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View Diary: The Squandered Potential of Occupy (240 comments)

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  •  Well, the idea (17+ / 0-)

    was to make them free of hierarchies, which sounds noble in principle, but also means that every loon, every single-issue fanatic, every diva gets equal time at the mike.

    Kind of like the tea party in that way, except that Occupy was always too noble and pure to work through the political process. The teabaggers didn't have those procedural qualms, they took the PAC money, and now they have a caucus in the House, and Occupy gets evicted someplace.

    The Democrats would have loved to work with OWS and give them a real voice and real influence, like they did with the Netroots, but the purity trolls wouldn't have that.

    Crying shame, really.

    Fuck you, I put on pants yesterday.

    by MBNYC on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:32:42 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  "At the mike" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh, Troubadour, martini, Neuroptimalian

      That would be "the people's microphone," the one standard that many outsiders saw whenever Occupy meetings were covered.

      And although I understand the purpose and explanations behind it, the whole idea of crowd repetition of every line came off sounding like some ridiculous form of  indoctrination whenever it was shown. It almost certainly worked against growing Occupy into a movement that less-involved citizens would want to get close to.

      •  Uh, when you don't actually HAVE a (7+ / 0-)

        sound system, this is a way to be heard.

        Like the "wavy fingers" people who are squeamish about anything outside of the norm project their own fears on it.

        •  Actually, that was an issue for me, too. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          badscience, Troubadour

          The people's mike made sense where PA systems were banned; I felt it became a distracting theatre where they were not banned, but a little distraction that could be accepted if we got the bigger message across, as we in fact did.  And I'm speaking as a participant in two encampments.

          That said, I want to thank you for defending Occupy here; it's not easy in one of these trash-the-left diaries we get here so frequently.

          •  I think mic check is brilliant. (6+ / 0-)

            It is a way that 3 or 4 people in a crowd can make their voice heard. Much better than one person yelling at a speaker at the podium, for instance.

            I see it as a tool for dissidence and disruption when that is needed. It is often needed in our era of passive and propagandistic media.

            I also understand it works both ways as a tool for disruption.

          •  I don't have a urge to "trash the left" (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            estreya, exlrrp, kalmoth

            My problem with Occupy was that it wasn't the "left". It rejected the left, didn't want to be associated with any one political idea and, at least in my area, was over run with Paulistas out there doing their own thing.

            Occupy here was filled with people who spent all their time condemning Obama and marching in circles.

            "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

            by high uintas on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:25:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Anarchists and Libertarians took the initiative, (0+ / 0-)

              sticking it out. The mainstream liberals gripped, bailed into their Volvo's and dipped-out.

              Still, despite all the edgy anarchos in charge, the targets of most GAs remain well left-of-center. Imagine that.

              I don't understand why people are confusing Occupy with, the PCCC or the SEIU. Why duplicate effort? Just sign up already.

    •  "The Democrats would have loved to work with OWS" (13+ / 0-)

      is utter bullshit.

      Many of the Occupy encampments were broken up by Democratic mayors.

      Even now, when the Democratic President praised those who responded in Sandy's wake, it was not Occupy he cited, despite their being the first on the scene and the most effective in distribution of services (to the degree that the National Guard and the Red Cross made use of Occupy Sandy's network).

      Occupy did not care to fold itself into the Democratic Party, though many members are Democrats, and the party did not care for Occupy at all.

      •  I think this is what most people don't "get" (11+ / 0-)

        about Occupy. They assumed it was or should be a branch of the Democratic Party- a partisan response to the Tea Party.

        Of course many of the ideals that Occupy stood for are leftist ideals, but they are ideals that the Democratic party doesn't always stand for, or only pays lip service to.

        P.S. I am not a crackpot.

        by BoiseBlue on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:50:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Read my comment below (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

          by gulfgal98 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:00:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  And they did nothing to change that relationship. (4+ / 0-)

          They wanted it to be adversarial, to be the "rebels." That's my point.  They had a choice to move on in into really doing things, or just continue making symbolic stands, and they said "fuck you" to tangible achievement because they considered it selling out.  Nothing will ever convince such people that they owe other people more than rhetoric.

          In Roviet Union, money spends YOU!

          by Troubadour on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:13:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, what you do not get is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Catte Nappe

            the Occupy, itself, is not a political movement in the sense of political parties etc.  It is a social movement and as such can and will effect political change.  It already has changed the conversation from debt reduction to income inequality and it will continue to do so.  

            One of the things my local occupation adopted as a cause was to educate the public on the danger of privatizing the prison system in our state.  We had a single sheet printed up that explained why privatization of the prisons was dangerous and we handed it out to people on the street.

            It may have been my local occupation was an anomaly, but with few exceptions we were warmly received by people we interacted with and many expressed support for the movement, including our local police dept.  But then I live in a blue city that allowed the local Occupy group to use a vacant city lot for the encampment and for public meetings.  

            It burns my butt that people who never became involved in a local occupation can somehow group us as being angry dirty hippies who simply were there to have a party and get into harassing the police. My local Occupy group did an inner city neighborhood cleanup in conjunction with the police dept. Things like this do not get the kind of publicity that beatings and police brutality do.  

            Change comes in many ways, but the pressure for real change is most often created by forces outside the political bubble because the PTB are always hesitant to relinquish any of that power or to go against their major donors.  

            "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

            by gulfgal98 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 11:04:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  MoveOn and PCCC already exists for your purposes. (0+ / 0-)

            Pick the right tool for the right job, and sign up.

      •  Not in my experience. (8+ / 0-)

        Maybe where you are, but here in New York City – i.e. where it all started – the Dems were mesmerized by that energy. It was all "why didn't we think of that?" and "how did these kids pull off in a week what we've been trying to do for years?"

        The latter was actually a question I had, and believe me, I've claimed quite a few scalps.

        Fuck you, I put on pants yesterday.

        by MBNYC on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:52:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If the party as a whole,... (5+ / 0-)

          ...not just individuals but the majority and the machinery of action, had supported Occupy, it could have demonstrated that and made the Occupation much more powerful.  The party chose not to do that, or neglected to do that, and permitted the encampment to be rousted repeatedly by Bloomberg's private militia of an NYPD. I don't argue that many Dems weren't whooping in delight at Occupy's emergence -- I talked with visitors to Zuccotti -- but let's be realistic when we assign that to the Democratic Party as a whole.  After all, on a Democratic site we are in a diary that is explicitly trashing Occupy for not doing what Troubadour wanted.

          •  Well... (3+ / 0-)

            ...think about it differently; there is actually no such thing as "the Democratic Party", in the sense of a single entity that can take coherent action. What we have are party orgs, for whichever level of government they serve, elected officials, candidates, clubs, independent groups like DFA or MoveOn, the unions, and so on.

            When I say "the Dems", that's probably a little bit too broad. But within that amorphous coalition, there were certainly quite a few elements, and not insignificant ones either, that wanted to work with Occupy.

            The mistake both sides made, I think, was expecting that the natural congruity of interests would lead inevitably to cooperation of some sort. But that would have required choices, which Occupy, leaderless by design and choice, was unable to make.

            And I'm not trashing Occupy by any means; I was involved, a lot of my friends were, and I have a little American flag on my desk right now that someone gave me at Zuccotti. That was our generation's bright shining moment, I think.

            Fuck you, I put on pants yesterday.

            by MBNYC on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:22:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •, PCCC, IWW and the DCCC already exist. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Occupy is in the niche that it needs to be in for the moment: direct action and community support.

              Tactically, it appears to be the best choice, as they're filling niches that other left-leaning interest groups, including elected politicos leave vacant.

              Furthermore, it's painfully ironic that some are criticizing Occupy for what the rest of the left - including elected pols already practice: pursuing individual agendas even at the expense of building a broad over-arching movement.

              Finally, I have to go meta here: this whole thread reeks of ceremonial scape-gating, in-group, out-group nonsense. I'm starting to wonder when someone starts bashing Kos participants with 'Mom's Basement' and 'Cheetos' smears.

      •  Plenty of Democrats showed support here. Local (4+ / 0-)

        city council, our congressman, etc.  But it's true to local Democratic Mayor chose to appease downtown business interests rather than the actual people. On the third hand, too many in Occupy didn't even want to talk to anyone in government, just set up a new utopian in the city park and live happily ever after.

    •  Hierarchies are a necessity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Any movement that eschews hierarchy on a fundamental level seems to me to be doomed to fail/underperform.

      •  I think this is probably true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gulfgal98, WB Reeves

        However, I wouldn't give up on Occupy.  Everything is a work in progress and there's no reason why the organization can't grow and change with time.  Or perhaps it will simply inspire a new organization that functions more effectively.  Who knows?  I do believe that Occupy has a valuable role to play and has already managed to do great stuff.  They changed the national discussion and I believe that change has led to the reframing of the debates about tax fairness and the role of government.  For that I am quite grateful.

        "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

        by Triscula on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 10:01:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is my belief also (0+ / 0-)

          Any movement will have growing pains and may have to adjust to become more effective.  

          do believe that Occupy has a valuable role to play and has already managed to do great stuff.  They changed the national discussion and I believe that change has led to the reframing of the debates about tax fairness and the role of government.  For that I am quite grateful.

          "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

          by gulfgal98 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 11:08:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Isn't the very term 'occupy' redolent of its (0+ / 0-)

          martial and stridently militaristic etymology?
          I am surprised that this word was used and
          embraced by so many to describe a movement
          that appeared to be its complete antithesis.

          Of course, occupying territory, is subtly different
          from holding such, as it implies taking 'ownership',
          and all of the other classically defined terms of property,
          along with its symptomatic potentials for abuse.

          Unfortunately, most of the places occupy 'chose'
          had long ago been 'owned' by all of us commonly
          as citizens. So were their occupations basically against
          the right of people to collectively own and pay for
          common spaces? Not in my reading, but to many others
          this was somewhat of a logical dichotomy.

          Kind of like the war on ... everything, used as a functional
          descriptor for every talking point and rhetorical flourish
          illustrating each separate and often divergent binary
          issue or policy that may or may not gore your own ox.

          Regardless of the grammar, or venue, I found the effort
          to raise the issues of economic inequality to be heartening,
          even knowing that activists of all stripes were very familiar with
          this concept years before zuccotti captured the eyes of the world.

          I suppose the breadth and depth of our economic crisis
          helped to finally accentuate this long festering discontent
          among the terminally incurious members of the 'media',
          who do not widely share a frame of reference for the 99%.
          And Occupy deserves credit for at least that achievement.

          This movement shared much with others before it.
          Youth, energy, angst, impatience with the status quo.
          If there is one commonality I would choose disenfranchisement.
          When one is jobless, or homeless, or generally feeling
          displaced or discarded from the order of society, what
          other options are available? Were the least of these
          absent from our public commons pre occupy? Not at all.
          When one has the freedom to engage, the freedom to
          do exactly the opposite must also be inexorably granted.

          Like many other assemblages, it was and is not monolithic.
          Like anonymous, there were and are some who
          seek such opportunity to further their own interests,
          all too willing to exploit structural extremities for less
          than egalitarian purposes. This too, is a very old story.

          I found it very entertaining that those who denounce
          the court jester melodrama of government and politics
          as 'kabuki', are only too willing to engage in their own
          street theater of the absurd, to much of the same result.
          It was the perfect spectator diversion for a non election year.

          For better or worse, the Occupy GA failures to remain,
          or forced removals due to a lack of coherent sustainability
          translated into a larger and fuller political engagement is
          fundamentally related to the principals of its founders.

          In other words, this was their desire. I found it refreshing,
          no matter how ineffectual it may or not ultimately prove to be.
          This was clear to me, from its onset, so I did not expect
          much more than media consumable moments I saw.
          The dialogue has been changed. That is more than
          enough to enter this movement into the pages of history.

          There is, however, a clear connection between our very
          own hierarchy-less thought and meme 'creator' and the
          very idea of occupy. The ancient, but recently occupy revived
          biblical concept of the Jubilee is a prominent theme in his definitive
          and thought provoking social history on the 'owership' society.

          What remain to be seen is if the model occupy presents
          can be used functionally to represent and foster the interests
          of the majority in an ever injust and unequal world.
          Probably not the easiest sale pitch to make to anyone
          else who does not already share your distinct outlook.

          It could be argued that the present convergence of global
          environmental, economic, and sociopolitical stress with an ever
          expanding communications ability presents the best
          opportunity in decades to appeal to what may be
          a most receptive and not yet fully engaged audience.

          Thanks for all of your efforts.

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