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Forum Post: Who do you blame?

Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 1, 2011, 10:18 a.m. EST by PACmenDotOrg (6)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

When parents don't make rules for their children, and then said children run amok. Who do you blame?

It is time to blame the parents.

Occupy the National Mall. Occupy Govrnment.



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[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

Unfortunately neither one of them are children.

OccupyWalllstreet. They have so many more ways to steal from us.

[-] 2 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 10 years ago

Not only that, they have lobbyists, and in a sense, by creating pressure on Wall street it then is translated through the lobbyists, and we gain almost direct access to Congress . . .!

The real trick is to make Wall Street lobby on our behalf . . . . make them beg for reasonable and responsible legislation . . .

and the banking industry too!

Once we have done these things, we will have mastered the art that is our political system.

[-] 1 points by randart (498) 10 years ago

I hold everyone to blame for this mess we are in. Everyone is greedy to some degree as was evidenced by the feeding frenzy of shoppers on "Black Friday". We just can't get enough at all levels. The real question in my mind is, why? What is it inside humans that drives us to want things so much? Maybe if the wants went away and we made goods that lasted so when you bought something it could be passed down to the next generation then maybe, just maybe, we might find a way to make this all work for everyone. But the Hell with that, that idea is so four seconds ago.

[-] 1 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 10 years ago

"so four seconds ago" thx for the laugh : )

humans, like all living things, are driven by needs. Wants are driven by culture and experiences. We have the resources and the technology now to satisfy both, the tipping point is when 'we' change/repair our values

[-] 1 points by bigbangbilly (594) 10 years ago

Actually too much rules would make a yearning for freedom.

[-] 1 points by demcapitalist (977) 10 years ago

You can blame the parents but you still need to wrangle the children and stop the bad behavior

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I don't think metaphors about the family regarding the state are especially useful. That said, this being a corporate state there really isn't much difference between Wall Street and Washington. They are really only two different manifestations of the same corporate system.

Therefore, the question of whether to demonstrate on Wall Street or Washington is purely logistical, not a matter of principle and the fact is you could put a quarter of a million people on the Washington Mall in the middle of a work week and nobody would notice. Business would go on as usual. The city was intentionally designed to absorb demonstrations without being affected.

On the other hand if you put one quarter of that number in lower Manhattan on a week day, commerce would cease.

[-] 1 points by PACmenDotOrg (6) 10 years ago

Yes but we can give the government a reason to change this: "They are really only two different manifestations of the same corporate system." Corporations will never have a reason to change that.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

We live in a corporate state. Which is to say, it is not "our" state. It belongs to corporate power. Thinking you can change Washington is as much an illusion as thinking you can change Wall Street as they are both essentially nothing but different manifestations of exactly the same thing, so from a principled point of view it really makes no difference where you go to express your outrage. The logistical question is where can you actually make a difference and it ain't in the halls of Congress, which is little more than the executive committee of the Wall Street corporations. At Wall Street however, literally, physically, at Wall Street, with enough people (and a lot fewer than it would take in Washington) you really can literally stop them from doing anything, doing business or governing, which really are only two different aspects of the same process.

[-] 1 points by PACmenDotOrg (6) 10 years ago

I respectfully disagree. You can change Washington. It has been done before, and it will be done again. You have to start by changing the national conversation, which has been done. The next step is to get involved in local government, occupy the voting booths, and occupy the government.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

You do not understand what Occupy Wall Street is all about. Just look at the top of this page. It's about revolution. We also realize that most Americans are not revolutionary, which is why we know it will take a long, long time to accomplish what we want. Perhaps several lifetimes. But it will not be accomplished by any liberal nostrums, changes of people in office, legislation or even Constitutional amendments.

Occupy Everything! Demand nothing! We have a world to win.

[-] 1 points by PACmenDotOrg (6) 10 years ago

Actually, by telling me that I don't understand what OWS is all about, you are making yourself out to be the one who does not understand what OWS is all about. You don't own OWS, and you can't tell me that my reasons or beliefs for participating in it are any less legitimate than yours. You sound like you are putting yourself on a high throne. Come back down to earth.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I'm sorry for coming off arogantly. You are correct in pointing out that that is antithetical to OWS values. I was trying to be objective about it, but clearly I was not being successful. It is true that probably a vast majority of OWS supporters are liberals. However, it is not that liberal majority that has tended to set the agenda for OWS up until this point. From reading and commentary on the pre-history of OWS it is clear that the initiators of the movement tended to be quite radical and very influenced especially by the intellectual traditions of anarchism. They still tend to dominate in GAs for the simple reason that the liberals, while they tend to be a majority, are much less coherent politically and cannot seem to agree among themselves.

At the top of this page it says "the revolution continues world wide." Liberal supporters of the movement tend to take such statements a mere hyperbole whereas the radicals in the movement take them quite seriously and literally.

Again, this is my personal perception of the movement, having been active part time since day one of the first occupation and having read everything about OWS that I can get my hands on. But it is only my opinion based on that experience and should only be taken as such. I am sorry if it comes off as arrogant, but that's my perception of the movement.

[-] 1 points by PACmenDotOrg (6) 10 years ago

I am in the liberal majority and would be happy to share my political coherence.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

The point is, that the liberals in OWS have no coherence, no political agreement among themselves. While the radicals are a numerical minority they are much more coherent politically. Beyond that, because they are the initiators of the movement, in spite of the fact that there is no recognized "official" leadership, the radicals do have a certain cache as its originators.

[-] 1 points by PACmenDotOrg (6) 10 years ago

I feel the opposite way, but that's fine. We can agree to disagree. Perhaps its different from city to city.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

Have the liberals at your occupation actually been able to get your GA to pass a set of demands? I would be extremely interested in this if that is the case. The Demands Working Group or its equivalent is the natural habitat of the liberals in the movement and at the 4 different occupations I have attended they have been unable to agree on a common set of demands to present to their respective GAs, much less actually have them discussed at the level of the GA.

One of the ironies here is that it is the radicals who tend to be more patient, who see this as a very long term project going on at least years, probably decades and perhaps even several lifetimes, which is one reason that they are less anxious about raising particular demands. Another, of course is that they do not see existing institutions as capable of genuinely representing the 99% so there is really no point, from our point of view, of making any demands on those institutions. Our project should be building alternative institutions, which right now look like GAs.

[-] 1 points by PACmenDotOrg (6) 10 years ago

Well, it's difficult to answer your assumptions when you are just labeling some people as "liberals" and others as "radicals" as if defining one's ideology is that simple. I think that you just have some deep seeded disdain for liberals and are accusing "them" (which, in reality, there is no "them") of not holding the same ideals, or doing the same things, as your ideal movement would.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I too eschew abstractions. When somebody says that I'm a liberal or a radical or a socialist I always ask them what they mean by that before agreeing or disagreeing. That said, here is my perception of the dominant political tendencies in OWS. Clearly there are no organized factions, but I do think that what might be appropriately termed tendencies are clearly discernable.

The initators of OWS were very influenced by the intellectual traditions of anarchism and other radical tendencies. They make no bones about this and are quite open about it. There are several sympathetic stories about the origins of OWS that document this quite extensively. One of the best is a recent article in the New Yorker. If you look at the top of this page it says "the revolution continues world wide." I have asked dozens of people at four different occupations exactly what they make of that. People who take it literally and think in means what it says also tend to characterize themselves as radicals. This would include virtually all of the initiators of the movement. People who tend to see a statement like that as hyperbole tend to self characterize as liberals. This is from my personal annecdotal experience.

These same people who self identify as radicals also tend to be opposed to raising demands, largely because the do not view any authority that would have the power to grant demands a legitimate. These folks (among whom I would count myself) are well aware that the vast majority of Americans are not revolutionary, which is why they tend to see OWS as a very long term project lasting years, probably decades and possibly several lifetimes. Patience is a revolutionary virtue. BTW, just because these folks are clearly radical doesn't mean that they are incapable of working with people who don't share their views. Indeed, literally within days of the beginning of the occupation they had built an alliance with sections of organized labor the likes of which have not been seen in this nation since the 1940s.

In contrast, the self identified liberals tend to be very anxious about raising particular demands but so far as I have been able to determine there is no consensus among them about exactly what demands would be most appropriate, at least not at the five different occupations I have been to. One of the demands that seems to command a lot of support is for campaign finance reform, but even that has nowhere near a majority in the Demands Working Groups at any of the GAs I have attended, much less a consensus, and this does not even speak to the issue of getting a specific set of demands past a skeptical GA once it has been agreed upon by a Working Group, which has yet to happen at any of the occupations I have been to.

I actually very strongly support the old SDS notion which said, to paraphase it that the movement needed both liberals and radicals, "liberals for their relevance and radicals for their vision.' That said and within the context of that kind of coalition I personally would tend to identify more with the radical wing. Again, I also am very sympathetic to people who tend to be distressed by any political labels. On the other hand, ultimately all words are labels and as long as they are not view with prejudice and people agree on the definition of what they mean, they can be very useful. I am not at all distainful of liberals. Most of my friends are liberals, but I don't consider myself a liberal and I am very resentful when a pollster calles me up and asks me if I am "liberal, very liberal, conservative or very conservative." I aways ask if i can be none of the above, to which they often ask, "Then you're a moderate." The mainstream vision of American politics tends to be extremely narrow. One of the best things OWS could do is to open up that vision.

[-] 1 points by Redbirds4 (4) 10 years ago

RedJazz43 - As someone who was not at any of the OWS meetings, I am very interested to hear anarchism's "end goal".

Is the goal to eliminate government authority? I guess the problem as I see it with that is I have zero confidence that those who take power if the "powers that be" were taken down would be any more "moral" then the current "powers that be".

To me, and many self-described independents, anarchism is simply a goal of putting in place a society where at a local level, the strong can subjugate the weak simply because there is no central authority to prevent that.

Having said all that, I certainly reserve the right to be completely misinformed, so if I'm misunderstanding your goals, or understanding them correctly but have conclusions that you haven't reached, I'd be interested in hearing your point of view.


[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

Anarchism has a very rich intellectual history, probably as rich as the intellectual tradition of Marxism. In terms of ABCs, most anarchists draw a distinction between government and the state. Essentially (and of course many anarchists would have a nuanced difference with this) the state is the coercive aspect of government, or more particularly when a government has a sanctioned monopoly on violence, that sanctioned monopoly on violence is what anarchists would call the state.

This would include, of course, the military,the police and the prison system as well as all the civil apparatus that contolled and directed those institutions. Most anarchists also tend to view less explicitly violent institutions whose role is what Chomsky characterizes as the manufacuture of consent as part of the state. This would include schools and universities, social service agencies and the advertising industry. Of course individual cops, soldiers, teachers, social workers and ad men are not in and of themselves "the state," but the institutions they work for are.

There are various ways in which anarchists would go about challenging the state as such. Anarchists basically challenge the who concept of violence and would go for abolishing the military, police, prisons, etc., and fostering democratic control of schools by teachers and students.

In practical terms I have seen this work in astonishing ways at OWS. I have been a psychiatric social worker, and I have never seen any context in which people collectively worked so well with the mentally ill. I saw a mentally ill person at an occupation begin to decompensate and start a fight. Of course there is no "security" in the occupation community, but the do have a "De-descalation Working Group" charged with nonviolently de-escalating conflict. In this instance they were able to de-escalate the conflict and in the course of that they found out that the person with mental illness was terribly frightened of being sent to the hospital. Meanwhile the cops charged in intent on arresting the dude. But since we all knew that he didn't want to go to jail or the hospital, we surrounded him and nonviolently prevented the cops from getting to him. We had, after all, de-escalated the problem that brought the cops in the first place. I know this is a small example. I could give a dozen others, but I don't have the time or energy right now.

In some respects it's a matter of difference. For example Marxists tend to characterize the Paris Commune of 1871 as a workers state whereas anarchists view exactly the same phenomenon and characterize it as a stateless society.

In terms of authority, OWS and the GAs are a good example of how anarchism works. It is not that it is leaderless, but rather that leadership is fluid, that leasership passes from one person to another depending on the context.

[-] 0 points by irsfaggot (171) 10 years ago

The problem is the parents that made the children.

But the government, ahhh the ameriKKKan people deserve this government

[-] 0 points by kingscrosssection (314) 10 years ago

I think the parents of all OWS people have filled their childrens heads with delusions of adequacy.