Exit, stage left
Remember last year’s Shiny New Thing?
Occupy Sets Wall Street Tie-Up as Protesters Face Burnout
Occupy Wall Street, the global movement against inequality that ignited in Manhattan last year, will mark its first anniversary by trying to block traffic in the financial district and encircle the New York Stock Exchange.
Planning for the Sept. 17 protest, dubbed S17, follows months of internal debate and flagging interest, according to interviews with organizers. The morning action may include attempts to make citizens’ arrests of bankers, and some activists intend to bring handcuffs, they said.
“We are here to bring you to justice,” said Sean McKeown, a 32-year-old chemist and New York University graduate who’s helping organize the demonstration. “We’re offering you the chance to repent for your sins.”
What is it with all these chemists breaking bad? Is that a career-related psychosis like mailmen going postal? Oh yeah, bring handcuffs. Make sure they’re comfy because you’ll be wearing them after the police take you away for false imprisonment and various other felonies.
Organizers said there has been more fatigue than fresh thinking this year. Occupy’s New York City General Assembly, which oversaw planning by consensus, ceased functioning in April because of infighting, ineffectiveness and low turnout, according to organizers and minutes of meetings. The group’s funds were frozen to preserve money for bail, ending most cash distributions, they said.
“Movements calcify, and it’s difficult to maintain the vigor and camaraderie,” said Travis Mushett, 26, a novelist who helped organize an Occupy reading group. He was one of six who used the word “burnout” to describe the recent mood.
Attendees at general assemblies had long and circuitous talks about allocating money, not about “what they wanted in the world, or how they were going to change it,” said Nicole Carty, 24, a Brown University graduate who helped run meetings.
Hornbein said that online forums became venomous as “systems broke down.” A separate oversight body, the Spokes Council, also dissolved, he and other participants said.
That means there’s no nucleus to a movement that had already rejected leaders, a central website, unified fundraising drives, administrative headquarters or a national advertising initiative. A working group that tried to come up with a list of essential demands wasn’t able to, organizers said.
Anarchists are at the heart of Occupy, organizers said.
“In a way, the fringe is the core,” said Mushett, the novelist. “That’s where you find a huge anarchist presence.”
“If they’re promoting ideals that don’t ring sensible to large numbers of people, what they want doesn’t go anywhere,” said Todd Gitlin, 69, a former president of 1960s protest organization Students for a Democratic Society and now chairman of Columbia University’s interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in communications. “It doesn’t become a social reality. It becomes the expression of a subculture.”
“This isn’t over,” said Dana Balicki, a member of Occupy’s press team. “This isn’t over until the last person calls it quits and goes home, wherever home is.”
First of all, an organization of anarchists is an oxymoron, with emphasis on the “moron”.
Last year Obama and the Democrats came up with what they thought was a brilliant plan. They would create their own version of the Tea Party. Just as the Republicans rode the Tea Party to victory in 2010, the Democrats would ride Occupy to victory in 2012.
Things appeared to go well at first. The Democrats needed plausible deniability so they couldn’t be directly involved in organizing the movement, but they could funnel financial assistance through anonymous donors and provide covert political support. They got the unions to lend a hand too.
It is no accident that the Occupy movement was strongest in cities controlled by Democrats. Even though there were supposedly no leaders the group coordinated very well with SEIU and other unions. The police initially bent over backwards to accommodate the Occupiers and half a million dollars in donations flowed in within the first couple weeks.
If things had gone according to plan the Occupy movement would have become a left-wing version of the Tea Party – a grassroots activist group simpatico with the Democratic party. Obama and the Democrats would promise them the moon to get their support and then throw them a few bones after the election. With any luck the Occupiers would provide the momentum to retake Congress.
The Democrats failed to learn the lesson of the Tea Party – when you create something real from astroturf the monster will run amok. But they had an even worse problem.
Take a look at your typical Tea Partier. They tend to be middle-aged and older, hyper-patriotic, middle-class and financially independent. They are politically focused and conservative. Most of them have children. Despite the media caricatures they are mostly well-behaved and law-abiding. They are not a bunch of white supremacists or gun-toting militia members. They are right-wing but not lunatic fringe.
Now consider your typical Occupier. Younger, no kids, no job (or bad job) still dependent on their parents. They are anarchists and socialists and nihilists. They are starry-eyed idealists and rebels without a cause or clue.
When the Tea Party monster escaped from the lab and began to run amok, the Tea Partiers seized control. They got shit organized and started getting shit done. They agreed on some demands and goals. They supported candidates and started winning elections.
When the Occupy monster escaped from the lab and began to run amok, nobody seized control. Their shit was disorganized and they couldn’t get shit done. (They even had trouble finding places to shit!) They could not (or simply would not) agree on anything. They squatted in parks and occasionally tried to disrupt businesses. They made fools of themselves.
Despite what Riverdaughter and others might think, nobody did it to them – they did it to themselves. After things spun out of control Obama and the Democrats ran for cover. The money stopped flowing and the political support was withdrawn. Finally the police were called in to end it.
Yes, I am gloating. I was right. She was wrong. Nyah, nyah, nyah! I told you so!
Never argue with the Klown.
Filed under: Occupy Wall Street, OWS | Tagged: #OWS, Occupy Wall Street | 23 Comments »