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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 09:54 PM
Original message
Is OWS a socialist movement?
I think a lot of people have described it as anti-capitalist. So are they socialist?
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PDJane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 09:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. social democracy movement.
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Earth_First Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. Corporate media-whore talk.
You also forgot, self-entitled, young and punk...
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. hey, only if you think socialist is a bad word, a lot of people don't
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FarLeftFist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 09:57 PM
Response to Original message
3. It' a democracy movement. Power to the people. Definitely anti-fascist.
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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 09:58 PM
Response to Original message
5. We don't recognize democracy when it's practiced in front of us?
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. democracy and socialism are not opposed
democracy is a form of government, socialism is a form of economics that has strong ties to government function
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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #9
27. Well then, I've learned something new this evening. Question: From what you've seen
of how they are using money and taking donations, what sort of economic system are #OWS utilizing?
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:36 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. good question, it definitely isn't capitalism
Edited on Wed Oct-05-11 10:36 PM by jsamuel
From what I have heard, donations are being given and then food and other important items are being given out to those who request them. That most closely resembles a charity. However, if we changed the funding mechanism from donations to taxes, it would be socialism. This is a very crude analogy though. It also sounds like it is being run as a democracy. Therefore, it sounds like a social democracy.
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 09:58 PM
Response to Original message
6. If being for democracy makes one a socialist, then I guess they are . . .
. . . and then so am I.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 09:58 PM
Response to Original message
7. It's what democracy is supposed to be. Majority rule. We used to have that before
electronic voting. Remember E Pluribus Unum? It was our country's de facto motto until the Conservatives pushed In God We Trust down our throats in fifties.
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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. And, before the '1% Rule' of Corporatism took over the country. n/t
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Ken Burch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
8. It's a movement for some kind of alternative to the status quo
Edited on Wed Oct-05-11 10:00 PM by Ken Burch
I think it's more nonviolent anarchist than anything else. The idea(and to my mind it's a good one)is that the ideas should bubble up from below, rather than being imposed from above.

We're probably past the day when the old party structure as we knew it worked for the achievement of genuine social change. New forms of democracy have to be invented, and they are being invented as we speak.
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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. Your last sentence really made a lot of sense to me. I think you summed up nicely EXACTLY
what is going on.

"We're probably past the day when the old party structure as we knew it worked for the achievement of genuine social change. New forms of democracy have to be invented, and they are being invented as we speak."
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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
10. I think of it as a democracy movement. Democracy in this country has been
becoming a failed experiment. Use it or lose it!

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bluestateguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
11. I don't know. Nor do I care.
That seems to be the quickest way to squash any argument in the United States, by screaming that the other side is "socialist".

And as for anti-capitalist, how about those conservatives pushing the war on drugs? They would have the government stop a buyer who is willing to pay from purchasing a rock of cocaine, a dime bag or some blow from a willing seller.
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PETRUS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
12. It represents the 99%
The movement can't speak for everyone. Government of, by, and for the people. Maybe if we get the military/industrial/finance/business complex off our throats we'll have a better chance of learning what people really want.
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RoccoR5955 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:02 PM
Response to Original message
14. Yes it is, and socialism is better than what we have now,
which is an oligarchy
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:07 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. It is hard not to agree that it is based on socialist ideas considering the importance of the 99%
argument. I just wonder if many realize it or agree.
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qb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:06 PM
Response to Original message
16. It's socialist, it's communist, it's satanist-label it what you want. It's what this country needs
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Kievan Rus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:07 PM
Response to Original message
18. Anti-corporatist does not mean socialist
While all socialists are anti-corporatist, not all anti-corporatists are socialists.
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. very true
which is why I asked ;)
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Socialist is better but only the 1%ers get socialism. nt
Edited on Wed Oct-05-11 10:11 PM by valerief
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:12 PM
Response to Original message
21. socialists are included and wellcome
but the movement as whole is leaderless and decentraliced. Socialist movements have central organization, this movement self-organizes anarchically.
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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #21
25. Well anarchists are a type of socialist.
I'd say this group is a mix of social-democrats, Marxists, and Anarchists.
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:59 PM
Response to Reply #25
36. not really
both are anti-capitalists, but the difference in organization is cruxial. Socialists - both revolutionary marxists and reformist social-democrats - have centralist organizations with elected leaders and participate in party politics, anarchist self-organize without institutional leaders and are decentralized.

Generally and also in my personal experience cooperation between centrally organized socialist and other progressive groups is very difficult because of rivalry and power hunger of the institutionally led organisations with leaders having big egos - dogmatic trotskyist groups being the classic example of factional infighting. On the other hand anarchic leaderless and decentralized self-organization is more inclusive and allows also centralized organisations come together and participate and cooperate with less rivalry between groups. This is the experience from Zapatistas and other anarchic movements in Mexico and rest of Latin America, from Arab Spring and M15 indignados from Spain and elsewhere - now first time on large scale in US.

Not to forget that there are also some very dogmatic and ideological anarchists with fetish of physical violence and who don't want to participate in nonviolent anarchic movement where the right to act violently (in self defence) is "democratically oppressed". I have no dogmatic attitude against violence, but in this situation I'm strongly for strictly Gandhian tactics.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #36
46. I'm sorry, but in practice in the US, socialism means getting things done.
Anarchism means talking about getting things done. Socialist democratic centralism means you can vote and delegate authority for someone to bring the chairs to the meeting. Anarchist "anti-hierarchical decenteredness: means you have a 2 hour consensus meeting to make sure no one is oppressed or no one's opinions are hurt in the activity of bringing the chairs to the meeting.

I was at an anarchist meeting for FOUR hours last night to prepare for the occupation and all that happened was: people complained about how the general assembly organizing wasn't consensus enough, people complained about the "We are the 99%" meme (because EVERYONE is responsible for capitalism, doncha know), people complained about the occupation being a detriment to their decentered, community-building projects. Absolutely nothing was accomplished.

In the same period of time, in my region one small trotskyist socialist group got 3 unions to sign on to the Occupation. One with 100,000 members. I vote for that method.

There is no group of people more sectarian than anarchists. I went last night to try to talk to building a united front with them so that we could bring an anti-capitalist message and challenge the Ron Paulers. They refused. Even the anarchists who didn't have an anticapitalist message (businesses can be good, so long as they give back to the community!) were treated with respect while the socialists were passive-aggressively attacked. They are organizational fetishists who like to navel-gaze about meeting processes. Anarchists don't need to have a revolution because they think they ARE the revolution. And that means that all the people who aren't anarchist are the reactionary enemy.

Trotskyists were sectarian in the mid-20th century while they were scrambling to defend themselves against Stalin. There is no LESS sectarian movement on the US left than one or two of the Trot groups and one Maoist tendency I can think of (Kasama.)
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-06-11 12:06 AM
Response to Reply #46
54. I know what you are talking about
and that's the reason I don't think very highly of any ideological purists, and that's why I use rather the word anarchic rather than the -ism. I'm a former member of a trotter group (IS tendency), but I'm most at home with anarchic people who take initiative and responsibility and get things done ("seeing is doing") without making a fuzz and being obnoxiously bossy and "bang the bongos and smoke weed" - ecohippie community type "anarchists" who seldom define themselves as such. :)

Main point was that this movement is what it is because it has been and is based on anarchic self-organization (roots go back to zapatistas and much further), centralized leadership organizations can work efficiently and get lot of things done as part of the decentralized movement, as long as the movement stays that way and does not get hijacked by this or that ideological purism. Not trotskyist, anarchist or any other purism.

Yesterday I read about experiences of Spanish "radical anarchists" (of the type you describe) of the indingnado movement, they were happy that they participated, though at first they were suspicious. Their main self-criticism was that they spend too much time in meetings and committees having arguments that drained their energy, instead of doing something usefull. This a learning experience, r-evolution. :)
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:17 PM
Response to Original message
22. Well it's nothing if not anti-corporate fascism. But very democratic.
Everybody who shows up is a member of the General Assembly and has a voice.

Oh, and they pool donations of food/goods and share them around the group.

If it makes you feel better to label them as something that people can then get all nasty about, I can't stop you.
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. I agree that people concentrate on labels too much.
However, I just was asking a question as to what people thought. I do not have any intention of labeling "them as something that people can then get all nasty about."

I think a lot of people are trying to figure out what the mission of OWS is and how it can be effective in accomplishing goals. Looking at what seems to be the main theme, the "99%ers", it sounds like an economic and political reform movement with the goal of limiting the accumulation of wealth and power in only 1% of the population.
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Doremus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
23. troll
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:25 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. Really? You have Bernie Sanders as your profile pic and have a problem with socialism?
Edited on Wed Oct-05-11 10:25 PM by jsamuel
"Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:37 PM
Response to Original message
29. Hopefully, it's an antifascist movement. Socialism shouldn't have anything to do with it. n/t
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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. It appears to be an anti-capitalist movement.
If it is too succeed it will need to be socialist. Besides it is clear that there are some anarchists involved, so socialist are already involved in it.
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #30
42. anarchists are not socialists n/t
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #42
53. they can be
They're neither equivalent nor mutually exclusive.
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-06-11 12:08 AM
Response to Reply #53
55. True
"intellect is the ability to hold at the same time two seemingly conflicting thoughts"
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. fair point
Edited on Wed Oct-05-11 10:41 PM by jsamuel
so, the 99% is representing an opposition to a fascist dominance by corporations? I can see that. It still leaves the question as to what the solution to that problem is.
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:05 PM
Response to Reply #31
37. That's easy
1. Prosecute the criminals and fraudsters -- establish task force.
2. Constitutional amendment to ban corporate personhoood.
3. Constitutional amendment to limit corporate campaign contributions.
4. Regulations on shorts, swaps and hedges.
5. No corporate welfare.
6. Increase taxes on upper tax brackets.


The anti-capitalist/socialist/communist stuff needs to be shoved into the box.
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:10 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. not so easy
How do you get those things passed? Two constitutional amendments in a system you say is rigged against you? I don't disagree with the goal, but I still am not seeing the how. That is not meant to discourage though. Something needs to be done to change things.
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #39
44. Well, the way I see it, you have two choices
violent revolution, after which everyone would have to agree about everything or we all decide to be responsible consumers, and take responsibility for our government and our planet. I said the answers were simple -- not easy to implement.
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #44
47. heh
Well, the first one is out as far as I am concerned. Looking back at history, perhaps the civil rights movement might be analogous to what needs to be done. That is essentially what we are seeing in OWS. A fight (non-violent) for economic and social justice. Something that gathers so much support that the powers that be, even powers as forceful as racism in the south, can't stand in the way.
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #47
49. I'm so not in favor of the violent revolution
for one thing -- why destabilize what we have, which is already way better than most of the world or human history? Second, I think that economic and social justice is far out past what I want to achieve, which is to end corpo-fascism. That's why I think this needs to be the focus. I think that stands way more of a chance of catching on than socialist/communist type redistribution.
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #49
50. Just to make sure.
Edited on Wed Oct-05-11 11:35 PM by jsamuel
The reference to economic and social justice is to MLK. MLK had made great strides with social justice before his death. He had begun on economic justice when he was killed. Interesting how he was not assassinated during the fight for civil rights and social justice, but he was when he was marching for union rights and economic justice.
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #50
51. I think that's pretty not surprising. :) The powers that be are pretty powerful.
Which is why we're all so screwed.
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:41 PM
Response to Reply #51
52. lol
ah well... It's my bed time. Thanks for the discussion!
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:47 PM
Response to Original message
32. pre Bush 1 - we didn't confuse economic systems with socialism (central/fed ec planning)
the word today is thrown around like candy in a parade. Most successful economies of the 20th (and 21st) century are "mixed" economies - not in terms of federal control of major industries but in terms of regulations to harness the brutal (and non societal good) side of free markets, and in terms of taxation to provide for basic social nets. I would challenge anyone to find a definition of socialism prior to 1990 that would include such a system.

The word has become red meat to the radical right. What was once sensible (led to decades of economic growth for lower, middle and upper classes) is now slandered as "socialism" and an anathema to the "american way" by the radical right. The irony - it is such a system that led to the "american way" becoming the american way - where people who work hard, study hard and then work hard can rise. A theoretical "meritocracy" which no longer exists.
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. all very good points
note that the word "liberal" also has a stigma associated with it in a very similar way
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The Traveler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
33. Why are we limited to the socialist/capitalist dichotomy?
It's the 21st Century. Socialism is a 19th century concept. Capitalism is older than that. Can't we invent something newer and better?

I'm not sure what the OWS movement is, or what it will become, or what it will create ... I don't think anyone knows. But I think it is one of the most hopeful signs of the past 30 years.
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. We aren't.
In fact, it could be argued that we are already a degree blend of the two while many other countries are as well. However, many other countries are much heavier on the socialism side and lighter on the capitalism side than we are.
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The Traveler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #35
41. Still, you have framed it
in terms of that reference ... a single axis.

I don't have an answer, or even the barest bones of a suggestion ... but of late I have been asking myself, is the socialist/capitalist frame even useful anymore?

Are there other possibilities?
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. They perhaps are outmoded concepts.
Alas, I don't have the answers, but I like the discussion that this thread has invoked. However, even if new concepts are created they are not likely to completely abandon some of the main points being espoused by the current systems, at least not for a long time.
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Throd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:10 PM
Response to Original message
38. Hopefully it is something that can't be conveniently pigeonholed.
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. ha
Seems like you got that right.
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:20 PM
Response to Original message
45. No, populist.
I went to an OccupySF march today and it was fun, but kind of inchoate.

I don't think any one ideological view has taken over yet, but without a strong class-based program, it will peter out pretty quickly, imo. There is no such thing as "non-ideological" political struggle in the capitalist system.

"...the only choice is either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for mankind has not created a third ideology, and, moreover, in a society torn by class antagonisms there can never be a non-class or an above-class ideology). Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology." (Lenin, "What Is To Be Done?", 1902, International Publishers, 1969)


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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 11:27 PM
Response to Original message
48. It's not something that can be pigeonholed, not should it be.
Once people start pigeonholing OWS it will be destroyed with Red team vs. Blue Team framing and Divide and Conquer.
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-06-11 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #48
56. +1
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Bloke 32 Donating Member (201 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-06-11 12:17 AM
Response to Original message
57. One can hope!
;-)
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RegieRocker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-06-11 12:19 AM
Response to Original message
58. It is a "Tired of the bullshit movement" for all.
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