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There's been a common theme lately of calling for a new OWS. I would be overjoyed if all of these calls were in fact calls for a new OWS. But they aren't. I want to make clear that this isn't necessarily an attack on people making these calls. They make them for different reasons, and those reasons are often reasons I agree with. But, they are in fact calls for a completely different movement, one that bears little if any resemblance to OWS. I'm going to go through the common refrains of what "the movement" needs and my responses to them.

Let me say first that I think that people really mean that they want another successful and visible social movement when they say they want another OWS they really . I'm completely on board with that, I want another movement with the energy of Occupy. The problem is that the things that made OWS successful are exactly the things people are calling to change. So here we go after the Fleur de Kos.

1) Occupy just needs to occupy the voting booth.

There's a lot wrong with this one. I'll start with the base assumption that the people involved in Occupy didn't vote. The majority of people who participated in Occupy voted. I'd bet that the majority voted for candidates that most progressives would agree with. Worse than that though is the idea that there were enough occupiers to actually swing an election. There were about ten thousand of us across the country at the height of everything. It seems hopelessly naive to think that ten thousand people across the country could affect change by voting alone. They couldn't.

So what exactly is it that occupying the voting booth is suppose to mean? It clearly can't mean just going out and voting, because that's already happening for the most part. The other side of that is going out and campaigning for candidates and causes. Of course, this is a democratic website, so it's not surprising that people would be advocating for voting in the right candidates, presumably candidates from the democratic party. Of course, this is never followed up with the actual candidates to be voted or campaigned for, and when it is they're the same old dems that are already in office or are "electable". Or the quixotic quest for a primary that will get attacked every time as being a progressive purity quest.

But really, what we're talking about here is business as usual. Calls for OWS to be another wing of the democratic party. We're talking about OWS as doing the exact same thing as MoveOn or OFA. Literally the exact same thing in regards to voting.

2) Occupy needs leaders

This one is fun because it's always terribly unspecific. Occupy "needs leaders" but no one can point to the actual leaders that occupy should follow. There just needs to be a leader there, leading and stuff. Of course, not only can people not point to actual leaders, they can't explain how we should chose a leader. Paradoxically, folks like trotskyists or maoists are brought up constantly as an example of what not to do, despite the fact that they are the leaders out there offering to lead. The irony here of course is that Occupy was constantly criticized for not having goals and specifics, and yet the people who are calling for leaders are just as vague. They "want leaders".

And all that is leaving behind the practical aspects of the issue. What happens with to a leader once they're there? How do you maintain accountability while keeping people following them? Because based on my experience you have a choice of one of the two. Otherwise you dump the best leaders because they've got some horrible flaws, just like all your heroes have terrible flaws.

3) We need demands

This one is funny, because the problem was really the opposite. We had demands. We had a statement that we put out a couple of weeks after we had started the occupation in NYC. Strangely, despite the constant calls for demands the media completely ignored what we said. What everyone wanted was some specific policy recommendation that they could tear to shreds. The fact of the matter is that we're beyond policy recommendations. Sure, there's some policies that could help, but what people seemed to want was a treasure map. A perfect game plan that would lead to the solution. But that doesn't exist.

Even politicians don't have that sort of solutions. It's literally impossible to have the solution that people wanted from us because that solution was something that no one group of people could know. The whole point of occupy was that we've all got a piece of the puzzle and we have to work together to know what the answer is. There isn't one answer, there can't be because there isn't one situation we're all in. I can't know how to help a black woman living in the ghetto of St. Louis because I don't know what the problem is, I haven't experienced it. What I can do is listen to what people have to say and we can all work on synthesizing the solution between ourselves. That's not easy. It's really fucking hard most of the  time. You have to listen to people that you think are stupid and repetitive and naive. And you have to figure out the common ground between you and them. And we did that and agreed on a bunch of things.

And then what we agreed upon was completely ignored.

4) Purge the Anarchists.

This is related to point number one, although a lot of anarchist do vote, so it's  very different as well. The basic idea here is that Anarchists are somehow politically untouchable. At best they're fools, at worst bent on destruction and terrorism. Of course either version ignores the fact that Occupy would probably never have happened, and certainly wouldn't have succeeded without Anarchists. Yes, Anarchists have broken windows. Yes, Anarchists threw things into the street. Yes, Anarchists don't respect property rights and by extension property. And, this is the most important one, yes, Anarchists don't play well on TV. People are afraid of the damn word. Most people here are.

And yet a rag tag bunch of Anarchists managed to kick off the most successful social movement in the last two decades. And you want to purge those people. Literally the people who fed Occupy. The people who organized and sustained it. And those people were the problem? The fact of the matter is that people with radical politics are more likely to be active, more likely to take risks like the risks we took in New York.

To be fair, I suppose we're making progress as no one was calling to purge the communists and socialists. So we've got that. Although that may speak more to the prominence of those two groups in the movement as opposed to how people view them.

Let me make clear here that there are plenty of people who are calling for a new Occupy Wall Street that is substantially similar to the old one, or who are still working with the old one, it isn't dead yet; but, I see comments on the need for a new Occupy again and again and I hope I've explained why those calls are not for an actual Occupy when combined with these sorts of conditions I talked about in this diary.

So where does that leave us? What is to be done?

 Elsewhere I've pointed out what I think three of the biggest failures of Occupy were. 1) Being stuck in the occupations and not going out and canvassing and organizing door to door and block to block in a cohesive way. I blame this in part on our focus on PR and media, which caused other problems as well in terms of how we organized. 2) Marginalized people were still marginalized. Women who participated were still more likely to end up in the kitchen or cleaning up while men were more likely to be speaking out as "idea people". We weren't worse than society in general at this but it was a problem. 3) We never converted action into a tangible victory except in a few isolated cases because of the first two problems. Working out solutions to these problems should be the first step forward in building a new movement, and the common complaints about Occupy don't address them at all.

Originally posted to Anti-Capitalist Meetup on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tonight's anti-capitalist meetup has been (24+ / 0-)

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:11:35 PM PST

  •  we also need (26+ / 0-)

    candidates. This is a tough one to fill, but if we occupy the voting booth we must have someone to vote for, not just against. We need candidates at all levels, not just national.

    •  If we build a movement the candidates will come (19+ / 0-)

      Running candidates can be good for getting your name out in the early parts of a movement, but building the movement is what should, and historically has from my reading, come first. Once you have an organization that can win victories outside the electoral realm it's a quick jump to electoral victories.

      The other side of this problem is how to find candidates who we can trust, and having candidates that come from the movement is the best way to assure that they'll continue to work with the movement and not turn once they're in office.  It ensures that the candidates share an ethos and that they are on board with our goals. In my mind candidates should be little more than spokes persons for the movement, parroting our goals, positions, votes, and ethics. Building a movement that integrates all different sorts of people means that we can put up candidates that come from a broad variety of back grounds.

      I'm not sure what the best way to push local candidates is. Something similar for sure. I'm happy to see Dan Siegal running for mayor in Oakland, although I'm also disappointed that the east bay hasn't sent more women of color to state and national office given the great women in office there. I can think of no better Occupy candidate for president than Barbara Lee.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:40:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  they might not come, but they may (18+ / 0-)

        develop out of the movement itself ... rather than coming from above, a movement can develop people that are actually steeped in it if people decide that entering the electoral arena is appropriate ...

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:48:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That was more along the lines I was thinking (7+ / 0-)

          Someone will be shanghaied into running for office at some point. If we do it right they don't even have to be charismatic.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:59:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The problem with fielding candidates (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, NY brit expat

          is one has no way to mandate them, or keep them from becoming compromised by a system which is designed to corrupt even the best of them, and this ends up consuming, and eventually exhausting, all the money, time, and energy of a direct action movement. The return on the resources invested is so low, after decades of effort, that it isn't worth the diversion of resources from the more effective approach, which is direct action.

          When a movement becomes part of the very system against which a movement is mounting a direct action, then one ends up protesting from the inside, which is not as effective, since political action always requires fundraising, working with status quo interests, pandering to the media, and even the most devoted candidates and activists end up being coerced and hogtied by the system. One ends up protesting the system it has become a part of.

          This has happened over and over again. Overall, it has not been successful. There are plenty of people trying this approach. Its better to spend resources on direct action, for the most part.

          The people who comprised occupy were fed up with supporting the electoral process. In my area, I didn't meet one person who wanted to work with politicians. Most didn't want a politician to set foot within the Occupy camp in Portland. As I recall, one of our agreements actually stated just that. Liberal politicians in Portland accused us of not "standing by our friends" in office when we went into one city councilman's district and occupied a park. When a candidate "represents" a movement, the movement becomes manipulated into supporting the candidate's preferences in strategy, lest the candidate become embarrassed in the view of the eyes of the press.

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 01:43:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So, this is the crux of the issue: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT
            When a candidate "represents" a movement, the movement becomes manipulated into supporting the candidate's preferences in strategy, lest the candidate become embarrassed in the view of the eyes of the press.
            The strength of direct action is that, by definition, it is done without any intermediaries from which it derives authority or permission.

            The moment Occupy has a connection to people in office, the end result will be that Occupy will be in service to them, rather than those elected officials in service to Occupy.

            The person in office will end up being held responsible by the media and opposing parties for any trumped up misdeeds or errors of Occupy, and will end up either disavowing Occupy, or trying to control Occupy, and Occupy will end up breaking the connection.

            Direct action does not mix well with electoral action, as tactics originating from the same organization. The entire top down electoral structure is completely contrary to the social structure of Occupy. The two won't mix, since each are based on completely opposite sociopolitical theories.

            I think getting involved with electing politicians would destroy Occupy as we know it.

            Voicing a policy preferences in one thing, such as better wages, but associating with the very power structure we oppose is another. This is why I object to "Occupy candidates" who sprout up from time to time.

            Voltairine De Cleyre:

            How will the chains be broken?

            Political actionists tell us it will be only by means of working-class party action at the polls; by voting themselves into possession of the sources of life and the tools; by voting that those who now command forests, mines, ranches, waterways, mills, and factories, and likewise command the military power to defend them, shall hand over their dominion to the people.

            And meanwhile?

            Meanwhile, be peaceable, industrious, law-abiding, patient, and frugal (as Madero told the Mexican peons to be, after he sold them to Wall Street)! Even if some of you are disenfranchised, don't rise up even against that, for it might "set back the party."

            Well, I have already stated that some good is occasionally accomplished by political action -- not necessarily working-class party action either. But I am abundantly convinced that the occasional good accomplished is more than counterbalanced by the evil; just as I am convinced that though there are occasional evils resulting through direct action, they are more than counterbalanced by the good.

            Nearly all the laws which were originally framed with the intention of benefitting the workers, have either turned into weapons in their enemies' hands, or become dead letters unless the workers through their organizations have directly enforced their observance. So that in the end, it is direct action that has to be relied on anyway. As an example of getting the tarred end of a law, glance at the anti-trust law, which was supposed to benefit the people in general and the working class in particular. About two weeks since, some 250 union leaders were cited to answer to the charge of being trust formers, as the answer of the Illinois Central to its strikers.

            But the evil of pinning faith to indirect action is far greater than any such minor results. The main evil is that it destroys initiative, quenches the individual rebellious spirit, teaches people to rely on someone else to do for them what they should do for themselves; finally renders organic the anomalous idea that by massing supineness together until a majority is acquired, then through the peculiar magic of that majority, this supineness is to be transformed into energy. That is, people who have lost the habit of striking for themselves as individuals, who have submitted to every injustice while waiting for the majority to grow, are going to become metamorphosed into human high-explosives by a mere process of packing!

            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

            by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:08:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  agreed, this is why I said "if" (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZhenRen, AoT, Chi

            fielding a candidate is not necessarily a process that a movement decides it wants to do.

            On the one hand, surrendering the electoral sphere to the enemy when so many people believe in parliamentary democracy is an error. On the other hand, the candidate must be controlled by the movement and not the movement constrained by the candidate. Elections are expensive and a campaigning party or movement may be more preferable until we have a strong enough base in grassroots to run in elections and they become secondary to campaigning for issues. Unless the candidate is responsible to the movement (and that was the danger for example with George Galloway) their position becomes more important than a movement and that is a disaster.

             

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:18:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Problem is, the Establishment Dems go out of their (15+ / 0-)

        way to crush many progressive candidates who threaten to rock the corporatist boat. It's not just a matter of attracting potential good candidates; it's also a problem of trying to prevent the Democratic Party from actively sabotaging them in favor of ConservaDems and Blue Dogs -- as Obama's capo di tutti cappi Rahm Emanuel did in the 2010 election.

        "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by Kombema on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 08:57:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  ACM Schedule (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, CenPhx, annieli

    February:

    2nd: UnaSpenser(?) or
    9th: UnaSpenser(?)
    16th: Galtisalie
    23rd: Annieli

    March:

    2nd:
    9th:
    16th:
    23rd:
    30th:

    UnaSpenser will take one of the two sundays, so we need someone to cover either the 2nd or the 9th. Can we get a volunteer for next Sunday urgently? Galtisalie is on for the 16th.  If there are any volunteers, it will be greatly appreciated!! Please, if you are interested in writing a piece, reply to this message or send a kos message to NY Brit Expat or send an email to our group email: dkanticapitalistgroup@gmail.com!! The ACM needs you to keep going, can some people volunteer to write?

    We really need your help, please volunteer to write!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:30:10 PM PST

  •  glad you wrote this up, AoT (15+ / 0-)

    I may have to stop back in after dinner. Off the cuff...

    1) Occupy just needs to occupy the voting booth.
    ... agree 100 %.

    2) Occupy needs leaders
    ... we are "leaderfull" ... and the horizontal concept...  but also accept that different people are good at different things, use your gifts. Again, this is a two sided thing.

    3) We need demands
    ...the demand is the process. An awful lot of people within the movement did not get that and it is, as you say, fucking hard. And time consuming as all get out.

    4) Purge the Anarchists.
    ... stick with a commitment to non-violent direct action, define what we mean by "non-violent" (locally) and ditch the labels. Or maybe educate folks about 'em rather than ditch 'em but jeezuz shuddup with the bickering over it already. lol

    Lemme think about the 'what next?' some more...

    If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

    by Lady Libertine on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:30:48 PM PST

    •  In regards to violence and non-violence (10+ / 0-)

      I don't think that's a productive conversation and I think that it is not productive because it focuses on actions that are never particularly effective, marches and protests. Both are good for raising awareness but not much else. Unless they are massive, in which case the violence is usually minimal, and about local specific things then protests and rallies aren't much utility.

      If we avoid bothering with those things and focus our energy on canvassing and direct action organizing then there really isn't an issue to argue about. I don't think anyone is foolish enough to think that fighting the police violently is going to keep someone being evicted in their home. At least not enough people to organize any sort of violent action.with the characterization of the NRA as terrorists. It's the center point of the diary, not some side point. Calling the NRA terrorists is foolish in and of itself, not because it "derails" a debate. When it's the title of the piece it's not derailing.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:45:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  May I offer some suggestions... (8+ / 0-)

        First, I am someone who sits around and thinks about stuff and in my opinion, that is a group which is much lower on the effective status than the doers of this world so to all of you doers out there, I applaud you and give you my utmost respect.

        On the other hand, my job and training has made somewhat of a proffesional problem solver and so my advice isn't necessarily wrong per se, it is just worthless without action.

        First, solving any problem is like a road map.  The two most important and most difficult things that must be done first is to determine where you are and where you want to be.  Once those two things are determined, figuring out how to get there is usually the easiest part.  Now, do not dismiss the first two steps because they are much more difficult than people initially think they are.  For example:

        Where are we?  Well, it would take hours and hours and pages and pages for us to even start to answer this question.  I would say that corruption in the government via money and abuse of power is a big part of the problem and also the lack of jobs and our crumbling infastructure and the austerity measures and on and on and on.  A serious analysis of where we are would look at all of this very carefully giving it some kind of semiaccurate ranking of importance along with our available resources.

        And then we would have to evaluate where we want to be.  If we were going on vacation and wanted to see all of the national parks in this country, we couldn't just say we want to see them all.  We would determine which parks made sense to see first, which ones we could afford, which ones we could skip until the next vacation and so on.  The same thing has to be done when solving a problem.  Complex problems usually do not have just one issue to try and fix and when you try to split up limited resources to fix all the problems at once, you end up fixing none of them.  In planning your destination, pick the problem that you can get an early success (high probability win) one that demonstrates your core principles and one that will help you recruit needed resources for your next destination.

        The third and final step is to find the path to get you to your destination.  Lets say you picked the disparity of justice in America for the 1% vs the common man (just an example, it could be anything).  Let's say you picked that reason because it has a lot of cross over support, it is easy to demonstrate and it causes a visceral, emotional reaction in people that motivates them into action.  An added bonus is that the manner in which the police currently halt this action would highlight the honesty of your campaign.  The first challenge would be marketing or rather the recruitment of resources: You will need supporters (volunteers) financial backing (donors).  Next, you will need a strategy:  How will you use the resources available to target the message to where it will be heard the loudest and be the most effective.  And lastly, How do know when you arrive at your destination?  What is your measure of success?  Is it enough to see the Grand Canyon from the outside looking over a cliff or do you need to explore every nook and cranny?  My suggestion is see it for now and move on to the next national park before anyone realizes you've left.  You can always come back to it later and explore it more thoroughly when the next opportunity arises.  Strike quickly, get a unanimous consent victory (no matter how small) and then shape change into the next fight without even telling them you have moved on so that while they are still forming an argument as to why you actually lost the first round, you are delivering an uppercut to campaign finance laws of conservative media bias from out of the blue.  Keep them guessing.  

        This is all just examples of suggestions.  The real point here is to be systematic with a three step approach, focus all of your energy on one thing, get a quick victory and move onto the next battle.  It is like gorilla tactics applied to a peaceful political movement.  There is so much that needs to be done and the odds are stacked so much against us.  They have all the money, the media, the police and the politicians on their side.  All we have is sheer numbers and the truth.  Fight small battles with broad, cross over appeal that we can win and move on with quick strikes.  The fate of humanity may not rest on you being victorious but the fate of America ever becoming a democracy again (if it ever was) sure as hell does.  Good luck and God speed.

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:35:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  To be completely honest (6+ / 0-)

          I mostly sit around and think about this stuff as well. I'm not doing nearly as much as I should be. And while I respect your advice, I think we're in a situation where it's just as important to be fast and loose with your tactics as it is to be slow and methodical, if that makes sense. We're up against a social/political/military edifice that is literally unseen before in the history of the world. Find a battle, swarm and win if you can, if not disperse. Which I suppose isn't really at odds with what you said at all.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:52:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •   OWS is at the mercy of the alarmingly (4+ / 0-)

            militized local cops and the bought -and- paid for media.

            Much of the OWS movement 'was not televised' or was so misrepresented in the MSM that it was impossible to attract low information people.

            To be clear, i supported wholeheartedly everyone who put their bodies out there and consider it a successful first step in a process.

            I believe we need to try another tactic right now, one which will not result in one person being arrested or harmed.

            We need to starve the beast.

            We stop feeding corporate profit.

            Buy food only from local entities- farmer's markets or locally owned groceries and bakeries. The giant food corps will profit but this is one area where we can support local business as acceptable middlemen.

            No fast food.

            Buy used goods from other persons, even those using middlemen like Amazon- clothing, appliances, entertainment.

            We must have millions of people participate in order for the talking-head money analysts to notice, but this is also true of another OWS.

            When they do notice, we issue a statement with our demands- i would like to see this tied to re-instating unemployment insurance, to begin with.

            This would be the least painful form of protest that could have far reaching results. There are a few million of us out here that already live this way by necessity- we just need the rest to jump on board.

            If we cannot get enough people committed to just withholding money for awhile, then that will tell us how deeply in trouble we really are.

            Then back to the drawing board.

            'How like fish we are: ready, nay, eager, to seize upon whatever new thing.......And how we rue our haste, finding the gilded morsel to contain a hook". ALDO LEOPOLD - A Sand County Almanac

            by flowerfarmer on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 06:24:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  In my haste, i left out (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              buying vintage clothing, new gifts or indulgences on sites like ETSY, where real people make things one at a time, where the profit goes to an artisan, not an importer of Chinese goods.

              We need to make a monumental effort to support each other and not the corporations that are bleeding this country dry.

              'How like fish we are: ready, nay, eager, to seize upon whatever new thing.......And how we rue our haste, finding the gilded morsel to contain a hook". ALDO LEOPOLD - A Sand County Almanac

              by flowerfarmer on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 07:52:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  just to clarify (8+ / 0-)

      what I said above:

      1) Occupy just needs to occupy the voting booth.
      ... agree 100 %.

      I agree with your take on that point, AoT, 100%.

      If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

      by Lady Libertine on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:11:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Demanding that Anarchists waive their right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brown Thrasher, wiljago

      of self defense is the same as demanding a purge of (80% of) Anarchists.

      "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 01:35:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  self-defense? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        petral, thirty three and a third

        did I say demand that?

        Well, I found a good movie on TV and did not return to this convo last night, heh. Im a bit rusty on all this but I was thinking along the lines of Gene Sharp's approach wrt to "non-violence". As a strategy more so than a "concept". I wish there was better term for it.

        I know it's probably idealistic and naiive of me, but I still prefer that Gandhi-esque approach. When deployed properly, it's very effective. My fave example from Occupy would be UC Davis. Wrote a diary about it here at the time.

        Ah well, the icestorm cometh, off to prepare.

        If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

        by Lady Libertine on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 06:37:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks so much for an excellent piece AoT! (14+ / 0-)

    You asked all the right questions and I think you have come to the correct conclusions. This is a very important post and I am thrilled that you have done it for the ACM!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:33:45 PM PST

  •  Teach-ins (19+ / 0-)
    So where does that leave us? What is to be done?
    Learn from the past.
    The 60's teach-ins were a good thing. They learned this from the labor movement.
      Plus there is nothing like getting out into the street. A lot could be learned from the wobblies

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:01:43 PM PST

  •  Great analysis but I think we do need "another" (12+ / 0-)

    OWS - or at least when people are calling for it, I think they want a movement that gives us what OWS did:

    1)a movement that refocused on the right problem -- the class struggle, the economic struggle --which had mainly been displaced by identity politics and specific issue struggles when left groups that were supposed to deal with the class issue failed in their jobs --a) either they became so authoritarian, sectarian and rigid with their party lines that they became small ineffective groups or they b)ended up placating the bourgie capitalist
    Democrats and the bought off unions or c)failed to deal with racism and sexism within their parties or d) all three.

    2)the idea of real people's democracy.  For many people, including the old left, real internal democracy is just another word for "loose canons" or anarchists because they didn't automatically accept a predetermined party-line.  There were, of course, real anarchists in OWS and "leaders" most of whom did not fit the stereo type of wild-eyed terrorists but, from what I could see from the couple I met, seemed more like sophisticated upper-middle class, educated IT savy  admen. These leaders and anarchists may have had their limits (I think they were mostly if not all men) but they did manage to open a space where regular people could actually express their opinions --even if they were politically incorrect-without being bowled over by the old sectarian left, or the bought off democrats or unions.  I really enjoyed watching the OWS "rules" keep many of these groups in their place, even if they were chafing at the bit, wanting to take over what was clearly a movement they had been unable to initiate, having to "play nice" sand let others speak.
    3)give people the idea that they really could take back and really stop  Wall Street (a truly anti-capitalist revolutionary demand!).  The trouble was that even the organizers had not really thought of what a real revolution might entail but had only thought in terms of a movie of a revolution which would play with the media -so people weren't really ready for it (what would it have taken to really keep the square, to take over factories, rental housing from landlords? -Occasionally we even came close, but we didn't
    succeed.  
    Occupy is still doing actions and organizing in communities.  I still work with OWS folks or go to events organized by OWS-like folks.

    Am waiting for another movement with the OWS goals listed above, if we learn from our mistakes.  Maybe next time, if it happens and objective conditions are right, we will be the spearhead of a revolution.

    •  I agree but... (5+ / 0-)

      I think "Class Struggle" is too broad.  It leaves too much room for argument.

      I think that highlighting the absurd declaration of "Affluenza" as a criminal defense, the delicate care treatment of 1% bankers that laundered money for terrorists and drug cartels in Mexico and rich drunk drivers that kill little old ladies and run off getting a mere few days in jail while poor people get twenty years for firing a warning shot to protect themselves from an abusive husband or non-violent protestors get shot in the head with tear gas canisters or single mothers getting five years in prison for getting food stamps for their kids because they had a felony on their record.  I think people can easily relate to that and it effects people viscerally.  

      Showing the rich getting off practically scott free after stealing billions of dollars or fraudulantly mislabeling a drug that kills thousands of people and ruins many more thousand of people's lives and contrasting that with how normal, everyday people are thrown in prison for excessive prison sentences to for-profit prisons (often to fill quotas) gets people angry and that is what the government does not want to see; an angry, united population.

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:46:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think this first wave (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, BlueDragon

      was just a prelude. I think we have to go into these movements like OWS, and assert an influence. Men and women can demand respect for, and more involvement of women. We can show respect for all races, and demand inclusion of all voices.

      It takes the people to become involved. This first wave was an early level of maturity. The younger ones were determined to move this forward, and that was necessary, in my view. As a movement like this works out the snags, it would get better over time.

      In Portland, by the way, more often than not females were facilitating, and a few of them were so wonderful and adept at this that do to popular demand they were literally exhausted from overwork, and needed to take breaks.

      Females in Portland strongly stood up for themselves, and were a real force. Often it was a women standing with the megaphone. They were in every meeting I went to, were very vocal, but this is a different kind of city, and it attracts a lot of pretty savvy counter-culture young people. So not Occupy camps were the same.  

      Not that there wasn't sexism. There were young men there, students from red states who were moving away from the conservatism of their parents, who hadn't been exposed to more egalitarian forms of organization. And there were females not accustomed to demanding a voice.  One wonderful male student I talked to was from Utah and had conservative Mormon parents, but he was responsible for the library at the camp, and he sat their reading Chomsky most of the time, whom he really admired. He was on a rapid learning journey.

      One kid got up in front of an older group at a Unitarian church, and awkwardly stumbled into an awful, sexist comment, and a women stood up and verbally kicked the crap out of him. The kid, abashed, left the stage, visibly devatated. Such were the dynamics. That kid was really young, and had a lot to learn.

      So, the movement was in a young, not very mature state, but all considered, it was extraordinary.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 02:34:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agree with the advice to purge the (0+ / 0-)

    anarchists. There isn't a Congressional District in the country that would elect a confirmed anarchist, and no one is going to get very far either wearing a Guy Falkes mask. If you want the movement to grow, the movement needs to evolve. Evolution involves getting rid of characteristics that are detrimental; anarchists are frightening to most Americans (and they are a pain to get to follow orders).

    •  The question is whose orders are they supposed to (13+ / 0-)

      follow? Wall Streets orders (directly or indirectly - i.e.those in the 1% in ALEC which writes many of our laws for Congress)?

      I am actually an old ML socialist who always got called an anarchist when I question the party-line. I finally bolted over  "the woman" question in the 70s.

      I am still a socialist looking for a grassroots democratic way of getting to a more socially defined, publicly administered (no excessive accumulation of private property.

      Real anarchism is not about the right to do whatever you want with no accountability.  I like the Wobblies model of anarchism.

    •  Why would an anarchist ever run for office? (13+ / 0-)

      I mean, they're against all government.

      and they are a pain to get to follow orders
      So you disagree with number two as well? Because who's giving the orders if not leaders?

      Also, who do you intend to replace them with? People that will follow orders? How do you intend to find those people.

      I think you're more interested in electoral politics than in movement building. Which is fine for what it is, but we're talking about something else here.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:41:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  absolutely no interested in electoral politics but (6+ / 0-)

        grassroot politics -- just asking what leaders did you mean when you said anarchists are not good at following orders? It was because the anarchists who made the "process" orders for OWS believed that people would and could maintain the process (i.e., the stack, the peoples mic, listening to others) that OWS was successful.  Following "the orders" that we all agree on democratically is part of anarchism, not contradictory to it.

        •  Following rules created through consensus (10+ / 0-)

          is different than following orders. I meant that Anarchists aren't the sort to show up and just do what someone tells them to.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:00:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  A veto on xsshxles/sociopaths (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, Ezekiel in Exile

          would be nice.

          Then there's Democrat Corzine vs. Republican Christie.

          Oddly difficult where both are effed in the head criminals.

          "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

          by waterstreet2013 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:32:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The phrase "following orders" (7+ / 0-)

          usually implies a top down hierarchy. Anarchical society has an entirely different approach to encouraging cooperation than using coercion and force as the principle way to achieve social harmony and reciprocity.

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:18:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Here's my view on this in more detail (10+ / 0-)
          Following "the orders" that we all agree on democratically is part of anarchism, not contradictory to it.
          To follow up on that, one difference in anarchist free association, wherein members freely gather and make agreements, and then expect the members which make the agreements to follow them, is that it is not really an order, but an agreement freely entered. It is at most a self-order, or self-management. No one is ordering anyone to do anything, but rather expecting members to abide by agreements, or not make them. If people aren't abiding by agreements, then perhaps a different agreement has to be made which they could support. Or finding ways that will help people comply.

          This is far different than following a command that one had no direct part in making, issued by a command structure which one had no part in forming or how it is structured. Agreements which people freely make tend to promote more cooperation.

          The idea is that individuals should have a direct voice in anything which involves them.

          And there is also a difference in how community agreements would be enforced on those who do act out. The least amount of force and coercion necessary would be used. How anarchist deal with crime is a bit more involved, but is handled the same way, and is far different than top-down, authoritarian societies.

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:02:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Why ... in the Tea Party, I'd presume ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... those I think its less that those people are good at following orders and more that those people are particularly susceptible to being stirred up by particular messaging strategies.

        Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

        by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:13:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Tea Party is NOT Anarchist (8+ / 0-)

          They fully support the police and the military. They want "limited" government, by which they mean that they want to limit the protection government provides. But they are in no way anarchist. They've managed to recuperate some anarchist rhetoric in regards to taxes, a rhetoric they inherited from libertarians, who by the way got their name from the anti-authoritarian movement.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:18:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, they are not Anarchist. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1

            The issue with the malleability of the Tea Party is rather the problem of entrepreneurial leadership, which is why getting them moving in the direction a wealthy interest wants them to go is often more effectively done by driving the base there with messaging.

            Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

            by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:44:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Which anarchists? (5+ / 0-)


      By all means, purge the violent wing of the Black Bloc, a home for APs and people who insist on fighting on fields controlled by others.  The state has a near-monopoly on violence and a good part of the rest is tied up with the rightwing groups like the NRA and the Tea Party.  To fight on that battleground is to lose.  

      On the other hand, from outside it appeared that the anarchists had tremendous command of logistics.  Among other things, they ran a homeless shelter that was more humane than those run by the city even though theirs had little protection from the elements and at ZERO cost to the taxpayer.  Occupy Sandy was also a fairly impressive operation, earning cooperation from other sectors of society.

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:03:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The issue is that those different (6+ / 0-)

        groups of anarchist aren't actually different groups, depending on where you were. The woman serving you food at Occupy Oakland may well have been out tussling with the cops a few hours later. I think that the black bloc folks who went out specifically to get in the scrum with the cops were misguided for the most part, but they were also a tiny bit of Occupy. Were windows even broken anywhere but Oakland? I know that there were some cops/protesters tussles in Denver when OD was evicted, but other than there and Oakland I can't think of any places where there was any significant violence.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:14:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Occupy was a startlingly non-violent movement (7+ / 0-)

          When the press has to cite "knocking over a scale model of City Hall" as an instance of violence, you know you're dealing with a pretty non-violent movement. People in Europe and Latin America (and Africa) would laugh their asses off at the media's assertions that this was a violent movement.

          Just as a postscript, I wish ACM happened sometime other than late Sunday afternoon. It seems like a particularly low-traffic time, and this discussion should get maximum eyes.

          I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 08:58:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you for your suggestion ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, SouthernLiberalinMD

            We tried shifting to an earlier time and we had even fewer people participating in the discussion than we already have. We cannot shift later as we have people that live overseas in Europe that are participating seriously in the discussions.

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:25:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Understood, np (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 11:37:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  There was a kind of pact (13+ / 0-)

        that since Occupy had agreed to be nonviolent, then small dissident groups (call them black bloc if that pleases people) which wanted to oppose the state through damaging corporate property would keep that act of civil disobedience separate from Occupy. It worked, for the most part. Graeber called it the "Gandhian strategy" and it was reminiscent of the fact that Gandhi refused to condemn his more violent comrades, even if he condemned the violence.

        In other words, the idea was that Occupy would not become part of the police department by handing over the tiny few who might damage property, but by respecting this pact, those whose activism might include breaking a corporate window would refrain from doing this, or at least make it clearly separate.

        In Portland, in the Pacific Northwest where the IWW is strongest in the US, and also where various black bloc groups are present, in any given large labor march there are numerous distinct groups dressed all in black, which march peacefully, and their numbers are large enough that they are a significant part of the event. They often wear black simply to show their presence and their numbers. It isn't by definition a group intent on violence. It is a statement of the presence of people with certain sociopolitical views.  

        This is making mountains out of molehills, and is helping the media and police make small incidents into the entire story.

        And then there is the question of how one "purges" people. Do we purge people because they wear black? Wearing all black is popular in the Northwest. You'd have to evict most people sitting in restaurants. Or do you just purge people in the act of breaking a window? How does one go about doing this? Approach them and tell them to leave? And if they don't, what then? Push them? Putting your hands on a person to force them to comply with your assumed personal authority over another is far more violent than damaging a material object, and can escalate a situation into a far worse outcome than broken glass. This is not a hypothetical scenario, protestors have tried to apprehend though physical violence people breaking the random corporate window in the protests on the WTO and World Bank conferences.

        The best way to handle this that I saw is to not try to purge (something to do only in extreme situations) which is itself a highly aggressive act, but instead, start to chant, "This is a peaceful protest" and "We are peaceful people." I've seen this calm down a group very well, and it does not use force, nor does it require trying to assert authority over another which escalates a situation beyond property damage to actual violence against another human being.  Ironically, it is my understanding that violence against people is an act most in black bloc strongly oppose. They tend to completely eschew acts of violence against people, making them in this sense less violent than those who would support an effort to detain them.

        The worst act one can do, and which will likely create more turbulence, is acting on behalf of the State, by becoming an extension of the police force, and turning people in.

        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

        by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:55:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interestingly, this same discussion is going on (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZhenRen, Unca Joseph, AoT, PeterHug, wiljago

          on Juggalo forums. My wife, the kindest and most giving person I know, considers herself a Juggalo.

          Most people who consider themselves part of the Juggalo community are not rock-throwing idiots who shit on car hoods and beat people up, any more than are most self-identified anarchists. ICP themselves, and the people who run their website, have consistently (and profanely) condemned the violence perpetuated by jackasses who proclaim themselves part of the Juggalo community. Neither are they racists: the most recent comment on that topic came from the official ICP forum poster (my wife thinks it was Violent J), who said something like "all the racist fuckheads who think they're Juggalos, fuck the fuck off. You're not a Juggalo if you think that shit."

          I know there were several rallies by OWS and other affiliated groups that were disrupted by flying squads of assholes wearing ICP gear and spray-painting Juggalo slogans on cars and walls. I know some good people harbor some serious and justified anger at said assholes.

          I'm just now learning some of this stuff from my wife, who doesn't go to rallies but follows the discussion on the Internet. Juggalos are very similar to the anarchists involved in the OWS movement (and there seems to be some bleedover between the two very fluid groups). There are violent, brutal idiots identifying themselves as Juggalos, anarchists, or both using the rallies as an excuse to go wilding. The TV cameras love to document their depredations and accuse the entire movement of fomenting and supporting the vandalism and brutality. From what I'm learning, it's a mistake to condemn the "real" Juggalo movement, just as it is a mistake to paint all anarchists as violent nihilists who go to the rallies to throw bottles, vandalize cars, and beat people up.

          I have no doubt some people will respond angrily to this post, and recount terrible (and true) stories of "Juggalo" violence. All I'm saying is that ICP and the people who the band considers "leaders" of the Juggalo movement condemn the violence and the bigotry, and are constantly pressing for people who identify themselves with the movement to keep themselves in check.

          •  The irony (8+ / 0-)

            is the people who broke into FBI facilities more than 40 years ago and stole the documents that told us about COINTELPRO did far more than break a $300 window. They broke into law enforcement headquarters and stole documents, a far more serious crime.

            Everyone lauds them today, as if when something has sat for awhile, and cured a bit, it is then heroic. Lots of contradictions in how people view this.

            I don't think breaking windows generally accomplishes anything, especially during a peaceful action. But breaking in and stealing documents which expose the intelligence operation against activists? Yes, I would support that.

            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

            by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:13:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Historically, purges have been a feature of (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, Brown Thrasher, ZhenRen, wiljago

          totalitarian movements.
            In the context of a (more or less) popular movement like OWS, a purge of "anarchists" would simply be turning power over to the other side, since TPTB could simply focus their attention on particular individuals and defame them until the movement "leaders" decide that the targeted people have become liabilities.

      •   The "violent wing" of (7+ / 0-)

        Anarchists using Black Bloc tactics drove cops back and stopped them from trampling the prone body of a dear friend of mine who had suffered a head injury.

        I've been unarrested.  I certainly wasn't at all upset that few people hit pressure points on cops hands to get me free.

        No movement bent on purging such people has any chance of restructuring the current social and economic order.  

        "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 01:45:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Getting anarchists out of Occupy (11+ / 0-)

      would be like trying to make wine without the fermenting yeast.

      Occupy would not exist if not for anarchists.  

      Anarchists (David Graeber and others) were largely instrumental in founding it, and creating the structure.

      Anarchists are only scary to the misinformed.

      As to following orders, and all which that concept represents, and how that is usually enforced, that is scary.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:13:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, "anarchists" are not just one thing. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Grabber by the Heel, ZhenRen

        There are many flavors, as I understand it.

        I do have an argument with the idea of breaking corporate property, but it's a tactical one and probably doesn't belong in any space where it could be turned into fuel for the dominant political narrative.

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 09:01:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Most ananarchists don't go out and (4+ / 0-)

          wantonly break windows due to the tactical concerns. It is a tiny few who do this. If one looks at the history, over the past 100 years anarchists, as a movement, have been far, far less violent than groups representing other movements which actually hold power.

          As to anarchism and its flavors, the only kind that most anarchists recognize are anticapitalists. But within this umbrella there are anarcha-feminists, anarcho-communists, collectivists, mutualists, individualists (a small few, mostly American), anarchists-without-adjectives, primitivists, anarcho-pacifists, and so on. Most of these differences are not large, and are generally reconcilable among anarchists. All reject capitalism, wage slavery, all but the individualists reject private property used in production, and all reject central authority and hierarchy.

          As to strategy, there are a lot of different ideas, but all reject unjustified forms of authority, and thus they reject violence and war except when used in self defense. How violence is defined is broken into violence which harms persons, and violence against property.

          The worst violence of all has been committed by States representing every major kind of political theory. Fascism, capitalism, Marxist-Leninism, Stalinism, monarchism, feudalism, all have been involved in atrocities of such horrific scale that the kids expressing angst with window breaking pale by comparison. And yet we're talking about this instead of real violence committed by the State, which people keep dutifully voting for.

          Odd the the recent drone bombings which violate international law and kill people attending weddings, funerals, or first responders to wounded don't amount to much in the news, and people actually keep voting loyally for the leaders and the parties responsible, while condemning a broken window or two.

          When one looks at the strange up-side down nature of this discussion, it becomes clear which groups are deciding where the focus belongs.

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 12:54:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  What good does turning a demonstration about (0+ / 0-)

        international trade or income equality into a news story about breaking a few windows, or over turning trash cans? Finish the story with a scuffle with the police and, you have a news story about violent demonstrators. The cops get a pass and the reason people hit the streets is never told.

        Since the corporate media will only talk about a broken window and not thousands of peaceful people and the cause they support, violence seems a luxury any social movement trying to gain national support can't afford.

        Defending the violence just seems dumb.

        •  The media is our enemy (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, ZhenRen, petral, wiljago

          not someone we have to pander to. They will ignore the demonstration if there are no broken windows, as they always do, and focus on the broken windows when there are broken windows. And seriously, Oakland is literally the only place I know of where this was a problem, with the exception of one possible case in NYC. And there are always going to be people who break a window at a protest in the Bay area.

          It's been happening for decades now. Liberals are obsessed with broken windows as some sort of death knell of any movement. It's absurd honestly. These news stories are never "turned into" anything. The news and the police will either find a way to make it about violence or they'll ignore it. I can't tell you how many times I've been at a protest that "turned violent" according to the press, when really that means the police attacked the protest.

          As for what good it does, well, it certainly gets the protest on the news.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 11:23:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Disagree. Whether the violence is started by the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            police or demonstrators the story is about the violence unless peaceful people can prove they were peaceful. And having roving bands of masked droogies running about breaking things makes that hard.

            Imagine the difference in the perception of what took place during the WTO action in Seattle if there had been a few MSNBC progressive commenters to report on what really happened on the 3rd day?

            Black block action was a smokescreen for police violence and buried the fact that Seattle officials broke the agreement with peaceful protestors and were responsible for the riot that was the result.

            The anti-WTO movement left Seattle on a stretcher instead of the triumphant international movement it could have been. And it was the violence that that caused this.    

            •  The anti-WTO movement was successful (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ZhenRen, wiljago

              FTAA was stopped and the Doha round was also stopped. The anti-globalization movement is a great example of how this sort of organizing works.

              The WTO has to hide any time it wants to have a meeting now, and it's a well known name. I can only hope that Occupy has half the success of the anti-globalization movement.

              Whether the violence is started by the (0+ / 0-)
              police or demonstrators the story is about the violence unless peaceful people can prove they were peaceful.
              No, it'll be about the violence either way. In the latter case it will be about police violence and then people will come out and say that we're "making it about the police" like they did with Occupy.

              Doing anything to please the media is a waste of resources. Period. No need to attack them needlessly, but there's no reason to bother with defending ourselves to the press endlessly. Honestly, I'd rather see the press be shunned as the corporate shills that they are.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 12:35:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The fact that that the 20 somethings of the WTO (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                fights are now 40 somethings and are being hammered still by the Davos crowd and their kennel of flea bitten bankers pols and lawyers gives me hope. These people have long 'anti- institutional' memories and won't be suckers for a deal like the TPP. And yes the WTO has gone to ground and Davos is a Fortress of Fuckatude in the vasty sno covered mts, but because these undesirables are out of sight doesn't mean they aren't skulking around like 'The Old Man of the Mt'.  

                I both appreciate and deplore what anarchists do. After all it is a pretty complex movement, and historically so. I often disagree with Graeber, but I wouldn't want to play him checkers for money. And the OWS he and other anarchists midwifed, has clearly changed the plying field to the benefit of most of us and to the consternation of Wall St. Even a little bit of that is a lot.

                 As to victory in Seattle, a group of us rented buses in Southern Oregon and Eugene and showed up with high spirits and energy, but we left hearing sirens and with the stink of tear gas in our noses. It didn't feel like winning at the time. But I could be missing the big picture because of the angle I viewed things from.

                But maybe you are missing the change in the media that is to our benefit. Remember how deflating it was after taking part in the demonstrations against the Iraq war? The largest demonstration in world history, and then not seeing it reported in America? I don't think that could happen again. Online news and even the corporate owned msnbc would report such a huge story. I think the ability of  the warring 1% to step on such news is over. So I think we should smile for the cameras, wear a clean shirt, and not break windows. Better to look confident and right than angry desperate.

                Anyway I really do need to dig into the aftermath of Seattle again. You are not alone in thinking we won a great deal there and maybe I just refuse to see it. So thanks.

                 

                •  In regards to Seattle (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Grabber by the Heel, wiljago

                  The black bloc that got all the TV time was the least useful action, for the most part. The black bloc that was blockading the entrances is why the folks in charge flipped their shit and pulled out the tear gas. If you look back at the pictures there were virtually no police at all going after the folks who smashed up Niketown etc. The cops were all going after the  ones doing the most useful actions, the ones who weren't breaking windows. That's normally the case.

                  But maybe you are missing the change in the media that is to our benefit. Remember how deflating it was after taking part in the demonstrations against the Iraq war? The largest demonstration in world history, and then not seeing it reported in America? I don't think that could happen again. Online news and even the corporate owned msnbc would report such a huge story. I think the ability of  the warring 1% to step on such news is over. So I think we should smile for the cameras, wear a clean shirt, and not break windows. Better to look confident and right than angry desperate.
                  I'm of the mind that big demonstrations don't accomplish much. I'm surely influenced by my experiences with protesting the Iraq War, as that was where my activism started. Even if the media does report it accurately and honestly I don't see that it does a whole lot of good. Maybe a big march once a year so that you can really show your numbers, but I don't see the practical benefits beyond that.
                  Anyway I really do need to dig into the aftermath of Seattle again. You are not alone in thinking we won a great deal there and maybe I just refuse to see it. So thanks.
                  I think it's easy to miss because it was a defensive victory. We stopped the supposed inevitability of neoliberalism and because of that it's been a bit hushed up and swept under the rug. We stopped the inexorable march of neoliberalism, but we didn't manage to turn back the tide because of 9/11 a couple of years later. In many ways I think that Occupy is an outgrowth of the anti-globalization movement. The fact that we started a week after the ten year anniversary of 9/11 and catty corner to the WTC site was very appropriate in my mind.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 02:46:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think demonstrations are still important. I (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    can't imagine anyone who prepared for the sit ins or march in Seattle, traveled 100s or 1'000s of miles to take part ever forgetting what they did or why they did it.

                    I have always felt the power and impact of what was done was marred by the violence planned by some anarchists. I hated seeing Seattle smashed up. Most North Westerners did.

                    What the police did at the sit in to the peaceful protestors, anarchists and everybody else, was criminal. We very much agree on that. And how it was reported was appalling.

                    I'm thinking that we both agree that OWS is the most exciting and most effective movement to come along since the anti-globalization movement, and I hope there are going to be more evolutions and morphs of the movement to take part in.

                    But AoT, we just ain't ever going to agree on the window breaking.

                •  Also, we're not all 40 somethings (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Grabber by the Heel, wiljago

                  Seattle was only 15 year ago. Although I'll be damned if it doesn't seem a life time. At this point it feels like Occupy happened a decade ago and not three years. It's been a ride, that's for sure.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 02:48:58 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  You're still speaking as if... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Unca Joseph, wiljago

          the media can be controlled by people. They accept the story told by police because that is a story issued from authority, and the media tends to side with authority especially when authority, as an aggregate held by two parties, is in agreement to crush a movement. Many of the police were under orders from Democratic mayors whom many reading here voted for.

          One cannot tell the media what to report, or have predictable influence, unless one is part of law enforcement which upholds the authority of the State.

          In other words, despite the fact that most events have been peaceful, the tactic of police is to attack, create an excuse to crack down, and then blame it on the protestors. The number of videos one records which show police violence won't matter. Police will claim it was justified, that a few cops may have been too aggressive out of fear for their lives, but that it was incited by the "unruly mob," which the ruling class fears.

          No one is defending the violence against corporate property, only that it is foolhardy to be manipulated into joining with the police (who violently enforce the very system which is the object of our direct action), to fight with people who want to break a window.

          This would only be used as confirmation that the group had infighting about tactics, and this, too would be blown out of proportion. It is strategically stupid and ethically wrong to turn the tiny group of people who break windows over to the draconian justice system (unless arrest is sought as a form of resistance), or to fight with them, or squabble with them about tactics in the middle of an action.

          It's best to use a different approach.

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 01:23:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •   I always assume I'm in danger of police (0+ / 0-)

            violence when I go to a march or demonstration. I also think police are much more casually violent in all aspects of their jobs then they were 20 or 30 years ago.

            But I also think that people who break a window at a march or try to provoke the police at an action that is supposed to be non-violent are just assholes. Let peaceful people take their chances with the cops at a peaceful monday rally and if you want, go on a window breaking rampage on tuesday and take your chances with the cops.

             I think the media environment is changing. And that that should be taken into consideration. And I do disagree with people who are violent at demonstrations most participants expect to be peaceful. I don't care who knows I disagree. I'm not in anybodies army.

            I grew up watching the Civil Rights Movement unfold on the evening news. The images of peaceful protestors being abused by violent racist police woke up the country's  conscience. I remember seeing a news clip of people standing in line to register to vote in Alabama. A bull sized white cop walked up to a guy standing peacefully in the line and punched him to the ground. The black man, in his sunday best, stood up, dusted  himself off, got back in line and put his hands in his pockets. He never even looked at the cop. I had seen the news but I had never seen anyone be so courageous on the news. Images can matter.

            When I see young guys in masks break a window and give the police an excuse to charge a crowd of peaceful people it
            doesn't look courageous to me, much less useful to any cause.

            I don't understand the defense of meaningless property destruction for destructions sake. What's the point? Most people at a demonstration know the police in their black armor and riot toys are itching to fuck somebody up. Why give them cake? Better to allow people to make a point peacefully than to reduce every action to a football riot.

            •  Okay (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Grabber by the Heel, wiljago

              But my point was about the notion of purging and other aggressions against the one or two who broke a window at an Occupy events.

              "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

              by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:37:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  The point of property destruction? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ZhenRen

              Well, there a couple. First, to make clear how angry you are. Second, because the false equivalence of property destruction and violence against people is stupid and wrong and breaking things is  an attempt to illustrate that. Third, because any resistance is good resistance. In regards to anarchists the point is never to provoke police, there's no need to do that as police will attack on their own without provocation. Or with such provocation as a person standing in the wrong place.

              To be honest, of the three of these the second strikes me as being the least supportable. I think that only people who already agree that it's absurd that we do violence against people to protect property will see the actions and make that connection. And I don't need to see the actions to know it's a problem.

              The first certainly isn't a great strategy, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that seeing someone break the window of a McDonalds doesn't evoke a response that is very sympathetic. There's a deep anger that is directed toward these multinational corporations that have so much control of our lives and I think it's understandable that people would strike out against them.

              Which relates pretty obviously to the last point. Resisting the neoliberal agenda is a good thing, so by that rationale shouldn't any resistance be good. It may not be useful, but it's better to have some visible resistance in the streets rather than none.

              So it isn't meaningless violence. Very rarely is violence meaningless. We are rarely presented with the context, and often the context makes the meaning pretty horrible like in spousal abuse or hate crimes, but the idea that it is meaningless is just wrong.

              And I certainly realize the power of non-violence, but even MLK understood why there were riots in the 60s. It may not be especially useful, but the idea that it's random violence for violence's sake is the media line.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 05:52:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am familiar with all the justifications for (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                property destruction by anarchists you just posted. And I am not opposed to 'monkey wrenching' if no one is endangered. What happened at the Boston Tea Party? An odious, guilty corporation got its product dumped in a harbor. Getting caught for sugaring a logging truck gas tank is pretty grim, but if you are willing to put your freedom on the line with your eyes wide open, that shows real belief and an acceptance of real consequences.  

                But the rampaging among peaceful demonstrators, in fact using them as cover for attacking corporate property and making a getaway is wrong I think. If cops pounding on people for breaking a McDonalds window is wrong, why isn't putting innocent people in danger near that window wrong? Why not take down that McDonalds at night? You'd put some fast food workers on unemployment for a while, but you'd put a bunch of construction workers on the job. And anybody who might get hurt would be somebody dedicated to the action and willing to take the hit.

                You say all resistance to neoliberalism is good. Then why isn't peaceful mass protest good? Why not respect that effort?

                The support of property destruction during peaceful demonstrations by anarchists is more like a theological choice, I think, than a practical tactic that advances an effort for real people against corporate people. It makes no more sense to me than the trinity.

                I'm winding down. I don't have much interest in putting myself in danger anymore wether it's rafting a river, taking a saw to a tree, or getting trampled at a demonstration. So there's that.

                •  I agree with you about the way (0+ / 0-)

                  that people endanger other protesters. I'm not trying to justify all property destruction by any means, I was just explaining the justifications because you were talking about it being meaningless.

                  But the rampaging among peaceful demonstrators, in fact using them as cover for attacking corporate property and making a getaway is wrong I think.
                  Have you been at a protest where there was a black bloc? They rarely if ever break windows among peaceful protesters. You seem to have some caricature of the black bloc that just doesn't exist. They happen at the same protest at times, but rarely at the same place as peaceful protesters. At least that's nearly always been the case at protests I've been to. The black bloc breaks away from the march and does it's thing elsewhere.
                  If cops pounding on people for breaking a McDonalds window is wrong, why isn't putting innocent people in danger near that window wrong?
                  Breaking a window doesn't necessarily put people in danger. I'm sorry, but this all seems to be based on some pretty big misconceptions about how these things happen.
                  You say all resistance to neoliberalism is good. Then why isn't peaceful mass protest good? Why not respect that effort?
                  Why would you think I'm against peaceful resistance? Why do you think I don't respect that? I don't know how useful mass peaceful protest is but I think it's  good for people to resist.

                  I think the support of non-violence has turned into a theological position rather than a position that is thought out. Gandhi and MLK are invokes as if they are unquestionable. Not by you, so I'm clear, but I see it happen a lot. The idea that being non-violent is necessarily better has achieved mythical status that isn't justified by the reality.

                  And lets not forget that non-violent protest isn't completely harmless. I mean, anti-life folks can use it to stop abortions just as well as pro-peace people can use it. We tend to support things that are based on inaction more than based on action due to human moral psychology, but when you look at it objectively monkey wrenching can be far more harmful that breaking a window.

                  The left in the US is afraid of taking action in any way that isn't prescribed by "non-violence" and will instinctively attack anyone who acts outside of that frame. It's been trained into us by the ruling class. I think it's absurd that people are so knee jerk against any sort of property destruction and automatically view it as some horrible aberration. It's not though, it's a natural reaction to political repression.

                  It's rarely the best tactic, but it's understandable and it's far from meaningless.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 08:55:06 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I am not involved in any organized advocacy of any (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    cause or effort these days. So I am a little reluctant to be critical of anyone who is. But I have been involved over the years in activism everywhere I have lived for any length of time. I have been in marches or demonstrations from New York to L.A. and in the cities and small communities of the Northwest, I have been active and employed by organizations trying to make peoples lives and communities better place to live and work. And everywhere I have been involved in public protest or advocacy I have rubbed shoulders with anarchists. And especially in Oregon where I live. There is a large community of anarchists in the Eugene area and they have never done anything in my opinion but fuck over the efforts of any advocacy action the selfish, self righteous, juvenal little fucksticks got near, including Seattle.

                    I greatly admire the efforts of the South American Labor Syndicalists who were anarchists. That their efforts were eventually defeated doesn't mean they weren't right or effective before they got pounded, or that they shouldn't be studied by anyone who wants to make life better for working people. But as I stated earlier, anarchism is a big animal with a complex history. If I don't have a very high opinion of anarchists I have been unfortunate enough to encounter in my neck of the woods, it is not entirely my fault. They are a bunch of assholes and seem to always have to prove that they are a bunch of assholes. And the fuckers got lots of peaceful protestors beat up in Seattle and you must know it. We had a post Seattle meeting at our City Hall after the WTO action. There were that many of us from our community in the effort. And those who took part in the sit ins and street closures in particular, were as angry at the anarchists as they were the police. Nobody likes being between a riot cop and an anarchist who sprays piss on the cop. Sprays piss and then runs away, changes cloths, and then sprays some more piss and gets more innocents beat up or trampled.  

                    I recognize that they probably think I am an ineffective wrongheaded asshole and that they are not every anarchist or anarchist group in the big wide world. And thats good, because the Eugene area anarchists are ineffective and proven wrong headed assholes who do more harm than good anywhere they show up.

                    Just my opinion.

                    I hope you aren't from Eugene AoT. Because except for the (to me) puzzling support of window breaking (?) you obviously get up in the morning and go to work for others and think while you're doing it.

                    I am not opposed to property destruction, or even violence, if it achieves a greater good. I see what is done to people the world over. I just don't think in our fat unhappy and dumbass country, that efforts against the people killing 1% plutocracy is served by getting the worlds attention… so you can show how to break a window.

                    Because the cops in every country on the planet will beat people up if they take to the streets is no reason to give them a fucking alibi for doing it.

                    •  To be clear, I'm not supporting anything. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Grabber by the Heel

                      I just think it's a reasonable response to political frustration. I've never seen a broken window help politically, but I certainly identify with the anger that it expresses. And just as importantly I think that we can disagree with it as a tactic and not denounce the people who utilize the tactic. There are a lot of people who's goals I agree with and who's means I do not.

                      I've bee to Eugene, and participated in an anarchist forum there. Although that was about a decade ago now when anarcho-primitivism was the flavor du jour. I thought that whole ideology was foolish from the start and still do. I can't tell you how frustrating it was to see Hedges trot it out as some sort of contemporary theory that we had to rail against. Now it's primarily the insurrectionists that are driving the window breaking.

                      Really for me it's just not a huge issue. It's going to happen when you have a big movement and the people who are doing it aren't going to be shamed out of doing it, so why give it a ton of attention. Protests are not for the media as far as I'm concerned, they're for the protesters. The media is going to put a shitty spin on it either way.

                      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                      by AoT on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 01:09:43 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And I'm galloping my hobby horse to a frothy (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        AoT

                        exhaustion. I'm glad you have checked out the goof asses in Eugene. If I'm a little too hot about the anarchists I've encountered in public actions and efforts you know why.

                        But you have convinced me that I should stop equating Anarchist with Eugenist so good.

                        I'll read ya later.

                        •  Thank you for the discussion (0+ / 0-)

                          I feel like we've tried to discus this before and gotten no where and ended up simply annoyed with each other and I'm really glad that we chad this chance.

                          I'll be honest, it's folks like you that keep me coming back to DK.

                          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                          by AoT on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 06:46:28 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Aside from the animal epithet (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Grabber by the Heel, AoT
                      But as I stated earlier, anarchism is a big animal with a complex history.
                      Yes, it is, ranging from thinkers like Chomsky to writers and activists like Graeber, to punk rockers. And your experience with a few in your city reflects one anecdote. I could say the same about members of the Democratic party (best to not even go there other than to summarize with one phrase: tacit support of intentional drone bombing of civilians), or members of the red cross. Or members of any other group. People anywhere and everywhere can be assholes.

                      Here's the other side of the presence of people who can destroy a movement, which I wrote about downthread:

                      In Portland, there were Occupy police liaisons who objected to the anti-authoritarianism so much that when they learned from police about a planned crackdown to get camping Occupiers off a section of a street they had barricaded for camp use, these liaisons kept it a secret from their fellow Occupiers, because they didn't agree with a specific consensus to barricade that section of a street. It was a highly contested plan, to be sure, and arguably an excessively provocative mistake, but to arrange a secret plan for police to come in and remove people from that section of street in an early morning raid was the worst possible approach. In fact, it was the kind of betrayal that would anger precisely the faction you oppose. They were willing to work with police to have these Occupiers arrested without even warning them.

                      Now that was a movement destroying action which the media would love to tell. Break windows: Bad! Work with police and get Occupiers arrested: Good, good, good. And yet, this sort of thing has not even been part of the discussion. I wonder what Hedges would say about that (providing he even knows of these kind of problems)? This comes down to a divide between authoritarianism and non-authoritarianism.

                      I know that there are some really young anarchists who are a pain in the ass, and I attribute this more to their youth than to their philosophy. But these police liaisons had no such excuse: these were people much older.

                      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                      by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 01:57:03 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Wasn't meant to be an epithet. And walking your (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        ZhenRen

                        friends into an arrest is pretty low.

                        •  A completely self-serving (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Grabber by the Heel

                          undemocratic, autocratic betrayal of everything Occupy was trying to accomplish. The decision to Occupy the street reached consensus. The liasisons went to police on their own, having the attitude that this was wrong to do, and kept the information on the raid to themselves.

                          This is far more destructive to a movement than breaking windows.

                          And lets bring this back to reality. When one considers the thousands of attendees to Occupy events, and the peaceful behavior of those thousands, to ignore that and speak of a few small incidents is a complete distortion that only serves to discredit a movement, which essentially is not much different than what this group of police liaisons did in Portland. It plays into the false narrative of the status quo supporters.

                          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                          by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 02:36:02 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

    •  "anarchists are frightening to most Americans" (14+ / 0-)

      At one time, so were the gays.

      I wonder how many people would say they are afraid of Muslims.

      This isn't a popularity contest. You don't purge people because they're not popular.....well, unless you're a Republican. That's what they do.

      Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

      by psychodrew on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:34:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If an unpopular tactic becomes a bigger story (0+ / 0-)

        than a movements goals or cause, you should get rid of the tactic.

        I don't mind anarchists, but I don't like it when anarchists start busting up a place I'm marching or rallying at. Especially when I've been encouraged to show up because it is a peaceful action.

        Black blocking seems a lot like soccer rioting. Can anyone explain what good the window breaking ever does?

    •  How far have the people who don't wear GF masks (0+ / 0-)

      gotten us in the last 35 years?

      They've lowered our standard of living, made health care far less affordable, made housing less available, and shoved our wages down in real dollars while driving up the hours we have to work each week to survive.

      "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 01:41:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Anarchists have been the recipients of a century (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, Brown Thrasher, petral, wiljago, ZhenRen

      and a half of negative campaigning. But anarchism is one of the few possible alternatives to the present system. And anarchists provided much of the energy for OWS.
         Anarchists should certainly be allowed to make their case.
         As for voting: For what? If you really want to change the system, more canvassing for Democrats won't get it done. The Dems are barely even incrementalists.
         The question then: What would this hypothetical new OWS stand for?

  •  Thanks for keeping this question in the present (6+ / 0-)

    A critical mass at the scale expected by OWS unfortunately comes from historical circumstances and OWS remains an important idea, but far too focused on kinds of actions sadly less effective than in other nations. A Left Unity in the US would be wonderful but that seems be nearly impossible given the ideological race, gender, class factionalism, infiltration by security forces, the intransigence of a non-progressive Democratic Party. Much of this is tied to the lack of a coherent analysis of the necessary failure of capitalism However, some national issues with clear socialist ends like free universal healthcare could be transformative at nearly all levels.

    Working out solutions to these problems should be the first step forward in building a new movement, and the common complaints about Occupy don't address them at all.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:41:24 PM PST

    •  I disagree that historical circumstances are what (6+ / 0-)

      was needed. It was a failure of organizing. Working toward a left unity is the goal right now. Dealing with privilege while avoiding getting mired down with identity politics, in the worst sense of identity politics, and pushing for an intersectionalist form of organization are the ways to move toward that. The specifics are rather broad and vary from place to place though.

      Much of this is tied to the lack of a coherent analysis of the necessary failure of capitalism
      In what sense do you mean this? Do you mean capitalism will necessarily be ended or that capitalism will fail to actually serve it's purpose as defined by propaganda?

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:51:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes. /nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, northsylvania

        Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

        by annieli on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:54:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  also, organizing failure is symptomatic of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        historical circumstance and inseperable. While at its core a labor movement, it is also an investors movement and a manager's movement in that management needs to be collectivised

        Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

        by annieli on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:00:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think it is a combination of the objective (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, annieli, Unca Joseph

        and subjective (organizing tactics) conditions. (pure Marxist dialectic perspective).  However, much as  like some of my friends who are working with Left Unity, from what I've seen of the behavior during the struggle for points of unity , left unity seems to have too much of the old left (complete with racism and sexism and lack of real democracy) to be the answer.  Of course it is always easy to criticize and feel superior when you are above the fray instead of in the thick of the struggle (which is my current position) when it comes to left political parties.

      •  It's interesting to look at anarchist Spain (8+ / 0-)

        whose history goes back to the 19th century, when Bakunin sent, in 1868, Giuseppe Fanellito to Spain to help inform activists there of anarchist ideas and to form a group who would attend the first international. Anarchism caught on very well in Spain, and was stronger than Marxism in that region. The CNT union was formed, along with the FAI, both anarchist organizations, with the CNT having a large membership in pre-civil war days. When the fascists tried to take over, the anarchists were primed and ready, organizationally, to take advantage of the situation.

        I bring this up because instead of viewing Occupy as a failure (a view I don't agree with), one should view it as a resurgence of this anarchic form of organizing in the US. When I was at Occupy in Portland, I would find myself in discussion with another random person, and it would gradually become evident that we were both anarchists. We would look at each other, and think, wow, here's a person of like mind. I don't think we all realized what was right in front of us, that many standing around self-identified to varying degrees with the anarchist movement. No one came right out and said, "hey, let's call this an anarchist effort" but the thought was there in many of those who were present.

        The next time this happens, it will take another step forward, and then another. I'm sure this is the way it was in Spain, as well. So, in my view Occupy opened up a lot of people who were receptive to its organizational form, and this won't be forgotten. The young people in Portland seemed to love it.

        Time will tell, but to say it was a failure is an impatient view, reflecting expectations that were too high. Graeber spoke of the attitude he and others had at those first meetings, that they had low expectations, and had no idea what was being sparked off.

        If one's expectations were too high (as some were) then I can see why it may have been disappointing, but to those of us who had no expectations, it was pure joy to see.

        It takes time to build a movement.

        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

        by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 08:42:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  this^ (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, ZhenRen

          yes. every word.

          We should also review & evaluate the successes. What did work? and of course, how do you define "success", lol, but yeah.... there were many many gains in ways that may not become apparent for some time yet. Zeitgeist.

          Let me just add briefly here, ZhenRen, your numerous commentaries explaining Anarchism history, concepts etc, have been invaluable to me. I dont have time to read the books!... so ...  thank you, don't think it all falls on deaf ears.

          If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

          by Lady Libertine on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 07:58:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Three of the biggest failures of Occupy were: (15+ / 0-)

    1. Media
    2. Media
    3. Media

    Had the U.S. legacy media covered OWS in any manner similar to the Arab Spring or other such revolutions around the globe, the empowerment of OWS would have been off the charts.  And OWS happened in the U.S. legacy media's own back yard.

    There was something more in play.  It had nothing (directly) to do with OWS.  It had everything to do with the flow of money and the power to control that flow.  Media conglomerates Disney, Time/Warner, Universal, and News Corp. handled that end of the issue.

    •  Unfortunately, we have to look at the outcome of (8+ / 0-)

      Egypt when we plan forward.

      •  And that is a very real problem. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, petral

        Certain factions want to graft themselves onto successful movements so they themselves will be perceived as the authors of that success. Often they will be working against the wishes of the majority, but the majority catches on too late, sand when they do eventually rebel against that faction, another one arises to take its place, rinse and repeat.
        I would disagree with Geminijen, and her unease with Left Unity movements. They are very useful in that they give an overview of the field: who the team players are, and who might be likely to be opportunists. I know a lot less about UK Left Unity than I should, but can attest that the Greens have any number of issues in terms of who might take over what would seem to be a single issue party, but one that could have racist or class overtones if care isn't taken to prevent them.

        "The 'Middle' is a crowded place - that is where the effective power is - the extreme right and left might annoy governments, but the middle terrifies them." Johnny Linehan

        by northsylvania on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 02:18:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If the media can kill any movement (18+ / 0-)

      then no movement will ever succeed. We, on the left, have an obsession with the media as being an enemy and yet we insist on treating them as if they're a ref. We need to ignore the media and build a movement anyway.

      And OWS happened in the U.S. legacy media's own back yard.
      One of the reasons we got noticed as much as we did, as far as I'm concerned.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:25:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Occupy did penetrate through the media (13+ / 0-)

      That's how it made the 1% vs 99% theme a worldwide household term. And media is different with those who were influenced by Occupy. The youth often ignore traditional media. How else did Occupy become established in 2000 cities around the world? Facebook, and the internet.

      And Occupy was given far more airtime than many other movements. I think Graeber has a good point in the concept that revolutions often don't topple a government so much as they begin to change the culture, the "common sense" that informs people of what are norms. And from these cultural changes come changes in politics.

      The concept of the hegemony of the 1% has become far more discussed since Occupy. Even the status quo supporting TV pundits and others now use the phrase with more acceptance and a far greater comfort level.

      The full effects may take longer to measure. It will be interesting to read what historians say 20 years from now.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 08:09:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Media Trusts will never, ever, be on the side (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flowerfarmer, AoT, Brown Thrasher

      of social movements which threaten them.

      "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 01:50:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That said, OWS was, IMO (5+ / 0-)

      brilliant in its dealing with the media behemoth. Just fucking brilliant. I take my hat off to the people actually sleeping in the parks who were directly interacting with the press, including our own Ministry of Truth, whose takedown of Fox remains epic.

      I take it from the diary that AoT doesn't entirely agree with me on this point. I'd like to know why.

      At its height, OWS had a 45% approval rating, higher than any politician but the President, and neck-and-neck with him. That's unheard of, to be that popular that fast, esp. while being subjected to constant hostile framing by most of the media. To me, OWS' management of media is one of its greatest successes.

      Here's one reason why:  (I never miss a chance to repost this awesomeness)

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 09:12:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A Basic Assessment Problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, radmul, Black Max

    I think your basic assessment of what derailed Occupy is off; thus, what your building off that assessment is off.

    I tried in a simple comic to nail why Occupy derailed (click the image to view full-sized):

    http://imageshack.com/a/img22/7097/5mdd.png

    There's also an important article by Jonathan Smucker. If it
    had been heeded, we might have gotten the broad-scale mass movement we
    needed and still need.

    •  "We", eh? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm sure a few more opportunists trying to move merch was just what was lacking.

      "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 01:53:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wouldn't care. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lavender Menace

        Movements are messy, especially as they gain critical mass. A few opportunists trying to move merch is inconsequential. What was missing was everyone else. They did show up were shooed away, as my comic displays.

        Now what?

        •  They were scared away by police violence (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brown Thrasher, petral

          Constant police violence. Not a few broken windows.

          And that "suicide letter" you reference has nothing to do with Anarchists nor is it remotely a suicide letter. I don't even know where to begin really. It would have been nice if you could have addressed what I wrote rather than just plopped your content here with no actual explanation.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 08:40:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Nope. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, JayRaye

      The "anarchist" problem, which was really a media smear problem buttressed by a few ill-conceived tactics (IMO), is not what derailed Occupy.

      It blows my mind that after watching on livestream while lots and lots of armed guys in riot gear, bulldozers, and sometimes even armored vehicles took down the Occupations, that after all that we're still searching our minds for why the movement "failed," or at least declined in numbers and declined out of public view.

      It's like there's this smug assumption behind all our analyses, something like:  "Well, no real movement worth its salt would ever be taken down by mere guns and tear gas and armored cars and bulldozers, so obviously the problem must be [fill in the blank here]."

      The problems were: 1)basically a paramilitary takedown of the squares, 2)infiltration, 3)lack of an adequate backup plan for how the movement would respond when the paramilitary takedown drove it out of the squares, mostly b/c people refused to admit we could lose the squares (at least where I was) and so refused to prepare for it, and 4)the bottom-up consensus model of Occupy being, unfortunately, extraordinarily vulnerable to the exact kind of infiltrators we were riddled with.

      That's my assessment, and only 3 and 4 were problems with the movement. I consider problem #3 the greatest failure of Occupy.

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 09:24:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Purge shills. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, Geminijen

    The original Zuccotti crew got hammered by RWNJ financed or simply criminal shills.

    -- Do background checks.

    -- Don't take anything at face value where people want leadership roles.

    -- For gawd sake don't let the money fall under control of one person.

    -- Same for web sites. And have software checked more than twice.

    -- Assume the RW orgs everywhere are out to get you. Not much for limits.

    -- Ask about the Italian fascist gal who visited Oakland.

    -- Ask BB about the gasoline poured in the pail at Zuccotti.

    Anything else?

    "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

    by waterstreet2013 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:23:45 PM PST

    •  I was one of the original Zuccotti crew (9+ / 0-)

      I was the first person doing the UPS runs and bottom lining shipping. I'm sure we talked at some point or another.

      I agree with all of what you're saying except possibly the first one. I don't think that would help a whole ton and I think it would hurt depending on who you're doing the checks on. Do you mean specifically for folks dealing with money? Or where there other things?

      I hadn't heard anything about the Italian fascist in oakland, could you tell me more?

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:40:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  She came in with a sign in English (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        that included "Kill Cops!"

        A rxt fxckxr with boobs. And a mask. RWNJs are pretty much the same all over. They're inspired by the like of Karl Rove and Nixon's crew and the Iran-Contra scam.

        Also, you might lose someone here and there doing background checks. The alternative is that big money wingers get a free path to sabotaging your operation and getting people arrested by the hundreds to their own ends.

        "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

        by waterstreet2013 on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 04:56:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In Oakland we probably would have lost a lot (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          waterstreet2013, petral

          of people. The community there has been hit heavily by the war on drugs and the prison industrial complex. Even when I was working in shipping in NYC there were folks who had just got out of Riker's who were working with us who were changing their life. For the most part being alert and active is the best way to stop sabotage in my experience.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 08:53:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No way. You have to check for anti-abortion (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            activists, Tea Party, outright criminals, other RW paid shills.

            There's no shortage of them.

            "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

            by waterstreet2013 on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 09:08:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's a lot of resources (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              waterstreet2013

              to weed people out. How hard are these back ground checks?

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 10:07:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Connect with and set up a unit for Occupy (0+ / 0-)

                Security. Half to do physical threats and negotiate with local law enforcement. The other half to do backgrounders.

                Not surprisingly, shills often present with fake identities. Doing criminal checks is available through online resources. The usual social media connections do seem to work for RW activists -- they go RW before they decide to work as shills.

                Weeding out the worst of the infiltrators is a fine, useful application of your older volunteers' man hours. At OWS we ID'd a couple dozen shills and worse. A couple of them had outstanding warrants for felonies, one a career criminal.

                "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

                by waterstreet2013 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 09:24:41 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Laisons with authority (0+ / 0-)

                  always end up manipulated by authority, precisely because it views itself as being in control, or at least that it should be in control. It sees itself as higher in rank.

                  So, it will begin to use the liaison point person as a way to issue commands and achieve cooperation, and once people are cooperating with police, it isn't direct action. Is is working within the system. They will find ways to limit an action, and keep pushing this need "in the name of safety" until an action is penned up behind all sorts of lines it should not cross, and then once these "agreements" are violated, the designated liaisons will be told by police they're not doing their jobs, and to get people in line. Once this happens, you're an extension of the police force.

                  The police are acting out of political strategies more than legal ones, and the relationship is not really an honest one in that sense. It is a wrestling match with only one purpose as far as police are concerned: Limit and eventually disperse the movement.

                  "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                  by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:01:58 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Background checks (0+ / 0-)

                  1) Cost money

                  2) Destroy the concept of free association, since members can't simply show up when they have time.

                  3) Many people refuse to turn over personal information to a self-appointed authority, due to lack of trust. Many would ask, "How do I know you're not the police? What are you going to do with this information? How do I know your (cough) police liaison won't turn this stuff over, or that it won't be seized in a police raid?"

                  Etc.

                  So, this is not the most well-thought out idea, and would kill a movement. And it is very authoritarian.

                  "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                  by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:09:44 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Bull......... (0+ / 0-)

                    100%. Helluvan effort to protect infiltrators.

                    "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

                    by waterstreet2013 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 11:59:10 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I note the quick resort to accusation (0+ / 0-)

                      ...the hallmark of divisive conduct. This kind of approach in tactics and attitude are what destroy a movement. You would end up with the most prosaic of all movements, eliminating swaths of members, along with their resources of imagination and creativity, and you would remove the very spirit of civil disobedience. It would be an excessively controlled little club of authoritarians.

                      Organizations have succeeded long before background checks were even technologically available. Perhaps the best approach is to have very clear organizational basis in theory, and come up with clear agreements on tactics, and then deal case by case with potential provocateurs. Basing the local organization on small affinity and working groups, using the spokescouncil approach, can eliminate a big part of this. People in small affinity groups can be wary of infiltration, and since they will know each other, it can help to reduce this problem. When someone suggests something way out of line, people will be alerted that something may be amiss. And then the idea can be opposed without accusation, lacking solid evidence of infiltration. Each person can be part of this effort. And that's the basis of direct democracy. Each person has a responsibility to oppose any action which goes against the agree upon goals and purposes of the group. And sexism, racism, all can be opposed this way.

                      Besides, police and other organizations can recruit people with clean backgrounds and get around this approach. And what is a clean background? Would you eliminate anyone with any "criminal" history? What about activists with criminal records due to their activism? Would you eliminate people with trespassing charges who were tree sitters? Or people arrested on disturbing the peace charges? And what about people who have changed, having once been involved in activities that aren't compatible, but who have moved beyond their pasts? Do we want to be that exclusive? Where does this stop? Some of our most well known, iconic figures in activist history would have criminal records. You're turning to an authoritarian device created by the State to weed out people from the system.  

                      This is the worst idea I have even encountered. In my experience, this kind of mentality may reveal personalities too eager to work with authority. In Portland, there were police liaisons who objected to the anti-authoritarianism so much that they coordinated with police to have a crackdown, because they didn't agree with a specific consensus to barricade a section of a street. It was a highly contested plan, and arguably a mistake, but to arrange a secret plan for police to come in and remove people from that section of street in an early morning raid was the worst possible approach.

                      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                      by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 12:47:49 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  And in doing this, you become (0+ / 0-)

              just like the State which one is opposing. Gotta be a better way.

              "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

              by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:13:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Don't forget the FBI (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, waterstreet2013

          Their agents and paid infiltrators worked several months on the Cleveland Occupy events trying to recruit people they could exploit and entrap.  

          You should assume the DOJ, FBI, DEA, etc. have only increased their efforts to recruit, train and deploy infiltrators in as many cities as possible.

          Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

          by Betty Pinson on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 09:41:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Also Chicago, Boston, New York, Denver, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Betty Pinson

            Los Angeles, Atlanta....

            Occupy Security had three primary focii:

            -- The paid law enforcement infiltrators
            -- NWNJ infiltrators, including violent "anti-abortion" saboteurs
            -- Criminals

            The infiltrators worked hard to generate illegal acts.

            Oakland was the worst. Bus loads of infiltrators wrecked a port-closing demonstration by engaging in arson.

            They burned 80 buildings. On photos they can be identified by black masks -- "Black Bloc" is a European style that they emulated -- because they brought accelerants with them. Also nunchucks by the dozen.

            America has never had a real Black Bloc.

            "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

            by waterstreet2013 on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:48:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're wrong abut Oakland and the black bloc (0+ / 0-)

              The East Bay has one of the largest Anarchist communities in the country, and it is relatively close to civic center where the occupation was. They did not burn 80 buildings, they lit some "barricades" in the street outside the building that group was attempting to occupy, a building still vacant the last time I went by. The black bloc in Oakland was not infiltrators.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 05:56:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Bull................. (0+ / 0-)

              "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

              by waterstreet2013 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 09:26:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  It's hard to have a mass movement (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, ZhenRen

      with background checks. Also, people tend to resent the movement using the same techniques as the fascist system.

      That's not to say I'm entirely opposed; just saying there's problems with that idea.

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 09:26:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can just imagine (0+ / 0-)

      the kind of atmosphere your plan would create. Checkpoints at entry points, searches, inspections of ID, no admittance without papers, lists of approved activists (hey, you're not on our list, have we approved you for service yet?).

      Very authoritarian, with the "security group" having a lot of power, probably sitting in a tent eying everyone suspiciously. You don't get to participate until we say you do! Lovely.

      In short, acting just like cops.

      And what if these lists get into the hands of cops? Who has control of the list?

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:25:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think one key aspect of the struggle which (13+ / 0-)

    somehow remains mostly unnoticed or at least seen as not that important, has to do with the fact that the power structure is actively working to prevent the rise of a real progressive social justice movement.

    I read your diary carefully, and as you may be aware, I'm familiar with those arguments, regarding the voting booth, leaders, demands, Anarchists and the issue of violence vs. non-violence.

    What's happening is that in the process of movement-building there are multiple things that need to happen, one of which is the need to connect the dots when it comes to understanding exactly how a tiny ruling elite is able to exert what appears to be almost total domination over over an entire society.

    That process is key as it leads to an accurate understanding of the power structure and means of control and manipulation.  Once that understanding is reached, then the next step is being able to articulate the process in a language that's easily accessible and understood.

    Then, once the mechanisms of controls, manipulation and exploitation are fully understood, the movement can start deconstructing it, part by part, a process that leads to identifying the weaknesses of the power structure.

    This then leads to effective direct action focused first on attacking the weakest points of the corporate state oligarchy, with the clear objective of dislodging the undemocratic forces controlling the system.

    These forces behind the corporate state have at their disposal a mind-numbing (literally) number of options, resources, strategies.

    They apply all those resources to the task of preventing the movement from being able to first, fully understand exactly how the power structure operates (at a very detailed and granular level), and second being able to build a movement with the type of unity and solidarity (and cohesiveness, organization, discipline, strategy, sustainability) necessary to truly be able to represent a challenge to the ruling elite.

    The most powerful, an easier tool used by the oligarchy to control the population is propaganda.  I'd say that that's probably the most effective tool by far...

    Another one (which is related to propaganda) is the divide-and-conquer strategy.  The corporate power elite has been using it for decades against Left wings movements in Latin America, for example.  If society is stratified in 4 or 5 social classes, for example, the power elite (through propaganda) designs specific (propagandist narratives) for each one of those classes.

    There is a lot of research behind these strategies, including the work from the public relations (propaganda pioneers) from over 100 years ago, to the work of hundreds of social scientists that were brought here from Nazi Germany after the war (to work for the CIA)...

    Other methods of control are induced poverty, economic insecurity, and induced distraction, as well as a total information awareness surveillance system (which helps in the building of psychological profiles of both, individuals, and social groups).

    This stuff, if you break it down piece by piece and come to fully understand each part, basically helps in pulling down the curtain behind the corporate state "wizard" and it would reveal how truly vulnerable the ruling class is to a mass awakening of the population, i.e., coming to full understanding of how the power elite keeps control over them.

    But getting back to the issues you bring up, what's happening is that the process of inquiry, of discovery, of connecting the dots, is being thwarted every step of the way.  It is done systematically, deliberately, with scientific precision.

    This results in what seem to be half measures, false starts, ineffective efforts, and confusion, when it comes to the movement.  The efforts die in the embryonic stage.

    •  One area where I think OWS was most successful (17+ / 0-)

      in breaking down the Wall Street Propaganda, at least temporarily, was by uniting the people in a populist way that didn't really define working class, but temporarily dislodged the government's and Democrat's narrative for the middle class movement as the working class separate from the poor (supposedly lazy takers but actually a significant part of the working class).  By defining it as the 99% against the 1% we temporarily got rid of some of this disgusting white middle class definition of the working class.

    •  I'm coming from a place where I assume (9+ / 0-)

      everyone knows that the folks in charge are doing their best to stop anything that could lead to qualitative change for the 99%.

      In regards to how they do it, you're right, and obviously so as far as I'm concerned. The research behind these strategies is broad and deep. It spans from right wing think tanks to left academia, sometimes even unknowingly. The fact of the matter is that as long as we participate in these institutions, which were created for and by the 1%, we will continue to lose. That's why Occupy was what it was, because we said "Fuck it, nothing else has worked, let's go to the source." And we went there and people saw where we were and saw that we weren't leaving. That was worth 10 billion in research right there. I guarantee that thousands of marketing majors have written papers on Occupy because of that.

      But we'll never win that way again. We just have to try new things again and again until one sticks and then apply what we learned last time. I think these times come more often than we think, it's just a matter of identifying them and organizing when they happen.

      And I don't think it's an awakening that we want. People are awake. What we need is for people to figure out how they can work together. That's a big part of what sank Occupy.

      Also, if we want a revolution we need to figure out food. Having food was what made occupy possible. If you have enough food and water there isn't much that the power that be can really do to you. That's the other thing I learned.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:03:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are on to something there regarding the (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Unca Joseph, AoT, lostinamerica, ozsea1

        basic needs of the foot-soldiers of the revolution, i.e., food and shelter.  Chris Hedges wrote about that very thing recently.

        I'm working on my next diary on this very topic, but here's a preview... There are a number of forces/influences attacking our senses 24/7.  The corporate state's main objective is to create the conditions where people feel they are connected, but in reality are being isolated.

        The propaganda, along with the induced economic insecurity, induced distraction, and other conditioning tactics keeps people, and thus, the movement, from getting any real traction.

        We have to find a way to circumvent those obstacles, to short-circuit their machinery of control.

        I argue that given everything we face, the only way to circumvent the control in order to start building unity and solidarity is to once again connect in the public sphere, face to face.

        But here's what I think is an almost impossible challenge... It needs to be done deliberately, with purpose, with an agenda (even if broad).

        I'll have more to say in the diary I'm writing...

      •  I'm convinced that Occupy needs to go local... (6+ / 0-)

        and mainstream in the sense that it appeals to the general dissatisfaction.

        The fact of the matter is that as long as we participate in these institutions, which were created for and by the 1%, we will continue to lose.
        I watched Occupy evolve in my small city as civic involvement took hold. Occupy stretched all of us and leaders rose up to organize around their particular issues. Now we are coming together again and challenging the rules by which the corporations keep us down.

        I attended a Climate Summit tonight cosponsored by 29 groups. It was packed.

        In five days, I will attend the last hearing on whether a Local Food System Ordinance can be placed on the ballot. Lane county passed theirs on. (It bans GMO among other things.)

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 08:14:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  When the honest history books are written (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie

    When the honest history books are written, OWS will be mentioned as one of the major efforts that turned the tide on the oligarchs.

    But the effort could have been far more effective if it had been just a little less "democratic."

    If OWS had set a very short list of criteria for election support, and then asked each candidate if they would commit to that list, they could have had more effect in '12.

    Sometimes being too good isn't good.

    •  that would have been a different movement, no? (0+ / 0-)

      Setting a short list of criteria for election support wouldn't necessarily have been less democratic, if participants actually had wanted to do that. However, it's not at all obvious to me how that would have had more effect. Would Democratic candidates have moved sharply to the left to win the Occupy endorsement? Would minor-party candidates have been catapulted to sweeping victories?

      Regardless, I just don't see how that was in Occupy's nature. Occupy was trying to figure out what democracy could look like. It's hard to capture my reservations about that project within the scope of a DKos comment, but it has an internal logic that resists translation into endorsement criteria.

      "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

      by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 06:18:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would like to see a mainfesto (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, Galtisalie

    A statement of what is what and what seems to be reasonable to do about what is what. It needs to be fairly simple, and fairly stable and it needs to NOT be attached to a party. It needs to be attached to reality - the reality of what is what, and what is reasonable to do about it.

    Let people steal from it. Encourage people to steal from it. But it needs to be first and last a statement from the people.

    It may need some leaders in the sense of people to collect the idea's and put it together, but I would like to keep personalities on the side lines.

    Having said that I would be happy to see it adopt some leaders messages such as Elizabeth Warren for financial reforms, Alan Grayson for limiting corporate corruption of government.

    But who actually implements it is not as important as the fact that it gets implemented and the point of the manifesto is to say plainly what needs to be done now. Sort of a peoples ALEC.

    Congress is no longer an effective voice of the people. They desperately need a voice. Then we can discuss substantive issues in a way to bring them to the electorate under any banner that will get it done.

    •  In regards to leaders (6+ / 0-)

      I think it's possible to have politicians that support you and work with you without being leaders. So we can support Warren and work with her but not have her be a leader. But there isn't much we can actually do in terms of legislative action at this point. Warren and Grayson are doing what they do, and they're good at it. They don't need us except to occasionally send a note to them or others and remind them that we're on board with the agenda.

      In regards to a manifesto I think that it is a good idea, and maybe we're ready for a return to manifestos. The problem that arises then is actually creating said manifesto. I'm not sure how to go about that. The first step in my mind would be organizing GAs to talk about it. Or maybe just loose conversations.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:59:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Forget occupying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        That was public theater to get attention. And it worked. Sadly it got some rather nasty attention.

        But the real need is for a voice, and I think OWS was born from that need, and I think GA's would be a natural tool for putting something together, but they should be done indoors, with a little comfort.

        The organization is organic, and in its first manifestation it grabbed for attention to just see if it was real. It is. Time to settle it in for a longer haul.

        •  "done indoors, with a little comfort." (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          muddy boots, ozsea1, Brown Thrasher

          I think having it organized with as much comfort as possible would be great. We shouldn't have to sacrifice for political involvement.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:19:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just a little comfort though (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, Brown Thrasher

            Too much makes people hard of hearing. See Congress.

          •  "I see what you did there!" (Rec for snark) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            That's a big problem too: Far too many people are thoroughly married to their little 5x5 cubicles that Corporate America has put them in, where they have become painfully risk-averse & antisocial — in the end only ensuring that they will be that much more helpless when the Big Lay-Off finally comes (see: Enron, housing bubble, &so.).

            We already have the big, slick non-profit orgs asking for donations & the Communists hawking their newspapers — & with continued corporate-fascist confiscation of the commons, we won't have those much longer — & as long as nobody really changes society, it all just street-theater at best.

      •  manifestos (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northsylvania, PhilJD, JayRaye

        I'd like to see language in a manifesto I can take to my union comrades and say see, these folks are on our side, let's pitch in.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:25:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fine, diary, AoT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, petral

    You are right to think first about food and water.  One of the reasons we maintained the anti-apartheid occupation of the Sproul Hall steps in UC Berkeley for two months in the mid 80s, was our organized efforts to make a sweep through the local restaurants and pizza parlors, etc., at closing times, gather lots of decent food, and feed everyone in the occupation.

    I would add the need for careful plans to self-police liberated territory against the occasional mentally ill person or sexual exploiter, attracted by the prospect of a rule-free zone.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 08:49:05 PM PST

  •  I am (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max

    ows forever

  •  Originally posted OSTL 01/15/12 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, northsylvania

    Musings on the Movement:

    It's called a process because it takes time and patience. This is not an instant revolution/movement. It will not satisfy an ego, fill an empty heart or make anyone feel better about what's going on around them in this country. We, all of us, are in the struggle of our lives, for our
    children's children's sake, we need to come together and get over ourselves. No One likes everyone and every
    single person can't stand someone else in the movement. It just doesn't matter! As I've said before, consensus DOES NOT MEAN everyone loves it, it means "I can live with that". It does Not mean you have to actively support it if it's against something you hold higher than Movement, but it does mean that you have agreed that an action is going to happen and you are part of the group that makes it happen. Once you have the attention of the entire nation at your disposal, and the nation now knows you exist! Instantaneous actions can/might happen, but try and keep ahead of the movement so it doesn't steamroller your issues. Support your brothers and sisters as they flow in and out of actions and welcome them home to consensus. Things happen in the heat of the struggle.....get past it.
    Remember that we have a choice, we can come from a place of fear (of loss, of face, of fame, of whatever) or a place of love......for each other, our country, human beings, the entire planet. Check your ego at the door.  ....bring your truest best most heartfelt self inside.
    I wish you love, peace and warmth.

    ~Arianna_Editrix-- I willingly accept Cassandra’s fate, To speak the truth, altho’ believ’d too late

    by Arianna Editrix on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:22:24 PM PST

  •  A leader Occupy could follow (0+ / 0-)

    Robert Riech: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    Many others.

    •  No. There's an excellent tactical reason (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson, Brown Thrasher

      for not following any one single leader, especially not someone with connections to the current political system, and it has nothing to do with the purity or virtue of said leader.

      The current media (most of it) was built primarily as a character assassination machine which has the secondary task of spreading misinformation. Give them an individual to focus on and they will tear him apart, and do their best to take down the movement by destroying the credibility of the leader.

      It's been seen with Kerry, Dean, Gore, even Bill Clinton, whom I don't like much, but the same tactics were used on him.  It's been done so often it's become the staple of political life in the U.S.--the way that money enforces its will on the people.  Putting Reich in charge would have only hurt both Reich and the movement.

      Why do you think the media was so insistent on finding/identifying leaders of OWS? Do you think that came from friendly motives?

      You might want to read the earliest mainstream coverage of Occupy if you think that. Like this, for instance. And here's a good analysis of it.

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 09:49:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reich is a clintonista (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brown Thrasher

        If Hillary wins in 2016 then he'll get a place in the white house and OP will get his wish.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 10:19:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think Hill is to the right of Reich (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, AoT, Brown Thrasher, petral

          despite his Clinton Administration credentials.

          Remember, things were a bit looser back then. It was OK to include a couple of New Dealers in a 3rd Way neoliberal Administration, like it's OK for the Democratic Party to include Liz Warren and Alan Grayson today.

          If the oppositional folks within the system are smart (as I believe Warren and Grayson are) they make a deal:  the conservative organization, in this case the Democratic party, gets to make itself look humane and marketable to more than a handful of really, really rich people, b/c it has people like Warren and Grayson in it. Warren and Grayson get to use the system as a mike to constantly disseminate ideas and facts that would otherwise never be heard (Warren, in particular, is excellent at this).

          So, in conclusion, not sure Reich is on board with Hillary's exciting pro-Wall St ideas. Whether she'd want to co-opt him into the 3rd Clinton administration I don't know.  

          I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 11:13:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  A Clintonista? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brown Thrasher

      Seriously? Are you even paying attention? Your solution for a leader is yet another Democratic party establishment member. It's just sad really.

      And he already has a group he leads, Common Cause. If he's such a great leader then should they have made some sort of headway? Or is it just the fault of Occupy for not following correctly. Are you following him?

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 10:18:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Neolibs like him are part of the problem. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      Another diarist reminded us recently about how Reich was among the big champions of NAFTA, which has been a 20-year long unmitigated catastrophe for the 99% in America & Mexico.

      •  Hey, I know progressives who made that mistake. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        Clinton was a plausible bastard.

        They regret it now, of course. Does Reich? I don't know.

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 11:15:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Regretting it all the way to the bank? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          Regretting it enough to be foursquare behind TPP as we speak? Yeah.

          As always, we have to be the change because we cannot rely on mass-produced pundits & their focus-grouped talking points to address any of our real problems.

          •  Yeah, that's what AoT said. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, Brown Thrasher

            Apparently Reich still likes 3rd Way Economics? I didn't know that.

            but most the progressives I'm talking about are working class or middle class, so no doubt they are regretting it all the way to the bank.

            I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 12:48:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know much about Occupy, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    and I've read all the comments and I still don't really understand. I agree that no one group of people can know the complete solution. I agree with that. And I agree that there isn't one answer. And for myself, I don't have the resources to listen to people I think are stupid and repetitive and naive.

    However, it sounds to me like we're letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Surely there are a few basic beliefs that bind together the overall 'movement?' Income inequality is corroding our democracy, say. Surely there are a few fundamental outcomes that most people agree upon, no?

    "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

    by GussieFN on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 05:41:59 AM PST

    •  There are definitely beliefs that bind (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GussieFN

      together the overall movement. Income inequality is part of it, but the fact that the 1% have such overwhelming power is the main one.

      And I think that the reason a lot of people abandoned Occupy is because they let the perfect be the enemy of the good, certainly I saw that from a lot of liberals. The purging of the Anarchist is part of that in my mind.

      But really, the police were the main enemy of the good in this case.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 11:39:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Those "demands" were grievances... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, AoT

    in the first Occupy message to the press and public. Serious grievances that of course need addressing...but that's where the demands come in. If you have a link to specific demands, please share it. Occupy, in my view, above all else, needed a vision beyond the two party corporate system, and beyond corporations as a concept, and to be able to translate that vision into a platform and demands...something that the people could build and work on.

    •  That's a good point (0+ / 0-)

      The one demand was a return of power to the people through the means of participatory democracy. Or to put it more succinctly, Our demand is a process. What occupy sought was a fundamental change in the way we interact politically, not just policy changes. I don't know how successful that was, it feels not very successful most days but I suppose time will tell.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 11:41:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A Natural Fit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    for the decentralized diffuse nature of these post occupy ACM groups would be targeted actions aimed at one of the big fast food companies to demand an increase in workers wages. Companies care a great deal about appearances, and OWS really excelled at dramatic, even entertaining direct actions. Having a concrete demand but allowing groups vast flexibility in pursuing it in their communities would be a great test of the model. Since fast food outlets are everywhere, any group anywhere could be involved and engaged.

  •  Very, very well written (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    Big love to you AoT, hope things are going well for you

    Regulate banks, not vaginas

    by MinistryOfTruth on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 10:32:20 AM PST

  •  Why didn't you Occupy the Capital Steps? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    I often wondered this as i sat in Zuccotti park watching bankers go by and look at us with disdain. Wouldn't it have been a more effective "occupy" if we broke occupiers into different groups representing their home districts and assigned them lawmakers to harass? Camp out on the Capital Steps and harass the people who can actually do something for us. In Short, don't hate the players ( Jaime Dimon, Etc.) hate the game-creaters (Congressmen/Congresswomen) Go to where change can be created. How many senators would be shaking in their boots at the idea of facing angry constituents every day? Get addresses to where they live in DC. Get their schedule. HARASS!. Yell at them in public. Scream at them in front of their offices. There is nothing illegal about this. Screaming and crying on Wall st got nothing done but divide the movement and make us look like we hate all people that make money.

  •  OWS thought it was magic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    Like the hippie music festival from South Park: they basically thought that the power of coming together was going to do stuff all on its own.  They offered a big muddle of vague ideas that grew far beyond taming Wall Street into a "comprehensive" reiteration of the same old gauzy vision that half the country doesn't even want ... and far from showing a new and better society in miniature, the "tent city" optics probably freaked out a lot of people.  You have to be more respectable than the Establishment, not less.

    Stick to a few key points - repeal Glass-Stegall, a financial transaction tax, basic oversight of the derivatives market, no taxpayer money or hot-off-the-presses "quantitative easing" to cover private losses (the big one, even teabaggers can get behind that), etc. - and be able to explain each of them with a few key points.  Lofty ideals animate policy, but they themselves cannot be written into policy.

    Specialize on an issue so you can dig deep and have a keen understanding of the problem and plenty of ideas for fixing it.  Know a lot in order to be able to say little so people don't get bored or confused. Join with other specialized and well-defined groups that can support your goals for different reasons; that's how you build a broad movement.

    And if you're going to be revolutionary, do it right: millions of Americans of all colors and creeds marching on Lower Manhattan with guns screaming "Death to the rich!"  Now that would have fixed things in a hurry.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 12:32:34 PM PST

    •  No, we didn't think we were magic by any stretch (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson, wiljago

      of the imagination. I can understand that you might think that based on how our opponents characterized us, but I'd think you would know better than that. This was no sort of hippie commune hoping that merely coming together would bring about change. We were there to protest Wall Street and to show people that you can organize without having to use violence to tell people what to do.

      You have to be more respectable than the Establishment, not less.
      So we have to out respectable the people who literally control what it means to be respectable? Somehow I feel doubtful that this will happen. This is a perfect example of the perfect being the enemy of the good.
      Stick to a few key points - repeal Glass-Stegall, a financial transaction tax, basic oversight of the derivatives market, no taxpayer money or hot-off-the-presses "quantitative easing" to cover private losses (the big one, even teabaggers can get behind that), etc. - and be able to explain each of them with a few key points.  Lofty ideals animate policy, but they themselves cannot be written into policy.
      And what of the organizations already doing this? If this is the big secret then there would already be successes from organizations like MoveOn who do exactly this. What you're advising is the common wisdom of how to run an organization, meaning it's what the majority of organizations are doing.
      And if you're going to be revolutionary, do it right: millions of Americans of all colors and creeds marching on Lower Manhattan with guns screaming "Death to the rich!"  Now that would have fixed things in a hurry.
      As if millions of people can afford to take the day off for a revolution, pshaw, bills to pay!

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 12:50:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes! We do need another OWS... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, Lady Libertine

    ...a real one, enough like the old one to scare the BEJezzuz out of TPTB, scares them so much they (TPTB) will have to get even more violent with young, female college students, etc, than they did last time.

    This criminal society is not going to change on its own; its not going to change if we are good little girls and boys.  It's not going to change through the voting booth.

    We must be totally nonviolent.  The only violence will come, as it did last time, from the authorities.  They are sick and will hold onto every last ounce of power with every tool they have: ear drum breaking noise machines, blood boiling heat projectors, etc.  

    I'll walk point!

    The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt, German-Jewish holocaust survivor, philosopher, historian.

    by dharmasyd on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 01:00:29 PM PST

  •  Yes. We do need a new OWS... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lavender Menace

    ...one very much like the old one, one that scares the BEJezuz out of TPTB, one that is so scary to them (TPTB) that they will go to any lengths to stop it as they did last time by brutaling young, female college students, etc.

    This criminal system is not going to change any other way.  It won't change by our being good little girls and boys; it won't change through the voting booth.  THEY will never allow that,

    We must be totally nonviolent, however.  Like last time, the only violence will come from the authorities who are all too willing to use it to protect the .01%'s hold on everything.  THEY will fight to maintain their ill-gotten gains with every tool they have:  ear drum splitting nosie machines, blood boiling heat generators directed at peaceful 1st amendment dissenters.  THEY will stop at nothing.

    I'll walk point.  

    The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt, German-Jewish holocaust survivor, philosopher, historian.

    by dharmasyd on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 01:12:17 PM PST

  •  We don't need OWS. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    What we need is a revolution.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:43:08 PM PST

  •  Not what I thought or hoped it would be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    I read the title of the diary, and was hoping it would be a cold, hard-headed calculation of what social actions might be effective in this new age of the total surveillance police state, along the lines of Ian Welsh in his recent How to resist in a surveillance state. In Ukraine, police have been using a devise to register cell phones in the vicinity of a demonstration, then sending a text message to the cell phone: “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.” And of course, just the week before a new law took effect in Ukraine that makes participation in a demonstration a crime punishable with imprisonment.

    Welsh next notes the boast of a corporate intelligence executive, who said that fully one in every four people involved in occupations were actually plants and spies.

    Welsh argues:

    Here is the bloody rule: if you are involved in these activities you either don’t take a cell phone,  or you put it in a Faraday bag (I have just learned, joy, that taking the batteries out might not be enough, as there is a backup battery you don’t control, meant to avoid loss during battery changes and so on)....

    Next: infiltration.  Assume that your movement is infiltrated.  Figure out how to identify the moles.  When you do, if you’re serious, you need to figure out a way to punish them so  that whoever sent them won’t, or can’t, send more....

    Next, forget democratic decision making when it comes to specific tactical decisions.....

    Finally: assume surveillance.  Learn how to obscure your identity, and learn where the blind spots of the system are.  A lot of countries are making wearing masks during demonstrations illegal, but there are other ways....

    I think the point that TPTB decided to crush Occupy was when Occupy Marines came together and showed up to interpose themselves between the protestors and the police. I think Chris Hedges is absolutely correct when he observes that the point at which an uprising succeeds is when the police and the military refuse to attack their own population. So when Occupy Marines happened, is when TPTB decided things had to be nipped in the bud. A few weeks later, the nationally coordinated raids occurred.

    Do you honestly believe TBTB are going to allow another movement to get off the ground? Look at everything that has been put in place for the surveillance state. Then I think of Abraham Lincoln's House Divided speech:

    ...when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places and by different workmen -- Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James, for instance -- and when we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few -- not omitting even scaffolding -- or, if a single piece be lacking, we can see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared to yet bring such piece in -- in such a case, we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first lick was struck.

    What I think should be done now is each individual should be engaged in intensive study of history, especially economic history, military history, and the history of covert operations, and drawing out those lessons as to what works and what doesn't, so that when the time comes, he or she at least as some idea of what to do, or at least, what to try. The study of history also, I believe, will sharpen your ability to recognize when is the time, and when is not the time; when the time is to risk something or someone, and when is not the time.

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 04:55:17 PM PST

    •  I didn't write on where we should go from here (0+ / 0-)

      I have a lot of thoughts on that and I'm not sure they're coherent enough at this point to make sense in a essay format. But what you seem to be talking about is tactics. I'm not concerned with tactics as much as the broader picture right now because we can't decide tactics unless we know what the specific situation is. There are a lot of available tactics out there that are well documented, especially in regards to digital security and phone security.

      And no, the authorities will never let any movement off the ground. They didn't let occupy off the ground. We managed to occupy a space and the authorities had no choice but to let us continue. We failed to continue because we lost too many people to police violence and couldn't hold the occupations.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 06:01:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can't wait to see how much NYC will have to pay... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, ZhenRen

    when all those many claims against brutality, overreach and destruction of people'e property (and let's not forget how many journalists were stomped) when all those lawsuits come around from OWS.

    If they had to pay $18 million for the NYPD's thuggery in 2004, they're looking at another pretty sizable chunk of dough to cough up.

    Stoked for the Lawyers Guild, who work tirelessly for protesters and got a nice payday for it.

    Gothamist

    Daily News

    The Guardian

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts." Mark Twain

    by thirty three and a third on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 06:12:06 PM PST

  •  I disagree on so many (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    levels, it will take an essay....

    But its great food for thought.

    ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

    by Diane Gee on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:54:51 AM PST

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