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View Diary: Assassinations, Intimidation, Psychological Warfare, Misinformation, And Other Illegal Tactics (206 comments)

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  •  About Occupy: (16+ / 0-)

    Big Al, it invigorated us for a long time, but Gail Collins (op-ed columnist at the NYT) basically summarized the problem: a leaderless movement.

    The people sitting around with Desmond were studying a proposal for reorganizing the way that the various working groups — Donations, Finance, Outreach, Internet, Sanitation, Medical, Direct Action and many, many more — make their opinions felt in the evening assembly. The current system, it said, makes newcomers come away “exhausted by our model of direct democracy, rather than invigorated and inspired by it.”

    Waves of nostalgia swept over me. This was exactly how I spent my college years, which were theoretically dedicated to creating a more humane society and stopping the war in Vietnam, but, in reality, mainly involved meetings. Endless meetings in which it was alleged that the winner was the person who managed to remain sitting while everyone else toppled over with boredom. I can’t say definitely, because I never made it to the end.

    "Leaderless" is lovely in theory and unworkable in real life.

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 01:14:33 AM PDT

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    •  Leaderless, no real goals except to (6+ / 0-)

      educate.  Then it camped - something that just couldn't be maintained.  I appreciate what they accomplished, but they should have followed in the steps of the TeaPots who took over their party and entire US government. I am so sick of losing to Teapots, GOP, and neoliberals.

      What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Warren 2016

      by dkmich on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 04:26:51 AM PDT

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    •  I don't think "leaderlessness" (10+ / 0-)

      was necessarily the problem. If the critique is that Occupy didn't have enough of an immediate impact on American politics, the mistake may have simply been not getting directly involved enough in the political process.

      First of all, let's stipulate that it's always going to be more difficult to oppose an administration you are allied with. So the Tea Party was always fighting on more favorable terrain in terms of rallying against the Obama administration, while it may have been inherently difficult for progressives to coalesce around that goal.

      Having said that, the Tea Party doesn't have any "leaders" that I'm aware of. It may have corporate backing, but in practice it's largely a disparate network of activists. We can see this in the fact that the issues the Tea Party interest doesn't always converge with the corporate interest, like on the issue of immigration. But it has still been effective precisely because it focused directly on the attacking the levers of power — targeting members of Congress and threatening them with primary challenges.

      This really isn't that complicated - direct enough grassroots anger and money at a member of Congress, and you can successfully pressure them on an issue. I'd love to see a reconstituted grassroots movement on the left that focuses on creative ways to achieve that goal, using technology and social networks. I think it could be quite effective, leaderless or not.

    •  leaders are manufactured (0+ / 0-)

      there are no real natural leaders in the way we assume.

      all democracy is slow and messy and always will be.

    •  Tell that to the anarchists in Spain (6+ / 0-)

      who had a "leaderless" society for almost three years, involving millions of people.

      There actually are leaders of sorts in Occupy. The point is simply that the "leaders" aren't rulers by decree. People lead by their ideas, not by authority given by statute. People lead by persuading the group with their insights, their offered projects and plans. And anyone can become a leader, since the process is democratic (unlike our system of so-called "representational democracy" which in practice isn't democratic at all, and is available mostly to the wealthy class. Check to see the average net worth of our congress, and the members of the Cabinet, as well as various appointees. They're all mostly wealthy, and the poor and middle class (the 99%) aren't really represented at all.)

      So, in effect Occupy had scores of leaders, defined as people who stepped up to the plate with creative drive, good ideas, planning, taking initiative, getting work done. But none of them were given the relatively immutable, fixed, outright command authority as seen in hierarchical societies. This is paradoxical to those inexperienced with the concept, and who are socially conditioned and acculturated by capitalistic society, with hierarchical, corporate approaches used throughout the system in most organizations (usually not reflecting talent or ability, but elitism, wealth and political jockeying). Hierarchy pushes established elites to the top, subjecting most others to lower rungs of the ladder, which suppresses democracy, innovation, and talent, reserving privilege for those at the top of society who exploit everyone else. Thus the poor worker who comes up with a good idea has his innovations either stolen by superiors, or completely dismissed. And the fruits of their work is thus thieved by people in the upper echelons, leaving everyone else to become sheeple. Occupy's approach is definitely workable with far more egalitarianism and equality and far more democracy.

      At the time of the government attack on the camps, most of the Occupy camps were gravitating toward an easier system using the spokescouncil model, in which smaller working groups would send mandated, recallable delegates to a council to deliberate/implement  plans and ideas. It is still direct, horizontal democracy, but with a streamlined approach. This has been more traditionally used in horizontal societies than Occupy's initial approach, which Graeber, one of the founders of Occupy, said had never been tried before with such large numbers. Consensus works with smaller groups, but is unwieldy in larger groups, and the spokescouncil approach works better.

      And Graeber has remarked that the consensus approach has been misreported. They never insisted on 100% or even 90% consensus without compromise. When the group couldn't achieve higher levels of consensus, it opted for lower percentages when necessary.

      So, in essence, most of those Occupy critics in this thread are buying into the anti-occupy propaganda as reported by the press as well as certain activists of the Democratic party establishment who were frustrated that they failed to co-opt Occupy to become part of the same electoral establishment, with all of its dismal failures, that Occupy was protesting against.

      Interesting that so many who call themselves "democrats" are so steadfastly against democracy. If Occupy had used these same failed approaches, it would not have had scores of camps sprout up overnight all over the country. People who populated those camps were looking for new approaches that could inspire, rather than the same old entrenched party politics. And that is why it succeeded in creating a mass movement which many other groups failed to ignite.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 11:30:22 AM PDT

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