"What's your occupation?" "What do you THINK it is?"

To summarize very shortly my overall view of the protests:

While I wouldn’t quite say it has hit its stride yet, the criticisms of it via the partisan mainstream “left” are ridiculous.  When Yglesias and company bitch about “message discipline”, they don’t just mean an overarching message (in fact, depending on your interpretation they either do have one, or have one by deliberately resisting one), they mean institutional constraints of the type that define their preferred method of organizing — which, in case you haven’t noticed, isn’t exactly unscrewing the pooch any time soon.  In other words, they envision their own Tea Party: a “movement” of people engaged in pseudo-radical sounding contradictions that lead right back into the arms of convention, sound and fury signifying nothing beyond what already was.

At least when right-wingers bitch about it they have a culture war derived revulsion on their side.  What damn excuse do supposed “progressives” have?


About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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4 Responses to "What's your occupation?" "What do you THINK it is?"

  1. Unfortunately the fact that it’s already being framed as a left protest means that they fear them teaming up with the tea party.

    It’s like they intentionally divide us in this country or something. 😉

  2. James Nostack says:

    I was walking past the protests today, and as I was crossing the street I overheard this extremely pissed off middle-management type woman growling to her friend, “This thing is so fucking stupid. They aren’t communicating to the electorate. What the fuck do they think protesting to the bankers is going to do? The bankers don’t fucking care. They need to figure out what they want to say, and they need to communicate it, clearly, to the fucking electorate.”

    I wanted to turn around and say to her, “What if one of the reasons you’re here is that you don’t believe the ‘electorate’ has any power? And what if the medium is the message?” But I had to get to the grocery store, and I figured anybody that pissed off wasn’t going to be much fun to talk to anyway.

    This whole thing is an interesting litmus test.

    I confess that I’m a little worried about the hippies, though. First, because this is probably going to end pretty badly for them in a couple weeks, vis-a-vis the police and everything. Second, because once it ends, it’s going to take a lot of time to roll this particular boulder up the hill again. Third, in the near-term I’m worried about these guys getting coopted by MoveOn, or the unions, or other opportunists.

    In the meantime I’m giving ’em my old futon, some pillows and blankets, and am arguing with the GF to let ’em take showers at our place.

  3. B Psycho says:

    Exactly. People speak to who they think is important, if they didn’t think bankers were important then they wouldn’t bother demonstrating in front of them, eh?

  4. James Nostack says:

    Yes. Frankly, nearly all of my support for these guys has been the result of idiots complaining about them. Partially because I don’t like the look on their faces, but also because their complaints are moronic if you stop to think about it.

    If the problem with our society is that massive inequality has led to institutionalized corruption, to the point that our political process no longer has any legitimacy, then one of the most appropriate responses to that is to come up with a new and hopefully incorruptible process. To wit: a consensus-driven, participatory, totally transparent town hall with some anarchist flavor. Simply showing that this “General Assembly” method is a viable way to do things is huge and inspiring.

    (That said: major difficulties with this method too! Most notably that it confuses the hell out of lazy observers who want to be spoonfed. It probably would have problems operating at more than a thousand people or so. And I suspect the lack of leadership will make it harder to resist getting co-opted by traditional political actors.)

    I’m wondering how this all shakes out. I’m thinking in a week or two the media will get bored and turn its eye elsewhere. At which point the NYPD declares that these guys are trespassing (the legal case for squatting in Zuccotti Park is shaky), and moves in to arrest everyone who can’t be driven off.

    I’m not sure that’s a bad outcome, assuming no one gets seriously hurt. Winter in NYC is cold, windy, and yucky. Taking a season off to rebuild, reorganize, and spread out to more cities might actually be helpful.

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