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Forum Post: Can we PLEASE coach the masses on the basics ????

Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 13, 2012, 11:45 a.m. EST by Rico (3027)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The post about Howard Stern's comments ( http://occupywallst.org/forum/howard-stern-shits-on-ows/ ) and the link to his comments on You-Tube led me to click on a few other You-Tube videos, and I was appalled at what I saw. Specifically,

Is it too much to ask that OWS have some people constantly circulating among the crowd educating people on the basic rational behind the movement? The basics could be printed up on business-card sized bits of paper and simply distributed widely.

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83 Comments


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[-] 3 points by zymergy (236) 2 years ago

The Talking Points card is a great idea.

I suspect that it would be much easier to provide a short list of complaints, than it would be to provide any specifics on what should be changed. Even the phrase “get money out of politics” is difficult to explain in a few seconds to a reporter.

Possible Talking Points and dialog

reporter: “why are you here?”

protester: “I am protesting to raise awareness of significant problems in America today.”

reporter: “What are those problems?”

protester: “Rich Americans are getting richer and poor Americans are getting poorer and more numerous. This is bad for our democracy. We have to change this.

reporter: “What would you change?”

protester: “Why do you think that the rich are getting richer? The rich are getting richer because they control our government. Why do you think that Americans are getting poorer? Americans are getting poorer because the rich took America’s jobs overseas. The economic opportunities are shrinking for all Americans as wealth is concentrated at the unproductive top.

reporter: “But what would you change?”

protester: “We must regain control of our government.

reporter: “How would you do that?”

protester: “break the influence of lobbyists ... vote out of office those who deregulated the banks and gave tax breaks to the rich ... get representatives to pay attention to their constituents ... ”

reporter: “how will you go about this, what do you want to see happen?”

protester: “We want to see these problems solved.”

reporter: “How would you solve these problems.”

protester: “Just what we are doing. First, raise awareness of the problems. Second, encourage all Americans to think more about the needed solutions. Third, offer Americans real choices when they go to vote.”

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[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Nicely done. This would do.

[-] 2 points by fucorporatemedia (451) 2 years ago

This is all a result of the corporate media using our public airwaves to lie every day!

Surround the TV stations with facts about the corporations and their illegal behavior that continues to go on without prosecution. We have a Justice System that should be acting to protect us, but they too have been put into power by corporations.

We must go to the TV stations with the truth, and demand they start serving the public interest or resign. We must Demand prosecutions, or Demand resignations until we get to someone who will prosecute.

Occupy continues to wait and hope the corporate media will cover the movement fairly and it's not going to happen.

Those are our public airwaves, and it is time to take the protest to the source of the problem, corporate propaganda 24/7!

I hear time and time again, who cares, we have twitter and other social media.

We all know they are censoring Twitter, yahoo, censoring facebook and using facebook to collect data...their whole goal is total control on the internet at this time and it is working smashingly.

It has become increasingly difficult to find any information or news stories about Occupy anywhere on the net. Alternative news sites have dropped most coverage. The movement looks dead to the majority of Americans, even those searching on the internet.

Then there are millions who only get their 'news' from the liars on the corporate media, and they are making it impossible to have a discussion with people because their BIG LIES are so pervasive.

Those are our public airwaves and we have every right to take them back.

Surround the TV stations, Do not let them come or go until they start telling the truth, Make them uncomfortable being fascists enablers. And most importantly BRING FACTS written on signs "Stop Wall Street Speculation causing the rise in food and gas prices' WE need to wake the rest of the 99% who are confused and do not realize that they are being ripped off every day. You see them come to the site every day, they think this movement is about welfare people wanting more money. It is completely absurd and we need to stop their bullshit now!

[-] 2 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Maybe that's why, in the PEW survey that Tiouaise just posted, while OWS has caused more people to be aware of the "tension between the rich and the poor", it has failed to change their minds even one percent from PRE OWS days, when it comes to the idea that the rich gained their wealth mostly through "hard work, ambition and education".

The majority of the 99% can do math, understand charts, and figure out when something is pure rhetoric and slander and when it's not. The more charts and slogans and computations that OWS members put out there that attempt to prove how evil the rich are, but really do NOT prove it, the less credible OWS becomes and the more their methods will push people away.

[-] 1 points by MaryS (678) 2 years ago

I think JPB950 has made a very important observation about successful protest movements of the past and I hope he doesn't mind me quoting him, "In the case of abolition, civil rights, the environment, women's rights, each group protested a wrong, they had a clear agenda, and they got the attention of the political establishment and made their changes happen through the system." Bingo. When you look back at each of these movements, and even the Vietnam war protests to an extent, who do you think of? You can readily identify those who served the function of spokespersons. Whether you call them leaders, or whatever, having that strong representation by persons who knew what they were talking about, made it happen. Some of these people spent years of their lives- decades even - just traveling non-stop and working for their cause. And in the case of women's suffrage that was a time when traveling across the country was an utterly grueling lifestyle. Point is, they did not just hang out in the crowd; they went where they needed to go and their knowledge and dedication were used and were necessary. How many people are willing to take on that kind of responsibility- dedicate their lives? There aren't many but somehow leaders step forward and take it on. If they’re allowed. Watching those videos above, I don't understand how anyone can say, we are all leaders. As for the comment that "each person being a leader is scary," I have to say, what is so scary about having competent leadership? It IS scary when people speaking for you are stoned out of their heads or are advocating something you did not agree on, like violence for instance. It's a good idea to offer more education to the crowd so that if a jerkwad like Howard Stern picks out the person least able to represent OWS, at least that person can invite them to come hear the next speaker or something. If someone stuck a camera in my face like that and expected me to articulate the answers to those questions well- I'm not sure how I would do, either. I’m happy to see that job done WELL- by someone better than me and I believe I can still make an informed choice on who speaks for me. I cannot DO what Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, or Martin Luther King did. If each person has their own gift, then let the brightest and best fulfill their own calling. What's wrong with that.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

That's a point solution that is easily disputed.

Please read and understand my comment below at http://occupywallst.org/forum/can-we-please-coach-the-masses-on-the-basics/#comment-587641 .

When we align with parties and propose point solutions, we invite debate and criticism of the solution that detracts from our message. There are a zillion smart people out there who can work solutions. What we need more than point solutions right now is a widespread acknowledgement of the need for change to address inequality.

If you have a pet solution, the best response to people asking to hear it is "Some people such as myself believe the Federal Reserve may be part of the problem, but many others disagree. We as a movement believe it is critically important that the nation acknowledge we have problems with inequality and that this message not be lost in debate over controversial proposals. We are confident America can find a solution as long as they understand, acknowledge, and do not forget there is a problem to be solved."

[-] 1 points by Kman (171) 2 years ago

Hi Rico -- yes, I agree with what you are saying.

If you find the time to read this 125 page document, you might find it ILLUMINATIng. This expose` of the 1% is further damning evidence of the extent of their power and control - and how they are now collapsing. (It's not just about the Federal Reserve - it goes much deeper than that.)

But your point is well taken. Our solutions will be based on the collective consciousness - not individual direction.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I'm one of those who argue for the continued use of an elastic currency managed by the Fed and for the isolation of the Fed from direct political control according to the Banking Act of 1935. We will likely never settle this point between us, but we do agree that inequality must be addressed. This is the very state of affairs we seek across all of America; we can disagree over the details, but we agree problems exist, and we must not let up on the pressure to fix them until a solution is found, regardless of what the solution is or where it came from.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Yes talking point cards, flash cards, OWS or 99% business cards are a good idea. Hand them out to everyone. It can also help people supporting the cause to refresh their dedication as to what they are doing and what they are trying to accomplish as well as how to accomplish. Peacefully and with intelligence. These are also the type of sign's, posters that should be supported.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

We are the 99%.

Take action. See samples of how below.

184,401 signatures so far for Bernie Sanders petition as of 11:07am central time 01/16/2012

http://sanders.enews.senate.gov/mail/util.cfm?mailaction=clickthru&gpiv=2100081904.557411.411&gen=1&mailing_linkid=34578

The petition to save abandoned houses has 16 signatures. We picked one up at around 11:07am 01/16/2012. Were just rolling right along.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Savingpeople-savinghomes-payingdowntheNationaldeficit/

Here is a place where you can directly address change. Take part, it does not hurt and may very well heal/help. Forward the cause of reform and rebirth.

http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/Ag8nw/zL2Q/B18Bb

Sierra Club has some good things to take part in as well. Set-up and ready for you to take part in. http://sierraclub.org/

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[-] 0 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

We are all leaders. That's the message. I think it's pretty clear. People have difficulty understanding it because the concept is so scary.

[-] 3 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

My post is not about leadership, it's about education and awareness. People who claim to be a part of OWS need to be able to recite one or more of the Declaration statements ( see http://www.nycga.net/resources/declaration/ ) off-the-cuff. People do not have to be able to offer solutions or point to a leader. It is sufficient to say that we protest to raise awareness and rally action toward resolution of one or more issues identified in our Declaration. When pressed for solutions, a member can simply say, "solutions may come from many sources inside and outside the movement, and that's why we do not align ourselves with any political movement. Public awareness and acknowledgement of the inequality inherent to the currents state of affairs, however, is a precondition to change, and our protests serve to raise awareness of inequality in our society."

Though it's tangential to the discussion, I will add that we are all clearly not leaders. Leadership requires a minimum understanding of the issues at hand, and the videos show many lack minimum understanding. In addition, the idea that all decisions will be by consensus, though admirable, has already run up against the age-old problem that there are always a few nut-jobs who can stall all progress when granted power equal to all others. This is why the Spokes Council emerged and why it's rules allow for the silencing of minority dissent (see http://occupywallst.org/forum/has-anyone-seen-an-organization-chart-for-ows/#comment-575812 ).

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

People who claim to be a part of OWS need to be able to recite one or more of the Declaration statements

Nobody "needs" to do anything. People join movements on their own terms and for their own reasons. People were energized to identify with OWS not because of any declaration (though personally I happen to think that the Declaration of the Occupation is one of the greatest political documents ever produced in America)--people were energized by the oppositionism of the movement. People were energized by the fact that OWS appeared to be the first social movement in the US in decades that was seriously standing up in clear opposition to the status quo. Of course it would be better if movement activists all educated themselves so they could more clearly articulate a vision of what they want, but that will evolve and grow as the movement grows.

In terms of leadership it depends on exactly what you are leading. Not everyone can be a leader on the medical working group or in the OWS kitchen because they don't have training in medicine or food preparation. People lead in those areas where they have the skills, talent, experience and affinity to lead.

I'm not personally crazy about they way the decision making process in OWS is evolving and I don't see it as particularly democratic. On the other hand I don't see the issue being adequately resolved by the emergence of an identifiable personality as a leader either.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

"People were energized by the fact that OWS appeared to be the first social movement in the US in decades that was seriously standing up in clear opposition to the status quo." Agreed, but our effectiveness is harmed when those who can't readily answer why they are protesting are put on camera.

The more I think about it, the more I am inclined to suggest we print a zillion business sized cards with the declaration items on the front and my language above ( "Solutions may come from many sources inside and outside the movement, and that's why we do not align ourselves with any political movement. Public awareness and acknowledgement of the inequality inherent to the currents state of affairs, however, is a precondition to change, and our protests serve to raise awareness of inequality in our society." ) on the other. We would distribute these cards freely to the people in the streets in the hopes we can be more effective in conveying our message.

Having decided not to identify a spokesman, we are all spokesmen, and my idea is simply intended to ensure a minimum quality of representation when asked to speak in regards OWS objectives. Knowledgeable people can certainly go further if they want, but everyone should be able to pull out that card and hand it to a reporter if they find themselves at a loss for words.

[-] 2 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I'd completely agree that the Declaration of the Occupation (if that is the declaration to which you are referring) needs much wider circulation. On the other hand, it does seem to have pretty wide circulation. I've seen it published in several places and it is available on the net. I always refer people to it. Of course it would be better if everyone who found themselves in front of a mike was at least as articulate as a local news caster, but it is in the nature of things that that will undoubtedly never be the case.

I'm really thinking out loud about this because it never really occurred to me that this could be a major problem for the movement until this moment. Perhaps it is and perhaps it isn't. The very fact that a not too articulate person ends up getting interviewed as a movement activist might in fact be inspirational to some people on the grounds that you don't have to have to be able to articulate the goals of the movement to be part of it. The mass distribution of the Declaration of the Occupation is a good idea. On the other hand, while other occupations have adopted it, it is essentially a set of ideas that came out of the NYC GA and might not b e shared by other GAs. Coming up with that sort of declaration will have to wait until there is some kind of coordination between GAs, which I expect will happen when there is a felt need for it.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I personally would also remove all the "they" language from each declaration, but that's just me. I find such statements polarizing, and they invite people to debate who "they" are and whether they are actually responsible. It's just another distraction from the message that inequality is widespread and needs to be addressed. I would prefer the statements simply identify the points of inequality that are readily supported by statistics and fact.

On the other hand, I acknowledge the motive power behind defining an external enemy. It' an age-old way to get people moving. Unfortunately, it's not a very "advanced" way; it's rooted in tribalism, the same mentality that leads to war.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

What "each declaration" are you talking about. The only declaration that the NYC GA passed that I am aware of is the Declaration of the Occupation. It has very specifically rejected the so-called Declaration of the 99% which it views as a document antithetical to the values of OWS.

I am unaware of any other declarations passed by any major GAs, though I'm prepared to be enlightened. And what would the "they" be replaced with? It seems to me that what the "they" means is the 1%. What should it mean? Politics is polarizing. There never has been a revolution, not even a majoritarian revolution, where everyone agreed.

Implicit in the Declaration is the notion that there is a ruling class and that it is very tiny, so the point is to try to get as many people as possible who are on our side economically to be on our side politically. And it's not about some grand mistake that we all made. I don't hate them and I don't even think that they are immoral, but I do think that the class interests of the 1% are antithetical to the class interests of the vast majority. It's not about tribalism. There is a class war. There always has been but the 1% only calls it a class war when we fight back, which is precisely what has energized all the support that OWS has, and I acknowledge that it is still minority support, but it is a very substantial minority and what is more important is the activist base of OWS which continues to grow nationally.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I am referring to the declaration at http://www.nycga.net/resources/declaration/ .

"It seems to me that what the "they" means is the 1%. What should it mean?" I understand that the 1% definition I approximately correct, but it suggests coordinated effort and conspiratorial intent where there is none.

Your statement "I don't hate them and I don't even think that they are immoral, but I do think that the class interests of the 1% are antithetical to the class interests of the vast majority" gets to the root problem of unbalanced incentives and constraints that need refinement. I'll go a bit further, however, and say some of the behaviors that harm society are in fact immoral, but due to lack of thought and self discipline rather than malice. Casual music piracy is a good example of unthinking amoral behavior sans malice that does little harm individually but great harm in large scale, and I believe much of what "they" have done springs from similar behavior. It actually takes significant effort and continual self-vigilance to behave in a moral fashion, and it's pretty clear that many of the 100% do not put that effort into their routine decisions.

I argue that the statement "It's not about tribalism" is immediately contradicted by your next statement "There is a class war. There always has been but the 1% only calls it a class war when we fight back." The "us vs. them" technique is a very convenient way to rally masses of people and gain widespread support. In fact, it is a very common technique in politics.

Political movements are typically started by a small number of intellectuals who are the "thought leaders" supported by a large mass of less educated malcontents who provide the "power." Declaration of "war" against the "enemy" is a common technique to increase the passion and size of the movement at the cost of intellectual compromise. Unfortunately, movements that tilt too far toward accumulation of power often find they must support positions and actions that are not consistent with the intellectual foundation; they "sell out" their reasoned positions in exchange for power. On the opposite side of the spectrum, a movement that is overly intellectual often suffers from too little support and power. The balance between intellectual integrity and power is delicate, and it derives from a fundamental acknowledgement that the "masses" often lack the skills, knowledge, ability, or interest to participate on any level beyond that defined by their passions.

Adopting the language of tribalism enhances the movement's power, but power is a means, not an end. In the end "us vs. them" rhetoric produces hatred and punitive action rather than inclusion and corrective action. I believe systemic inequality emerged from unbalanced incentives and constraints rather than malice. A lasting solution demands we avoid passion and employ reason to correct the unbalance.

War yields little but war ad infinitum.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

There has been some discussion regarding the formulation of the 1%, that it is a good start but that it should be more refined. Generally, these critiques have a Marxist basis in that they suggest that the binary should be more focussed on the capitalists vs. the working class (a perspective with which I agree) as opposed to the broader and more elusive notion of the 1% vs. 99%, though even that has been given credit with getting organized labor to articulate its views more in class terms.

It does seem to me that there is a distinction between tribalism and class conflict and to me at least tribalism suggests conflict between (usually ethnically based) multi-class formations as opposed to primary classes in conflict with each other regardless of other affinities (nation state, race, ethnicity, gender, etc.).

Also, I do not think class is a mere intellectual category conjured up out of the imagination. I think social class is as objectively real and serious as a heart attack. Recognizing that is not tribalism. It is the recognition of objective reality and a very long time coming in the United States as one of the major manifestations of American exceptionalism is the fact that the US is the only industrialized democracy in the world in which working people do not have their own political party.

I'm not sure where all this is likely to go. In my experience OWS is an "in between" movement in terms of its size and scope. That is viewed externally from the point of view of a nation of 300 million it appears quite tiny. On the other hand, viewed internally, it can appear quite massive, especially given the specific tactics it is using. I was at the DC occupation a few weeks back where I met someone from the NYC occupation who pointed out that he could now go to any major city in the US and instantly get into a conversation with a like minded total stranger (I've never seen that in any other social movement), get good food to eat, and have a place to stay. That is close to what historian Larry Goodwyn means when he talks about the Populist movement of more than 100 years ago being a "culture of opposition."

Beyond that I really see the crises that OWS is addressing as being both systemic and international and for that reason, short of the establishment of a genuine police state, unlikely to disappear.

Where it will go next is anybody's guess, but to the extent I have any influence, I'm advocating more of the same--more occupations and more GAs. I just took the latest survey on this site and in terms of where I think OWS should go next, I particularly advocated reinstituting the sit down strike--that is occupying the work place--especially as the normal constitutional guarantees we have in society are left at the door when we enter the work place. There is no freedom of speech or assembly and we certainly have no control over the decisions that affect our lives--including when to go to the bathroom in some work places. And there is no due process, nor are we ever judged by a jury of our peers. And the capital punishment of the work place is termination, that is depriving you of an economic basis for life, Not to mention the fact that the work place does not even pay the lip service to representative democracy that we see in political society.

I also realize that such an effort would be a huge jump, much bigger in fact, than the effort to shut down west coast ports for a day. On the other hand, if it started in just one or two significant places, I suspect it would spread like wild fire as the sit down movement did in the 30s.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I use "tribalism" to capture the entire gamut of "us vs. them" thinking whether it be between nation-states, classes, football teams, etc. It's use is not constrained to imaginary enemies but is usually associated with broad generalization, marginalization, dehumanization, and sometimes persecution. The "1%" term is used much like the terms "jews," "japs", "spics", etc have been used in the past. I simply don't like such broad generalizations devoid of understanding and terms like "war" and "enemy" that are used to fan passions.

Unrolling this thread, I'd like to remind you I support what this movement is doing. I just argue that the participants should be trained in how better to respond to media and hope for a day when we need not demonize a segment of society using broad generalizations in order to gather support.

[-] 2 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

It seems to me that class distinctions are quite different from issues of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, etc.

Let us look, for example at the results of the American Civil War. It resulted in the end of two distinct social classes: slaves and slave owners. It did not end class society as such, only particular classes. And it was not, for the most part a life ending experience. True, more people died in the Civil War than in any other 19th century war, but these were largely cannon fodder and not the basic social classes whose fate was dependent on the outcome of the war.

Of course it is also the case that for 100 years after the Civil War blacks in the American south lived a life of virtual slavery as share croppers and tennent farmers. But there is nevertheless a world of difference between that and actual chattel slavery just as there is a world of difference between a feudal serf and somebody who has to work a 16 hour day as a wage slave in the early days of the Industrial Revolution.

Now there really were "good" slave owners and bad ones. There really were slave owners who undoubtedly treated their slaves better than the deal they would get as "free" tennent farmers. But what the abolition of slavery was about was ending two social classes: slaves and slave owners, and not distinguishing between good slave owners and bad slave owners or hard working slaves and lazy ones.

The same is true of the 1%, the corporate ruling class. There is no scape goating here. The point (to me--though it is not clearly articulated by OWS as a movement) is the abolition of the corporate ruling class as a class, not their extermination as human beings.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

"But what the abolition of slavery was about was ending two social classes: slaves and slave owners, and not distinguishing between good slave owners and bad slave owners or hard working slaves and lazy ones." So you are arguing against the accumulation of money regardless of whether that money is used for good purposes or bad ?

Recall that Bill Gates runs the largest charitable foundation in the history of the world and that a long list of billionaires has commited to doing the same (see http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2010-08-04-wealthy-charity-pledge_N.htm ). Bill Gates did not accumulate his wealth by stealing from the 99% but by assent of the 99% who buy his product, and he is using that wealth to the betterment of his fellow man. Is this use of wealth bad ?

I just hate using broad generalizations to marginalize people. Some of the 1% are moral and ethical men who provide a product or service we desire and purchase. Furthermore, some of them use their accumulated capital to benefit society.

In my opinion, the term 1% needs to be accompanied by some clarifying adjectives. It's too broad.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I'm not for killing Bill Gates or anyone else nearly as rich as him. And I'm certainly not for doing anything that would inhibit his more creative impulses. What I am for is basically ending his role (and the role of his equivalents in other enterprises) in a hierarchly organized political economy.

What exactly that would look like and how it would be done remains to be seen as we are not only a very young movement but also a very tiny movement in no position yet to reorganize society democratically from below. But we are large enough to point out how the present structure of society is unjust at its core. That is a very important first step along the road to an alternative more just, democratic, peaceful and loving society.

I personally am extremely reluctant to use moral categories like "good" and "bad." I certainly believe that it is quite possible for a capitalist to be an extremely moral and ethical person. It's just that their class interests are antithetical to those of the vast majority. And the demand to end their role as a corporate ruling class is by no means a demand to exterminate them as human beings.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

Who are the followers that we are leading?

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

Who are the followers that we are leading?

The very question presumes hierarchal social relations which OWS rejects. The question reflects the problem. We are all responsible for ourselves and collectively for the whole. That is what direct democracy is all about. Precisely because it is so scary is why it is so difficult to grasp.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

I understand the organization of OWS and what it implies. I don't find it hard to grasp or scary in the least.

My problem is the use of confusing expressions like "we are all leaders"; confusing because only a metaphorical reading makes sense. I think it's important to stick with clear literal expressions when defining a concept - in this case a protest - that is so new to many people. Anarchy already suffers from so many misunderstandings, that the use of the most simple and straightforward definitions to explain OWS concepts should be favored over metaphorical expressions.

Instead of saying "we are all leaders" why not "we are all equals."?

[-] 0 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I don't think that either the notion that we are all leaders or that we are all equals is in the least metaphorical. I think it is meant literally. Everyone is a leader precisely because everyone is equal and because everyone is equal everyone has the capacity to lead and that is what is important. Not everyone is a leader all the time. It all depends on the context. In one context, because of my skills or experience people might defer to me as a leader, in another context they might defer to someone else.

[-] 1 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

Did you even read my comment?

Hint 1: The whole point is to replace the metaphorical "we are all leaders", with the literal "we are all equals".

Hint 2: Leaders need to have followers. Having leaders implies hierarchy if it is read literally, hence it must be read metaphorically by OWS supporters if they are to understand what you want to say. This adds confusion for nothing.

I'll ask again, why not simply say "we are all equals" which is literally correct and thus does not depend on a metaphorical reading to be understood in the intended way.

[-] 0 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I don't see the notion of either everyone being a leader or everyone being equal as metaphorical. I believe they are literally true and simply different ways of looking at the same issue.

Leadership is real in OWS but it is also in constant flux depending on the context. Some people are leaders in some contexts and others are leaders in other context and precisely because we are all equal we can both submit to or displace existing leadership at any moment again depending on the context. It most certainly would be useful to have a theoretical framework explaining how this works, but as the whole process is still in development that remains to be seen. Meanwhile, anyone who has been to a GA or spent time at an occupation can see that it does work, not perfectly all the time, but then neither does a hierarchal model and this is all new and still being experimented with.

[-] 1 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

Sigh... You haven't read my comments.

Hint: I never once said that the expression "we are all equals" was metaphorical. I said that "we are all leaders" was. I have no idea why you keep thinking otherwise, even after I explained it twice. This is particularly alarming since the whole point of my comment is that "we are all equals" is not metaphorical and should thus be encouraged over the other expression which is metaphorical.

Never mind. If you can't read or can't take the time to read, there's no point is debating.

this is all new and still being experimented with.

Precisely why we shouldn't attempt to use it to run a nation of 300 million people.


BTW - You are throwing one red herring after another.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I don't think that either the notion that we are all leaders or that we are all equal needs to be understood metaphorically. They can both be taken literally depending on the context.

I also don't necessarily think that the current decision making process of the GAs is necessarily a model for the whole nation or the world. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. But the fact is OWS is a tiny, tiny movement in a nation of over 300 million. I believe OWS will grow because the crises it is addressing are objectively real. As it grows it is bound to change. I can't say how, but that's the nature of growth--with it comes change.

I think notions of direct democracy are important in that they challenge the status quo in ways that simply going along with pre-existing modes of decision making could not do. I personally happen to think the decision making process of OWS is far from adequate, but like everything else in the movement it will grow and evolve as the movement grows and evolves. In my experience OWS activists seem well aware of these problems and are grappling with them. I personally don't claim to have any magic solutions, though I have participated in these discussions.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

I don't think that either the notion that we are all leaders or that we are all equal needs to be understood metaphorically.

Oh my God! Again :-( Must I use all caps with bold? I hate to do this, but when I write in a normal polite way you can't seem to be able to read. Perhaps you need glasses?

I NEVER SAID THAT THE EXPRESSION "we are all equal" NEEDS TO BE UNDERSTOOD METAPHORICALLY. THAT WAS MY WHOLE POINT! QUINTUPLE SIGH...

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I understand that you never said that the notion of equality needs to be understood metaphorically. I don't think the notion that we are all leaders needs to be understood metaphorically either, which is to say that neither the notion that we are all leaders or that we are all equal needs to be understood metaphorically.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

If read literally, the expression "we are all leaders" makes absolutely no sense. It is an impossibility.

If you retort by saying that OWS protesters each lead a particular aspect of the Occupy protest, I will reply that this is not true. I know many protesters that don't feel like they are leading anything. In fact, only a small number of OWS protesters might be said to be leading various groups or projects within Occupy.

Another problem is that you open the door for the critics to use the expression "you are all followers" which would be true if "you are all leaders".

Again, it's much clearer to say "we are all equals".

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I haven't run across any occupiers who don't take on leadership positions. True, many are frustrated with the way things are going: the lack of an occupation community, the erratic character of the kitchen since the eviction, the sluggish and bizarre nature of the GA, the impermanence of the housing situation, etc. But in the process of raising such concerns they also assert their own leadership even when they are not especially conscious of it.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 2 years ago

This and the non-violence is why i can't totally hate on you. don't let it go to your head.

[-] -1 points by gosso920 (-24) 2 years ago

That sounds too much like work, which is anathema to the denizens of the Obamavilles that have sprung up like weeds in this country.

[+] -4 points by smartcapitalist (143) 2 years ago

The guy in the last video is actually a trust fund baby, he is in the top 0.1% . LOL.. Occutard hypocrisy

[+] -4 points by TheTrollSlayer (347) from Kingsport, TN 2 years ago

You sure hit the nail on the head with this one Rico. Have you seen the Tea Party/Occupy Roundtable Discussion. http://goo.gl/BEPJf . How lame both sides were, no one citing what the problems were with the government or sources. The elderly lady for the tea party even states the the government system is the best in the world and nothing is wrong with it. Here are examples of the system at work, Fraud, waste and abuse in Iraq & Afghanistan contracts http://goo.gl/Js8DS 30 American Companies That Paid Less Than $0 In Taxes http://goo.gl/Nh03z Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig will speak on the corrosive effects of money in politics http://goo.gl/HVJhw And there are more examples to show. This movement needs a central source to show the problems with reliable sources that anyone who joins in and see and use about what we are protesting, why its wrong and we want it changed. Stern, just like others are finding people who dont know what all is going on and trying to make it seem like the whole movement is that way . Theres plenty of articles from legit sources about the problems we want changed.

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[+] -4 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

You can't expect much from the participants, when the movement itself doesn't have any plan to organize a political solution to the problems it points out.

[-] 2 points by flip (5030) 2 years ago

if you had a leak in your house and did not know where it came from you would be very happy for someone to point out the location even if they could not fix it. there is great benefit to be had by simply pointing out the problem - no need to try to solve the it - at least not right away. it needs to be discussed and looked at by the population and the political system and options can be worked on. that would be if we had a functioning democracy - sorry we don't! the movement had caused much trouble for the ruling class already by pointing our the different class interests of the 1% and 99%. that is one of the reasons that life is better in europe - they understand class difference and act upon that understanding in a way that forces the rulers to throw them a few more crumbs than we get here in the land of the free and home of the brave

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

Once the leak is pointed out, unless you're willing or able to help fix things, you've made yourself irrelevant. Occupy could have assisted with the process just by recruiting candidates for congress across every district in had an encampment in. Real change could have been made.

I can only guess why they eschew getting involved in the political process, I won't presume to do that. It has however rendered them useless for anything other then being the awareness ribbon for social inequity.

[-] 1 points by flip (5030) 2 years ago

ok, so you agree with my example but then you take it too far - far from being irrelevant ows has just started it's work hopefully! your thinking shows little understanding of how real change has been made in this country - always from outside the political system - do you need further education?? you can do a little independent study - think of the great changes in this country - how we have become a better place to live - then look at the history of that change. google will help - wiki is very good for the most part - you don't have to read the books

[-] 2 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

Of course most change was begun from outside. In the case of abolition, civil rights, the environment, women's rights, each group protested a wrong, they had a clear agenda, and they got the attention of the political establishment and made their changes happen through the system.

OWS seems content to simply point to the problems. The agenda is unclear and seems fluid, there is no attempt to use the popular support they originally had to bring change about through the process. Nice to make everyone aware of all the different wrongs in government and the business world through protest, now something more needs to be done. To paraphrase an old saying if you're not going to work for a solution, then you're part of the problem.

[-] 1 points by flip (5030) 2 years ago

ok, we disagree - i think they are working on the problem. raising awareness is a big part of the solution. the beginning of the end of the vietnam war was the teach ins! anyway i am all for trying to bring concrete solutions forward but ows doesn't not have to be the group to do it - ows can create the space for already existing pressure groups to propose solutions. i understand your position and don't agree but that does not mean i think you are wrong - who knows what is going to work!

[-] -2 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

I'd argue that that's the job of the participants if in fact the participants are a part of the movement (which I would argue they are). The problem is that the current system for identifying issues to worry about and tactics to get behind is incredibly slow, inefficient, and easily derailed by very vocal minorities. If something is done to change that, or a parallel movement arises that is better designed to attack the problems facing our nation head-on, then OWS (or the parallel movement) can become incredibly strong and organized. Who's responsible for making that happen? The participants (and by that I mean all participants, not just the poor confused newcomers) are, and it's about time they step up.

[-] 5 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

I was referring more to the aversion most participants I've encountered here seem to have to attempt political solutions through organizing support for congressional seats. Warren seems to get a lot of positive statements, but no Occupy group recruited her, she came up on her own. They could be putting good people up for office in districts across the country. Voting in people willing to work for change is what I mean by a political solution.

The movement seems to be one of pointing out a problem and then moving on to something else. I see it more lately as a protest du jour, not willing to risk failure by actually formulating any real plan for a solution. The membership seems to want this unfocused approach.

[-] 0 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

I love Elizabeth Warren and I don't begrudge her attempt at influencing the system via a congressional seat. But at the same time I hold with those who believe that our 18th government is outmoded and ill-suited to the revolutionary changes the progressive movement demands. I don't believe the Constitution is the answer, I believe it, and the gov't it has allowed to fester, are the problem. We need a ground-up socialist/participatory democracy for the 21st century. And i don't think the PTB are going to give it to us.

[-] 3 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

Well you're free to have that opinion, but you must also see it's only shared at present by a small minority of people. Most of the things that OWS has been protesting show up on the latest Gallup poll as concerning 1 to 3% of the nation.

If there wasn't a rebellion during the Great Depression with unemployment around 25% there won't be one now with it lower. People seem to love to complain but don't act. They see themselves as in fairly good shape, in spite of the envy they feel toward the rich.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

The only thing keeping a revolution at bay now is the New Deal (or what's left of it). When a republican gets into office, unemployment skyrockets, and the public services of the New Deal are eliminated, there'll be no stopping the tide.

[-] 4 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

Perhaps, but it's just as likely that revolution isn't anywhere on the radar for a large majority of Americans. They seem unconcerned about corporate corruption, interest rates, economic inequality, housing concerns. These poll at very low levels.

One republican won't change anything, we'll see an exchange of roles with the democrats obstructing a republican president. It's just my opinion, but I see success in working to get good people elected to office to make necessary changes happen from within. At least it will give everyone something positive to do while waiting for a revolution that might never happen.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

A sensible approach, if overly optimistic. For one thing, working within the current system to "elect good people" is a loosing battle. So long as Citizens United and Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific remain on the books our political system exists only to serve moneyed interests and only the candidates of moneyed interests will sustain election (with very few, exceptions, Elizabeth Warren perhaps being on of the few). In the current system we do not elect candidates, money does.

Secondly, I think if Ron Paul elected and eliminates virtually ALL gov't regulatory/public good agencies, revolution would follow within a few years. If Mitt gets in (more likely), then it will take longer, but when people still cannot get decent jobs, and have no right bargain collectively, no Soc. Sec, no Food Assistance, no Heating Assistance, no medicare, no medicaid, no health insurance, and cannot send their kids to college because there are no more public colleges or high schools/grade schools...all while the environment goes to hell around them.

They'll wake up in droves. Revolution before the end of his first term.

[-] 2 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

I see Citizens United as more a case involving free speech, I don't want laws regulating political films. The person-hood of corporations was started with cases like Santa Clara, I can even see it having its place.

What I can't see is any kind of revolution where unemployment is anywhere under 25%. If the Great Depression didn't do it then things will have to be a lot worse then they are now.

You also have a big majority believing the rich got that way through hard work. Leaving open the possibility that anyone can become rich. Then there is Gallop's open ended question, "What worries you most about the national economy at this time?" Only 2% are worried about the divide between rich and poor.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

right now, Food Assistance and Heating Assistance are keeping people fed and warm. The fact of the matter is that, even with jobs, nearly 40 million americans would starve/freeze w/o these gov't subsidies. If a republican is elected the first thing they will do is eliminate these subsidies. Jobs, or not, revolution will be the result.

[-] 2 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

I'm not sure a president has that power. I've been one of those people that from the start has wanted OWS to recruit people to run for congress from every district that has an occupy group. The power to change things is in the House of Representatives, not the White House.

Win a dozen seats and the establishment takes notice and your agenda starts to move forward. It worked for civil rights, AARP, NRA, unions. It could work for occupy if they weren't so attached to scrapping things and starting over. To do that you need things to get very bad before the government collapses.

[-] 1 points by JamesS89118 (646) from Las Vegas, NV 2 years ago

Unfortunately, I'll be one of them.

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[+] -4 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

Honestly, it shouldn't be too much to ask at all, and this should have started happening by mid-October. If I were them, I'd focus on the basics: campaign finance and lobbying reform and on reinstatement of Glass-Steagall (and whatever else is necessary to keep derivatives and exotic instruments under some sort of supervision) and put that first and foremost because damn near everyone can agree on those two things.

[+] -4 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

Well yeah. If this movement was an effort to bring about political change working through government, there would be a focused message that is realistic and achievable. But thats not at all what OWS is about. It's about anarchy.

[-] 1 points by flip (5030) 2 years ago

do you understand anarchy? Notes on Anarchism Noam Chomsky Excerpted from For Reasons of State, 1973 A French writer, sympathetic to anarchism, wrote in the 1890s that "anarchism has a broad back, like paper it endures anything''---including, he noted those whose acts are such that "a mortal enemy of anarchism could not have done better.''[1] There have been many styles of thought and action that have been referred to as "anarchist.'' It would be hopeless to try to encompass all of these conflicting tendencies in some general theory or ideology. And even if we proceed to extract from the history of libertarian thought a living, evolving tradition, as Daniel Guerin does in Anarchism, it remains difficult to formulate its doctrines as a specific and determinate theory of society and social change. The anarchist historian Rudolph Rocker, who presents a systematic conception of the development of anarchist thought towards anarchosyndicalism, along lines that bear comparison to Guerins work, puts the matter well when he writes that anarchism is not

a fixed, self-enclosed social system but rather a definite trend in the historic development of mankind, which, in contrast with the intellectual guardianship of all clerical and governmental institutions, strives for the free unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces in life. Even freedom is only a relative, not an absolute concept, since it tends constantly to become broader and to affect wider circles in more manifold ways. For the anarchist, freedom is not an abstract philosophical concept, but the vital concrete possibility for every human being to bring to full development all the powers, capacities, and talents with which nature has endowed him, and turn them to social account. The less this natural development of man is influenced by ecclesiastical or political guardianship, the more efficient and harmonious will human personality become, the more will it become the measure of the intellectual culture of the society in which it has grown.[2]

One might ask what value there is in studying a "definite trend in the historic development of mankind'' that does not articulate a specific and detailed social theory. Indeed, many commentators dismiss anarchism as utopian, formless, primitive, or otherwise incompatible with the realities of a complex society. One might, however, argue rather differently: that at every stage of history our concern must be to dismantle those forms of authority and oppression that survive from an era when they might have been justified in terms of the need for security or survival or economic development, but that now contribute to---rather than alleviate---material and cultural deficit. If so, there will be no doctrine of social change fixed for the present and future, nor even, necessarily, a specific and unchanging concept of the goals towards which social change should tend. Surely our understanding of the nature of man or of the range of viable social forms is so rudimentary that any far-reaching doctrine must be treated with great skepticism, just as skepticism is in order when we hear that "human nature'' or "the demands of efficiency'' or "the complexity of modern life'' requires this or that form of oppression and autocratic rule.

Nevertheless, at a particular time there is every reason to develop, insofar as our understanding permits, a specific realization of this definite trend in the historic development of mankind, appropriate to the tasks of the moment. For Rocker, "the problem that is set for our time is that of freeing man from the curse of economic exploitation and political and social enslavement''; and the method is not the conquest and exercise of state power, nor stultifying parliamentarianism, but rather "to reconstruct the economic life of the peoples from the ground up and build it up in the spirit of Socialism.''

But only the producers themselves are fitted for this task, since they are the only value-creating element in society out of which a new future can arise. Theirs must be the task of freeing labor from all the fetters which economic exploitation has fastened on it, of freeing society from all the institutions and procedure of political power, and of opening the way to an alliance of free groups of men and women based on co-operative labor and a planned administration of things in the interest of the community. To prepare the toiling masses in the city and country for this great goal and to bind them together as a militant force is the objective of modern Anarcho-syndicalism, and in this its whole purpose is exhausted. [P. 108]

As a socialist, Rocker would take for granted "that the serious, final, complete liberation of the workers is possible only upon one condition: that of the appropriation of capital, that is, of raw material and all the tools of labor, including land, by the whole body of the workers.''[3] As an anarchosyndicalist, he insists, further, that the workers' organizations create "not only the ideas, but also the facts of the future itself'' in the prerevolutionary period, that they embody in themselves the structure of the future society---and he looks forward to a social revolution that will dismantle the state apparatus as well as expropriate the expropriators. "What we put in place of the government is industrial organization.''

Anarcho-syndicalists are convinced that a Socialist economic order cannot be created by the decrees and statutes of a government, but only by the solidaric collaboration of the workers with hand and brain in each special branch of production; that is, through the taking over of the management of all plants by the producers themselves under such form that the separate groups, plants, and branches of industry are independent members of the general economic organism and systematically carry on production and the distribution of the products in the interest of the community on the basis of free mutual agreements. [p. 94]

Rocker was writing at a moment when such ideas had been put into practice in a dramatic way in the Spanish Revolution. Just prior to the outbreak of the revolution, the anarchosyndicalist economist Diego Abad de Santillan had written:

[-] 0 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I don't think OWS is about anarchy. It is about changes in our culture and society that are considerably more comprehensive and more profound than putting new faces (even a lot of new faces) in Congress or legislative changes or even Constitutional amendments. It's about really fundamental changes in social relations and social consciousness internationally.

[-] 2 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

Yes, I know. Which will then usher in an anarchistic egalitarian society that will be all flowers and sunshine.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

Why the cynicism? isn't it a good thing to have a vision of a better world? Among other things it gives more moderate voices a program to water down.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

You're right. I wasn't so much being cynical though, as I was being facetious. But I think there is some truth to it.

I hear all about how egalitarian, anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian communist societies will be all hearts and flowers. All very theoretical. As if there would be no problems. Which I'm sure would be many. Problems that nobody could possibly envision completely. Instead of hearing about all the theoretical flowers and sunshine, I would prefer to hear about the potential problems. I don't think anyone promoting these alternatives ever talks about.

In any case, seems like I water down your ideas, you help to elevate mine, and I'll meet you somewhere in the middle. : )

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

We can't know what a post corporate or post capitalist society will look like as we are nowhere near that yet. On the other hand both the corporation and capitalism are human inventions and there is no reason to presume that they represent an end to history, that society will not evolve beyond that. Everything from feudalism to buggy whips were human inventions too and they are no longer in use.

Of course this is a global and comprehensive project. It is its global and comprehensive character that makes it so revolutionary (and frankly scary) to many people. On the other hand such utopian speculations are hard to resist when people ask what are the goals, but I do not think that is where most people start from.

Many people come to the conclusion that there are many aspects of are culture and society that are unjust and undemocratic and which contribute to social conflict. You can start from a position that says "this is wrong" without necessarily having any ultimate solution immediately in mind other than standing opposed to those things which you see as undemocratic, unjust or antithetical to human solidarity.

I've been active in social movements for nearly 50 years. Very early on I was attracted to the most radical tendencies in those movements, not because of some utopian vision that they had of the future, but because, quite frankly, they tended to be the best organizers in the here and now, much better than the more "practical" moderate forces in the movement.

The same is true in OWS today. It is widely known and widely reported that the initiators of OWS are strongly influenced by the anarchist intellectual tradition, What is more, far from denying it, these folks are quite open about it. But it is also they, rather than the more moderate forces in the movement who came along a short time later, who forged the first alliance between organized labor and the radical intellegentcia since the 1940s, who built an alliance with the stop stop and frisk movement, who built an alliance with the debtor class, who built an alliance with sections of the religious community, who welcomed the homeless, who reached out to the foreclosed and who have done and continue to very effective outreach to other communities, virtually none of whom agree with their theoretical models. That is the reason for whatever success they are having, not any utopian models of the future.

[-] -3 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

It honestly shouldn't be, and if it is we need to work to change that as much as possible. I also wouldn't say that OWS is about anarchy so much as I'd say they've chosen the organization methods typical of anarchists as a means of trying to implement that change (which as far as I'm concerned was a poor choice to begin with) and they're more concerned with this particular strategy than the end goals, which I believe is a serious problem.

[+] -4 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

I would prefer also if this movement did not use anarchistic methods. But I think the goals of the anarchists that started this movement is not to bring about realistic change by working with government. I think the goals are to create a revolution, in the hopes of ending government. That's why there are no stated goals, such as end government corruption, even though that is probably a goal that would be supported by the majority. Though there was a declaration passed by the NYCGA recently to end corporate personhood, or money is not speech, something to that effect. Perhaps finally in response to this majority. But without leadership and proper organization, some protesters still don't know that this is an issue that is important.

I think another goal of the anarchists running this movement is to keep their direct democracy in existance for as long as possible. The longer and more drawn out this protest becomes, the better for the anarchists to spread their message. The direct democracy used in the GA's is highly visible, and it works to promote anarchy principles as a solution and alternative to our current form of government.

So yes, I agree. OWS ptb is more concerned about their strategy, which is their end goal. Promoting their strategy. Direct Democracy. Hoping it will become our new form of government.

I don't see much hope of this movement changing its methods or its goals. To do so would require a direct democracy vote to end direct democracy. I don't think such a vote would ever be allowed to take place. I don't see any other way to change the underlying principles of the movement, in order to put in place proper leadership and organization. The goals of the minority, OWS ptb, are going to be very hard to overcome, given the non-heirarchical structure. The non-heirarchical structure prevents the movement from being co-opted by anyone, even the moderates in the movement.

[-] 2 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

I agree with everything you said here. Very well said.

[-] 2 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

Thanks! I have my moments. : )

[-] 2 points by debndan (1145) 2 years ago

To be devil's advocate here, I'd have to say that with staying decentralized, as OWS is, allows the individual to directly participate, and with that participation comes evolution of Ideas.

To rise above the crowd voice, an Idea must become fully formed and understandable, so that the best of Ideas, with the most support, rise to the top.

Also, with working outside the political system, OWS doesn't become a tool for either party, but the members are free to work within both parties to change them instead.

If you don't think this is possible, look at how some GOP candidates have changed their tune this week, and how the establishment was forced to come down on them like a ton of bricks.

this helps to expose the establishments heavy handedness, and brings more disenfranchized republicans to the OWS.

This wouldn't be possible if it were controlled by the Dems, and visa virsa.

If the OWS was heirarchical, co-option wouldn't just be possible, but inevitable given what's at stake.

I saw what happened to the Tea party, believe me, it'd happen here too.

[-] 2 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

Horizontalism provides some insulation against co-optation, but it is no absolute guarantee. But right now I'll run with it.

[-] 2 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

I'd say the idea has already risen to the top. Get money out of politics. Everything else can be solved through government after that.

Government won't change unless the people make it change. Working with and through government. This movement has no intent of doing that. Mostly it uses Direct Action. Causes disruptions to get attention. Tell me one successful movement, successfully changed government policy, that had no leadership, no coherent message (we are the 99% is not a coherent message, it sounds like a wanna-be mob), used direct democracy for decision making, had a non-heirarchical structure. This is not a recipe for success to affect positive change politcally or through government.

It has brought some social awareness. It has moved the debate to some degree. But talk is cheap. The real work is getting legislation passed.

The movement does not have to be part of either party. I think OWS could be a very effective political party of its own. Bigger and better than the Tea Party. The Tea Party has been successful. They have members in Congress and they have used their issue to bring Congress to a grinding halt practically. All within a few years time! I'd say that is pretty successful.

But instead we have a variety of politcal options. All split up groups, instead of one giant mobilized group. Thank goodness for these groups! They've got the right idea! I suspect some will merge together in time to become stronger. Maybe Buddy Roemer will be Andersons running mate or something. Maybe Progressives United will join forces with Get the Money Out.

http://www.justicepartyusa.net/ http://callaconvention.org/ http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2010/democracy.php#316100 http://www.rootstrikers.org/ http://www.progressivesunited.org/home http://www.getmoneyout.com/about http://www.buddyroemer.com/ http://www.the-99-declaration.org/

There's probably more out there! In the mean time, OWS plays direct democracy games in the park. Sorry, I just don't see that as terribly effective. I think OWS could be alot more than that.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6275) 2 years ago

Yes, staying out of party politics and staying non-hierarchical is the right thing. In my opinion a non-hierarchical society is what we should strive for:

Anarcho-Syndicalism / Libertarian Socialism:

http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html

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[-] 1 points by nucleus (3291) 2 years ago

hmmm. +12 in 40 minutes?

Somebody has far too many accounts ...

[-] 1 points by debndan (1145) 2 years ago

Nope, just one account here, anyone who's read my posts knows that there can be only one debndan (yes a highlander quote)

[-] -3 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

Honestly, that just makes me sad. Our biggest and best shot at changing the status quo thrown away in favor of what amounts to a pipe dream that's not going to catch on with the American people for at least a century or so. If anything, those particular tactics do a great job of demonstrating the flaws in direct democracy when practiced among an uninformed, divided population (which it's safe to say can be said of too much of the American population as a whole) and driving people away from that end.

[-] 3 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

I agree. I have been sad and frustrated about it too. I think also that direct democracy is not effective, a non-hierarchical structure is not effective, having no leadership is not effective. Maybe those things were somewhat effective in getting this movement started. I think that has outlived its useful life. We would gain more supporters now without it. And yes, you would think that people would see these flaws. Many do. But it's a very difficult structure to try to change.

I think this movement does drive people away. I have seen many many people come and go when they realize how ineffective this structure is and see that the goals are not something they believe in.

But I will say that I think the movement is moving in a more moderate direction overall. Perhaps the movement will evolve into something more hierarchical, politcal, and realistic, if the moderates continue to become stronger. I do not know. It's hard to say. Come Spring, I'm sure there will be an initial burst of energy. If the number of supporters/money declines over time, perhaps that will help the movement evolve itself.

While I don't believe in anarchy or revolution or any of those things, I do think this movement has been good at raising awareness, education, sharing information and discussing issues, like a giant town hall, getting people participating to affect change. Rather than a political movement, if it stays and continues to be more moderate, I see it as more of a social awareness direct action movement. Which I have come to accept. Not easy.

Beyond that, is an exercise in futility mostly. Like I said, it could evolve from anarchy. Given the right circumstances (running out of money and support) and enough strong moderate voices.

[+] -5 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Something, anything, other than "um I don't know."

[-] -2 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

Absolutely; I just chose the somethings above because they're the ones most likely to get us new supporters and public sympathy. If we just say anything, then everyone comes up with their own somethings without bothering to coordinate with anyone else and we're right back at "Er, I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here but I'm sure it's important."

[+] -7 points by infonomics (393) 2 years ago

Maybe the fault resides in the message, not those receiving it. When 10,000 voices descend upon only two ears, would you blame the ears for their failure to discern the correct message?