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Occupy Wall Street

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by Willravel, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Offline

    Willravel Getting Tilted

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentis...p/25/occupy-wall-street-protest?newsfeed=true

    I have to say, I've been very impressed with this strong, albeit small movement to bring about political, social, and economic change that we so desperately need. I've not been able to fit a trip to NYC into my schedule, unfortunately, but if I can, I will get there somehow and join in because I firmly believe that Wall Street has gotten completely out of control and it seems no one is either willing or able to hold them accountable for their significant roles in financial and economic catastrophes over the past few decades. While it's unlikely that this movement will succeed in bringing about significant change, it's important that we at least demonstrate publicly our willingness to stand up to Wall Street.

    I'm also dismayed and disappointed in the NYPD's asymmetrical, heavy-handed response to this occupation. The peaceful protest of a few hundred people has been met with pepper spray, electric tasers, smoke bombs, and sweeping mass arrests. The irony is that the occupiers are as much fighting for the police as anyone. If it were left in the hands of the corporate ruling class, police would likely be privatized and their unions destroyed in order to make them more profitable for investors and owners, which would move the police from the already shrinking middle class to the growing lower class.

    What are your thoughts on Operation Occupy Wall Street? Do you agree or disagree with them? Would you consider joining them? What do you think their odds of inspiring or forcing change are? Do you think it would be more effective if it were larger? Would you be interested in protesting where you live in solidarity with the movement? I'm going to try and organize additional protests here in San Jose after this weekend's weak showing.
  2. Offline

    roachboy Moderator

    i'm simultaneously pleased to see people starting to organize and stage actions in opposition not only to the financial oligarchy but also to the national-security state & concerned about a couple things.

    insofar as the first point is concerned, it is already becoming evident that to take on one is to take on the other. so i hope these actions continue and expand.

    the wall st action is also already revealing the systematic baises of the dominant media---once again, we're seeing an absence of coverage. compare that with the role played by faux news coverage of the initial phases of the (neo-fascist) tea party movement. the fact is that there is no progressive outlets in the dominant media apparatus--which in itself shows the fatuousness of conservative claims re. some imaginary "liberal bias"....what may be interesting is the develop/use of alternative forms of media---already there's a livestream up called global revolution that's been covering the wall street action and is the principal source for footage of the nypd attacking protestors, etc. (think of the magnitude of the de facto campaign to legitimate police violence via shows like cops...but i digress).

    so i think this the initial steps in a process that i hope will result in the united states beginning to catch up with egypt and which will---again i hope---spell the beginning of the end of the dominant feature of the american empire---the national security state and it's continuous war---and the end of the main consequence of 30 years of neo-liberal domination---the current financial oligarchy.

    what i'm concerned about is the lack of analytic focus, which translates into a lack of political focus. from the 25 jan. movement in egypt, what's become clear is that such actions are not really like older school oppositional actions to the extent that the confrontations get stretched out in time and one result of that is a sort of diffuseness both to the actions and to the goals. this also poses different kind of problems for people inclined to participate as well---it really does seem to require a suspension of one's everyday life in favor of a sustained occupation. this is a consideration that it's obvious everyone who is so inclined will have to figure out.

    i disagree with the anarchist take in the article above that downplays the need for clear critiques and/or goals. among the many differences between the us and egypt (beyond the obvious in the diffuseness of political power, so the lack of a clear Bad Guy like mubarak) is the degree of media saturation. sooner or later this movement will have to figure out how not only to show up in the media-scape but also how to present what it is about.

    that said, i'm pleased to see people finally doing something to speed the dissolution of the fatuous ideologies that have allowed the deterioration of the american political and economic systems. and i'm pleased to see people from the left doing it, and rejecting the illusion that it's only the ultra-right that has the capability to mobilize.
  3. Offline

    Willravel Getting Tilted

    Anyone with even a scintilla of objectivity knows there's no liberal bias in the media, and the supposed liberal bias that may or may not have existed in decades gone by had more to do with the personal beliefs of the journalists, who generally tend to be objective, critical thinkers and dissenters, than it had to do with a concerted effort to propagandize. I would go so far to say that a mirror liberal bias to the current conservative/corporatist bias has never existed in the mainstream media. Such a thing would be (and has, in the past, been) immediately met with overwhelming resistance from those in power.
    With underemployment/unemployment numbers what they are, I'm sure there's no shortage of outraged people with a great deal of time on their hands. It's just a matter of getting folks to, during their internet porn breaks, check out what's going on to battle the central cause of their suffering and what can be done about it. If they're inspired, they should make the trek downtown to join in.

    On a related note, I have to say I'm more than a little disappointed at the low numbers of people at the occupation. It's been consistently in the low hundreds and hasn't really gone above a few hundred by most accounts. This would be more effective as a tool of civil disobedience if there were numbers that law enforcement had trouble dealing with, into the thousands or even tens of thousands (perhaps too much to hope for?). I recall a particular aspect of the Egyptian uprising where thousands upon thousands of protesters surrounded the Egyptian state media building and actively prevented the propagandist journalists and media personalities from doing their work. The success of that was made possible by sheer numbers. If there were 7 or 8 thousand people on Wall Street, it would become a logistical nightmare for the NYPD, for traffic, and even for those trying to get to work on Wall Street themselves. I suspect this was what the original planners envisioned: cause so much trouble, it would become harder and harder for the media to ignore what was going on.

    RB, what's your history of protesting like? I've really only done this for the past decade or so, long after the civil rights movement started buying bras and going in to work again. Do you have any constructive advice for these people? I've suggested that they should all wear professional clothing so that it's harder to label them as slacker college kids just acting out.
  4. Offline

    cynthetiq Administrator

    Location:
    New York City
    I find it stupid.

    So far every report that I've read, from reddit to NYTimes.com no one has any real idea as to why they are there. Everyone has their own ideological reason as to why they are there.

    I don't work too far from where they are.

    Personally I don't think they will get much accomplished.

    NYC has seen better protests and marches.
    Spiritsoar and Remixer like this.
  5. Offline

    roachboy Moderator

  6. Offline

    Cayvmann Very Tilted

    I would like to get involved. The consequences of my being involved would probably lead to my dismissal from my gov't job. Same as the consequences of those police who refuse to do as ordered. If they are honest, they are between a rock and a hard place.
  7. Offline

    cynthetiq Administrator

    Location:
    New York City
    I've made more than a minimal effort because like the idea that it's a "media conspiracy" from the Clinton days, I check the wires and news agencies regularly. It was in the local newsprint as of Tuesday or Wednesday. What no one announced it on Sunday? Those papers are already printed for the most part.

    I don't believe they need to be violent in order to reach the media. They need to have a cohesive demand and a voice/spokesperson. That's it. That is the minimal standard. People protest her in NYC all the time and get notice from the media. National media? Maybe not, but they do get picked up by the local media here. There is a march to City Hall, all the time with no violence. They get media attention all the time.
  8. Offline

    roachboy Moderator

    i'm not sure there's a contest on for most appealing demonstration from the viewpoint of people who walk by on the streets in nyc. is there one? who runs it?
  9. Offline

    Willravel Getting Tilted

    Not really. The foundation upon which everyone's protest is based is that Wall Street isn't accountable. That's the center from which all the complaints and dissent branch off of. Some people are there to keep Wall Street money out of politics, some people are there to protest against the lack of governmental response to the causes of the 2008 economic collapse, some people are there to protest against the movement of wealth from from poor to the rich, etc. but they're all there because no one and nothing can hold Wall Street accountable. That's as consistent a goal as any other major world protests from the US anti-war movement to the Arab Spring.

    There's a more important thing going on here, though. Often times the American left has trouble organizing because we're spread out in different factions. Some of us are fighting tooth and nail for single-payer healthcare, some of us are still fighting to end the wars, some of us are fighting to get our civil liberties back... and we historically have trouble joining forces with other factions for common goals. The antiwar movement did a good job of organizing the left, but on most things we're just too spread out. Having a slightly more vague cause brings more people to the table. If the protest is simply an airing of individual grievances with Wall Street, a lot more people show up than if it were just one small thing.

    Let me ask you this, Cyn: if you were to be down there protesting Wall Street, what would you be protesting for or against? Surly you're not completely happy with the way Wall Street works. The only people happy with how Wall Street works are the super-rich on Wall Street, their cronys and people ignorant of what's going on.
  10. Offline

    cynthetiq Administrator

    Location:
    New York City
    It isn't about most appealing, my comment is about media coverage. Initially they got little coverage because in my opinion they got no cohesive message nor spokesperson. No one rocked up and took the mike and said, "Here's why we are here... and here's what we want to happen!"

    So sitting in front of Wall Street is supposed to make them accountable? Someone needs some civics lessons because they aren't the ones who will bring themselves to any sort of justice, that's the responsibility of the Justice Department.

    I wouldn't be there. I guess you'll consider me the rich or something like that because instead of blowing my cash on depreciating assets like Xbox, flat screen TVs, I quietly put money into my 401(k) and other savings vehicles. Over the past 2 decades of working where I have access to a 401(k) I have slowly amassed a small fortune. See someone a long time ago explained the rules of the game to me and said, "Just contribute to it and don't touch it. Ever."

    I do it every paycheck and every month. Instead my friends and others replace their cellphones every 2 years, flipped their modest homes into larger ones to pay bigger mortgages and are now underwater. They replaced the TV at least 3 times since I've owned mine. True, I've replaced my PC every 3-4 years to the tune of $3,500 for 2 PCs including dual monitors. I paid for those in cash and put money aside saving for those inevitable purchases. Since the wife and I both like to play video games together it's a great very cheap source of entertainment for the 2 of us.

    Back to the "broken" Wall Street with today's ability to trade in small amounts via ScotTrade, e-trade, Ameritrade, and other online brokerages, it's not difficult to participate in the stock market. Everyone can participate and make simple investments in companies they know and love. Shit had I bought Apple at $13/share like I had planned, I'd be sitting on a mint.

    I don't believe that ALL of Wall Street is to blame for the fiscal crisis no more than I can blame ALL banks for bad mortgages. There are many trading houses that did not invest in the derivatives so why should they be punished?
    --- merged: Sep 26, 2011 10:54 PM ---
    Let me also add that many people in this 98% they are claiming also have money tied up in Wall Street. The 401k, 403b, 529 plan, IRA, Roth IRA, and pension plans to name a few are all something that many people have, I hope that you have money in some of those tax sheltered programs.
  11. Offline

    roachboy Moderator

    first off, i wrote much the same thing about clarity of message before you posted, cyn. my response was largely motivated by what i saw as facile cynicism in your post before.

    but the issue about being able to articulate a clear critique of the entire class system and the role(s) played by the current patterns of distribution of wealth (in which wall street plays a not inconsiderable role) and the more fundamental and damaging ideological substitution of patterns of capital movement for indices concerning material production (for which wall street is a loaded symbol) which is a condition of possibility for the kind of disregard for the social consequences of the reorganizations of capitalism that have happened over the past 30 years and which people are only now waking up to the consequences of, and of the ridiculously unequal distribution of wealth that's been imposed on the united states under conservative rule, the disproportionate role that wall st firms have and have had in government and so on. and people are reacting to unemployment that you cannot wish away. they are reacting to the sense that their futures have been pissed away while wall st. has profited. and they need to be able to say these things simply because this is a media saturated space. and they could have a platform==not like the neo-fascists of the tea party had on fox of course---but that's merely an indication of another problem with the united states at this point. at that's not to even start talking about the political game proper. but they need to be able to say coherent, pointed things and do it in a compressed time. otherwise they'll squander a chance to get their message out to people who might well be sympathetic or more, but who aren't inclined to seek out livestream or other diy net platforms.

    these are structural problems. they aren't matter of individual gumption or whether x or y could, were they to more closely approximate you, cyn, dally with the idea of investing in the market.
  12. Offline

    Willravel Getting Tilted

    No. "Sitting" (standing, shouting, and being violently assaulted by overzealous, power-drunk police) in front of Wall Street is about bringing attention to the fact that the only people in the world willing to do anything to hold Wall Street accountable are a few hundred regular people like you and me. Wall Street obviously can't self-police, and no government seems willing or able to step in, least of which our own. It's 20-somethings and 30-somethings, people with college degrees that can't find a job because the job market is increasingly a bad joke and know precisely who's responsible.
    That would be a useless civics lesson, as it's only teaching theory and not reality. Like my college economics classes, actually.
    Congratulations on being rich.

    What I was (clearly) asking was what about Wall Street you think needs changing. Surely you know Wall Street is under regulated. Surely you know there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who deserve to be in jail after the 2008 economic collapse. Surely you understand that Wall Street, as it exists today and has for some time, is largely a vehicle for bringing money from the poor and middle class into the hands of the wealthy. To deny these things is the same as a creationist denying evolution or a Libertarian denying the purpose motive: it's cognitive dissonance.
    ALL of Wall Street isn't being blamed.
  13. Offline

    cynthetiq Administrator

    Location:
    New York City
    They know precisely who is responsible? Who is precisely is responsible? Why don't they have the individuals faces on playing cards or even flyers?

    Really? So you're saying that some other organization other than the Justice Department is responsible for bringing someone to justice? You do understand how the law works right?

    Surely, you know that everyone was happily spending money when there was money to pull out of their homes via HELOCs and refinancing. No one was crying, "HEY! Don't give me this money I can't afford it! I need to be responsible with my finances!" No one said those things in the 90's and no one said it up until 2008.

    I'm fine for regulations for banks. I have always felt that they have been under-regulated. I didn't agree with the repeal of Glass-Steagall Act of 1932. Again, I don't believe that Wall Street is the blame here. Right now, the DOW is close to where it was in 2006. No one was complaining in 2007 when it hit the all time high of 14,164. No, what were people doing, they were still buying up all they could of everything they could. They over consumed.

    I'm blaming the individuals for such things, not Wall Street. Everyone expects the stocks to perform in double digit returns each and every quarter. It's not sustainable. It wasn't in the 90s it isn't in this decade. I didn't blame the stickman because he announced it when the shooter hit seven out.
    --- merged: Sep 27, 2011 3:16 AM ---
    the only structural problems I see is that individuals decided not to participate. When they had money they spent it on depreciating assets or experiences like vacations instead of reinvesting it and waiting.

    I'll even go so far as to say these people all failed the marshmallow test.
  14. Offline

    Willravel Getting Tilted

    There's plenty of responsibility to go around, from the Clinton Administration and the Republican congress in the 90s to the Fed for slashing interest rates to the Bush administration, but more than anyone else it was Wall Street firms that knew these were risky loans being bundled and decided to profit from them instead of warn people against them. It's profiting from the 2008 economic collapse that separates Wall Street firms from everyone else who had some responsibility. Home buyers certainly didn't profit. Real estate agents didn't profit.
    The DoJ hasn't done anything to punish those responsible for the economic collapse and is doing nothing to prevent the impending collapse. It is the responsibility of the Justice Department, but what does responsibility matter when nothing is done? It doesn't matter. The Justice Department might as well be the Department of Motor Vehicles when it comes to Wall Street corruption. What did they do? Prosecute one guy for a small Ponzi scheme? They're a joke, and it's silly for you to pretend like they're going to do anything.
    "Hey, she wasn't complaining when I was buying her drinks!"

    Blame the borrowers was a major strategy from the corporate right almost immediately following the subprime crisis, so you should automatically question it as everything that comes from the American right is an intentional lie (it sounds partisan, I know, but I can actually back up that accusation). They should have known better, after all, right? Wrong. First off, several independent investigations found widespread fraud among lenders, including often outright lying to borrowers about the terms of their loans. There was also rampant pressuring by lenders for real-estate appraisers to overestimate home values in order to make deals like refinancing seem more attractive than they actually were. Appraisers that didn't go along with this were often blacklisted. Finally, lenders often used exaggerated financial data on perspective borrowers to make it seem they could afford loans they could never afford. In short, they intentionally tricked borrowers into thinking they could afford something they couldn't. Why did they do this? Short term profits, the American economic mantra since 1980 and the likely cause of our inevitable downfall.

    Who do you think it was lobbying for the repeal of Glass Steagall? Jesus, Cynth, this isn't rocket surgery.

    And you know the Dow isn't an accurate way to measure how our country is doing economically. Unemployment and average wages are. And those numbers are terrifying.
    I don't generally understand sports metaphors, but here's one for you: the umpire is guaranteed to get a cushy managerial position on the rich team next year, the game's outcome is mostly decided before it's begun, and you're blaming the fans.
  15. Offline

    cynthetiq Administrator

    Location:
    New York City
    But Clinton isn't in office now, and neither is Bush. Again, the DoJ is the one responsible for bringing something like this to trial. It isn't being done because there is no case to be made against any single individual. Again, you said they know PRECISELY who did it. So spill it who is it? Is it Goldman Sachs? Is it AIG? Was it Bear Stearns? Who is it? Again, you wave your hand to say it's Wall Street, but I don't believe that for a moment. So you camp out in front of the robbers house instead of camping out in front of the judges and congress' homes. What about all the Change you can believe in? Where's that change? I haven't seen a single thing change, not Wall Street, not the War, not the job situation. And you and this group believe that it's just Wall Street that is responsible for this? Please. That's just ignorant. Jobs aren't here because people want to buy cheap clothing, cheap stuff, and cheap food year round. They have wanted that for 20 years. They stopped wanting an industrial economy and moved over to a service and financial based economy. Ask the Icelanders how that worked out for them.

    Really realtors didn't profit? What they just gave away their 3% commissions? House buyers didn't profilt? They made bank flipping properties. No what happened was the music stopped and someone actually really had to pay for the party that was going on. Jesus Willravel, , c'mon now you worked in a business, what you think all this shit should have been free? In order for there to be profits, someone had to pay for it. It didn't just materialize and just show up.
  16. Offline

    Willravel Getting Tilted

    It isn't being done because the Justice Department is toothless when it comes to Wall Street. They could have easily taken down someone like Angelo Mozilo for intentionally concealing risks of subprime mortgages to shareholders, but they dropped the charges. It seems like everything that's happened after the acquittal of those Bear Stearns executives has been about not even bothering with everything that happened. Maybe they think juries are too stupid to understand what's being explained to them, which I can actually buy. There's enough evidence in the public record alone to indict and likely try and convict someone like Joe Cassano. There are hundreds of names and hundreds of businesses that should be investigated, but those investigations never came. And recently we found out that the SEC shreds old investigations if they don't immediately bear fruit. It's insane that you think this is just some imagined thing and that all these people are tilting at windmills. I can't wrap my head around it.
    It's Goldman Sachs. It's AIG. It's Bear Stearns. It's many more.
    Give me a break. I've been on TFP long enough for you to know I voted against McCain, not for Obama. Jesus. And really, it's embarrassing that you're using right wing rhetoric like this. Blaming the lenders I can perhaps forgive as a philosophical difference, but this is just silly. Next thing you'll be calling Obama a fascist in a public park with a strangely racist poster surrounded by old white people.
    Strawman much? Of course there's plenty of blame to go around, but the majority of it lies with those who actually did the things that directly lead to the crash. It belongs to those who developed and sold toxic assets and those who, more than anyone else by a mile, made money from this. You really don't think CEOs and upper managment at these financial firms were ignorant of what was going on? That, my friend, is naive.
    You act as if there was a big vote. Hmm, should I vote for the economically sound industrial economy or the incredibly unstable boom and bust economy? That's not what happened. What happened really started in the 1970s with the economic downturn being misdiagnosed. There was this moment, after decades of certain economic and financial concepts being in place and everything going so well, that there was a hiccup, and in that moment Hayek, then Friedman won Nobel Prizes, and Thatcher stepped onto the world stage and then Reagan suddenly showed up out of nowhere, and this new looking understanding of how economics and our financial systems should work was sold. Unfortunately, it had been just long enough that most of the people who were adults during the roaring 20s were dead and the signs were more difficult to see. I had the wonderful benefit to know my great grandmother before she died, and the way she explained it was deregulation of the markets, rampant speculation, and greed. When these things were put back in check again and the New Deal was put in place, boom and bust cycles mysteriously disappeared for decades. This was of course aided by the fact that American manufacturing was lightyears ahead of Europe and Asia, who were rebuilding, but the United States is still the #1 country in the world in manufacturing, depending on how you define it.

    And ask the Icelanders who caused their economic collapse, I suspect you might be surprised. Prior to the year 2000, most of Iceland's banks were publicly owned and were run very responsibly. Interest rates were low, credit was not provided easily, and loans were difficult to get. For most Icelanders, it was a great system. For a select few, it was a nigthmare. You see, Iceland's old system was reliable and strong, but it wasn't as profitable as private banks in Europe and the United States, the ones that were just ramping up on things like subprime loans, since Glass Steagle had been repealed. In a heavily political move, the "capitalist class" in Iceland pushed for the banks to be privatized. Coincidentally, ownership of the banks passed to people with strong political connections to Iceland's conservative party. Regulators were given very little power, and in no time the banks were generating an insane amount of profits. I remember American conservatives praising the system, actually. Investment banking was booming, people were allowed to borrow vast amounts of money with little credit, and international speculators jumped into Iceland like crazy. Does this seem at all familiar? It should, and the next part should be particularly recognizable: global economic uncertainty led to Icelandic banks to slowing down for just a second, and loans were asked to be repaid. Suddenly it was realized that Icelandic banks owed something like six times Iceland's GDP and there was no possible way to repay it. This led to panic. The stock market was suspended, banks were nationalized, and the whole house of cards came crashing down. It had nothing to do with Icelanders not "wanting an industrial economy" moving "over to a service and financial based economy." It was the inevitable result of financial deregulation. There was this incredible article back in 2008 by Robert Wade of the London School of Economics about what happened in Iceland. I'll have to dig up the bookmark later.

    Actually, what happened in Iceland is a great way to explain what's happening here in the US and why what the occupation represents is so vitally important. Financial deregulation, pushed through because of poor campaign finance laws, was directly responsible for allowing greedy assholes on Wall Street to make a killing by taking advantage of people who don't have the education or resources to understand how the system works.
    Oh please. Hedge fund managers were walking away with hundreds of millions of dollars each after the economic collapse. Hundreds. Of. Millions. Oh, but homeowners made "bank" by flipping their properties with intentionally complex mortgage tools that take a financial specialist to understand, so it's the same, right?
    No one paid for the party. The government bailed out broken financial institutions in order to prevent complete economic collapse with money it didn't really have in the first place.
    When I worked in business, despite the fact I was hired for marketing and management, often times my most important responsibility was to remind people about long term gains being more important than short-term profits that would hurt us down the road. It's one of the reasons I was so happy to leave. I understand Goldman and JP Morgan and Chase; they saw an opportunity to make hay while the sun shines, damn the consequences, and they pounced. I can understand them and blame them at the same time, though, because it was largely their ability to influence politics that deregulated the markets to begin with.

    Do you know anyone that was victimized by a subprime loan? Do you know anyone that tried to refinance between 2000 and 2007ish to take advantage of the better rates? If so, do they really strike you as the people responsible?
  17. Offline

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus

    Location:
    Dubai, UAE
    Agreed completely.

    From what I read in UK, German and Australian news media lately, the Occupy marches look amateurish in planning and execution.

    Lost half the occupiers in less than a week? Fucking weak, mate.

    They don't appear to have made any significant progress in pressuring ANYONE.

    Their movement is not even a couple thousand strong. They lack the numbers to make any impact on the established system.

    Likening themselves to the Arab Spring - where tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, came out in force and made clear demands - is utterly ridiculous.

    EDIT: Just checked the various news media I frequent. The Occupy movement articles have already disappeared. Not many are seeing them as a serious group.
  18. Offline

    roachboy Moderator

    i think it's early in the game yet. the message problem is clear. the organizational questions are probably just becoming apparent...in most cities where occupations of public space have been happening, folk can walk to where the occupation is. and there's typically a lot of support from residents in the area---the story of how tahrir square was possible logistically is an interesting one involving a large network of apartments where people on the square could go to use the bathroom, shower, get fed, etc. a pretty large-scale operation that involved some prepatory work and a LOT of ongoing work and---especially---a whole lot of preliminary political work to help coalesce support. there's more to these actions than just showing up. i suspect that folk will be back. consider it an opening salvo.

    cyn--that's funny. the gambit has long been that debt is coercion, that getting over materially equates with an unthinking support for the system that enables it. that's the secret of the fordist order, seen from a socio-political viewpoint (which i know you have trouble thinking in terms of). people who get over---particularly on the basis of credit-based speculative games---typically live in fear of anything that might push the system which enables them to play the game to change. the fear surfaces in what they refuse to see, even though its right in front of them. marshmallow tests abound. lots of people fail.
  19. Offline

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus

    Location:
    Dubai, UAE
    The impression I get from their movement is quite weak and unstable.

    Unless they up their game considerably, preferably by finding funds and hiring highly skilled professionals who will clearly define their objectives and mission as well as start an effective awareness-raising campaign, I don't see them progressing further.

    Your description of the situation in Tahrir Square underlined my argument on the matter. I've followed the events in Cairo day and night while I was in Kabul, Dubai and Germany during that turbulent time. The Tahrir Square situation and that of the Occupy movement are worlds apart. Other than the fact it's the poor and the young protesting, there is no further common ground.

    However, I will heed your advice and take up a "wait and see" attitude to see how they progress instead of instantly dismissing them. Not unlike what I've been doing for weeks with ISAF.
  20. Offline

    roachboy Moderator

    yeah, there's this strange anarchist aspect to what i've been seeing about the occupation, like people think it really is just a matter of showing up. but egypt gives a pretty good idea of what's entailed for this sort of political opposition movement in a national-security state context.

    the 25 jan movement (and those longer-term activist movements that were its condition of possibility) were, i think, a bit surprised at both how relatively quickly mubarak fell and by how things played out---the united states placed its marbles in the hands of the military, which it has paid off handsomely since camp david to the tune of 3 billion/yr in direct aid and extensive training in the united states for the officer corps---i don't think the 25 jan folk really understood the cynical game the us plays, supporting mubarak and the military, then talking support for the demo when it seemed clear that mubarak had lost legitimacy, then putting its money with the military in the interest of (a) preserving egyptian participation in the american's lunatic israel policy and (b) trying thereby to maintain some figleaf of legitimacy in the region after years of supporting (actively) what was just overthrown while (c) expecting the military would choke off this democracy business---witness the kangaroo trials that have put thousands of people in jail--and replace it with the kind of military dictatorship that the united states refers to when it uses the word "democracy".....

    in the us, power is more diffuse. responsibility is more diffuse. the national-security state has force that make most direct confrontations turn out badly. so the idea has to be to erode its legitimacy. this will likely take time, organization, sustained pressure/presence and clarity of lines. it requires extensive coverage because coverage is the theater of non-violent resistance. the coverage of tahrir square played an extremely important role---as did the breakdown of national monopolies on news--so the breakdown of nationally-specific filters (enforced or informal, it comes to the same)---al jaz was a big deal---there were routine split screens showing al jaz as over against egyptian state tv. hopefully, the us will start to catch up with its more directly authoritarian counterparts in allowing the national-level monopolies on infotainment to come down---if they don't, sooner or later they'll be forced by the delegitimation that will follow from coverage originating other places. but a central battleground in the united states is not only the streets and conflict with the cops (who are obviously trained to be utter reactionaries, and who oppose protests from the left differently than they do from the right, with which they are, seemingly, politically sympathetic) but also the television, the dominant media. the struggle is over framing of the basic problems that the united states confronts. i think things will start getting seriously when the monopolies currently enforced by/in the american "free" press start breaking down. then you'll start to see a loss of control over framing. then things not imaginable now become possible.

    it's coming.