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  1.  (10239.1)
    I wonder if this is connected...

    EDIT: "UPDATE: October 4, 2011 ; 16:30
    It has come to our attention that this video was originally published in August of this year, thus is not a reflection of OccupyProtests currently taking place in New York and the rest of the U.S. We apologize to our readers for the mistake and inconvenience. While not exactly timely, the video nonetheless reflects what we believe will be the response by police departments the country over if bank runs were to become reality. " - from www.shtfplan.com/
  2.  (10239.2)
    You know what this debate needs more of? Glenn Beck!

    On his radio show today, Glenn Beck claimed the Occupy Wall Street protesters are going to commit a terrorist act, collapse the nation, and kill millions of Americans.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2011
     (10239.3)
    I guess there's nothing that legitimises a protest more quickly than Glenn Beck opposing it.
  3.  (10239.4)
    Oh, I think the cops are doing a pretty good job of that all by themselves.

    Interestingly, George Soros (himself a principal beneficiary of the bankster bailouts) has now endorsed OWS. Not sure what that means.
  4.  (10239.5)
    Ok, firstly Douglas Rushkoff tells the media how it is.

    And second:

    Anonymous (allegedly) is getting better at video making.
    • CommentAuthorjonah
    • CommentTimeOct 6th 2011 edited
     (10239.6)
    wall-street-mocks-protesters-by-drinking-champagne
    Has it been determined if this is real?
    -----

    I think it's ironic that people on an internet forum are poo-pooing people gathering to communicate and possibly accomplishing nothing! :) Isn't it nice that people are getting together and bonding over thoughts and not consumable goods?

    I actually appreciate the disorganized malarky that modern protests have become. There are no powerful leaders that go on to become yuppies/corrupt politicians or get murdered. I'm open to the possibility that it's a slow burn situation. Maybe for once "new boss, same as the old boss" won't be the outcome? Come on spider-fans, power corrupts, etc.

    The only real "problem" I have with protests is that many people use them as a way to let off steam rather than as motivation to keep up with the more mundane day to day stuff.

    @magnusisasillyname Haha, "jesus stuff". That video was refreshing, as I had just watched a damn jean company advertisement that tried to use protest imagery to sell its product. I remember after the Seattle protests another large clothing store used mock broken glass, spray-paint and boards in their store front windows. Capitalism is one smart cookie. I wonder who the first advertiser will be to use anonymous-style imagery?

    "Masters of information" is kinda wanky......and also "citizens of the united states" rather than fellow citizens is kinda telling, no?

    Although, in regard to "masters of information" cheap consumer (video) cameras and high speed internet have taken citizen reporting to a very exciting place!* Every protest I've been to has always had police using excessive force and stealing your documentary tools. This protest doesn't seem to have more police brutality, it's just that there are now enough cameras to capture it. It I had the money to travel I would go solely to take pictures.

    Hmm...now, I'm thinking, could something along the lines of we "We Are The News" be a meme? Needs a better marketing slogan... Imagine if in Fight Club instead of "project mayhem," (which turned into a meaningless frat-bro rallying point) which focused on the plebs getting access to positions of power, then breaking shit, the focus was on documenting corruption, hypocrisy and abuses of power? Or if say Global Frequency wasn't about kick 'sploding, but about documenting? Turn surveillance culture back on its head. I dunno.

    *Thank you, China and sweatshop labour for giving democracy the opportunity to flourish once more!
    •  
      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeOct 6th 2011 edited
     (10239.7)
    @BrianMowrey

    Your post previously has good analysis for people if a liberal ideological viewpoint, and the freeman article previously has depth but there is a fundamental problem, which can be identified from this quote.

    The way corporations influence government comes through using democracy, not subverting it.

    Actually subverting it is exactly what it is. Democracy is, as a basic principle, that all people should have an equal say in their environment. Where there is a decision making structure and some type of governance, an organisation/business/corporation, irrespective of the legal fluff. is not a person and does not have the right to vote. If the people involved in the business feel they have more of a right to influence government then their one vote, then they do not understand the principles of democracy.

    Just because you have a position in a profitable business, doesn't give you the right to influence policy more than someone in a weaker position, because this will end up with power being consolidated in the hands of the few at the detriment of the many. Taking away the freedom and representation of the poor to benefit the wealthy. as we have all seen first hand.

    This is an aspect of democracy that libertarians need to understand, if you accept disproportionate power through wealth it flies in the face of individual liberty. Don't think that I am being naive with my idealism of democracy, I understand that this not the way things are, nor the way things have ever been, and a there is no unified perfect system of democracy but if we approach this current crisis without the basic understanding of problems that we face. We will never have the ability to enact the solutions necessary. These problems may not be readily identifiable, but the feeling of dis-empowerment is not easy to mistake.

    A major difference between small business and large is the respect that small businesses have for their local community, because they are generally tied to the community and the community may have the power to reject the business if they do things that the community doesn't like. Larger businesses don't have this same constraint and may be less profitable if they care, but they will make great pains to seem like they do.

    Democracy also needs an informed population, if you cut out the population from the decision making process and push influence directly onto the representatives you are missing out an important part of the system. An important distinction must be made between influence and inform. If these same representatives approach the task of election aiming themselves at an uninformed population, using fear and threat with opposition to another group, you are subverting even more the principles of democracy.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeOct 6th 2011
     (10239.8)
    @Jonah - V for Vendetta, Global Frequency and The Invisibles were MASSIVE influences on the folk who started this kind of distributed open source protest.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeOct 6th 2011
     (10239.9)
    I have come around completely on this. This is a good protest. I'm an old fucker who doesn't see things very clearly anymore. This seemed unserious to me, but its persistence is giving the lie to that impression. The focus I thought it lacked seems to be coalescing. I think there is genuine potential for influence in this movement if it can sustain itself over a span of months.

    What could be a bad outcome: If the movement becomes an actual left leaning tea party, driving the Democratic party into rigid ideological stances that cement a permanent state of warfare between the only two viable parties in the American electoral system.

    What could be a good outcome: Market and governmental forces are leveraged to actually, really weaken the role corporate entities play in legislation. Also it would be nice to see a really egregiously irresponsible large financial institution either fail from public shunning, or be vigorously disciplined by the federal government.

    Could be nice if the whole movement kick starts a higher profile thread of thinking about the role of the consumer market in a good life. As in, where is a good balance that keeps material well being improving without yoking the whole culture to an impossible treadmill of debt.

    Also, a bit of pressure to the Democratic Party to bend them a bit left of their current position would be nice. Not so far that the culture war becomes absolutely intractable, but far enough that it actually means something to have elected government server as a public champion against organized corporate excesses.

    I'm liking the whole thing more the longer it keeps.
  5.  (10239.10)
    The only thing that I hope to see is if this protest can keep the youth invigorated and voting by the time the 2012 elections roll around. The youth vote was instrumental in 2008 and lazy and apathetic by the time the 2010 elections arrived. You need shit like this keeping them active and interested.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeOct 7th 2011
     (10239.11)
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeOct 7th 2011
     (10239.12)
    •  
      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2011
     (10239.13)
    •  
      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2011
     (10239.14)
    Basez!

    OK, I'll shut up for a while.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMorac
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2011
     (10239.15)
    @Jonah:
    "citizens of the united states" rather than fellow citizens is kinda telling, no?

    Not really. Anonymous is an international group, and citizens of the United States are only one part of it (albeit a large one, presumably).

    The ninja nitpicker strikes, then vanishes.
    •  
      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2011
     (10239.16)
    ^^^That is a great article by Robert David Graham and meshes closely with my own recent experience of occupation, thanks for posting Doc Ocassi.

    The Central Committee has many subcommittees, like the “Media Team” responsible for recording the proceedings or the “Arts and Culture Committee”, responsible for making signs and running the drum circle, and the "Sanitation Committee" team keeping the park clean. They have organized the park into specific areas, dedicated to different tasks.

    The question is, as time goes on, will the movement be lead by the hard-core who slept night after night on the cold hard ground and who have worked to create their own organization, or will it cede control to established political operatives?


    It is inspiring to see people, mostly strangers, spontaneously organising with each other to deal with the practical stuff they need to deal with. It probably shouldn't be so affecting, but it's heartwarming and hopeful to see that people don't need to be bossed to get things done. And when the reporters are all gone and it's the middle of the night, there are very real, strong bonds that form between those left guarding the trenches. Camaraderie and solidarity become much more than mere abstractions.

    But the first quote above shows that hierarchical authority is already emerging in NY, and the second quote tells (me anyway) of leadership based on identity as a "hardcore occupier" rather than leadership of ideas that can stand up to analysis in open debate. It doesn't matter what sort of contribution you feel like you want to make, if you weren't there from the start, sleeping on the ground every night, then you are just a follower/supporter and it's your moral duty to obey and promote the ideas of the truly dedicated, early-adopting hardcore folks. You'll be able to identify them easily because they are the ones selected to be "responsible" for the operation of the Media Team, and the Arts and Culture Committee, et al.

    There's a lot of talk about OWS being co-opted by this or that outside group. It might be more appropriate to worry about them being co-opted by their own sentimentality and failure to recognise that defensive dependence on mawkish in-group loyalty will inevitably lead to the same kinds of problematic cronyist power structures and opaque personal fiefdoms that were arguably instrumental in creating the situation that they are protesting against in the first place.

    At the (lengthy) occupation I was involved in here, there came an explicit recognition that there were "key people" whose views carried more weight simply because of the number of nights they had spent in the occupation or because of the vehemence of their opinions or the credibility of their activist track record. This eventually led to many excluded individuals taking more and more extreme, inflexible positions during discussions and meetings and doing stupider and stupider shit during protests, becoming more aggressive and threatening because they wanted to prove they were the most hardcorest ever. There was an almost bi-polar duality between the overtly welcoming "hyper-tolerance" and the pure hostility and paranoia which spurted out when you scratched at the veneer of consensus. I had a few conversations with hardcore occupiers where I was genuinely unnerved by wild swings in demeanour from smiley-sweet to red-faced rage-spitting and back to smiley-sweet again in a matter of moments.
    There are real problems with making identity the currency of power, mainly because of what it does to the unstable egos that then end up in positions of power.

    Sorry, I'm a bit jaded. Over the space of a few months I saw a broad-based, vibrant and well-supported occupation turn into a depressing, disregarded pissing contest between competing cliques and tendencies. The overwhelming goodwill and excitement generated in the early days and weeks was squandered by those who insisted on using the occupation as a platform for their own specific ideological certainties. Lists of demands were drawn up and delivered, behaviour and language were carefully monitored and analysed for the taint of un-solidarity. Certain rooms were locked and key privileges jealously guarded. Secret meetings were held. One kind of corrupt, unaccountable and destructive administration was replaced by another.

    Here is Laurie Penny writing about occupation in February this year: (emphasis mine)
    Occupations are just as important as marches and strikes in the context of resistance movements. They allow us to redraw the physical contours of our political reality. They provide people with centres to share skills and build links in spaces that are truly common, spaces that we do not have to enter under sufferance. They respond to a government seeking to turn every public asset into a private revenue stream, by turning private assets into public resources.


    The act of occupation is a powerful statement in and of itself. Once that occupation becomes "for" a specific political ideology driven by a core group of True Believers then the cenote starts filling with cadavers. I've been watching OWS with interest and hope from the start, aware that I don't really have any idea what's actually going on down there but being broadly supportive. I think that any form of challenge to privilege is probably A Good Thing. Pollenation is widespread now, maybe some people somewhere will figure out how to make it work without drowning in their own hypocrisy.

    Having said that, I reckon all that NY's (and other cities') authorities need to do here is play nice. It looks to doomy old me like this movement will shortly implode in acrimony if allowed to run its natural course. Unless, that is, police go in heavy-handed and ruthless (as police so often seem to end up doing in these situations) in which case they create a compelling moral rallying point for resistance. Macing teenagers and hauling them off in handcuffs on primetime is just recruiting more supporters to the cause, however you think you can spin it.

    Apologies, bit of a cynical rant, that... Haters gon' hate, Occupy On!
    •  
      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2011 edited
     (10239.17)
    Not at all city creed, I like, it sounds realistic enough,

    I don't think co-opt makes a clear distinction between the two definitions you put forward. Hopefully the ego-taming and decentralization that anonymous seems to systematize into their organizations can come into it's own there, maybe they won't get it right this time, but it doesn't mean we can't try again.

    Nice post.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2011
     (10239.18)
    Anonymous tames egos?
    •  
      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2011 edited
     (10239.19)
    I guess "taming" is probably not the right word, basically the group will throw anyone who shows signs of ego or self promotion to the wolves, it is a self defense mechanism in the group. anons will out other anons and ridicule/attack any personality, the only way to stay in anonymous is to be anonymous, it will destroy all perceived/visible power structures. This is my impression but it may not be accurate or the whole story.

    Hope that makes sense.

    Probably look at this girls work for more analysis.
    Gabriella Coleman
    Anthropology of digital media, hackers and the law
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2011 edited
     (10239.20)
    My impression of the way people who act through the anonymous label behave, though, is that the group supports an almost unlimited inflation of ego. The members of anonymous position themselves as omniscient, omnipotent puppeteers. By not using their names they are able to deflect culpability or responsibility while at the same time continuing to view themselves as better than everyone else.

    The anonymity is very shallow on a psychological level. They haven't subsumed their egos to a larger group identity. They use the superficial anonymity of the group to allow their egos unchecked free reign.

    The ridicule directed at people who grandstand identifiably is more of a defense mechanism to keep the walled in ego playground from being invaded by authorities and shut down. It is not some kind of zen ego-negating ideal being enforced.

    Anonymous are interesting tricksters. Like all tricksters, they think very highly of themselves.

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