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Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:02 PM

Thomas Frank: Why Occupy failed and how it's more like the Tea Party than anyone wants to admit

Excellent review from Thomas Frank, author of What's The Matter With Kansas and other books. It's a long one, and closely reasoned, so I'll just post a paragraph and let everyone read the rest.

The reason Occupy and the Tea Party were such uncanny replicas of one another is because they both drew on the lazy, reflexive libertarianism that suffuses our idea of protest these days, all the way from Disney Channel teens longing to be themselves to punk rock teens vandalizing a Starbucks. From Chris Hedges to Paul Ryan, every dissenter imagines that they are rising up against “the state.” It’s in the cultural DNA of our times, it seems; our rock ‘n’ roll rebels, our Hollywood heroes, even our FBI agents. They all hate the state—protesters in Zuccotti Park as well as the Zegna-wearing traders those protesters think they’re frightening. But here’s the rub: only the Right manages to profit from it.

http://www.thebaffler.com/past/to_the_precinct_station


This could have been subtitled "How narcissism has destroyed the American left."

88 replies, 9867 views

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Reply Thomas Frank: Why Occupy failed and how it's more like the Tea Party than anyone wants to admit (Original post)
salvorhardin Nov 2012 OP
hollysmom Nov 2012 #1
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #13
SocraticGadfly Nov 2012 #47
SocraticGadfly Nov 2012 #48
msanthrope Nov 2012 #2
one_voice Nov 2012 #18
sagat Nov 2012 #3
kestrel91316 Nov 2012 #14
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #57
deutsey Nov 2012 #73
RainDog Nov 2012 #4
UnrepentantLiberal Nov 2012 #5
MotherPetrie Nov 2012 #6
Tigress DEM Nov 2012 #7
salvorhardin Nov 2012 #20
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #22
Tigress DEM Nov 2012 #87
defacto7 Nov 2012 #8
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #9
blogslut Nov 2012 #10
WiffenPoof Nov 2012 #19
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #11
kestrel91316 Nov 2012 #12
mmonk Nov 2012 #62
backscatter712 Nov 2012 #15
Cleita Nov 2012 #16
SidDithers Nov 2012 #17
AndyTiedye Nov 2012 #21
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #23
salvorhardin Nov 2012 #25
AndyTiedye Nov 2012 #33
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #24
Michigan Alum Nov 2012 #26
JaneyVee Nov 2012 #27
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #28
Autumn Nov 2012 #29
byeya Nov 2012 #30
salvorhardin Nov 2012 #31
OldDem2012 Nov 2012 #41
salvorhardin Nov 2012 #45
OldDem2012 Nov 2012 #53
jp11 Nov 2012 #32
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #35
jp11 Nov 2012 #36
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #42
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #59
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #60
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #79
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #80
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #86
JoeyT Nov 2012 #34
DireStrike Nov 2012 #37
Teamster Jeff Nov 2012 #38
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #39
OneGrassRoot Nov 2012 #43
SammyWinstonJack Nov 2012 #72
OldDem2012 Nov 2012 #40
Comrade_McKenzie Nov 2012 #44
tama Nov 2012 #81
CanSocDem Nov 2012 #46
Zorra Nov 2012 #49
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #54
RepublicansRZombies Nov 2012 #50
Warren Stupidity Nov 2012 #51
Starry Messenger Nov 2012 #52
99Forever Nov 2012 #55
Matariki Nov 2012 #56
NoPasaran Nov 2012 #71
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #58
muriel_volestrangler Nov 2012 #68
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #74
salvorhardin Nov 2012 #69
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #75
tama Nov 2012 #82
NoPasaran Nov 2012 #70
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #76
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #61
mmonk Nov 2012 #63
KG Nov 2012 #64
aandegoons Nov 2012 #65
randome Nov 2012 #66
Zorra Nov 2012 #77
6000eliot Nov 2012 #67
tama Nov 2012 #83
Oilwellian Nov 2012 #78
Jamaal510 Nov 2012 #84
Mr.Turnip Nov 2012 #85
Fire Walk With Me Nov 2012 #88

Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:05 PM

1. has it failed?

Seems to me the new debt collectiobn thing is working pretty impressively

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Response to hollysmom (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:42 PM

13. I'm afraid we must accept the words exactly as written. How could they possibly be incorrect?

 

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Response to hollysmom (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:32 PM

47. Richer, whiter, much better educated

 

By its own self-reporting, the original Wall Street incarnation of OWS is richer, whiter and MUCH better educated than the national average. I analyze what that means (perhaps MBAs and JDs mad that Wall Street didn't hire them and more) here: http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2011/10/ows-young-white-well-educated-latte.html

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Response to SocraticGadfly (Reply #47)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:37 PM

48. Oh, on the lack of organization? And leaderless?

 

A true left-liberal, Alex Cockburn, said the same before he died. That said, neither he nor Frank, unfortunately, went as far as I on questioning the myth of "leaderlessness." (When you have a security force guarding not your whole encampment, but a select inner circle ... you got leaders!)

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:08 PM

2. Little too early to say Occupy failed--the newest stuff, like debt collection and

direct help to Staten Island might herald some good things.

I look forward to see what happens.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:46 PM

18. I agree with this...

the debt collection could be huge. I did make a donation.

From what I've read they've done good things in New York. Very happy to see this.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:11 PM

3. Bookmarked for later. LOL@OWS, what a farce.

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Response to sagat (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:43 PM

14. There is a farce here, and it isn't Occupy. Enjoy your stay.

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Response to sagat (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:36 PM

57. Geez, before OWS all I remember hearing was 'austerity this' and

 

'austerity that' (usually meaning the working class would get fucked up the ass one way or another).

After OWS, I didn't hear 'austerity' much any more and all of a sudden the 1% was having to worry it was going to take the ass fucking.

So it seems to me you're the farce, not OWS.


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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #57)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:56 AM

73. Yes, that was Occupy's biggest success, imo

It shattered the austerity scam that everyone in power at the time was trying to pull off, and it changed the narrative to the 1% and 99% dichotomy.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:12 PM

4. I started reading this

but so many of the assumptions don't seem to play out at this time since Sandy and the outcome of the elections - tho, no doubt, the Occupy movement has been romanticized (by those within and without.)

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:19 PM

5. Horseshit written for simple people.

 

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:21 PM

6. What a bunch of simplistic utter crap. Take it to Freeperville!

 

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:23 PM

7. People speaking truth to power don't fail as long as they keep speaking it.

Occupy brought attention to the corruption on Wall Street as something the US WON'T tolerate
Occupy has stopped foreclosures and now they are doing Rolling Jubilees that should help draw down personal debt.

They have brought people together from diverse backgrounds and created new ideas.

How is that ANYTHING like the Tea Party who seeks to keep a party in power that lies to them held together by the glues of racism and law of the jungle independence?

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Response to Tigress DEM (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:58 PM

20. You might actually read Thomas Frank's review to find out how Occupy is like the Tea Party.

"They have brought people together from diverse backgrounds and created new ideas."

I believe Frank shows that to be a demonstrable myth.

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Response to salvorhardin (Reply #20)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:00 PM

22. Psssst:

 

Clark Kent is a wimp.
Clark Kent is Superman.
Thus, Superman is a wimp.

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Response to salvorhardin (Reply #20)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:52 AM

87. No thanks. Not watching 2016 either.

The Tea Party WISHES it were Occupy at this moment because Occupy is still vibrant even if it's still not really as organized as anyone would want it to be.

The thing about REAL DEM ideas and progress is that they don't happen in a linear fashion.

There are the elements you describe in the Occupy movement, but there is MORE to it as well which is why it hasn't failed. It's diverse and unpredictable, like our electorate.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:32 PM

8. Occupy hasn't failed... period. They are winning step by step.

and actually the Tea Party hasn't failed either. They just lost a big battle. They won't lose until they have become completely obsolete. They are still a viable enemy.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:38 PM

9. The link doesn't open for me which is a shame because I could use some belly laughs

 

Let's see:

Occupy: leading recovery efforts on the east coast after deadly storms, working to purchase and eliminate personal debt, leading the discussion against capitalism and capitalists run amok, bringing people together for humanitarian purposes.

Tea Party: rabid. gun-toting, racist sign-carrying, threat-making, Koch-sponsored mules for corporate deregulation ("smaller government"). Elected several governors who took to busting unions, creating draconian laws, etc.

Yep, just the same. Indistinguishable. Even to me, an Occupier. I cannae change the laws of physics, Captain!

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:40 PM

10. Uhm, yeah...

"Milt, we're gonna need to go ahead and move you downstairs into storage B. We have some new people coming in, and we need all the space we can get. So if you could just go ahead and pack up your stuff and move it down there, that would be terrific, OK?"

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Response to blogslut (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:46 PM

19. LOLOLOL

Great reference...I'm still laughing.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:40 PM

11. Tell me Mr. Frank and I usually respect you

Have you heard of the Madrid model?

No.

I guess this was some lazy ass reporting.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:42 PM

12. THIS Occupy??

http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/

Or perhaps THIS Occupy?? http://occupyourhomes.org/

Can you explain how they are like the Tea Party?

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #12)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:18 AM

62. The answer is no. Such an accusation cannot be.

The Tea Party was created by billionaires. The Occupy movement pointed to Wall Street for blame of the economic collapse and corruption. Hard to get anymore opposite.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:44 PM

15. What a load of garbage. n/t

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:45 PM

16. And the disinformation campaign begins.

If they say so then it must be true even though a reality check would say otherwise.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:45 PM

17. Huge DUrec!!...nt

Sid

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:59 PM

21. Yeah, and Astroturf is the Same as Real Grass

Riiiiight.

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Response to AndyTiedye (Reply #21)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:01 PM

23. It is! It is! He can prove it!

 

snerk

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Response to AndyTiedye (Reply #21)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:03 PM

25. You honestly think Thomas Frank is engaging in astroturfing?

IIRC, Frank was a hero of the DU back in 2004. How times change.

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Response to salvorhardin (Reply #25)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:38 PM

33. No, but the Teabaggers Certainly Were

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:01 PM

24. K&R!

 

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:05 PM

26. It most definitely had a subliminal/unconscious effect.

All of the language such as "the 47%" and Paul Ryan's comment about the 30% wanting a welfare state are all variations on the 99% theme. Never heard percentages being used before to this extent.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:06 PM

27. What a bunch of BS.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:08 PM

28. By my count this is 798th proclamation of Occupy's demise. Strangely, they don't seem to have TV's

 

nor the inclination to waste their time consuming media by-products like this pre-packaged shit-in-a-box from another media whore that had one interesting idea 8 years ago and has been living on it ever since.

Oh well, I guess they'll just go on doing something about problems, never knowing that they failed years ago...

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:10 PM

29. Occupy was there

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/nyregion/where-fema-fell-short-occupy-sandy-was-there.html?pagewanted=all

I've never seen the tea party anywhere except for where they are complaining about the government . I think there is a big difference between the two.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:12 PM

30. He simply doesn't know what the fuck he is talking about.

 

Occupy doesn't hand out press releases and doesn't negotiate with elected officials so it's had for someone lazy and who wants to pontificate not to make an ass of himself.

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Response to byeya (Reply #30)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:28 PM

31. "..it's had for someone lazy and who wants to pontificate not to make an ass of himself."

Yes, but we're not talking about you. Try reading Frank's review, or if that's too many words for you, here's a shorter interview with Frank on Salon.

Salon: You wrote in Harper’s two months ago that “the only honest way for progressives to assess the experience of these past four years is by coming unflinchingly to terms with our own futility and irrelevance. We reached a historical turning point in 2008, all right. We just didn’t make the turn.” Is there a way to have more input in a second term — or to learn from futility and irrelevance in a way that progressives might generate the kind of political influence the Tea Party has over the Republicans?

Frank: I think there is. Look, I’m 47 years old now. This has been going on … Clinton did the same thing. Obama has less contempt for the left and liberals, but still a lot of it. you think of all the names his people call liberals and the left, their contempt for liberals is towering. Rahm Emanuel, Bill Daley, all these guys – they see liberals as a species of humanity that they don’t have to be bothered by.

And you actually see the same attitude towards Mitt Romney and the right. Obama is visibly disgusted that he has to endure a challenge from this guy.
http://www.salon.com/2012/11/03/tom_frank_obamas_made_left_futile_and_irrelevant

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Response to salvorhardin (Reply #31)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:53 PM

41. You'll have a MUCH better discussion if you try not to insult your opponents. nt.

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Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #41)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:59 PM

45. Exactly!

Which is just one thing Frank says about Occupy -- which you'd know if you'd have read his review before commenting.

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Response to salvorhardin (Reply #45)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:24 PM

53. Whooooooossshhhhh. Sound of my post flying over your head at 100,000 feet. nt.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:34 PM

32. It failed to be the counter to the Tea Party because the tea party was taken over by

the rich and extremist elements and twisted to their desires. They might not want everything the Tea Baggers wanted but the Tea Party served them in so many ways, just pulling the party to the right so they would have to exhibit or embrace the extremist positions that the rich and powerful might agree with to ousting the moderate/sane republicans who might or have worked with the democrats. From there once elected those tea party people would follow the stupidity of their beliefs sabotage the government forcing dems to pull right which is just where the rich and powerful want them to go.

OWS wasn't taken over or converted by the 'extremist left' (meaning anarchist more than anything else I'm aware of) to screw up the system by getting democrats to pull left so they couldn't be elected and install extreme left candidates who'd stall the government over getting anything done.

You can argue that is a failure, it didn't kick out the moderate dems that people don't like but it also didn't put in people willing to shoot the hostage to get what they wanted like the tea baggers. Say what you will I don't think having two sides with their own super crazy extremists would have done much if anything good for the country. It would certainly lend credit to the BS 'both sides do it' and probably depress voter turnout on our side with any that might be coaxed into voting (young people) or people who just see two crazy parties doing the same crap.

OWS can still be more than the tea party IMO if it works on getting progressives elected where they can win, not everywhere and anywhere. If it doesn't work to purge the party of any democrat who remotely betrays the position or thoughts of what it means to be a democrat, liberal, progressive etc by whoever's definition. Or even by going after democrats who might work with a republican to get something done, heaven forbid. I'd much rather have progressives doing the work that progressives want done but our world isn't one where we get everything we want never has been never will.

I disagree that OWS constitutes the American Left or that their 'failure' to counter the Tea Party means the American Left has been destroyed as if OWS somehow created the American Left then destroyed it.



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Response to jp11 (Reply #32)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:39 PM

35. "OWS can still be more than the tea party IMO if it works on getting progressives elected where they

 

...where they can win"

Occupy is strictly non-partisan/political and supports no candidate or political party. It is a populist movement against unfairness and corruption, and is for building a better future for the 99%.

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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #35)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:40 PM

36. Well okay then.

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Response to jp11 (Reply #36)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:54 PM

42. Please remember that most of the worst police brutality against Occupy was done by Democratic mayors

 

including a "progressive" Jean Quan in Oakland. Two Veterans came close to death from police assaults, and the city told many easily refuted lies against Occupy, including hiding from the city a report that crime in Oakland had fallen 19% during the Occupy Oakland encampment. The police chief Jordan and Quan, who were well aware of this report, still repeatedly attacked Occupy Oakland with militarized riot police and chemical weapons forbidden by the Geneva Conventions (tear gas). Quan literally chose a path which would return Oakland to its former crime rate. She chose to raise crime by 19%. "Progressive".

Oakland officials caught in lies about attacking Occupy

http://occupyobservations.blogspot.com/2012/01/oakland-officials-caught-in-lies-about.html

I don't speak for the entire movement but I would imagine some members (7400+ arrested, many of them brutalized and bloodied by police, zero zero zero criminal banksters arrested) may have a sour taste in their mouths regarding "politics" and "politicians", and favor the power of the people, in participatory, horizontal democracy. "Democracy" of course meaning "the will of the people".

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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #42)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:53 AM

59. How very inconvenient for you to bring that up. n/t

 

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #59)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 03:34 AM

60. An inconvenient truth. Occupiers are still being beaten and arrested and harassed by police across

 

the world. Cops just got grabby during an LA march this week against a bank (an action against foreclosure fraud). I'm not going to get teary-eyed and forgive Bloomberg and Quan and Villaraigosa and Denver PD and Pheonix PD and Seattle PD and Austin PD and Chicago PD and on and on and on (just naming some of the worst, not directly correlating it to "democrat" although they're in there) because they have perpetuated violence and crime against our movement while we are being peaceful.

It would be really nice for the riot police to leave us alone as we exercise our 1st Amendment rights against criminals and criminal acts. Noting that the same people who were harassed and nearly grabbed this week in LA as they marched on a bank, were also earlier in the week protesting at a major LA intersection not near a bank, and zero cops were present. It is obvious where the power lies in this country, and who will and will not do anything to support the 1st Amendment. Zero banksters arrested and charged, 7400+ Occupiers arrested... Those of us who have been arrested and/or beaten...would like for it to stop. For the Constitution to be present and respected. Portland Occupy was just grabbed and pepper-sprayed (Portland PD loves pepper spray) for having an anti-austerity march in solidarity with Europe. Check the Occupy Underground forum for video of this. Five Chicago activists are being charged with terrorism for the No NATO action earlier this year. There is much more.

Just because we're doing good work on the east coast does not mean we're not being screwed on the west and elsewhere. The reason lots of people stopped showing up at Occupy is because they didn't want to get beaten up by cops who toss around felony charges on a whim. The mayors responsible for outrageous violations have not really backed down from their stance regarding us or done a thing to repair their crimes.

Listen to LAPD chief Beck and mayor Villaraigosa discussing OccupyLA's use of water-soluble children's sidewalk chalk, after LAPD shot up a crowd with rubber bullets, who were irate and in disbelief at members having been arrested for chalking:



It's a mess out there.

And another example of the difference between the tealiban and Occupy: cops don't beat up and arrest the tealiban. Which should imply a lot about those who send the cops and with whom they are in bed.

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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #60)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:48 PM

79. That can't possibly be true because, as the OP indicates, Occupy has failed and is dead.

 

If only they had cable TV, they'd realize it.


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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #79)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:54 PM

80. :)

 

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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #42)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:54 PM

86. +1

 

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:38 PM

34. That was quite possibly one of

the dumbest fucking things I've ever read.

Occupy wasn't against the state, they were fighting for the state to use its power to help people. And with that his entire argument falls completely apart.

Completely predictable that our resident right wingers and authoritarians loved this, though.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:41 PM

37. It's unfair to compare OWS to the tea party. One is a real movement, the other is corporate funded

astroturf.

It's easy to accomplish things when your events are funded nationwide by billionaires and you have your own cable news channel. It's hard to get anything done when police are continually assaulting your gathering places.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:42 PM

38. Horse Shit

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:46 PM

39. Hmmm...OWS NYC just Tweeted this...

 

Occupy Wall Street ‏@OccupyWallStNYC

While we do good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary. CHINUA ACHEBE

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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #39)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:55 PM

43. Yes. Justice, not charity. n/t

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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #39)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:40 AM

72. +1000!

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:47 PM

40. I don't recall reading about any of the Tea Nazis volunteering to help the victims of Sandy. nt.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:55 PM

44. I was a fan of OWS when it was beginning... but it never evolved to my liking...

 

A big tent, apolitical movement without central leadership or a platform is a waste of time.

The best things they have accomplished are charity, foreclosure stoppage, debt erasing, and the recent activity in Long Island.

They, however, do not deserve the label of a movement.

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Response to Comrade_McKenzie (Reply #44)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:22 PM

81. What is a movement?

 

A social web or relations that keeps on moving, changing and evolving.

Centralized "vanguard" (e.g. EZLN) can succesfully serve some purpose occasionally and for limited time, but more often than that they fail to be movements in any way and get bogged down in sectarianism, internal struggles and the usual authoritarian garbage. And authoritarian left is no better than authoritarian right.

It is no surprise that this post soviet global revolution against neoliberalism and capitalism, of which Occupy is one manifestation, is mostly and at core decentralized and horizontal networks.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:00 PM

46. Indeed.



I suggested this a few months ago and was roundly berated by those prominent in this thread. Perhaps one needs to view these 2 movements from a distance to see their common anti-establishment similarities. One wants to reform the economy, the other wants to re-shape the 'culture'.

The mainstream movements of democrats and republicans just want to preserve the status quo and muddle through whatever inherent difficulties arise.

.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:51 PM

49. LOL! Thomas Frank used to write a column for THE WALL ST. JOURNAL.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #49)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:32 PM

54. Ruh-roh!

 

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:00 PM

50. and yet we all talk about the 99% and the 1% as if it has always been a part of political dialogue

 


Occupy had a huge impact on this election.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:08 PM

51. Seems to me that Occupy Sandy is getting national coverage.

Occupy is alive and organizing.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:13 PM

52. LOL

I have some criticisms of Occupy too, but this is silly. Even the facts are wrong, since the Tea Party was always corporate funded fake grassroots.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:33 PM

55. I know of and hear from OWS...

Thomas Frank?

Not so much.

Another self-impressed fucking nobody, that has done squat to better the lives of the 99%.

Kindly, go fuck yourself, Frank.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:34 PM

56. Or it could be titled "Clueless Guy No One Has Heard Of With A Worthless Opinion"

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Response to Matariki (Reply #56)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:20 AM

71. No one has ever heard of Thomas Frank?

His book What's the Matter With Kansas was all the rage with progressives in 2004. If you've never heard of him, you might be living in a bubble.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:53 PM

58. I think it is the final 3 paragraphs with which i take issue:

 

"It is as clear to me today as it was last year, however, that the conservative era will be brought to a close only through some kind of mass social movement on the left. But what kind of movement might succeed?

Well, for one thing, a movement whose core values arise not from an abstract hostility to the state or from the need for protesters to find their voice but rather from the everyday lives of working people. It would help if the movement wasn’t centered in New York City. And it is utterly essential that it not be called into existence out of a desire to reenact an activist’s fantasy about Paris ’68.

Try Mississippi in the fifties instead. Reenact Flint, Michigan, circa 1937 and you could get somewhere. Look to Omaha, 1892, and things could work out differently."

************

Note that Frank mentions neither Europe of 1848 (and the 'Communist Manifesto') nor Paris of 1870 (and the Commune). Those two strike me as far more relevant models than any Frank mentions.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #58)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 07:39 AM

68. They seem less relevant to the present USA, and you'd have to question their success

The Paris Commune failed; and the 1848 revolutions were part of a change in power that took decades to happen. But I have to ask you to demonstrate why they are 'far more relevant'; they happened in another continent, which had far different conditions (while the Industrial Revolution was still happening, and monarchs held real power; and the Paris Commune happened after France had been invaded and defeated).

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #68)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:23 AM

74. OK, please explain to me what "Mississippi in the fifties" has to do

 

with anything relevant.

Emmett Till was murdered there in 1954, but no great revolutionary change occurred in MS in the 50s. The lunch counter desegregation campaign was centered in North Carolina, IIRC, and the bus boycott was in neighboring Alabama. First time I can think of where MS hits the national scene in any significant measure is 1964 with the contested seating of the competing slates of Democratic Convention delegates.

Frank introduces the final 3 paragraphs with this question: "But what kind of movement might succeed?" So why is 1848 more relevant than Mississippi in the 1950s?

1848 happened in multiple countries simultaneously; OWS happened in multiple countries simultaneously. 1848 cracked the foundational ideology behind monarchical absolutism; OWS cracked the foundational ideology behind 1% exploitative capitalism. Most important, imho, 1848 and 2011 each trained a cadre of future leaders and thinkers.

Why is the Paris Commune more relevant than the Flint, MI sitdown strikes of 1936 (37?)? Because the Flint sitdown strikes were narrowly focused with limited aims, while the Paris Commune, while it may have failed, was the first foray into modern industrial socialism ever and its transformational aims were larger than simply securing a national labor organization.

Flint is far more relevant to OWS, imo, than Mississippi in the 50s. Frank has clearly not kept completely up to date with Occupy since the 'crackdown,' or he'd know of Occupy Foreclosure where sit-downs (or their current manifestation of 'Occupations') are regularly occurring (albeit not on the scale of the Flint sit-down strike yet).

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #58)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 07:58 AM

69. muriel_volestrangler is right

It's about relevancy, which is a major theme throughout Frank's review. Part of the problem as he sees it is that Occupy was far too concerned with Theory (notice the capital T) and not enough on practical efforts which might have a profound impact on not just the lives of the protesters but of all workers.

Of course, you might say Frank is engaging in the same sort of irrelevancy by publishing in a small literary magazine. It is however his literary magazine, which happens to regularly feature one of the original organizers of Occupy, and an anarchist -- David Graeber -- on its masthead.

BTW: Thanks for actually engaging with the substance of Frank's review.

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Response to salvorhardin (Reply #69)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:30 AM

75. I like and deeply respect Thomas Frank and this article has definitely

 

gotten me thinking, that's for sure.

I would blame drum-circle hedonism and latter-day Dionysianism long before I would blame Theory for Occupy's initial stumble. (That based upon my personal observations of Occupy Los Angeles from Oct 1-Nov. 30, 2011.)

No offense to drummers or Dionysians intended, but Jeesh, when it's time for GA, it's time to stop your mindless banging!

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Response to salvorhardin (Reply #69)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:11 PM

82. Theory?

 

You can call Social Capital vs. Authoritarian Hierarchy Theory if you want, and identify Occupy movement with the academic jargon which is natural part of it (and of anything and everything "lefty").

But look at the Practice and compare authoritarian hierarchy of FEMA and social capital of Occupy Sandy: FEMA camp for Sandy victims is highly militarized, no media allowed, taking pictures not allowed, charging cell phones forbidden - concentration camp mentality. One of the first pictures of Occupy Sandy was row of BioLite stoves charging phones of Sandy victims without electricity, they are eagerly using all forms of media for practical purposes of getting more volunteers and aid - people working with people for mutual benefit.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #58)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:17 AM

70. 1848? Really?

The Springtime of Nations, which was over by 1849? The result: the old despots almost everywhere still in power, thousands of revolutionaries dead in battle, executed, imprisoned, or in exile. But a couple of those soon-to-be exiles wrote a famous pamphlet, so I guess it was all worth it somehow.

About the only place where the old monarch didn't hang on was France, where the Second Republic emerged and quickly repressed the crowds in the streets. But they weren't able to repress the rise of Louis Bonaparte, who within a few years followed his famous uncle and founded his own tyranny, the Second Empire. (Marx put his prolific pen to that subject as well.) And the downfall of Napoleon III leads us to the next stop on the Roll of Glorious Defeats, the Paris Commune. Several weeks of a beacon of liberty, equality, fraternity; followed by firing squads for all those not quick enough to evade the bloody clutches of Thiers.

On the other hand, we have the great Sit-Down Strike of 1937, the Civil Rights Movement, the foundation of the Populist Party. Not as huge a bodycount as the European examples, perhaps not quite as profound in shaking the relationship between Man and Capital. But each of them empowering, achieving actual goals. Goals which may have fallen short of a totally revolutionary transformation of society, but real achievements none the less. More real than just another glorious sanguinary chapter for the history books.

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Response to NoPasaran (Reply #70)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:35 AM

76. 1848 scared the shit out of the ruling elite, just as OWS scared the shit out of the 1% parasites. I

 

will grant you that the Flint Sit-Down strike has more relevance than Mississippi in the 50s which, to my mind, seems almost non-sequitor to the issues raised by OWS and other revolutionary moments. Other than Emmett Till being murdered in MS in 1954, nothing of great import transpired there until 1964.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 03:45 AM

61. Well there's 5 minutes of my time I'll never get back.

What a steaming pile of horseshit.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:24 AM

63. Narcissism will destroy the "centrists" or corporatists.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:43 AM

64. loads of lulz

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:51 AM

65. President Obama

So there.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:58 AM

66. The anger that permeates some of these posts is very much like the Tea Party anger.

Last edited Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:51 AM - Edit history (1)

Many OWS adherents cannot conceive of criticism without resorting to 'Fuck you, Thomas Frank!' Or 'Fuck you, fellow DU-er!'

The Tea Party was born of millionaire and billionaire anger, only it was a protest by proxy.

OWS was born from a similar well of anger but more closely associated with Progressives.

Both were born of anger so to say they are nothing alike is to ignore reality.

I've felt this same sentiment every time I see a new twenty page 'manifesto' by someone with OWS:
My heart dropped like a broken elevator. As soon as I heard this long, desperate stream of pseudointellectual gibberish, I knew instantly that this thing was doomed.


And this:
“Don’t fall in love with yourselves.”


Your enemies will not tell you what you are doing wrong. Your friends will. In that respect, DUers who point out what they don't like about OWS are Occupy's best friends.

And now I expect several hearty 'Fuck you!'s that will result in hidden jury decisions so have at it.

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Response to randome (Reply #66)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:53 AM

77. Hilarious! Who writes this stuff?

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:01 AM

67. When was OWS ever a movement against state power?

I thought it was against the rich and bankers. The state cracked down on their behalf, but that doesn't mean that they were protesting against the state.

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Response to 6000eliot (Reply #67)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:14 PM

83. It has been anarchist initiative from the beginning

 

but an inclusive one, not dogmatically anti-statist.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:38 PM

78. OWS is like the Tea Party?

Really??????

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:29 PM

84. Until Tea Partiers face excessive police brutality and are no longer corporately-funded,

there's no way anybody can get me to believe they are akin to OWS. These people openly bring guns to their protests and hold hateful signs against the president, yet I never see any of them get arrested.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:37 PM

85. Ocuppy wasn't as successful as the Tea Party

Because they didn't have an organization as national and choesive as the Tea Party did for a pretty long time, and yes the Libertarians and Anarchist had a part in that in that they felt doing so would "ruin the spirit of the protest", they didn't tailor make an image to project to the Media ether which is important.

It was an Organizational and public relations failure that stalled Ocuppy.

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Response to Mr.Turnip (Reply #85)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 01:02 AM

88. The tealiban are funded by the Koch brothers. Occupy is a populist movement.

 

Occupy Sandy Does Not Signify Occupy Wall Street Has Found ‘New Purpose’

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/11/12/occupy-sandy-does-not-signify-occupy-wall-street-has-found-new-purpose/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

The media as a collective has never understood the Occupy movement.

From November 2011 to the movement’s one-year anniversary, various outlets pronounced the movement dead. The pronouncements ignored the various reasons why the movement appeared to be dead, such as less media coverage and the fact that it has never had a national organization at the top. It has always been decentralized.

To pronounce it dead is to say that all the small groups spread out through the nation are no longer organizing. Now, with the success of Occupy Sandy, the media is drawing conclusions about the Occupy movement that again shows it does not understand this social movement.

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