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Forum Post: Is there an example of a single OWS action that has arisen as the result of a conversation on this forum?

Posted 2 years ago on Feb. 28, 2012, 7:59 p.m. EST by RedJazz43 (2757)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

When I first signed on to this forum several weeks after the occupation of Zuccotti Park began, I looked forward to having a place where I could learn where the movement was going during the time when I was unable to physically be at an occupation. I was frankly quite disappointed as about have the contributors to this forum seemed openly hostile to OWS and most of the other half, while claiming sympathy, didn't really seem to know very much at all in terms of what was going on at the occupations and in the various local GAs, which to me are the organizational heart of the movement.

I've been challenged in this view by people who insist that this forum has made very significant contributions to the movement. I have learned that what appears to me a handful of individuals have been motivated to action and to joining an occupation or GA as a consequence of participating in this forum, but it does seem like a rather inconsequential number of people who might have learned about the movement in several other ways.

I've also seen many, many suggestions regarding what direction the movement should take, what policies it should adopt, etc. Some of these I've agreed with and some not, but virtually never have I seen a strategy advanced for how to get the movement to actually adopt any of the suggested ideas, which is one of the reasons I have tended to conclude that most of the people who contribute to this list have only the most tenuous of connections to the movement.

I consider myself a loyal OWS activist, part time to be sure, but an activist nonetheless. I would love to see this forum have an impact on the movement that to me it does not seem to possess, but I don't see myself or any individual being able to have the influence on this forum to be able to do that. I do think that what might change it is that if people who were more active at occupations or local GAs participated more regularly in this forum, there would be more concrete suggestions regarding how to get the various ideas presented here actually implemented, but I suspect that most people who are very active in the movement don't have much time to participate in a forum like this.

I'm excited about many aspects of OWS and frustrated by some things about it, but in either case I don't feel like I as an individual, or any individual for that matter can have much impact on the direction of the movement so for the most part I feel like I'm along for the ride and a very exciting ride it is!

26 Comments

26 Comments


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[-] 2 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

Yes I became aware that Thomas Jefferson said, "due to elitist bankers and corporations, the children will wake up one day homeless on the countryland their fathers conquered" and that we are seeing this prediction happen today.

[-] -1 points by egoldman (-5) 2 years ago

The only thing constructive about this forum and OWS, is that it has given employment courtesy of VanJones (SEIU-Public Prison Unions).

Many unemployed now spend their days deleting posts, and writing dribble on this forum,

Had OWS not begun, where would all these people who hang-out on this forum and this organization be? Where would be they be?

See OWS as a heat-sink for DNC and Public-Labor Funds and nothing else. But money does flow to the needs, and my gawd I know that BOT's need money too, and Indian Call Center employees, everybody needs SEIU cash.

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

lol

[-] 1 points by jart (1091) from New York, NY 2 years ago

I tried back in August, but I never had much luck convincing people who're participating in the movement on the ground to use the forum. Most of the players in the movement use Twitter, Facebook, private mailing lists, and physical meetings to talk about stuff. This forum is more useful for giving people who can't participate in the movement a way to talk about occupy and be a part of the movement.

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

Aside from a handful of severely disabled and isolated people, I personally do not believe that there is any such thing as an individual who "can't" participate actively in the movement. On the other hand, I also don't believe that people consciously choose not to be active. I think it is more the case that people simply do not know how to be active. There are numberous popular and scholarly studies out regarding how we tend to be less social and less organized in our social activity than was the case in past decades.

If nobody as ever been in any kind of organized social club (for example a labor union, or a church, or for that matter the Rotary) they basically have no experience in that kind of activity and as such are not in a good position to even begin to think about how to organized such an activity. But that's an explanation of why it doesn't happen more and not an excuse.

[-] 1 points by jart (1091) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Aside from a handful of severely disabled and isolated people, I personally do not believe that there is any such thing as an individual who "can't" participate actively in the movement

People who live in an area without occupiers but don't have the activist social network to start one themselves. The rest I imagine---aside from the disabled---are people who either have to support others or are simply unwilling to quit their day jobs and become revolutionaries; so instead they just talk about politics online at work.

The rest of what you said is pretty much on point.

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

I don't think you have to quite your day job and I don't think you have to become a revolutionary and I don't think the two are coterminous in order to be an OWS activist. And this is just my personal opinion as there is now OWS organization and therefore no "membership" and therefore no conditions of membership, but personally I don't believe that if one's primary or exclusive relationship to OWS is through participating (much less just reading the posts) on this forum constitutes being an OWS activist.

[-] 0 points by DevilDog420 (133) from Saratoga Springs, NY 2 years ago

Be careful of what you ask for, this forum is for ideas- in the public domain and monitored by the Gov. if you want action go to wall street and meet with protesters, or your local college, find some poor people and read Robin Hood...

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

I don't see what supporting the Commander and Chief of the American Empire has to do with OWS.

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (20437) 2 years ago

How on earth would you know how much influence the threads in this forum might be having on people who read it? And, how do you know how active or inactive forum participants are?

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

I tried to make clear that my views are both my own and impressionistic, that is, these are my impressions based on my participation on this forum. Of course I could be wrong and I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, which is partially why I began the thread.

In one sense I think this forum is a lot like a GA in that (I think) it is virtually impossible for an individual to influence the course of its development. That said, it's a little frustrating to me because I have a gut feeling that somehow it could be more useful to the movement than is actually the case. Part of the problem (I think) are the arcane decision making mechanisms of the movement, over which a forum like this can apparently have very little influence. One good thing though is that it does seem to me that there are fewer people on the forum who are openly hostile to OWS, though that may simply be a function of the particular threads I happen to be following.

I am very devoted to and committed to OWS. It just seems to me that a forum like this could do more for the movement than is actually the case, though I don't pretend to know exactly how to make that happen.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (20437) 2 years ago

Ideas are important. Maybe more important than anything else. And, this forum has evolved into a place where ideas are discussed and debated. How could that be a bad thing?

Anything that is done in a more active way, such as in a GA, or in a protest, must have its roots in ideas first, otherwise those actions will flounder. So, I think all tactics are important.

[-] 1 points by LetsGetReal (1420) from Grants, NM 2 years ago

I didn't get the impression that RJ was suggesting that the discussion of ideas is a bad thing. What I heard, is that he or she is frustrated by the lack of concrete suggestions of strategies to get the ideas presented here actually implemented. I share that frustration, although I am rather at a loss myself for concrete effective actions we can take. Discussing ideas is great and important, but it is no substitute for real world action and results.

[-] -2 points by nweiner (-9) 2 years ago

We have a plan, its been defined to us by 'consensus' since day one here.

Re-Elect Obama 2012.

The mission was clear, that OWS go dormant for winter and hit the streets in the Spring, and do for the DNC what TEA did for the Pug's.

From what I can see is that everything according to plan is moving along just fine.

OWS doesn't ever go after the bankers, and they 100% support Obama,

Other than re-electing Obama in 2012, what do you have in mind that we might accomplish? After all the meter is running on Soros money via CANVAS through Kalle-Lasn, ... there are deep pockets, but other than re-electing Obama, and keeping the public prisons ( SEIU ) growing, ... I think we have done enough.

[-] 1 points by LetsGetReal (1420) from Grants, NM 2 years ago

Nonsense.

[-] 0 points by nweiner (-9) 2 years ago

We have a plan, its been defined to us by 'consensus' since day one here.

Re-Elect Obama 2012.

The mission was clear, that OWS go dormant for winter and hit the streets in the Spring, and do for the DNC what TEA did for the Pug's.

From what I can see is that everything according to plan is moving along just fine.

OWS doesn't ever go after the bankers, and they 100% support Obama,

Other than re-electing Obama in 2012, what do you have in mind that we might accomplish? After all the meter is running on Soros money via CANVAS through Kalle-Lasn, ... there are deep pockets, but other than re-electing Obama, and keeping the public prisons ( SEIU ) growing, ... I think we have done enough.

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

Ideas are important in and of themselves in many contexts, but in the context of a social movement the importance of ideas, it seems to me is how those ideas can be related to the movement and how they can be made to move the movement in any particular direction.

College bull sessions are a lot of fun and you can learn a lot from them, but they don't particularly go anywhere, at least not in an organized way. If people essentially see this forum as an electronic college bull session, that is, of course, fine, but it is difficult for me to see how such an activity is meaningfully connected to movement, let alone the movement.

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (20437) 2 years ago

Why don't you find a forum where you'd be more happy then? I never said that ideas are more important than activism or that this forum is the movement, but, ideas do come first. You need ideas to drive activism. If you feel the ideas have all been flushed out, then go, be an activist.

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

Who said anything about being unhappy? I think OWS is wonderful. That doesn't mean that I think it is above criticism and I think one of the best ways to make it better is through thoughtful and well organized criticism. The same goes for this forum or anything else in life for that matter.

Regarding praxis or the relationship between ideas and action, I don't see any of that here and my primary issue is how to make it happen. That is, what is the relationship between an idea and actually making that idea happen? Isn't that in itself an idea? The particular set of ideas that I have never seen discussed on this forum (though perhaps I am not looking closely enough or in the right places) is actually how to get the ideas presented implemented. People have great ideas all the time unconnected to any political movement or any possibility that they will ever come into being. To me the best ideas are ideas about how to actually get one's ideas implemented. That doesn't mean that those ideas about how to get an idea implemented will always work, but they are the start of what I believe is not simply an important, but a crucial and even essential discussion. No matter how great an idea is, it doesn't amount to anything without a plan (an idea) about how to get it implemented and that is what I am looking for and that is what I am calling on all these people with such great ideas to do. I suspect they don't have such ideas about how to get their ideas implemented because they don't have any real connection to the movement or how it works or how ideas that actually have been implemented have been implemented.

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (20437) 2 years ago

Lead the way, RedJazz43. I don't think there is a person on this forum who wouldn't want to see some of the ideas we discuss implemented.

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

I've actually tried to, but they quickly begin to look like Marxist nonsequitors (Groucho, not Karl). I've argued that for better or for worse the only decision making bodies in OWS are the local GAs and it is through them that any idea has to be presented if it is to be implemented and that the course of discussion has to be how to present a particular idea in a particular GA. This has typically been met with complaints about how disfunctional most GAs are, a point that I don't necessarily disagree with, but the question then becomes, given that disfunction, how do we proceed from there? I haven't found much productive discussion along those lines beyond that point.

Another line of thought goes that OWS is really much larger that the sum total of local GAs, an idea which I find intriguing, but when I've tried to pursue that further I've asked what the decision making mechanisms are for this larger and more amorphous section of the movement, about which I've recieved little response, at least none that I've found personally useful in my day to day movement activity.

Personally, I think trying to get one's ideas through a local GA and from there trying to enlist support from other GAs is the way to go. While it can be a maddeningly slow process, I've personally not had any problem in that regard, which is not to say that ideas I have are always broadly accepted. Quite the contrary, but I take that to be a indication of what the movement as a whole is prepared to do as a movement. That's the point of democracy after all. Not that I am at all happy with the GA decision making process. Personally I think a process that respected both majority rule and minority rights would be more functional, but I also recognize that I am an extreme minority in this point of view and my perspective in this regard is unlikely to be adopted by any GA in the foreseeable future.

That's what I see going on in terms of process in OWS. Some people argue not to get hung up on process, but I don't see how else to get any idea implemented.

It is possible that I've opened up several different lines of discussion with this particular contribution and if anyone would like to pursue any of them I would find it most interesting.

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (27660) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

The jizz is a troll. He likes to use double speak and innuendo. Misdirection and subtle lies. I've been going round and round with the faker all day.

[+] -4 points by salinsky (27) 2 years ago

The only thing constructive about this forum and OWS, is that it has given employment courtesy of VanJones (SEIU-Public Prison Unions).

Many unemployed now spend their days deleting posts, and writing dribble on this forum,

Had OWS not begun, where would all these people who hang-out on this forum and this organization be? Where would be they be?

See OWS as a heat-sink for DNC and Public-Labor Funds and nothing else. But money does flow to the needs, and my gawd I know that BOT's need money too, and Indian Call Center employees, everybody needs SEIU cash.

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I think RJ can be understood by the nature of the company he keeps - or at least those who reinforce his ideas - see salinsy above.

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[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

LIAR! Jart created this forum. She is not Thrassy. You are a LIAR.

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

The above post is not only hostile to OWS but clearly naive as to what it is all about. A visit to any GA would reveal just how hostile virtually all OWS activists are to the Democratic Party and the Obama Administration.