented whatever they wanted if we didn’t provide it for them?
            As if people are as terrified of having power as white liberals are? Come on- the opponents (on the right and middle, anyway) of Occupy never seem to have a problem with killing unlimited numbers of foreigners. The decision of what to be OUTRAGE!!!d about is willfully political.
            The Wisconsin ‘uprising’ made a strong point of being pacifist and pro-police and firefighters. Look at the result: Total annihilation of all trace of activity. Everything was done oppositely in Wisconsin as was done in Occupy- in addition to the aforementioned, Wisconsin was co-opted by the Democrats and focused on electoral politics. It has been a complete and utter disaster. I would love to see you try to argue with results.
            The real lesson of the past two years ought to be that middle-class liberals can go to hell.

  10. clarence swinney

    Obama campaigned on cutting Bush Deficit of 1400B by half in his first term.
    It appears it will be 642B on 9-30-13 or end of his fourth budget.
    Spending cuts helped but big item was increase in Revenues.
    2014 BUDGET
    EXPENDITURES-(3777 Billion)
    Social Security-Unemployment-Labor-33%
    Medicare-Health Care—25%
    Interest 5%
    Vet Benefits-4%
    Education- 2%
    Energy % Environment-1%
    International Affairs-1%
    Government 1%

    REVENUE—(3033 Billlion)
    Individual Income Tax-46%
    Payroll Tax—34%
    Misc 5%
    Custom duties—1%

    Deficit-744 Billion—(2008 Budget last one under 1000B Deficit)
    Recall fuss over Bush not budgeting two wars? 20143 Budget does not include Afghan War funding
    Why cannot we pay our way with a 14,000B Income and 3777 outlays? Simple. Most of Income is at top and they have power ($$$$) to control Congress. Yes! They pay Most but lesser part (%) of income.

    1. craazyboy

      Thankyou for the constant updates on how well we are doing, Mr. Obot.

      I was pleasantly surprised to see that 11% of our tax revenue comes from corporate tax. That is certainly generous of them. But you’d think corporations would want to vote in return – No taxation without representation thingy, you know.

      1% from custom duties too! Every little bit helps.

      1. Massinissa

        I assume hes being paid by the hour. I sort of hope he is.

        Otherwise, I feel sorry for him. I know religious fundamentalists with less zeal and less faith driven mindsets than he does

        I mean damn, he practically comes here looking for converts or something. He just posts one thing, usually straight from Dem propaganda sites, and then leaves. He probably does the same damn thing on dozens of other sites. Why even bother?

      2. Massinissa

        Note: In his defence he did list his source today. Its at the bottom of his post. OMB.gov. Office of Management and Budget.

        I.E., pro government propaganda… Since its you know, from the government…

        He usually doesnt link sources though.

  11. middle seaman

    OWS organization was a priori problematic. While their message opposed the establishment, they needed the establishment to stay in the parks and city squares. The basic instinct of an establishment is to protect itself. This it did with typical brutality and national coordination.

    The internal organization of OWS was also problematic since it was, by and large, based on consensus. If they wanted it or not, OWS was a revolutionary force. All revolutionary forces thrive by having internal divisions that eventually elevate the leadership every movement needs. OWS thinking was, and is, that leadership is redundant. Human history is the history of leadership, OWS cannot change that.

    Still, I applaud them and believe that in the long run, OWS will be an important milestone on the way to getting our country back.

    1. James Levy

      I’m not sold on your idea about “leadership.” History is not full up with leadership. It is filled to the gills with men (and a handful of women by comparison) who have the coercive power to get what they want and keep what they have. Plenty of rulers, very few leaders, in the sense I think you mean it.

      Plato kind of nailed it: anyone who really wants to be your leader isn’t worthy of the job (see Obama, Bush, Kerry, Clinton, McCain et al.). I’d say pick a council at random and give them an executive role, but one responsible to the group (you know, democracy). A Council of 9 Americans chosen at random are unlikely be any worse than Obama. Then double the number of House members and make the Senate a deliberative body with the power to force a delay and House revote, and vet, in straight-up, no bullshit votes, executive appointments. Then make Constitutional Amendments predicated on a 2/3 vote of all the people, no State-level interference. If 67% of Americans want it, we get it, even if it sucks–that’s democracy.

      I have seen my “betters”, and the are not any better than me.

      1. Banger

        Leadership is not about coercion or being “better” necessarily. I see it as simply one job within the team–sort of like a point-guard in basketball. We are so used to alienation we think our condition is normal–it’s not.

      2. Dan Kervick

        Whether there are leaders or not, there needs to be organization and strategy. Maybe that organization and strategy can be achieved in broad-based leaderless groups or cells or whatever, voting in a democratic fashion on what to do next. But there has to be a plan, and systematic, coordinated action in executing the plan. And there has to be some sort of organizational hierarchy: for instance, local groups, state groups, national groups – something along those lines, with decisions made on what the goals of the broader, higher level organizations are, and how those should interact with more local organizations.

      3. jonboinAR

        Wow, that’s a pretty good plan. But aren’t you worried about the council of (I assume) randomly chosen leaders being susceptible to being suckered or out-foxed by professional vested interests?

    2. Banger

      Certainly your critique is valid if we believe Occupy was a political movement–I believe it was more of a cultural or social movement of people who were confused or upset about the general direction of the society and wanted to assert something or, even more noticeably, they were asking questions and exploring possibilities. I think we forget how amazingly naive the intellectual discourse and thinking on the left in this country is, even in academic circles and certainly in the leftist blogosphere and press. There are a few places that offer varied and interesting ideas but there is no coherent movement.

      Occupy is occupying itself with local issues and I think that’s appropriate but it never stood a chance to be a national movement police or no police.

  12. BillC

    “But whether Occupy will again impact the national policy debate or put pressure on existing political parties remains to be seen.”

    OWS earned its lasting place in history for achieving universal recognition of the meme “the 99%.” It may not be mathematically exact (that would probably be 99.9%), but it effectively communicates the immoral, unjust, and economically counterproductive maldistribution of income that now poisions almost the whole western world.

    If an effective alternative to the Republicrat party ever emerges to advocate reviving the humane and productive economic policies of the postwar period, I’ll bet my bottom dollar that the concept of the 99%/1% divide — if not precisely that rhetoric — will be at its heart.

    1. Ulysses

      I agree, the 99% meme works wonderfully to expose the hypocrisy of the elites. Even very unsophisticated constituents are now more likely to confront wealthy politicians with some version of: “I can see how that policy benefits you, but what does it do for those of us in the 99%?”

  13. MrColdWaterOfRealityMan

    Why didn’t OWS become a movement?

    1) No single, central, compelling issue. By compelling, I mean, “effects my day to day life right now.” Climate change and immigration reform aren’t going to cut it as *compelling* issues. People have to be literally hungry, poor, freezing and so on or nothing of political significance happens at the grass roots level.

    2) Ruthless coordinated suppression by homeland security and local law enforcment. I’m not sure street cops are any better or worse than they ever were, but we could sure see their brutality more clearly than ever before. People aren’t suffering enough to fight them yet. Wait a year or two after energy (gasoline and electricity) starts getting unaffordable or the next economic crash comes and that will change.

    3) Most of the protesters derive much from 60s nonviolent protests. They’re cute, but will continue to fail. When enough people are hurting enough, nonviolent protests will be seen as a laughable anachronism as people of all political stripes settle into a pattern of chronic violent rebellion punctuated by a few actual battles.

    None of this will improve much, even after the rebels “win.” We just break up into local dukedoms and any idea of a coherent continent-wide polity falls apart.

      1. The Heretic

        The age of the general strike is over. It only inconvenience the 99%, and convinces them that Unions are bad. This provides an opeing for politicians and business leaders to oush theough anti-union laws or push fe further outsourcing. Unions and OWS need to approach the IT and accounting departments, and figure ou ways to massively inconvenience or disrupt only members if the 1%, while maintaining operations so as to not inconvenience the 99%.

        It is time to build up a good meme on how off shoring of all key services and manufacturing kills the future of all present and future members of IT, accounting and engineering. Because the truth is, all accounting and engineering and IT can be outsourced to India or China at a fraction of North American wages.

        1. Cassiodorus

          The anti-unionists are only the loudest voices in a political multitude that has been discouraged from speaking beforehand. They’ll never attain any sort of majority. The best they can do is to rule like Milosevic in Serbia, or Scott Walker in Wisconsin.

          The point of my comment above was to show the absurdity of “actionism.” The “actionists” imagine that all of the idea problems (or at least the ones they care to notice) have been solved, and that the real problem is the laziness of the “armchair left” in doing nothing about the world. But who wants to be an activist when the basis for activism is a bunch of half-baked nonsense? The problem, then, is that the idea problems haven’t been solved, and that the “actionists” are not paying attention.

      2. MrColdWaterOfRealityMan

        Not pretty on either side. As in all assymetrical contests, the powerless would use stealth, explosives, hit-and-runs, and so on. Pretty much what the Vietnamese did, or what the Palestinians or Afghanis do now.

        The LAPD will make use of helicopters and drones for as long as there are no effective countermeasures. Our course, neither of these are universally useful for all combat situtations.

        Casualties will mount on both sides. The biggest advantage for any new rebel movement will be that helicopters, drones, armored vehicles and mercenaries (i.e. cops), take a lot of energy, organizationand money to keep running. A meaningful rebellion is only likely to take place in the absence of these things, giving the rebels a certain advantage.

        1. Cassiodorus

          The only reason I asked the question I asked was to show how silly the whole concept was.

          The Vietnamese dug tunnels under free-fire zones. Can we do that? The Palestinians are losing the ground war, badly — and if they have scored any PR victories against Israel, this is because Israel disgraced itself through its role in the Sabra and Shatila massacres in 1982 and has played the part of badguy ever since. And the Afghans are themselves being paid to play the part of “enemy” because the US military-industrial complex needs an enemy to keep some higher-ups in butter.

          The Turkish resistance to Erdogan has gotten to the point of community meetings. It’s important to distinguish, as Gramsci did and as those in Istanbul apparently do, between the war of maneuver and the war of position. The war of position is still going on, and there is no reason to rush things toward the war of maneuver in an era in which no organized alternative to neoliberal governance exists.

      3. Banger

        I love your question and the first thing that strikes me is that it demands an analysis of precisely where we are politically and how the current oligarchy should be dealt with. The only possibility to oppose the various repressive PDs is to make their repressive actions more costly by upping the ante which in turn would cause an escalation and so on. I don’t think such a tactic would have been wise at the time Occupy was in the struggle.

        However, we are in a very different situation today. The leadership of the State at all levels is deeply divided and the there is a general lack of trust in our institutions across ideological categories in the population. We have seen the rise of an anti-authoritarian, anti-imperialist and anti-corporatist right and rebellion on large scale is, for the first time in my life, conceivable.

        1. Cassiodorus

          It seems to me that the “leadership of the State” is united today as never before, in its fealty to the 1% and to neoliberal doctrines as cover for disastrous modes of elite rule. Sure, nobody trusts the political class. But “tnere is no alternative” is enough, for now, to hold the hierarchy together.

          1. Banger

            Certainly the power-elite are united around the general attributes of neoliberalism but they are deeply divided about everything else along many lines. As a long time observer of the Washington power-games including factional fighting within the national security state which has been growing for some time I can say that things are fairly unstable. Too many agendas, too many players, too little leadership.

            1. Cassiodorus


              The cola industry is “deeply divided” over whether or not it should be dominated by Coke or Pepsi. Why again does “division” in the political world matter if none of the partisans advocates an alternative to neoliberal rule?

              1. Banger

                There is a genuine internal debate within the foreign policy community on how far to go with the imperial project as it applies to Syria/Iran. The interests of the Saudis, Qataris, French, Israelis, Turks, and others on “our side” are often in direct opposition and each have champions in Washington. At the same time elements in the armed forces and the intel community see nothing good coming out of this and others are ready to go into a full-out war as soon as possible. That’s just the foreign policy the effects of which faction to back, whether the U.S. wants to expand the war are very important. And, there are many other divisions in domestic policy that are not as trivial as you believe. We could see business as usual, for example, or the beginning of the deconstruction of the state-everything is in play.

                As for neoliberalism, of course there is no alternative since those that object to have articulated no plan, no alternate vision and no course of action. This would be the time to step in with alternative visions.

                It is, of course, possible that the WH will create some coherence but I truly doubt it.

                1. Cassiodorus

                  In his book “Never Let a Serious Crisis Go To Waste,” Philip Mirowski suggests that neoliberalism is tied to a “neoliberal thought collective,” a rather large grouping not limited to the Mont Pelerin Society (out of which neoliberalism developed) which spread neoliberal thought into the top echelons of political classes around the world.

                  What we need is an anti-neoliberal thought collective.

      4. James Levy

        It would look like a mad rush of thousand of people who no longer were afraid to die. It would look like the British clearing Breed’s Hill or the Union troops swarming Missionary Ridge (or Picket’s Charge if it went badly). It would involve some of the LAPD turning their guns on their fellow Boys in Blue. In short, it would be ugly and nasty and loads of people would be killed and maimed.

        Technology isn’t everything. You need people who are willing to kill and die to win battles. Right now, people like me aren’t there, but the cops and the military are-they are trained to be, and told that what they do is right and good and not a sin. I fear we will live to see the day when sides must be taken, and I wish that reason would head it off at the pass. I just don’t think it will any more.

    1. JTFaraday

      “1) No single, central, compelling issue. By compelling, I mean, “effects my day to day life right now.””

      I’m not so sure that’s true. Here are opening lines of OWS’s first public statement:

      “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

      As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

      As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.”

      This statement was deliberately modeled on the US Declaration of Independence. What followed the opening statement was a list of grievances against overweening corporate power, much as the American colonists posted a list of grievances against the King.


      Clearly, corporate control of the government (and not just the US government) to the point where no recourse can be sought from it– “it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors”– is the one, over arching “single compelling issue.”

      At that time they indicated that a separate “list of demands” would follow. No separate list, apart from this list of grievances supporting the primary contention, seems to have materialized.

      Given their primary contention, this still seems about right to me. What else is there to say? Admit they don’t know how to overthrow a corporatist government? Police state road show to follow?

      Maybe they did their job. No one assumes Edward Snowden is a failure because he didn’t turn into an instant political movement.

  14. Cassiodorus

    The idea that the re-election of Barack Obama is a reflection of the political presence of Occupy really discredits Nathan Schneider here. Talk about grasping at straws! Obama won the election by waging an all-out negative campaign to whip up the anti-Romney vote in the swing states; Romney’s campaign itself mostly (the Wall Street Journal argues 63%) attracted people who didn’t like Obama.

    The 2012 Presidential election, then, was another boring reflection of the bankruptcy of ideas in global politics. We are back to voting for Candidate A for no other reason than the marginal inferiority of Candidate B, in an environment which sucks and which will get worse.

    The various Occupy encampments could (for the most part) agree only upon the most general gestures of protest because the public itself was (and is) rather severely divided on the matter of what to do. Perhaps there are strains of Occupy which have organized around the ideas which brought the Zapatistas to life, although the Zapatistas had the advantage of a cultural background which normalized the consensus process which Occupy tried to bring to life.

    1. Dan Kervick

      Yeah, that’s pretty lame.

      I don’t want to get too down on Occupy, because I think most of the failures so far are mainly attributable to the fact that it is an extremely young movement. You have a lot of people just starting out in life who know something is very wrong, but who just don’t know enough about how anything actually works to know what it is they ought to be trying to change. So they are a mass of conflicting impulses and sometimes interesting, but extremely vague ideas.

      I do fault them for failing to reach out and build bridges early on. They focused everything on the idea of dropping out and building encampments, with no real liaison to people who want to work for change but can’t afford to throw their jobs and their families’ well-being away to go live in a tent in the plaza. That quickly turned the movement from the 99% into the 5%.

  15. Banger

    OWS, if we really think about it, was mainly a social protest movement. To me it seemed to be a cry from the heart. OWS and it’s many offshoots (all very different) were kind of saying “WTF, there has to be a better way so lets ask some questions.” In a way it was a very innocent movement of people mingling, talking and discovering some temporary sense of community with many tired and old leftist agendas trying to make hay while the sun shined. Nothing political came out of it because the left in the West is dead as a vital force and no matter how vociferous people are most Americans are not interested in being aligned with Occupy and contrary to what many on the left say, I think the mainstream offered a fairly sympathetic ear to the movement considering, of course, their inherent bias. Most Americans got the general gist of what the movement was about and, in the end most Americans rejected the vision though not the message. I think the message of the 99% resonated quite a lot particularly with the non-corporatist, anti-authoritarian right.

    1. James Levy

      OWS was a kind of pilgrimage, a quest for something beyond material gain and affluence and greed and instrumentalism. I think the thrust was moral, not programmatic, and I think that did resonate, and I think it is still the best message the Left has and can put forward: that life is about the dignity of the individual and the fairness of the process and the results. It is unfair that a man or woman who works with their hands, in a field, a factory, or a hospital, makes a tiny fraction of what a man or woman makes who manipulates money created out of the ether by the Federal Reserve or its constituent banks. OWS I think pounded that message home, that their are considerations beyond “efficiency” and profit (the twin shibboleths of neoliberalism). Raising those questions was infinitely more dangerous than any program the OWS people might have come up with, because that could be easily ridiculed and dismissed. The Prophet’s call to repent and change our ways must be silenced.

      1. Jim

        Maybe it is time to go deeper?

        Do we need to analyze more closely pre-political forms of human life?

        Do most modern political ideologies over-politicize the entirety of being human?

        How is it possible for 5,000 people, 100,000 people or 10 million people to be united?

        Do armies, churches, universities, empires and nation-state all rely on the rhetoric of family to construct their communities?

        Does the rhetorical coding of family inevitably seem to move from the small to the large?

        Is the nation-state emotionally and imaginatively conceived as a refuge or a place of belonging?

        Do the political ideologies of both the left and right only promise salvation through destruction?

        Do we need a post-Marxist theory of revolution?

        Would such a theory be closer to what Karl Jaspers argued took place during the axial age (between 800 and 200 BC) where what the individual becomes changes all—or what could be generalized as an exit from the passive mode?

        1. Banger

          I think your approach is precisely what is needed on the left. We have to face the fact that the left is finished in this country and Occupy was its last hurrah. At the moment there are people who consider themselves on the left but they don’t agree on very much. For example I find the politics of John Stewart and Rachel Maddow to be hardly leftist though they are often insightful, but the fact is that both basically accept the mainstream narrative and, when push comes to shove, the national security state.

          The point is that we have to go beyond tribalism and support Obama because the right is against him. We need to go down to philosophical concepts and build something new.

          But one thing that is still not being done is understanding what is going on in power-relations and getting a truer history of this country since WWII instead of swallowing wholesale the media narrative of our history since then which is fundamentally and demonstrably false.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            “The point is that we have to go beyond tribalism and support Obama because the right is against him. We need to go down to philosophical concepts and build something new.” -Banger

            It sounds like you are saying, “We need to support Obama as part of going beyond tribalism because the right is against him.” I could be wrong of course, but I suspect what you meant to say is closer to, “We have to go beyond tribalism and beyond supporting Obama simply because the right is against him. […]” Probably clear to everyone, so sorry if I’m nit-picking…

          2. Cassiodorus

            “The point is that we have to go beyond tribalism and support Obama because the right is against him.”

            Um, no. On a political level, supporting Obama is the surest way to give him a free pass in his efforts to engineer the Grand Bargain and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. On a personal level, opposing Obama would be the quickest way to earn his respect. Currently Obama’s attitude toward anyone earning less than seven figures is one of complete disdain, but he reserves his purest condescension and dismissal to those who self-identify as “progressive Democrats.”

            The Right is also against Jill Stein. I think I’ll support her.

            1. RanDomino

              The Greens are nothing but a bunch of attention whores. I’m sorry, but if you genuinely want to change things, you’re going to have to do more than support Green Team or Blue Team or Red Team with money and votes and signing an occasional online petition.

        2. Roland

          The politics of your society have never more closely resembled those described by Karl Marx. You have a bourgeoisie that controls almost everything, and a proletariat that controls almost nothing.

          So you choose this time to ask for a “post-Marxist” model of revolution? WTF?

      2. Dan Kervick

        I think that’s an interesting message, but did even that much of the message come through? When I went down to my local Occupy encampment to try to participate, the first thing I discovered was that it was swarming with libertarians with Ron Paul signs. And I would have to say that I think the libertarian commitment to human equality is iffy at best.

  16. TC

    Being you’re a New York City girl and have advocated for the #WallStreetSalesTax, allow me to coax suitable political action fitting your right honorable support for the spirit of Occupy, having done yeoman’s work documenting your well-developed basis for this support.

    Effective political action in NYC today goes by the name of Randy Credico who is running for Mayor of New York, and will be appearing on the November ballot under the Tax Wall Street Party.

    He ran in the Democratic primary a couple weeks back and did very well despite a concerted blackout of his campaign. You can learn more about his policy platform at:


  17. kevinearick


    The only difference between space and time is perception, the resistors in your LRC. There will always be someone/thing entering your space. Whether by ‘good’ or ‘bad’ intent is irrelevant. Adjust, by creating space, from space. So, the Fed didn’t fix the problem, and the mass is screaming for more debt, damn future generations, surprise surprise.

    Don’t wait until you are on the grade to change gears. Don’t lie awake contemplating the probabilities. Tomorrow is a new day. Go out and get the gears, honestly, because that is the only way you can employ them in real time. Look at all the excess sh- the critters have to work with and the outcome. Government is receding, and becoming more tyrannical accordingly. Pick up the pieces left behind.

    Regardless of intent, the mass heading back to the churn pool can only access the public profile you have provided. Of course it is going to attack your marriage and children. Of course it is going to appear as marriage, or whatever other perception it can conjure, to destroy your family. It chose to have no choice long ago, relinquishing its privacy in hope of eliminating uncertainty, empire promises. You do, unless you give it away, with idle gossip. Idle hands, blah, blah, blah.

    The compiler is a stack with many dimensions, in the form of a tree. Hash it at will to go wherever you want to go. The universe is a circuit. Just employ all the pieces. If you don’t see the circuit between the apple on the ground and the tree above, you are blinded by false assumption, your chosen perception. You can change the hour hand with no effect on the second hand perception because neither perceives the other.

    There is the tree of knowledge, assumptions taking mass back to the churn pool, and there is the tree of life, inferential exploration to build the future. Logic and emotion are tools of tools with which to set your tack. Skill at timing, bringing the enterprise to bear, is what you are teaching your children, by example of coupling for life. There is no other way to the future, but go ahead and prove me wrong.

    The empire has formed every type of alternative security it can constitute, and failed every single time. Congress is done. The Fed is done. And US Navy is now being pulled into the vortex. How do you turn a flattop full out, 180 degrees, on a dime?

    You have a positive feedback loop swerving as the negative feedback loop to a positive feedback loop, with leverage…and whamo-bamo; there is your random number generator, no net observer’s prism. The more NSA tracks you, the farther behind, in time, it gets, and there’s your tree.

    Empires are in the business of eliminating privacy. Your job is to create privacy. That’s the battery. Each robot event horizon has its own set of false assumptions. Wire the opens and closes in parallel, as needed. The empire has no clue what you are going to do next, unless you tell it, let alone what your grandchildren are going to do. In any case, you may export extortion, with bait and switch as the entry into the loop. Putin is playing political chess, to control debt creation, which is still energy checkers to you and me.

    My tobacco has a better spread on their pot, their pot has a better spread on the dollar it is chasing, and they have no idea where my tobacco is. From the robot perspective, if they help you they are placing themselves behind, hence the impotent Fed PUT. From their perspective, you are a random event to be securitized away, a risk threat. The more they try to get around me to you, the farther they get behind. Make money at the timeplace of your choosing.

    If the eunuchs want to run the US Navy into the ground by monopolizing Big Data, and Putin wants to take advantage, they are more than welcome to do so. They deserve each other, which is why they are married to the same outcome. Let them all fight to be chief, with no Indians, and complain that the alternative is all Indians and no chief, until you don’t.

    1. kevinearick

      who is asking, and why?

      What is the relationship between education, debt consumption, embezzlement, and income inequality, between San Jose, Seattle, Austin, Raleigh, Minneapolis and DC? “Clearly, the best way for a city or state to generate jobs for everyone is to attract innovative companies that hire highly educated workers.” Good thing Japan and China are jumping in to backfill MBS defense spending. Maroons.

      Where do you suppose all that cash is coming from? Bernanke digitizes it to, who digitizes it to, ….

      It’s a best business practice system, in a positive feedback loop, creating inequality as the solution to inequality. A ponzi is a ponzi is a ponzi, no matter how many loops separate cause from outcome.

      “If we continue to set a precedent in which…the other party can simply sit there and say, ‘Well, we’re not gonna pay the bills unless you give us what we want,’ that changes the constitutional structure of this government entirely.”

      “I hope [the panel] will provide the foundation for our endeavor to look for the interpretation of the constitution that is suitable for our new era.”

      Energy generation distribution is already well on its way, but keep buying those earnings in the old economy – Priceline, Verizon, Cobol, …

        1. kevinearick

          and who are these folks in the top 25%, making all possible for the top 1%, looking for any rock available to crawl under?

  18. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

    Who’s to say OWS did not become a political movement? Isn’t it too early to tell?

    Is there a connection between Larry Summers’ withdrawal of his candidacy for Fed Chairperson and OWS? Wasn’t he the poster boy for the securitization and deregulation – repeal of Glass-Steagall – that gave birth to OWS in the aftermath of the worst economic depression since the Great Depression? No, OWS in particular had nothing to do with Larry Summers’ defeat on the surface. But the general sense that Wall Street was responsible for the financial crash, escaped any real sanctions or jail time for fraud, etc., and has not changed its ways to any appreciable effect may have contributed to Larry’s demise in particular. It wouldn’t be the first time a sacrificial lamb was offered up by the gods to placate the offended so as to deflect more intense scrutiny.

    The overt suppression of OWS did not suppress the sense of betrayal and underlying discontent that gave rise to it. The latter will not dissipate overnight just because its first overt manifestation was suppressed. From the standpoint of the 1%, the widening chasm between the rulers and the ruled is the longterm problem to be addressed. And recall that the success of neoliberalism – not its failure – is the source of this chasm. Such economic policies were never intended to raise all boats. And to the extent that neoliberal economic policies remain in effect, this chasm will only grow.

    What comes in its wake remains to be seen. But as Bill Grieder put it a few days back, it took a generation or two to dig this hole. It will likely take a generation or two to dig ourselves out of it. OWS was just the beginning. It is up to us, our children, and their children to make it the political movement that succeeds.

  19. nobody

    Perhaps it is worth remembering the original call, on July 13, 2011, to #OCCUPYWALLSTREET:

    On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand [my emphasis] in a plurality of voices.

    Tahrir succeeded in large part because the people of Egypt made a straightforward ultimatum – that Mubarak must go – over and over again until they won. Following this model, what is our equally uncomplicated demand?


    Adbusters specifically called for zeroing in one one specific demand that could “capture the current national mood” and that “all Americans, right and left” [my emphasis] could “yearn for and can stand behind.”

    What happened to that idea? Well, on August 4, David Graeber and his friends derailed it:

    Two days later, at the Outreach meeting we were brainstorming what to put on our first flyer. Adbusters’ idea had been that we focus on “one key demand.” This was a brilliant idea from a marketing perspective, but from an organizing perspective, it made no sense at all. We put that one aside almost immediately. There were much more fundamental questions to be hashed out. Like: who were we? Who did want to appeal to? Who did we represent?


    Perhaps it is also worth looking back at Dave DeGraw’s report on “The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America,” from February of 2010, in which he warned that “[u]nless we all unite and organize on common ground, our very way of life and the ideals that our country was founded upon will continue to unravel.” He spoke of the “99% of the US population” which “no longer has political representation” and for whom “conditions…will continue to deteriorate” vs. the “the Economic Elite” who “have engineered a financial coup” and “are made up of about 0.5% of the US population.”


    In contrast, David Graeber has asserted that OWS’s main narrative was “anticapitalism.” What percentage of the American population are actually anticapitalist, I wonder? It’s certainly a lot less than 50%, never mind 99%.

    Perhaps if the original idea had been stuck with, #OCCUPYWALLSTREET might actually have turned out to be

    the beginning of a whole new social dynamic in America, a step beyond the Tea Party movement, where, instead of being caught helpless by the current power structure, we the people start getting what we want…

    1. psychohistorian

      I believe that the one demand should have been to change the rules of inheritance to lop off the top 10% holdings, return them to the public commons and insure that none can accumulate enough money, property and power to effect social policy.

    2. wendy davis

      One thing I found interesting about Dave DeGraw, if not of entirely probitive value, was that not long after he stood on stage with Van Jones and a couple black ministers and announced to the world that Social Gospel had come to the Democracy Movement (and that would have been great!), the good ministers went back to their pulpits the following Sunday and preached GOTV for Obomba to their flocks.

      Was he so embarrassed to have been so snookered? Dunno, but it was a blow to many of us who sincerely believed that the churches coulde play an important role, as they did in the first civil rights movement.

  20. Eureka Springs

    So many answers to the question.

    I’ll rattle off a few.

    Establishing a base, whether an actual camp or just a consistent public meeting place was a terrific, if not impossible task. There is no common arena… as in a place to publicly discuss or air grievances. Even public parks were off limits. We the people have no freedoms in this respect. Universities were legally considered private property… far less than one hundredth of a percent of students in the nearby major university ever so much as looked into Occupy personally.

    To few people have a grasp of what ails us. How systemic our problems are or even what neoliberal means. Hence the fact so many still consider themselves Democrats. They falsely consider themselves living in a representative Democracy.

    To many people are cowards… they were nowhere near ready to confront the powers that be. Wall Street was a fine place to set up in Manhattan, but in suburbia America people should have been setting up at the gates/yards of the richest people…. instead of being isolated from nearly everyone in positions of power, except the police. Marching in empty streets, parks or town squares largely after hours was futile. The police were going to be there no matter where occupants met. So why not make the most of it?

    And finally, the Move To Amend people…. Classic veal pen. MTA captured and compromised perhaps the single OWS defining issue – Corporate personhood and ending a bribe based political and electoral system. When Move To Amend took hold I knew even if we got everything MTA asked for we would have gained nothing.

    That and much more is why more people will remember the pet rock craze and chia pets than will ever remember Occupy.

    1. Banger

      I think you and increasing numbers of people are prepared to look at our cultural and political situation more realistically. As people take in the idea that political reform is impossible because the political party that people used to think at least offered mild reforms is no more–meaning the Roosevelt-inspired Democratic Party. Similarly a unified and coherent left/progressive/liberal movement is dramatically split and there is no clear dialogue between factions and no ability within 90% of activists to articulate a philosophy of government or of life that goes beyond political correctness and slogans.

      The key to your post is that, indeed, we don’t know what ails us. It is not just capitalism–we are way beyond using class-analysis though that’s part of the picture–we have to do with the development of mind-control, the effects of people jumping into a technologically mediated environment and what that means in our ability to think coherently and whether there is an underlying flaw in our uncritical love of technological gadgets and useless toys and entertainments. I say if you don’t deal with the tendency to immerse ourselves in escapism we have utterly failed to understand today’s political situation which would not be possible without cable TV, Netflix, porn, sports, movies, legal and illegal drugs, trendy but empty mysticism and so on.

      In addition, the left has failed to graduate beyond a high-school level view of Civics in it’s collective understanding of the political forces at work. Any mention of “deep politics” and 95% of people on the left freak out and call you a conspiracy theorist (the catch-all phrase to describe people who don’t believe things “just happen”, i.e., someone who reads history and doesn’t believe it stopped just for America).

      1. Dan Kervick

        I think the mind control issue is serious. I am totally repulsed by the “reality shows” that the corporate media shoves down everyone’s throats. For example, there are a whole bunch of shows that take something beautiful – like cooking and eating meals together – and turn it into something like Death Race 2000, where the contestants are encouraged to engage in unhinged narcissistic boasting and brutal competition under the watch of a ticking clock and supercilious prima donna judges. And that kind of thing is everywhere in America; it’s relentless.

        1. Banger

          Yes, you can get nowhere in life unless you step on your neighbor, struggle and sweat and suffer and become a single-minded bore and a boor. That’s what we are told we should do by the cultural elites. They want their servants to jump at the twitch of their fingers and rush headlong into new and better ways to serve master. Of course this is no way to live unless you’re insane.

          1. jrs

            Ok, I’m saving that paragraph because it so perfectly encapsulates a certain mindset.

            Yea we will be told: Spend you entire life accumulating what wealth you can as the only purpose of your existence.

            And remember take ALL the blame no matter HOW hostile to any sort of economic survival external conditions get because even if most of the population is reduced to living in cardboard boxes – YOU PERSONALLY should have done better – tsk, tsk, tsk.

            Better show that suffering, it’s the coin of the realm, not as an unfortunate but necessary part of achieving your goals, but rather if you aren’t sucessfully it probably means you haven’t suffered enough. The rich are rich because they suffer more than you.

            Insane in the membrane. Insane in the brain!

        2. kimsarah

          Reality TV shows where good people are reduced to broken animals are a sadistic form of entertainment that folks like Eric Cantor could enjoy.
          How about a new show, “Food Stamp Family,” where deadbeat dad spends another fruitless day at the unemployment office and out on the streets trying to find a job while his weather-beaten wife at home tries to feed the little ones with stone soup, and then opens the mail to find that food stamps have been cut again. What will she do? What will hubby say when he gets home? What will tomorrow night’s dinner be? Tune in for the next episode!

  21. US Grant

    Well there was a real revolutionary turn with election of Pres. Jackson. The ‘Bank War’ of the eighteen thirties was an attack on practices that are similar in motives and means but difer in the mechanics. The radicalization of Democratic Party with the rise of the Locofocus movement which supported princples I hear echoed here at NC. Then at the turn of the last century William Jennings Bryan mulitiple runs at the Presidency again pushed The Democrats and even influenced The Rough Rider’s trustbusting, half-hearted as it was.
    The most hopefull move I see now for change is an Artcle 5 convention which ‘Wolf-Pac.com.
    The only weapon we have is our numbers, and no body is trying to reach the working poor, of which I am part of.

  22. Hugh

    OWS was so caught up in process it never got into results. The mechanics of social movements has been known for more than a century. They need to keep building and moving forward or they get crushed, as OWS was. To keep momentum, they need a vision and a clear program of how to get there, of what they are for and what they are against. They have to sell that program and vision to as many people as they can, especially angry white men. They need to ask for commitment from those who join them, and they have to give those who join them real participation at all levels.

    The way you counter Big Money is with organization, organization, organization.

    No compromises with the powers that be. When it’s time to move on to the political, candidates get chosen out of the movement. No “sympathetic” candidates from the legacy parties. They can quit their parties and commit to the movement and its goals, and go through the same selection process as anyone else.

    The shift from movement to party is tricky. They need to work together because the true power resides with the movement not the party.

    What we need to get back to is the how-to aspect of all this. The powers that be, the kleptocratic rich and their servant elites, are immensely more powerful than we are because we are visionless, planless, and disunited. With a vision, a plan, and unity, however, it is we who become immensely more powerful than they are. We must never forget this.

      1. Hugh

        It comes down whether one trusts the people or not, their inherent decency, fairness, and reasonability. The only bar I see is against those (some old or new privileged class) who would exploit a social movement for their own ends. That’s why knowing what the goals and plans are is so important because the people can measure their politicians against these. The people have a duty to assess them fairly, but if they are doing their job, the people also have the duty to sack them.

    1. Banger

      After about a month of OWS it became clear that this was a kind of tribal gathering and an somewhat odd social movement that was more cultural than political. It really struck me that there was so little effort at organizing and it was doomed at that point and was little more than an interesting bit of play. As such it got a lot of attention particularly form the foreign media and did start people thinking about the 99%–and, as someone said, perhaps since it is now still a meme floating around the culture it could bear fruit sometime in the future.

      Again, I believe it Occupy wasn’t the problem–it did display many of the faults that I remember from my days in the activist left–endless meetings, disagreements, ego-tripping, “do your own-thingism”, inability to understand realpolitik (if you don’t understand politics beyond “it’s not fair” then go the f!ck home and go watch TV), the basic resistance to having a leadership cadre that need not be overbearing–but you can’t have any effective movement if every asshole has to be pleased. Eventually, when the scars of alienation and dysfunction from growing up in an emotionally and spiritually illiterate society start to heal you can have more consensus politics but when you are basically on maneuvers you need a more resilient and effective leadership cadre–that’s why the cops out thought the protesters at every turn. However, as someone else said this was an exploration rather than a defined movement and I think that was ok. However the movement left (that existed before Occupy and continues to limp around now) completely fell asleep at the wheel and did not attempt to organize in part because it is, as a practical matter, dead.

  23. Onemoretime

    Before OWS there was no defined 99%. They changed the conversation and defined a brand which should be considered solid accomplishments. All politics are local. If you choose not to participate at that level where do you think candidates come from? (Alec figured this out awhile ago).Your vote is important. If it wasn’t why do the majority parties spend so much money trying to get it? You can call our democracy a closed two party system but it has to have the appearance of legitimacy. Ross Perot was not successful in getting elected but he was successful in getting enough votes to force both parties to become very concerned and address the issues he brought up.

  24. A 99%er

    Six Good Things Occupy Wall Street Made Possible (That You Probably Already Take for Granted)

    1. You can refer to the “1%” and have everybody know what you are talking about.

    2. You can fight back in court if you are stopped and frisked in New York City.

    3. You can share things online without being immediately sued.

    4. Various new media projects.

    5. Senator Elizabeth Warren.

    6. A more deeply networked activist world.


  25. steve from virginia

    @nobady sez;

    Perhaps it is also worth looking back at Dave DeGraw’s report on “The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America,” from February of 2010, in which he warned that “unless we all unite and organize on common ground, our very way of life and the ideals that our country was founded upon will continue to unravel.”

    Of course it will unravel, one way of the other. The Occupiers want the same thing as the 1%ers. The ‘ideals our country was founded upon’ include cars, TVs, freeways, luxury jobs, speculative returns, houses in Negro-free suburbs … junk food in expensive restaurants, ‘reality’ programs, ‘security’ and more cars. Occupy was structurally bound to fail. What fails behind Occupy is the exhaustion of the waste-based economy that Occupy sought to inherit.

    It was a movement that needed hair shirts to give it credibility, instead there was bourgeois whining. Everything was lost once they became mired in battles with cops.

  26. Code Name D

    Just getting people to admit that OWS failed is a challenge. It did manage to change the debate some what, but only in managing to inject a few left friendly terms such as “1%”. But beyond a few new terms introduced into the lexicon, and a few new tools that activist can use for civil disobedience (the human mic for example) I fail to see any further relevance that the movement has managed to accomplish.

    Indeed, the movement didn’t actually manage to set out to do any thing. It didn’t just fail to make demands, if failed to set a goal of any kind at all. Even more immediate and practical goals were lacking. This is the 1st problem was the nature of the movement, built on a total democratic model, didn’t allow leadership to anticipate problems. It could only react to existing problems. This eventually ended as it simply failed through poor logistics.

    Problem two: build on a wrong model.

    The Occupy movement took a lot of its organizational cues from the Arab Spring movement. For them, the decentralization was a key innovation for survival. Intelligence would identify and imprison any suspected leadership. So they organized horizontally, not giving the police any identifiable leaders to detain. And even when they did, their individual role was so small that the larger collective leadership could adapt relatively easily.

    But this requires every one in the assembly to be largely of the same mindset and working on a narrow list of common issues.

    Here in the US, we don’t face those sorts of challenges. But the movement adopted the Arab strategy without modification. Here, detention is less of an issue, so the precautions were largely unnecessary. The issues that they tried to tackle were also far more complex and diverse.

    Problem three: The Grass Roots model.

    Another key aspect of the Occupy movement was its devotion to grass roots organizing. The problem with grass roots is that it actively rejects larger organizational structures. I observe that it’s absurd to believe you can effect change on a national scale, by only organizing on the local level.

    Problem four: Political parasites.

    The Occupy movement is not the first movement to role around, and I doubt it will be the last. Heck, I even tried my own hand at organizing a local DFA chapter. But all of us fall pray to what I call political parasites. These are narrow, special interests groups from the left that compromise the movement. These would be the socialists, the Truthers, the Alien abductees who claim Bush and Obama are alien clones. Even other ideologies that need greater scrutiny such as free market liberalism, feminism, were welcomed into the organization. They then quickly took over, hoping to exploit the movement in order to advance their own agenda. They extracted resources while adding new complications

  27. Anarcissie

    I thought Occupy Wall Street, at least, was a great success. A few hundred radicals of rather diverse ideologies managed to hang together long enough to attract and possibly subvert thousands of non-radicals, to create a media frenzy, to scare the bejesus out of the Democratic Party, to change the public discourse of the country, probably to save Social Security for a year or two, and, as noted above, to put the 1% – 99% meme in active circulation. They let people know what democracy looks like. And they hung tough out in the weather and didn’t give up until Bloomberg was forced to disperse them by violence, and thereby passed into the realm of legend in a way which inspire who knows how many people in the future. I don’t know what all the complaints are about.

    If you (anyone) think something different should have been done, why didn’t you do it yourself? Why don’t you do it now? Occupy wasn’t and isn’t stopping you.

  28. kimsarah

    Well, we’ve now learned that the FBI was monitoring occupiers even before the first occupation.
    Then all occupiers were monitored just as journalists are watched as potential terrorists.
    The movement was definitely magical, bringing together people of all persuasions, but poisoned by the inflitration of the police state.
    Soon, genuine occupiers didn’t know who they could trust.
    Meanwhile, the lamestream media — when it did find time to cover the event — was perpetually perplexed by the lack of leaders and a list of demands (Example: Erin what’s her face over at CNN comes to mind).
    The beauty of the movement was the lack of a single leader and a set agenda. It was still in the process of being born when the police state finally destroyed it.
    I remain hopeful that such a movement can once again emerge. There are many common causes, and groups like the NAACP in North Carolina that are willing to stand up. In fact, the Moral Monday protests there might be a good model to replicate elsewhere.

  29. kimsarah

    P.S. Forgot to mention the political hacks who tried to co-opt the movement, then use it for its political purposes and destroy it when finished (Van Jones comes to mind).

    1. JTFaraday

      Yeah, lots of middle aged old farts and would-be plantation overseers who still think the future belongs to them, and that future just happens to look exactly like the past.

  30. Roland

    Everything that’s been said about how powerful are the state, the corporations, the police etc. is all no more than to say that the bourgeoisie are the ruling class.

    So when somebody says that the “left is dead in the USA” or the “left is weak,” well no kidding, Sherlock. The proles don’t rule. The proles don’t have power. The proles are poor, and the proles are weak.

    If you’re waiting for the proles to get stronger before a revolution, you’re going to be waiting for a very long time.

    A revolution doesn’t happen because the Left gets strong. The Left gets strong because a revolution starts.

    The revolution happens when some people decide they really want to get the sons of bitches and they’ll take their chances about what happens next.

    Revolutionary acts are seldom rational on the part of those who perform those acts. In almost every case, those commiting revolutionary acts could have done something else to get more benefit at less cost.

    If you won’t commit a revolutionary act until you’re rationally convinced that it’s the best thing to do, your ruling class will eat you and burp long before you’ve finally figured out the score.

    Me? Too old, too comfortable despite my growing dread, too many memories of better times, and thus still too conflicted about sending the world I remember straight down to hell.

  31. skippy

    Information nodes that go out of public sight are not commercial fads. I’m linked to an array of people and organizations I discovered via Occupy. Not only that it was a watershed moment against neoliberalization… cough… computerization. And the need to project so much force and money deployed against it, shows that it scared the living shit out of the Status Quo.

    Skippy… the necessity of NSA to seek information so broadly and clumsily is a clear sign of fear.

    1. Otter

      You imagine fear only to puff up your ego.

      The curs of war are never let out to run out of fear; rather, lest they get fat and bored, and start fighting in the barracks.

      NSA is a bunch of frat-boy propeller-heads, fascinated by what they can get away with.

      1. skippy

        Its not the NSA per say that you have to worry about, its the swat team or the legal system that acts on its info. That’s something you can observe right now and not engage in personal opinion.

        Does an information movement have to have the same name through out its journey, have an advertising guru, structure its self in the image of that what it struggles against – to win, follow some historical blueprint in order to gain validity, a time line by which it must produce out comes or be considered a failure.

        skippy… Occupy in my opinion is a autonomous free form information distribution node – out side – of the usual information grid. That in its self is a change from the usual cortex injection system.

    1. Chromex

      Yes- agreed. We tend to iconize Rosa Parks as a hero-which she was- but forget that there was a lag of several years between her act of defiance and sit-ins by the balck community and its allies that could be called sucessful. OWS may become a footnote or it might someday be seen as the beginning of something that will flair up repeatedly over the next decade and eventually become a more recognizable political/social movement

  32. proximity1

    Such a movement needs a very clear and very accurate understanding of

    — the system which opposes it– and it did not demonstrate that it had this by articulating it to the broad public which watched the street drama play out.

    Unless and until such a group can clearly and effectively articulate to the public’s varied elements what is being done to divide and rule them ruthlessly, how they play a vital part in the very processes which disserve them and how they might begin to change their behavior to oppose those divisive tactics, such a movement will not generate the adhesion and cohesion of massive numbers of the general population. Right now, millions of Americans still sincerely believe that their political system is only going through a temporary bad patch and shall right itself eventually–even if they and a great proportion of the public as a whole do little or nothing in direct aid to right the course of the nation.

    –that system’s strengths, weakenesses and its present circumstances and the history of its development

    — how OWS’s aims and interests are being and have been typically thwarted and undermined and how those processes may be fought. This entails understanding the diversity and competing and conflicting interests of a erroneously supposed coherence and solidarity among what the movement took as its identity and name– ‘the 99%’, which, as a coherent class is not only a fiction, it’s a nonsense fiction.

    and, having failed to demonstrate that it possessed any of these, the “movement” never posed any serious threat to the system’s power players and, after a brief period of concern, those power players recognized this and took the easy path of allowing the OWS groups to sputter and spend themselves in confusion.

    Such a movement needed knowledge, awareness and insight which it did not possess and so was unable to transmit to a larger public which had even less of these.

  33. hyperpolarizer

    Occupy failed for two reasons: first and foremost, it was the object of a massive campaign of violent suppression, nationally coordinated; second, unlike the the tea party, it was not astro-turf, and would not attract outside financial support.

Comments are closed.