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Window-smashers vs. window-dressers

By Michael J. Smith on Friday November 4, 2011 05:26 PM

This link sailed into my inbox this afternoon:

The Koch's main front group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), is hosting a gala at the Washington Convention Center in DC. Outside hundreds (maybe even thousands) of members of the 99% will gather for a Guerrilla Drive-In to save the American Dream. We'll Have popcorn, good food, and a great time while we watch fun videos that expose the Koch Brothers in colossal fashion.
You really have to follow the link and look at the page. The graphics, the language -- all clearly the product of middle-aged DC wonks trying to figure out what The Kids(tm) will like. "Fun videos" ... about the Koch brothers? Puh-leeze.

The screenshot up top gives the outfit's affiliations, which really drive the point home.

This is all clearly meant to 'leverage' the Occupy movement, of course. The obsession with liberal-schmiberal pet bogeymen like the Koch brothers and the teabaggers is an absolutely reliable diagnostic sign of Democratic Party infection.

The Occupiers, bless 'em, don't seem to give a hoot about the Koch brothers and the teabaggers. Quite right too. The Occupiers' crosshairs have settled squarely on the larger social formation of which the Koch brothers are merely one rather eccentric part; and as for the teabaggers, one might as well get worked up about Flat-Earthers.

Comrade Mike F got it right a while back. (That's me all the way on the left):

Comments (46)

Yeah, well these 99%ers have a choice right now, don't they? Be relevant and fight back the big business backed Republicans (have you seen their donors?) or become a laughed at side show of no political importance. Yeah, the Dems aren't perfect, but this about affecting change, real change, and it's not going to happen by pushing aside the one real avenue open to the Left. For God's sake, who's going to fund a scruffy college drop outs campaign for the school board? It's time for the grown ups to take control!


Marching under the A banner now? Whatever became of your faith so painstakingly gleaned from close readings of The Forty-Five?


I'm not real particular about banners these days, as long as the marchers really seem to mean business.


Beats hawking Iskra to the marchers to be sure (and what is worse, getting wrapped around the axle over the Czarist era tactic).


"some of the sharpest minds anywhere in the world operating in the name of Marxism."

seymour krellborn ??

lu lu ..what a guy !!!!


"In May, I went to the site of the Tunisian protests; in July, I talked to Spain’s indignados; from there, I went to meet the young Egyptian revolutionaries in Cairo’s Tahrir Square; and, a few weeks ago, I talked with Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York. There is a common theme, expressed by the OWS movement in a simple phrase:
“We are the 99%.”"

now comes the beauty shot

"That slogan echoes the title of an article that I I I I I I IIIIIII
recently published, entitled
“Of the 1%, for the 1%, and by the 1%,” "

cousin it stiglitz

now that is leveraging


"some of the sharpest minds anywhere in the world operating in the name of Marxism."

Hehe, in true Stalinist fashion—though these are Trotskyites—an offending "Cliffite" vanishes from the pages of history, though shades of a certain "Shawn" can still be limned from a characteristically one-sided dialog. Not quite Darkness at Noon, but the second time around it's certainly a farce, as someone who admitted to not being a Marxist might have put it.


creative class takes a my shit don't smell
self righteous dump in the commons

if that is your view of the occ....

then fuck you

i try not to trhink of ketchup

and the utering trill of
down cast fingers

but read this

Richard Kim |The NationNovember 2,


" A few years ago, Joe Therrien, a graduate of the NYCTeaching Fellows program, was working as a full-timedrama teacher at a public elementary school in New YorkCity. Frustrated by huge class sizes, sparse resourcesand a disorganized bureaucracy, he set off to theUniversity of Connecticut to get an MFA in his passion-puppetry. Three years and $35,000 in student loanslater, he emerged with degree in hand, and becausepuppeteers aren't exactly in high demand, he wentlooking for work at his old school. The interveningyears had been brutal to the city's school budgets-downabout 14 percent on average since 2007. A virtual hiring freeze has been in place since 2009 in most subjectareas, arts included, and spending on art supplies inelementary schools crashed by 73 percent between 2006and 2009. So even though Joe's old principal was excitedto have him back, she just couldn't afford to hire a newfull-time teacher. Instead, he's working at his oldschool as a full-time "substitute"; he writes his owncurriculum, holds regular classes and does everything anormal teacher does. "But sub pay is about 50 percent ofa full-time salaried position," he says, "so I'm workingfor half as much as I did four years ago, before gradschool, and I don't have health insurance.. It's thebest-paying job I could find." Like a lot of the young protesters who have flocked toOccupy Wall Street, Joe had thought that hard work andeducation would bring, if not class mobility, at least ameasure of security (indeed, a master's degree can boosta New York City teacher's salary by $10,000 or more).But the past decade of stagnant wages for the 99 percentand million-dollar bonuses for the 1 percent hasawakened the kids of the middle class to a nationalnightmare: the dream that coaxed their parents to meetthe demands of work, school, mortgage payments andtuition bills is shattered. Down is the new up. But then in these grim times, something unexpectedhappened: at first scores met in parks around New YorkCity this summer to plan an occupation of Wall Street,then hundreds responded to their call, then thousandsfrom persuasions familiar and astonishing, and now morethan 100 cities around the country are Occupied. In theface of unchecked capitalism and a broken, capturedstate, the citizens of Occupy America have donesomething desperate and audacious-they put their faithand hope in the last seemingly credible force left inthe world: each other. Sometime during the second week of the Occupation, Joetook that leap. Within his first hour at Liberty Park,he was "totally won over by the Occupation's spirit ofcooperation and selflessness." He has been going backjust about every day since. It took him a few days tofind the Arts and Culture working group, which has itsroots in the first planning meetings and has alreadyproduced a museum's worth of posters (from the crudelyhandmade to slicker culture-jamming twists on corporatedesigns), poetry readings, performance-art happenings,political yoga classes and Situationist spectacles likethe one in which an artist dressed in a suit and noosetie rolled up to the New York Stock Exchange in a giantclear plastic bubble to mock the speculative economy'sinevitable pop. Alexandre Carvalho, a Brazilian doctor who worked inRio's favelas and was one of the original organizers ofArts and Culture, explains that the group's praxisrevolves around two principles. "First-autonomy,horizontalism and collectivism. We're nonhierarchical,self-regulating, self-deliberating and self-organizing.Everyone is creating their own stuff, but we'reconnected to a larger hub through the Arts and Culturegroup." The second principle is something Alexandrecalls "virgeo," a mashup of "virtual" and"geographical." "We try to have both an on-the-groundconversation and an online conversation so that peopleall over the world can send their ideas and respond toour work." The same concepts apply, more or less, to theother culture working groups at OWS-from Media (whichshoots video for OWS's livestream, documents directactions and produces educational videos) to the Library(which has received more than 3,500 books, all logged inan online card catalog, from the nearly complete worksof Noam Chomsky to Creative Cash: How to Sell YourCrafts, Needlework, Designs and Know-How). At one of Arts and Culture's meetings-held adjacent to60 Wall Street, at a quieter public-private indoor parkthat's also the atrium of Deutsche Bank-it dawned onJoe: "I have to build as many giant puppets as I can tohelp this thing out-people love puppets!" And so OccupyWall Street's Puppet Guild, one of about a dozen guildsunder the Arts and Culture working group, was born. Inthe spirit of OWS, Joe works in loose and rollingcollaboration with others who share his passion forpuppetry or whose projects somehow momentarily coincidewith his mission. With the help of a handful of people,he built the twelve-foot Statue of Liberty puppet thathad young and old alike flocking to him on October 8 inWashington Square Park. Right now, he's working withnearly thirty artists to stage Occupy Halloween, whenhis newest creations, a twelve-foot Wall Street bull anda forty-foot Occupied Brooklyn Bridge inspired byChinese paper dragons-along with a troupe of dancersplaying corporate vampires-will inject a little bit ofcountercultural messaging into the annual parade ofSnookis and True Blood wannabes strutting down SixthAvenue. Those of harder head or heart may tweet-giant puppets,#srsly? Yes, it's hard to draw a straight line fromsomething like Occupy Halloween to the overthrow ofglobal capitalism or a financial transactions tax orstudent debt relief or any number of goals-some ofworld-historical magnitude, some straight from theplaybook of reformist think tanks-that swirl aroundLiberty these days. But it's creative types, eithershoved into crisis by the precarious economy or justsick of making things under the corporate system, whohave responded most enthusiastically to Occupy WallStreet's call. It's not where one might have looked fora revolt to emerge organically. In subsequentOccupations like the one in Oakland, anti-racistorganizers have been a dominant force; and in Rust Belttowns across the Midwest, blue-collar types have led theway. But the first spark, here in New York, wasgenerated when artists, students and academics hooked upwith activists from Bloombergville, a three-weekoccupation near City Hall to protest the mayor's budgetcuts. This unlikely mix has proved to be a tacticalboon, says Alexandre: "Artists are in a privilegedposition to take the terrain without too muchrepression. It's harder for the police to move againstyou when you are clearly doing something nonviolent andartistic." When I ask Joe if he thinks Occupy Wall Street shouldmake repealing budget cuts like the ones that struck NewYork's public schools a priority, he replies that thethought hadn't really crossed his mind. "I hope thereare groups of people who are working on that specificissue," he says, but for the moment he's "prioritizingwhat I'm most passionate about." Which, he explains, is"figuring out how to make theater that's going to helpopen people up to this new cultural consciousness. It'swhat I'm driven to do right now, so I'm following thatimpulse to see where it leads." * * * Since September 17, the first day of the Occupation,thousands of people have flocked to Liberty to followthis impulse to live life anew. To stay for even a fewdays there is to be caught up in an incredible deliriumof talking, making, doing and more talking-a beehive inwhich the drones have overthrown the queen but are stillbuzzing about furiously without any immediately apparentpurpose. Someone might shout over the human microphone,"Mic check! (Mic check!) We need! (We need!) Somevolunteers! (Some volunteers!) To go to Home Depot! (Togo to Home Depot!) And get cleaning supplies! (And getcleaning supplies!)" A handful of people might perk upand answer the call-or not, in which case it is madeagain and again. Sometimes too many show up and are sentaway; sometimes an Occupier jumps to attention but getsdistracted by something or someone shiny in Liberty'sevolving alleyways, and instead of shopping for therevolution is next seen discussing the politics ofmicro-finance. Somehow, some way-brooms and mops, bleachand scrub brushes show up. They mysteriously vanish, andan ad hoc committee is organized to replenish them andthen to guard them. To this day, Liberty is keptrelatively clean, which keeps the cops out; the mums inthe planters still bloom, hardy by stock but madehardier by the Occupation's life-sustaining anddownwardly distributed ethic of care. One of the first working groups that the originalorganizers created was simply called Food, and its firstbudget aspired to raise just $1,000 for peanut buttersandwiches. It now takes in donations from around theworld and dishes out up to 3,000 meals a day; nobody isturned away as long as there is a morsel left, and therealmost always is. Pizzas arrive by bike or car, manysent by labor unions; canned and dry goods are shippedto OWS's UPS address (118A Fulton St. #205, New York, NY10038); oatmeal, quinoa and rice come in large sacks andsmall supermarket packages; chicken and beef, apples andseasonal root vegetables are trucked in from organicfarms upstate. Trained chefs were quick to volunteertheir time and have even opened up their kitchens. Once the Occupation took root in Liberty, new workinggroups formed to meet its growing human needs:Sanitation; Comfort (which collects and distributessleeping bags, tarps and warm clothes); Medics (which isstaffed by nurses, doctors, therapists, acupuncturistsand EMT workers, and sees up to 100 patients a day);Security (yes, there is some form of "law" at OWS,including guidelines against public urination anddefecation); and Sustainability (which composts 100pounds of food waste each day and handles Liberty'srecycling program). Each day, the race to reproduce lifeitself at Liberty begins, and each day it is largelymet, in theory at least, without the use of two things-the money-form and hierarchy. A mantra that pings around Occupy Wall Street is thatthe Occupation is creating within the quadrants ofLiberty Park the society it wants to see in the outsideworld. This claim has struck some as naïve: after all,union pizzas don't descend from heaven; they are paidfor by dues collected by union leaders. But the ideaisn't really to be segregated and self-sustaining. AsYotam Marom, a 25-year-old organizer who is affiliatedwith a participatory socialist collective called theOrganization for a Free Society, puts it, "We'recreating alternative models of the world we want to livein while also using those new institutions as a stagingground to fight for that world-that's what's radical andcool about occupations." Academics call this"prefigurative politics," a term that describes actingas if utopian democratic practices exist in the here andnow. Its precedents include Gandhi (We must be thechange we want to see in the world), Europeanautonomism, the anti-nuke movement and, most recently,the anti-globalization movement, especially itsanarchist tendencies. On the ground at Liberty, prefigurative politics ismanifest in the directly democratic process that guidesthe nightly General Assembly as well as all workinggroups and caucus meetings. In fact, the principle ofhorizontalism strongly influences all social relationsthere. When I dropped in on the library one day it wasbeing staffed by Bill Scott, an associate professor ofEnglish at the University of Pittsburgh; Steven Syrek, agraduate student in English at Rutgers; and Briar("gender pronoun: it!"), an undergrad at NYU who wasdebating whether to drop out of school instead ofracking up more debt. In another context they might havebeen stacked up vertically (professor, TA, student), butat Liberty they were all just putting stickers on books. Anyone who shows up can participate on equal terms inthe General Assembly and working groups; there is nomembership, and proposals must pass by consensus. Anyonecan block consensus out of "serious ethical or safetyconcerns," and if those aren't resolved by amendments orclarifications, a vote is taken for modified consensus,which requires 90 percent support. A number ofprocedures and group norms-from the "progressive stack,"which privileges minority speakers; to the practice of"step up, step back," which calls on participants to beaware of how often they speak; to daily meetings of theFacilitation working group-guard against the breakdownof these processes. They can be slow, frustrating andsometimes ugly-and who has time for all these meetings?-but overall the crowd seems mostly satisfied with whathas gone down so far. ("We're at least as effective asthe US Senate," one organizer told me.) * * * More than any other quality of Occupy Wall Street-exceptperhaps for the ubiquitous drum circle-it is theseanarchist practices that have elicited the most hand-wringing from establishment leftists. Some, like NewSchool politics professor James Miller, worry that OWSwill recapitulate the failures of the New Left. In anop-ed for the New York Times, Miller warned that anobsession with participatory democracy could allowviolent militants or ideological extremists to hijackthe movement, and he darkly cited the French anti-globalization manifesto The Coming Insurrection, a texthe calls a "touchstone for the anarchists in Occupy WallStreet," as evidence of the movement's potential todescend into nihilism. The Coming Insurrection is,indeed, a worrying text; it predicts the total collapseof modern society, instigated in part by local cells ofrevolutionaries who exploit moments of crisis (e.g.,Hurricane Katrina) in order to replace late capitalismwith autonomist units of life. But few Occupiers I metat Liberty had even heard of the book, and the idea thatit laid the template for Occupy Wall Street seemslargely to come from Glenn Beck, who has been obsessedwith it for years and sometimes attributes Obama'sactions to its philosophy. More to the point, from day one the Occupation has beenscrupulously nonviolent. Its emphasis on autonomy andconsensus has tempered rather than emboldened thefetishization of militancy. Nobody is coerced into adirect action, and much deliberation is given to howdirect actions could affect the most vulnerable in thegroup-like undocumented immigrants and the Occupiers,those who sleep at Liberty and have developed asurprisingly close relationship with the beat cops whopatrol it. Does callous revolutionary fervor exist in and aroundOccupy? Sure, there are flashes of it-for example, at arecent debate about Occupy Wall Street at Bluestockingsbookstore, Malcolm Harris, an editor at The New Inquiryjournal, responded to a question about whether anarchisttactics could achieve free higher education by sayingthat "a free university in a capitalist economy is likea reading room in a prison" (boos and obscene gesturesensued). But most OWS activists I spoke with forcefullyrejected the idea that the movement should or wouldheighten crisis to provoke revolutionary struggle. "I'mnot for increasing the immiseration of people around theworld who are starving. Who are we to say, Let it getreally bad?" asks Yotam. OWS organizers are, moreover, acutely aware that themovement's extraordinary potential lies in its abilityto bring together a range of participants who coalescemaybe once in a generation: anarchists and Marxists of athousand different sects, social democrats, communityorganizers, immigrants' rights activists, feminists,queers, anti-racist organizers, capitalists who want tosave capitalism by restoring the Fordist truce, thesimply curious and sympathetic. Republicans like EricCantor have denigrated Occupy Wall Street as "a mob,"and the right-wing press has raised the specter of"anarchism" to distinguish OWS from populism. But it is,in fact, the movement's emphasis on direct democracy,derived from anarchism, that has allowed such anunwieldy set of actors to occupy the same space. Earlyon, it was the consensus model that enabled a handful ofpeople of color to block language in the movement'sDeclaration of the Occupation of New York City that theyfelt falsely suggested a postracial America. "It was avery scary experience. It was still a majority-whitespace, and we were four visibly brown people-one wears aturban-standing up to say, No, this can't happen!"recalls Thanu Yakupitiyage, a 26-year-old immigrants'rights organizer. But the block held, and the languagewas amended, and instead of bolting from Liberty (Thisis just a bunch of white folks in the park, sheoriginally thought), Thanu helped establish OWS's Peopleof Color working group-which, among other goals, triesto make sure that minorities are represented in everyother working group and caucus. Likewise, the movement's malleable and open nature hascreated space for a range of supporters and affinitygroups, like the Occupied Wall Street Journal, nowpublished in Spanish and online, and OccupyWriters.com,a collective started by Nation writers Jeff Sharlet,Kiera Feldman and Nathan Schneider, which has gatheredsome 2,000 signatures and published short dispatches andvignettes by Lemony Snicket, Alice Walker, Ursula K. LeGuin and others. True to spirit, anyone who identifiesas a writer can sign the OccupyWriters.com petition, andthe original organizers are taking a step back from theproject to make way for new blood, including fromoutside New York. These media endeavors may not work perse under the auspices of the New York General Assembly,but they've lent their creative energies to the mix-helping to break through the establishment press's earlycondescending coverage. At the moment, the movement's energy is overwhelminglydirected at keeping this fusion of forces alive, tofocus on what unifies-the common belief, for example,that capitalism is out of control and that the politicalsystem has broken down-rather than what divides; and todebate without hard preconceptions a range of solutions.As Kobi Skolnick, an Israeli-American activist who comesout of the peace movement, put it, "Socialism is a greatidea. Anarchism is a great idea. Moderating capitalismis a great idea. We can't afford to have an either/ormentality anymore." It's a message that even Occupy WallStreet's revolutionaries can get down with, for now. AsAlexandre Carvalho says, "We are on a path that goes torevolution, but it can pass through reform." In this early stage, the movement seems both extremelyfragile and extremely potent. The threats of policeaction, internal rancor, negative public opinion andburnout all loom; like the winter, some of those perilsare unavoidable. But so far the Occupiers have pulledoff a remarkable feat-to summon all the specters of lefthistory and yet slip past the fatal noose of infighting.Who knows how long this will last? If it does, perhapsthe culture of anarchism will be remembered as theleft's exonerator instead of as its hangman's knot. * * * On the ground, it hasn't been the hardliners who havemost exulted in the social experiment that is LibertyPark. Living in the conditional tense requires more thanjust ideological commitment; it takes the curiousmixture of patience and innocence found mostly in theyoung. At the heart of the Occupation are youngprofessionals and creative types-architects, graphicdesigners, programmers, curators, musicians, writers,managers, actors and Williamsburg hipsters whose talentsprimarily lie in stitching birds onto things (seeCreative Cash). They take part, on and off, in theGeneral Assembly, but they are mostly concerned withcreating the dizzying life-world that has distinguishedthe movement as a cultural as well as political force.Many of these folks are strivers facing downwardeconomic pressure, but a good number of them could bemembers of Richard Florida's "creative class," thosewhose presence supposedly signals affluence. Liberty Park is culture-rich, but not in that way. Itsdenizens include Katie Davison, a 31-year-old filmmakerwho used to direct fashion commercials until her familybecame "collateral damage in the financial crisis": herfather, once an executive at GMAC, died in a car crashthe same day he was fired from a subsequent job. At somepoint, Katie vowed to stop doing commercial work andstarted a documentary on inequality and the collapse ofthe American dream. Her friends said she was crazy, andsometimes she felt that way too until she followed ahunch and got on a plane from Los Angeles to New York onSeptember 16, one day before the Occupation began. She'sbeen shooting video for the Media group ever since,although like many early Occupiers, she soon faced adilemma: funds depleted, should she take a paying gig orkeep working for the Occupation? She chose both. "Idon't understand how I'm going to balance the revolutionand editing this vampire movie," she laments. For Katie, who comes from an anti-capitalist background,the appeal of OWS is "beyond political": it is"spiritual and philosophical." Her day-to-day work lifeis defined by the principles of horizontalism, autonomyand collectivism. Like a lot of Occupiers, Katie saysthat the point of working without hierarchies is to"show through direct action that something else ispossible.. This empowers people who have no power in thereal world, but in this world they do, and this changeshuman potential and the human value system." Katieadmits that at times "working with people in an all-inclusive manner has been very difficult." She's used tohierarchical structures on production sets ("I'm thedirector-and I direct"). In the beginning, the Mediaworking group was mobbed with volunteers who said theycould shoot; but when the videos came in, it becameclear that folks were coming from different skilllevels. "How do you create something where people don'tfeel bad about the things they are making?" she asks.One solution has been to adopt a collective model inwhich roles are traded day to day; another has been toset up trainings and classes so that "photographers canlearn to walk straighter now." This focus on empowermenthas also informed the relations between groups indifferent cities-the New York livestream was set up bypeople from Global Revolution who had been in Madrid'sPuerta del Sol. When the Occupation in Washington, DC,took off, Global Revolution sent a team there, and thento Pittsburgh, and the OWS Media group has also been intouch with Occupations across America to share lessonsand pitfalls. The term "consciousness raising" drops withoutembarrassment from many mouths, and there is anEducation and Empowerment working group whose mission isessentially that '70s thing. All of this comes withcontradictions; for example, the now ritualized focus onleaderlessness tends to obscure the relative power andlegitimacy bestowed upon early Occupiers. Conversely,the open-ended, consensus-driven meetings have led tosituations where newcomers can block proposals thatmovement die-hards have worked on for weeks. How this social experiment relates to OWS politics andgoals, its future and its capacity to create enduringchange, is very much an open question. Will Briar haveas many opportunities as its fellow librarians have had?Will Joe get the health insurance and job stability heneeds? Can Occupy Wall Street affect the lives of peopleoutside Liberty's borders? * * * Since the last week of September, when Occupy WallStreet hit the front pages after videos of unwarrantedpolice aggression went viral, the question of demandshas increasingly weighed on the movement. At first, theissue came from the outside and carried the whiff ofappeasement: What do the kids want, and how can they bebought off? Some Occupiers shot back in defiance,"Demands are for terrorists!" But as the movement has grown-taking in veteranorganizers and garnering declarations of solidarity fromlabor, progressive community groups, left-leaningintellectuals, think tanks and even members of Congress-the question has become more insistent. Some pressurehas come from these allies, who have been happy to grabonto Occupy's unexpected coattails or collaborate on aseries of direct actions but who approach politics froma more constituent-based, results-driven model. Nodoubt, elected officials would also like to see demandsmade, as everyone from President Obama to New JerseyGovernor Chris Christie has comically tried to bothsympathize with and distance themselves from theOccupation's primal expressions of frustration and rage.With approval ratings at 43 percent and climbing (that'salmost five times higher than Congress's 9 percent), themovement has intruded upon electoral politics, and alist of demands that could be rejected or accommodatedwould certainly help the pols fill out their dancecards. But the push for demands has come from the inside too. ADemands working group took shape in early October,largely outside Liberty. A hasty New York Times articlealmost exclusively quoting its members provoked fiercecriticism at that night's General Assembly, whichreleased a statement saying that "the GA has not reacheda consensus regarding any statement of demands.and thedemands list submitted to the NYT was never presented tothe GA." Likewise, on October 21, OccupyWallStreet.orgposted a disclaimer saying that the Demands group is"not empowered by the NYC General Assembly," is "notopen-source and does not act by consensus" and "onlyrepresents themselves." But a movement that claims to be open to all isn't in agreat position to exile its dissidents, so since thatdustup, the Demands group has been absorbed into theprocess. It now posts its documents online and usesmodified consensus rules, although some question thegroup's fidelity to such procedures and consequentlyalso the group's legitimacy. These issues flared up atthe October 30 General Assembly, when the Demands grouppresented its first proposal, a call for "a massivepublic works and public service program" that wouldcreate "jobs for all." After a heated and messydeliberation that failed to get past even the firstround of questions, the proposal was tabled until thenext week, allowing Demands to conduct more meetings andoutreach. That General Assembly exposed a clear ideological schismbetween anarchists, on the one hand, and Marxists,progressives and liberals, on the other, with the formerpredisposed to reject any demands (like jobs for all)that appeal to the state instead of directly to thepeople. But the meeting wasn't particularly wellattended-as many Occupiers at Liberty were milling aboutreading, singing or kibitzing on other matters as wereclustered around the human mic-and away from the fray,in the working groups themselves, the issue seemed muchless polarized and much less significant. Mostorganizers I spoke with were open to demands at somepoint but preferred to focus on movement building fornow. "I think one day there could come a time fordemands," says Katie Davison, "but right now I thinkdemands would fracture and divide people.. We need amovement of solidarity that is about values first, andwe're still coming together and finding out what we allagree on." There is, of course, a danger that with so much ebb andflow, the movement won't be sensitive enough torecognize when that moment is reached, or that theOccupation will focus too much on education andempowerment, descending into a navel-gazing stupor. Theemphasis at Liberty on the experiential has so far beena politicizing force, its creative chaos a blessing-butfor how long? Already many early Occupiers have grownfrustrated with what they call the fetishization of lifeat Liberty, with merely holding the square. "It's becomeacceptable just to be at Zuccotti Park," says YotamMarom, "but now we need to up the ante. The directaction needs to shift gears again-it can't just besymbolic. It has to be a true disruption of business asusual." Early in the Occupation, Nation writer Jeff Madrickurged the Occupiers to "go to where the injustice is,"and they have-to Harlem to protest the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policies, to Verizon's corporate headquarters toprotest on behalf of CWA employees, to wherever New YorkGovernor Andrew Cuomo sets foot to protest state budgetcuts and his refusal to extend a state millionaire'stax, and to branches of big banks to noisily withdrawtheir patronage in favor of credit unions. If there issome meaningful convergence between traditional social-democratic politics and the anarchist-inflected focus onexperience, perhaps it lies in these direct actions. Asthe members of a new generation put their bodies on theline, they discover that their languishing talents canbe deployed in the pursuit of justice. What's a name forthis-organized anarchy or socialism with a beat? Whatmatters is that it's working for now. Richard Kim is the executive editor of TheNation.com.


the Nation...what a shit slide

"Early in the Occupation, Nation writer Jeff Madrick urged the Occupiers to "go to where the injustice is,"and they have-to Harlem to protest the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policies, to Verizon's corporate headquarters to protest on behalf of CWA employees, to wherever New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sets foot to protest state budget cuts and his refusal to extend a state millionaire's tax, and to branches of big banks to noisily withdraw their patronage in favor of credit unions."

Hey OWS, quick, over here! There's some injustice! Why aren't you fixing this??? THIS MOVEMENT NEEDS ORGANIZATION! Someone needs to respond to my letter! Where's the manager? Oh, hi, yes Mr. Democrat, these buffoons over here are a disorganized mess! Can you please do something? Oh yeah, I'm a friend of Katrina's. Maybe you've heard of her? Thanks a bunch!

I watched a video on the Koch Brothers. Fucking nasty, these boys are into man-on-man like they they're from the City of Brotherly Love. Sure the producers spelled Koch wrong (Cock), but it was obvious who the movie was about. Never been so shocked by a documentary in my life!

One of the folks in our posse forwarded me an email last week announcing this event; I went to the link in the email, which was a landing page attempting to harvest my zip code and email address so they could spam the shit out of me with fundraising appeals... uh, that is, let me "RSVP" for their Movie Night. I went to the home page for that domain, and the site just screamed big-dollar design for Democratic front groups; their use of Gotham Book and Gotham Bold -- the "official" fonts for the Obama campaign literature -- was pretty much a dead giveaway, not to mention their admonishment for us to support President Obama's and VP Biden's historically historic healthcare reforms. I can agree with you on the Koch Bros. and the Teabaggers, but I could never resist a chance to help make that bunch piss their pants.

At first, I rolled my eyes at the prospect of shooting another event like this, as I'm one of those people who's lately asking just how many goddamn' workshops, teach-ins and depressing documentary screenings do we have to go to before we decide to act, f'crissake.

We went to shoot this thing anyway. Mount Vernon Square, across from the Convention Center, was pretty much desolate except for a few suspiciously well-dressed intern types in the process of inflating a giant symbolic "fat cat". The scene in "Papparazzi Alley" in front of the main entrance to the Convention Center was even worse; this was supposed to be a "gala evening", yet the "gownage" was pretty much non-existent -- a few guys in suits, a few women in snazzy outfits, but mostly gaggles of standard-issue Teabaggers in windbreakers, baseball caps, denim jackets, sweats and pajama jeans.

The people in charge of the giant inflated fat cat urged us a block down 7th Street to L, where some folks were gathering in a small parking lot. We were worried as shit that this was going to be their excuse for a rally. We hung out a bit, got a few shots and finally split with the intention of heading back to the Metro, but as we got back to Mount Vernon Square, we saw gaggles of cop cars and motorcycles on the other side of the square. I'm glad we hung out long enough to see what was up, as it turned out to be a march heading down from the Occupy DC camp at McPherson Square.

It was my kind of march -- healthy-sized, loud, rowdy, energetic, with plenty of attitude and not a Democrat in sight, that I could tell. Got some nice shots of this wild-assed crowd marching around the Convention Center, finally taking over the intersection at 7th & L where the movies were projected on the side of the Convention Center building.

I split as the movies were commencing, but not before catching a really excellent parody of the early '70s I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing Coca-Cola commercial, which was pretty much a shot-for-shot mockup of the original, which made it even funnier (ha, hah; "Koch", get it?).

Sadly, my pals and I couldn't scrape up the $69 apiece for a day ticket so we could get inside today and get some footage of the literature and exhibit tables, which included the Campaign For Liberty, an outfit run by Ron Paul, whose groupies are trying to infest the Occupy Movement camps without a trace of irony.


shorter version from Drozd's 330 page analysis of chernyshevsky's What Is To Be Done, 1868-

"the third chapter, examines the ideological message of the novel, focusing on the "women's question," love between the two sexes, theory versus intuition, materialism, and utilitarianism...

"As Drozd explains, "Numerous labels have been proposed: socialist, sociophilosophical, sociopolitical, philosophical-revolutionary, historical-political, utopian, intellectual, and so forth" (p. 49). Drozd is inclined to think of What Is to Be Done? in terms of the German literary categories of Erziehungsroman (novel of education) and Bildungsroman (novel of formation) (p. 49). He views the work as a story of personal development because of its portrayal of Vera Pavlovna, whom, rather than Rakhmetov, he regards as the main character or the "organizing pole" (p. 49).

The story captures Vera's social, political, and philosophical growth and maturation, both through the narrative and through a series of dreams that are interspersed with it. Through Vera's story the novel addresses the "women's question," which was being hotly debated in Russia at that time."

long time since i've read it but my recollection is that vera helped create a worker self-organized sewing shop.

Aside, a number of societies tended to 'dualize' during dictatorial periods, not so much in the sense of class but in relation to the State and various moments of everyday life.


I'm surprised the Kochs don't get more love from the liberals. After all, they do support The Arts. And, really now, is there any threat of running into a bagger at the opera?


The whole deal with "giving", "corporate social responsibility", and good-ole patronage of the arts—especially of the more ethereal variety or fuddy-duddies like Masterpiece Theater which alone sucked a quarter billion from ExxonMobil over 3 decades—has been a good deal for the captains of finance (industry being on a downward spiral) and even adds to their social life. Warren Buffett, George Soros, and Bill Gates—following in the footsteps of Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie—are warning their fellow plutocrats to not get too stingy on this front (like the recently departed Jobs, who for this reason alone should not be treated too roughly imho) and let bigger and better enterprises come under the critical gaze. Also, the vast bureaucracies they have set up to channel their grants are also a good way to keep the MFAs tied up as their applications for a few bucks more wend their way through the process, instead of camping out in parks and bank lobbies to raise a ruckus.


OP - the Nation.com's Richard Kim worries, worries, about OWS "descending into nihilism," whereas the only benefit of OWS would be if it would "ascend" into nihilism, but, alas, it is Montessori school recess for adults, complete with extra credit, for Ketchup and a guy who "earned" an MFA in puppetry and yet still thinks "everyone likes puppets." No, I, for one, hate puppets.

Al Schumann:

The puppetry MFA guy seems typical of the protests, notwithstanding the presence of hundreds of thousands of other people, with other interests, other stories and other concerns. He reminds me of that guy who ruined my commute when he defecated in the middle of the Tappan Zee bridge.


The question of demands has increasingly weighed on the movement. At first, the issue came from the outside and carried the whiff of appeasement: What do the kids want, and how can they be bought off? Some Occupiers shot back in defiance,"Demands are for terrorists!"

The other night, on my way downstairs, I overheard a Fox News show being watched by my housemate. According to Bill O'Reilly, OWS was "terrorizing the people of Lower Manhattan." On a prior night, the savants of that network were confident that the protesters were Obama's secret army. (The proof of this was that the protestors were often critical of Obama - an insidious ploy.)

All of this, of course, is a predictable response; and it only emphasizes the need for the occupiers to be themselves without concern about how they will be perceived. They'll be damned and patronized by all the standard hacks no matter what they do. Any advice, such as that of The Nation above, telling them how to market themselves against backlash and misunderstanding, should be rejected. As soon as people start behaving so as not to be misinterpreted by the hostile, they have already lost the struggle. They cease to be themselves and act as if they were playing themselves. One misinterpretation will merely be replaced by yet another, so why bother to go that route?

it only emphasizes the need for the occupiers to be themselves without concern about how they will be perceived.

@ mjosef re: puppets:

I, myself, used to really dig the puppets back in the antiglob heyday; I even designed a bunch of puppets for the marches at the '00 GOP Convention actions in Philly as part of one of the DC local "Arts & Action" workgroups, and had a real blast doing it.

However, as the decade wore on and the State's attitude got even nastier and more brutal and made it entirely evident that all the humorous spectacle and pageantry wasn't going to work on them -- and the folks at Global Exchange, Code Pink and the Ruckus Society revealed themselves utterly incapable of changing their tactics or adapting to the changing environment in the streets -- I rapidly became sick to goddamn' death of the goddamn' puppets. Like Pwogs whose only answer to the Democratic Party's malaise was to elect more and better Democrats, the "radical" establishment honchos' only answer to escalating State thuggery seemed to be more and cooler puppets, and by '05 or so, I'd gotten pretty much fed up with their shit.

re: the Nation vis-a-vis Occupy:
Long ago, I came to the conclusion that whenever the ivory-tower bluenoses at The Nation suggested a course of action for those of us fighting it out in the streets, the best thing for us to do would be the exact opposite of what The Nation suggested.

@MJS re: middle-aged DC wonks:
At this point, speaking as a middle-aged lefty who managed to avoid "maturing" into middle-aged Pwog wonkery, I'd like to apologize on behalf of middle-aged lefties everywhere. Really, kids, we aren't all like that.


Flug is Peter Pan in rouge tights
I won't grow up
I won't scupper cool

Sung as he saucers about
Over our heads
Among the crude log joists of Anarchy Lodge
Cap Feather fluttering

And what are you, Owen, then - the hierophant of a corpse god?


Owen! Shure yer attackin' me man Flug! Put up yer dukes, ye gligeen!


He'll no father I love flug

Just as I love the original Peter pan

It's no attack to suggest he's special


For that matter
I can even countenance the crow fly

Others enjoy jack's Lego version of a grind house
has it's pleasures

Far be it from me to gainsay popular appeal
Even if it seems sectist

bite your tongue, Op - my tongue ain't in cheek all the time


Of course, Puppet Man might be the most devious police undercover plant yet. But could New York's "finest" possibly be that subtle?

I'm sort of agnostic on the whole puppetry matter, though my preferred "face" for OWS wouldn't have the letters MFA within a few paragraphs of his or her name.


...MF-er on the other hand: I'm all for that.

Al Schumann:

I kind of sympathize with the puppet guy, MFA or not. The degree is itself a bugbear of mine, for reasons that have been covered here extensively, e.g. the credentialing sector scams. But I don't begrudge him the chance to make a living doing something he likes. It's not my thing, and for all I know, his tongue was firmly in cheek.


The puppet guy is a super hero
HIs Peter Parker/Clark Kent alter ego
Is that guy a few years back that got tazzered at a Kerry prez campaign stop


Tasered guy of course may have been a super hero layer too

Maybe the next layer is catchup 's brother


In a culture that worships soldiers, cops, and all things martial and oppressive, there is something kind of gentle and liberating about the puppet guy. And his advanced degree in puppetry is infinitely less harmful to the human race than whatever advanced degree Dr. Kissinger got.


Right, CZ, puppetry of the penis is "gentle and liberating," cue the zithers, but so is the fart you just passed, and last I checked, that didn't cost no 35 gees nor get you an MFer.


One of the reasons Kissinger is still held in awe by many a meritocrat may be the urban legend that he was the last student to graduate from Harvard with perfect grades.

Al Schumann:

CZ, I agree and I'm all in favor of the eccentric and ludicrous. Where's the harm, after all.

SK, now that's interesting. The nasty old psychopath has always had an undeserved reputation for brilliance. What he was good at was bootlicking and bureaucratic infighting.


If it'll get Hollywood off it's CGI binge, I'm all aboard the puppet train.


What he was good at was bootlicking and bureaucratic infighting.

Or as Chomsky put it:

Some may choose to become "experts" in the style candidly articulated by Henry Kissinger, who defined the "expert" as a person skilled in "elaborating and defining [the]...consensus [of]...his constituency," those who "have a vested interest in commonly held opinions: elaborating and defining its consensus at a high level has, after all, made him an expert."

op sez on 11.07.11 @07:24:
Flug is Peter Pan in rouge tights
I won't grow up
I won't scupper cool

Sung as he saucers about
Over our heads
Among the crude log joists of Anarchy Lodge
Cap Feather fluttering

Hey, man, mock if you want.
I can fly.


nice article


zionics won't unilaterally
attack iran under any conditions


even better


neumann on the mimi me
is always a rockin' romp

the settler state calling itself israel
is today
if not since 45
a problem
for the arabs

uncle however
is since 1945

a problem for the world

neumann : the moral victory over the zionic menace
is complete

now the mission is political
and that is a regional problem
to get hammered out among regional states

contain and neuter the fucker ??

establish a palestinian state ?

in time

for us here ?

strictly back burner stuff

like christian lebanon
turkish cyprus
and kurdish iraq



when the weather turns cold, the only ones left will be the doctrinaire stalinists, some unbathed ones who call themselves anarchists but know less about anarchism than they do about hygiene, and the disturbed and opportunistic homeless who've already begun infesting the place. no one more manipulative and opportunistic than a homeless druggie.

i walked through there today. it's turning into an open air homeless shelter and hangout spot for filthy and, from the look in their eyes, disturbed youngsters.

viva la revolution



when the weather turns cold, the only ones left will be the doctrinaire stalinists, some unbathed ones who call themselves anarchists but know less about anarchism than they do about hygiene, and the disturbed and opportunistic homeless who've already begun infesting the place. no one more manipulative and opportunistic than a homeless druggie.

i walked through there today. it's turning into an open air homeless shelter and hangout spot for filthy and, from the look in their eyes, disturbed youngsters.

viva la revolution


it's becoming an open air homeless shelter and panhandling conclave. and unbathed runaways with a disturbed look about them. soon all that's left will be doctrinaire stalinists, "anarchists'" and opportunistic vagrants.

viva la revolution.

Fucking homeless people are going to ruin a perfectly good middle class uprising! What with their smelliness, desperateness and drug use! God, I wish they'd just fucking die or at least maintain that imaginary fourth wall between normal people and scum.


Smilesberger -- You have a disturbed look about you too, and submitting the same comment three times in a row is fuckin' crazy, man. Take a Prozac.

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