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July 08, 2012

Open Thread 2012-19

So what's on your mind ...

Posted by b on July 8, 2012 at 16:33 UTC | Permalink

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probably Occupy's insistence on not proposing programs or structures was the right thing to do in the context: the regime has learned how to cope with that; whereas it took some time before it found a counterstrategy, and in the meantime the movement grew enough to impose itself in the public discourse

couldn't do much more than that, I think; the sad fact is, they were at the "Year Zero" of an opposition movement in the Us - now, thanks to them, we are at "Year One"; long way to go ...

comparisons with what others did in other times and circumstances doesn't help; today a political movement faces unique obstacles;

also the debate over "fixing the system" versus "revolution", etc is quite senseless, except for leninists who are secretly organizing the real revolutionary party that this time won't fail, etc etc

Posted by: claudio | Jul 11 2012 20:13 utc | 101

@lizard I quote : "Occupy showed this country how the police state is evolving, using fusion centers to coordinate police attacks on peaceful protestors. they showed us how NYC cops have become foot soldiers for Wall Street."

This does seem to imply that something "new" has been shown to the country, which is not true. Senseless cop beatings and police subservience to power has been a US reality for a very long time. If you do some basic critical thinking, you already know that, and if you don't, no amount of televised police brutality will change your perspective, because you purposely choose to be blind.

I won't do a remake of the Menshevik/Bolshevik quarrel with you, but if you want change, there needs to be a revolution, and there is no such thing as a peaceful revolution

You have asked twice what i had been doing ? Well, i followed the Occupy movement for a time, and my experience was very similar to Cockburn's : endless and boring speechifiying, a strong sense of self-importance, of having accomplished great things, before anything was accomplished at all - placing tents in parks and on public places doesn't qualify as an accomplishment.

Then the police came, they first played for time, and one day, they swept everything away, encountering (very) little opposition and obviously taking the occupiers by surprise. I was in a legal team defending a bunch of illegal immigrants who had their tents inside the Occupy camp. I knew the police was coming, the occupiers did not and dit not want to believe it, my clients could escape in time, the occupiers could not, that is not a very effective way of organizing.

Posted by: Cheradenine | Jul 11 2012 23:23 utc | 102

"new" implies something that didn't previously exist. "evolve" implies a continuum. you're attempt to justify your misrepresentation of what I've said is not working.

when I speak of the evolving tactics of repression, I'm talking about militarizing local police and integrating information with fusion centers. I'm talking about innovations in non-lethal crowd control. I'm talking about the increased ability to spy on US citizens, and a further refined COINTELPRO approach to infiltrate and disrupt.

revolution is a word for advertisers now, Cher. you are using a dead word. and no, "revolutions" aren't "peaceful" but some powerful social movements have used non-violence to make very positive gains, but I have no idea what they are because I'm just a naive youngster working within an insane system with no sense of history.

anyway, thank you for providing some anecdotal evidence you at least had a little direct contact with this dead movement. I'm so sorry you weren't properly entertained by their speechifying. obviously, more energy should have been invested in trying to figure out how to entertain people like you.

I do wonder, though, why you continue to avoid acknowledging some of the accomplishments I cited in an earlier comment. if all you see of this movement is a catchy slogan, that's your failure, not theirs.

Posted by: lizard | Jul 11 2012 23:54 utc | 103

a "you're" should have been a "your". I hate when I do that.

Posted by: lizard | Jul 11 2012 23:56 utc | 104

so far the best any of the Occupy supporters can come up with when asked "what did months and months of 'Occupy' actually achieve?", is essentailly the most wishy-washy vague set of 'achievements' I ever heard

"We met some like minded people, we read a bit, we talked a lot we experimentsed with 'novel methods for avoiding the vertical structure' , and we learned, like, STUFF!"

not one real concrete achievement after ALL that effort - not one.

That people actually think of such things as 'achievements' is actually kinda frightening. It shows just how sucessful the PTB were in diverting all that energy into useless activity.

It also shows how easily pleased the Occupy supporters were - the fact that they really didn't have a clue what they themselves hoped to achieve when they started all of this helped immensely of course - lot's of wolly-headed nonsense about 'heirarchial structure' is I spose what passes for political achievemnet amongst the rather expensively over-educated and under-employed these days -

Actually it occurs to me that the fact that they see such a list, of what can really only be described ,in tangible terms, as 'NON-achievement', as some sort of Achievement in itself might actually explain why they're under-employed at the moment - it also occurs to me that these people might have REALLY misunderstood the phrase'less-Is-more' and totally skipped the class on when and where such a statement might be applicable - I don't claim to be an expert by any means but I suspect that 'less-Is-more' is not a particularly useful notion in the middle of what is suppossed to a Mass Political protest.

It's all terribly 'Post Modern' if ye ask me

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 12 2012 8:00 utc | 105

port shutdowns and tens of millions in bank divestment are just two of those non-achievements, right Hu?

It also shows how easily pleased the Occupy supporters were - the fact that they really didn't have a clue what they themselves hoped to achieve when they started all of this helped immensely of course - lot's of wolly-headed nonsense about 'heirarchial structure' is I spose what passes for political achievemnet amongst the rather expensively over-educated and under-employed these days.

no Hu, that's not a "fact" that's your opinion, one that just happens to align with the initial attempts by the corporate gate keepers in the media to mock and marginalize this movement.

Posted by: lizard | Jul 12 2012 10:48 utc | 106

@lizard we could play over semantics for a long time, showing something people don't already know (like the 'evolving' police tactics) is showing something new, i think it's not the case here, because police did not change anything to fight the dangerous Occupy camps. The normal anti riot procedures were used (on a side note, the efficiency of COINTELPRO tactics has still to be proven to me), with the most advanced technology they can afford at a given time, as usual.

I did not expect Occupy to entertain me, i (naively) expected some actions to back up an endless stream of words. I'll give you some more anecdotal evidence. I'm a lawyer, part of an organized structure whose primary objective is helping and defending 'illegal' immigrants in the Schengen area (and believe me, as a lawyer, i'm an expert in senseless speechifying, it's my job).

I suppose you can easily understand why naturally (at first) friendly contacts were established between my organization and the Occupy movement, occupiers like to see 'illegal' immigrants, it contributes to strengthen their political resolve, and i'm sure most of them were sincerely apalled by the living conditions our clients had to endure (even if i sometimes felt uneasy seeing them turned into mascots for the camp).

As some of our clients were homeless, the occupiers offered them tents and a place to live within the camp, i felt uneasy with that too, knowing they would be much more exposed to police, but there were advantages, the appeal of a band of friendly young people giving them food, company, a warm welcome, was great indeed, and first and foremost, it was not for me to decide, but for our clients. Of course they accepted the offer.

What these young people did not grasp, is that by luring (in a friendly way) 'illegal' immigrants, with only a basic understanding of the local language and customs, into their camp, they'd take some responsibility over them, the most important being to KEEP THEM AWAY FROM POLICE ! These people don't risk a few bruises and some lost hours in a police center, they risk expulsion, and in some cases, arrest, torture and death in the country they'll be sent to.

This was obviously not understood, and when the police (which is in no way the ultra efficient and disciplined militia some would like to make us believe it is - i knew they were planning an assault, and with a bit more intel gathering and a bit less hearing themselves talk, the camp would have known it too) was about to raid, we had to nearly kidnap our clients back from the camp, occupiers would not let them go, saying we were paranoid.

So, to summarize, this Occupy camp did not achieve anything worthwile, quite the opposite, it put people it was supposed to help in harm's way (the fact that intentions were good is not an excuse), they were friendly, with the heart at the right place, but arrogant and not wanting to hear from people with more experience dealing with the system than they have.

My organization is far from perfect, the only success we've got are effective stalling and hiding techniques and increasing the winning rate of 'illegal' immigrants trials from 5%(without our lawyers) to 12%(with our lawyers), which is nothing to boast about, but still much more than the non existing results (and i'm willing to add 'until now' - even if i think it will not be better in the future) of Occupy.

My anecdotal evidence tells me Cockburn is right.

Posted by: Cheradenine | Jul 12 2012 13:08 utc | 107

port shutdowns and tens of millions in bank divestment are just two of those non-achievements, right Hu?

Yep -ye got in one

And what exactly did the port shutdowns achieve? what was the TANGIBLE result of thoise shutdowns - for example were extra port workers hired afterward? were Port Workers conditions and pay enhanced by these shutdowns? Can you point to anything TANGIBLE that these port shutdowns achieved, bar a temporary disruption of Port services.

As for bank divestment - How were the banks in question affected - have THEY changed their ways at all? What TANGIBLE effect did this so-called 'divestment' have at the end of the day? From what I can see BOA rescind a 5 dollar charge or soemthing - and that was all - all that for months and months of protest - that's IMHO is not something to be proud of, t to have achieved so little for so much effort expended.

To paraphrase Churchill - Never in the history of human endeavour have so many protested for so long, to achieve so little - pathetic is what I call it

And did most of the 'divested' money not just end up back in other banks? Sure some of it went into the Credit Union system, but no one knows how much, could be 50 dollars could be 1 million.

So essentially you're still pointing to a list of total non-achievement to show for months and months of 'protest'

Well done - I'm sure Rosa Luxemboug would be green with envy ;-)

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 12 2012 15:56 utc | 108

In New York, the police were directing the homeless toward the encampment, as a way to burden the protesters; and it was understood that the movement would take responsibility for the homeless among them. The movement accepted those who desperately needed some help. I would say it is more post modern to carp at people who are going into the street and taking personal risks to assembly peacefully, as is their right when they wish to protest their grievances against this society. OWS was able to finally break through the media blackout of protest in general, by organizing their own media; which was also one of their major accomplishments.

Occupy has defined the crucial political issue in terms of the disparity between the 1% and the rest of us; but it has accomplished much more than that. And the movement is not dead. As has been said, "No act of kindness is ever wasted"; and I would add that no work on behalf of justice is without some positive result. It was a great achievement to work out ways to streamline the process of forming consensus, and to make the organizing of assemblies more efficient. It was a great achievement to counteract so effectively the sabotage and damage caused by agent provocateurs. It was a great achievement to collectively organize their own media, and break through the "Cone Of Silence" of corporate TV and cable.

Posted by: Copeland | Jul 12 2012 16:08 utc | 109

lizard,

Don't feed the troll, who comes armed with rhetoric and spools of accusations, but no facts.

Posted by: Copeland | Jul 12 2012 16:23 utc | 110

It was a great achievement to work out ways to streamline the process of forming consensus, and to make the organizing of assemblies more efficient.

yeah - in the hisotry of protest THAT will surely rank right up there with the the best of em

Historians of the furtue will be demanding that streets, NAY whole Cities, be renamed to commemorate these momentous events

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 12 2012 16:40 utc | 111

but no facts.

interesting you should say that cos all I see so far are completele non achievements - can't get much more fact-free than that imho

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 12 2012 16:41 utc | 112

people took to the streets, confronting the police, and tranformed many individual problems in a collective one

they did their best in the given circumstances

suggestions for the follow-up are certainly welcome, but posing as a professor lecturing and giving grades (based, btw, on anachronistic textbooks) is quite obnoxious

Posted by: claudio | Jul 12 2012 16:48 utc | 113

thank you for the comments, Copeland and claudio. I always enjoy reading what y'all have to say.

Posted by: lizard | Jul 12 2012 17:50 utc | 114

my comments on the utter uselessness of 'Occupy' are not based on 'anachronistic textbooks' as you are attempting to imply - if you bothered paying any attention at all my references to textbooks were solely concerned with the Russian Revolution and it's provable backing by the Corrupt Financiers of Wall Street - - whereas my comments on 'Occupy' ? they're based solely on the complete lack of any tangible results from the months and months and months of 'protest'. I've asked several times now and you Occupy-fans have STILL to point to anything tangible.

Pretending that wasting ALL that energy, of mostly well-meaning individuals, actually achieved something tangible is what's obnoxious - and completely delusional

"people took to the streets, confronting the police, and tranformed many individual problems in a collective one"

complete Po-Mo bullshit - completely meaningless if one actually attempts to parse it - 'Occupy' supporters STILL cannot actually articulate, in anything even resembling a coherent fashion, what they set out to achieve nor point to any actual TANGIBLE achievements.

And THAT is all one needs to know about 'Occupy' really - a steaming pile of Po-Mo idiocy from the very start - just as it was designed to be

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 12 2012 18:43 utc | 115

"Po-Mo bullshit" - wouldn't that include attempts to delegitimize the Bolscevik revolution? and attempts to make us believe that the only reality is that of big finance? and that a political idea is just an illusion if it doesn't turn immediately into something "tangible"?

Posted by: claudio | Jul 12 2012 20:34 utc | 116

an article on Alakhbar, already cited here at MoA, don't remember where (sorry), enthralled by the defeat of the islamists:

Former Gaddafists Win in Libyan Democracy

One of the achievements of these elections is the increasing political consciousness among Libyans who gained political experience born out of the freedom they attained, thus leading to a better understanding of the electoral process, its rules, propaganda, and tricks.

maybe they didn't learn it all the last few months, maybe the Libians were already politically alphabeticized under Gaddafi's rule

Posted by: claudio | Jul 13 2012 22:09 utc | 117

Delphine Ogle @ 117 -- What video are you referring to? Thnx.

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 13 2012 23:18 utc | 118

On the news today it's reported that Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner knew about the LIBOR rate fixing back in 2007. In '08 (not sure of exact date, whether before or after entering the Obama administration, but either way in a position of some power) Geithner sent an email to the head of the Bank of England giving 6 ways to improve the process.

Hhhmmm. They both will be appearing before Congress in the (near?) future. But lawsuits are beginning already, mostly from municipalities which feel they were cheated out of much needed interest income. They did succeed in keeping it quiet and unknown by the public.

Uh oh, as the Teletubbies might say.

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 13 2012 23:28 utc | 119

One of the achievements of these elections is the increasing political consciousness among Libyans who gained political experience born out of the freedom they attained, thus leading to a better understanding of the electoral process, its rules, propaganda, and tricks.
maybe they didn't learn it all the last few months, maybe the Libians were already politically alphabeticized under Gaddafi's rule

Posted by: claudio | Jul 13, 2012 6:09:25 PM | 118==
===============
SO...why arent Fortress europeans australians or americans etc so enlightened?

Posted by: brian | Jul 14 2012 13:53 utc | 120

brian, maybe you didn't catch the irony

Posted by: claudio | Jul 14 2012 17:27 utc | 121

"SO...why arent Fortress europeans australians or americans etc so enlightened?"

Ans: SOMA

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 14 2012 18:57 utc | 122

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