Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Zombie OWS

By Carl
Well, they tried to kill it, but it's moving along despite the attempt. Mayor Michael Blomberg has shown himself to be an ineffectual leader, trying to take the easy credits without doing the hard work.
Keith Olbermann had a special comment last night thanking Bloomberg for being this movement's useful idiot.
There's plenty of good germinating in the ground that will grow out of all the crap put down yesterday. But that raises the question: Whither OWS?
It's a fair question: Where do they go from here? If you take the original intent to be that they wanted to call attention to the dramatic disparities in income inequality by occupying space in the financial districts, they've done that and changed the national dialogue. Now comes the next step. But what is it? What will it look like?
In a twist of fortune, there's a synchronicity going on here. It's nearly, and it might be a good time to regroup internally. Already, OWS has seen that participatory democracy (in the Greek manner) has its limitations, and has created representative "spokes councils" to deal with day-to-day matters like sanitation and food distribution.
Less than a general assembly, more than a committee, these are smaller groups of people who still need to reach consensus on an issue, but do not require the hundreds of people who had been voting on these matters.
This is a good development, in my view. In an age of 24/7/365 news cycles, there is no such thing as spontaneity any longer. Good decisions are not made by crowds quickly (curiously, bad ones often are. Ask any angry mob.) But decisions like these really do need to be sourced for quicker handling, lest the world at large look to these issues as the "face" of the movement.
I mean, you know, in the absence of a leader, the minutial behavior of the crowd becomes the issue and given the antipathy of the mainstream media towards any dissent from the corporatocracy, a sick kid taking a dump in the street becomes an image representative of the hundreds of scary dirty hippies crapping in the park.
As if...
It's generally agreed that the OWS movement has lost its raison d'etre of demonstrating against the corporatocracy, and it needs to get that focus back. It's taking steps in the right direction and while it does need to maintain a presence in the financial district, it's in danger of becoming a sideshow, a tourist attraction and nothing else.
I wrote several weeks ago that the movement would likely splinter, as people took a sharper focus on more narrow issues. I think that's about to happen, and this is a good thing. If it's done under the impress of OWS, and can be reasonably tied back to the larger mission-- to put faces on the 99%-- we can begin to see an agenda develop organically. The glacially pace of gathering in one park and making decisions by the hundreds and thousands makes the likelihood of survival smaller, in my view. As with the Spokes Councils, people will develop these narrower focuses on their own, and gather with like-minded folks. The minority opinions will find more favor in those, subject to reconciliation to the larger message of the movement. 
In effect, what OWS is creating is a business entity, believe it or not, with departments and processes and rather than a CEO with a board of directors, the board will consist of the "workers," the creators and implementors. A Marxist business entity, if you will, where the means of production is owned by those who do the producing.  
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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  • I was in support of the movement until very recently. Protesters decided it would be a good idea to assemble and block traffic on a major arterial in my area, leading to hours long traffic backups during the evening commute. What cause does this serve? I learned by the time I was a young kid that while throwing a tantrum and trashing my room did get my parents attention, it did nothing to help me get my way. The movement pissed away a golden opportunity to get a meaningful message out and make a difference. Now it's become clear they just want an excuse to riot. Their cause has been lost.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:37 AM  

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