Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupation

Reprinted below is a comment I was in the process of leaving on a talkback about the "Occupy Wall Street" movement on BAD as word was coming down (and continues to come down) that protesters at Occupy Boston are being beaten and overwhelmed by the Boston Police. Not a good night here, obviously...

From me:
These things are always tough for me, in the macro, because my commitment to clear reason (call it "cynicism" if you like) doesn't permit me to dial-back my overall-negative assessment of humanity when it's a swath of humanity I'm sympathetic too; as is the case here.


My cold-water-in-the-face "read" of this "Occupy" business is that it IS the "left" version of the Mark I "Tea Party" business: largely fueled by not-particularly-sharp folks with a simple-to-nonexistent grasp of politics getting smacked in the face all at once by the realization that The System is FUCKED and reacting by focusing the blame on whatever their vague political/personal prejudices already had them seeing as The Bad Guys - i.e. the Teabaggers reflexively blamed minorities, gays, non-christians and foriegners; the kids at Occupy reflexively blamed "Corporate America." Yes, the INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT distinction is that "Occupy Wall Street's" choice of bad guy actually IS The Bad Guy; but I'm unable to fully "get down" for the romanticism of it. I don't "like" looking at it that way - as I'm typing this, the news is coming in that the Occupy Boston crowd is getting savaged by the cops and I'm pissed as HELL about it - but there you go.


THAT SAID...


Just as the Teabaggers hadn't existed for long before they became (largely) unwitting-dupe mercenaries for the GOP; if these kids can hold out maybe, just maybe, some form of leadership can either emerge-from or "hook up" with them and they can be an instrument of ensuring the all-important goal of preventing "conservatives" from attaining one more shred of power or influence until the ability of their policies and beliefs to do lasting damage has been permanently (constitutionally?) shielded against.


I know whose side I'm on.

I stand by that, overall - being unromantic about something doesn't mean you can't be sympathetic toward it and vice-versa. Is "Occupy Wall Street" primarily just vauge, petulant anger at "the man?" Yes, I think it is. Is there any kind of important, cogent political/philosophical "point" to be had from it? Not really, no. BUT! Are they are at least aiming their anger in the right direction? YES. Should they be getting bludgeoned by cops? NO. Do they have my support, whatever little it's worth? ABSOLUTELY.

34 comments:

Ralphael said...

aiming at the right direction?

what direction would that be?

Euler d'Moogle said...

Preach it brother!

I was sympathetic to the tea party when they were simply against the excesses of the Bush administration, but bailed early when the worst elements of the GoP hijacked them and made them a voice for racism and "christian" theocracy.

With Occupy Wall-Street, I hope they keep there cool and don't get hijacked by the worst elements of the left, because if they do, than they really will become the left wing tea-party instead of something greater.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob, just curious, but do you personally know any conservatives or libertarians in real life (Not online)? I get why your pissed at the Tea Party, but it sounds like all you use are stereotypes when talking about them.

biomechanical923 said...

Regardless of it's foundation, the "Tea Party Movement" is currently a huge scam. It mainly consists of right-wing radical fringe, and is being used as an "Overton Window" to make the GOP appear more moderate than they actually are.

The concern is that this is what might happen with Occupy Wall Street. Protesters with legitimate complaints are afraid that the movement will just become a soapbox for nanny-state left-wing radicals and Communists.

jojjo said...

Large swathes of the tea party movement focus their anger primarily on the corrupt politicians who HAVE ripped them off, just saying. Both of them are masses of basically well meaning but generally misinformed people, and the Occupants will most likely go the way The tea party did: they will be duped by the people who best can use them to their ends and they will hurt themselves more than anyone else.

("The cynicismometer is through the roof!")

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Wow, Bob. Even enduring your attacks against us members of the tea Party in the past, I always stuck with you as a great gamer and thinker who thought more like I did on most issues with the exception of Politics (For which I can usually live with). But THIS?

You've lost my respect. All of it.

The comparison to to the early stages of the Tea party is accurate, true, but where the Tea Party was grandma;s and grandpas waving American flags, taking their kids and grandkids, marching without event and usually picking up their trash when they left...

But THIS pack of human trash is very clearly anti-semetic and anti-American. Lousy, good for nothing bits of human puke that are clearly fighting the cops. Remember when the Tea Party fought the police? Oh yeah, that's right THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN.

Same old Jews control everything cliche that's been puked up by half-assed conspiracy jackholes for decades.

Overthinker, my ass.

Anonymous said...

I'm really sick of hearing people call the Occupy movement "anti-American".

Practicing your right to protest is way more American than anonymously donating corporate funds to political figures.

There have been protests that made me facepalm a few times - mostly those done by WBC. Your opinion of them might be that they're misinformed, misguided, or just wrong. But you can't call them unamerican. The whole point of being an American is being able to get your point across through these types of social gestures as long as they're legal.

Because OWS doesn't have any central leadership, people tend to dismiss them as having no message. That's false. You see this type of uprising again and again when large groups of people feel like their government is ignoring them.

Is it really that hard to listen to what they have to say? Just because the major news networks are confused by it, doesn't mean individual human thinkers would be. Do you really need Fox news or CNN to tell you what to think?

-Empyu

Daniel said...

I'll just leave this right here:
http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/marvel/avengers/

Kyle said...

As if the Occupy people found where a bunch of Police had congregated and decided to amass and start hitting them. "Oh yeah, that's right THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN."

Disregard any future comments by Reverend Allan Ironside: check.

Helios said...

@Reverend Allan Ironside

Oh, just p*ss off, all you ever do is troll Moviebob's blog spouting the same Fox-News drivel. Face it, the Tea-Party are turning the GOP, and by extension, America into a joke.

biomechanical923 said...

@ Helios
As I said previously, the hijacked Tea Party movement is actually serving its purpose by making the GOP appear more moderate by comparison. The GOP is using it to dissociate itself with its less popular fringe elements.

@ Rev. Allan Ironside
There's absolutely nothing anti-Semitic about the Occupy Wall Street movement except for the incoherent rambling of a few petulant children on youtube(like LotionMan. Every political movement has its fringe nutjobs who are not representative of the movement as a whole.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has attended and still supports, via a food/clothing/supplies drive, the Occupy Wall Street events. I would just like to stay that we are not disorganized and divided, not completely anyway. The social justice (left) of America (and the world) has been organizing for a long time now to fight back: http://front.rebuildthedream.com/

Van Jones is a strong leader, but ours is more of a movement based around an idea (insert V for Vendetta quotation here), than a heroic figurehead. Occupy Wall Street is just the first step to get everyone together, from here we, or at least, I go on to further political activism (or rather studying and training for political activism).

Oh to all internet/media trolls, spies, saboteurs; corporate, government, or otherwise who would seek to subvert, divide, co-opt, and destroy this energy: how dare you. How dare you behave like the worst terrorists and totalitarian fundamentalist dictators that you preach we all should so readily despise.

Markus Aurelius said...

I think I liked it better when this blog stuck to movies.

twobitspecialist said...

What Markus Aurelius said.

Markus Aurelius said...

Not sure why I'm even going there, but I just feel the need to say it. Folks, the problem isn't OWS. And it's not the Tea Party, either. Somewhere we lost the ability to actually discuss anything, and that's the real problem. Anytime someone espouses a conservative idea, they get labeled a Foxnews-drivel-spouting troll. Anytime someone shows liberal leanings, they're shouted down as a pinko-commie America-hater. Seriously, folks, learn to enjoy the discussion. People disagree. Disagreement should lead to thoughtful discussion and debate, and these things are historical pillars of any parliamentary system. Embrace debate. It's what separates us from a dictatorship.

jake said...

@Markus Aurelius
*Sterotypical 80s movie slow clap*

Ryan said...

Without the kind of astroturfing the Tea Party has gotten from Americans for Prosperity and other such groups, I don't see OWS getting the same traction. Not to discount the impressive organization and dedication of Tea Party members at all, because they've organized well and run some big events, but they've also had the support of big money, which is why they've been co-opted by movement conservatives and income defense people. There's no traction out there for the kind of true left-wing, socialist thinking that seems to characterize OWS (at least, judging from the web site and the speakers). I'm not sure we're going to get any real leadership out of this, but I live in hope...though since Dems and Repubs have picked sides, I think we're just going to get a lot more irrational noise...

ironghost01 said...

Okay, Bob. I love ya and I've commented before on this over on the escapist and I want to clear the air on a few things.

First of all, the term Teabagger is an insult. It's a crude homophobic slur. If you're going to charge the tea party with that kind of thing, don't use it yourself.

Second The Tea Partiers and the Occupiers are both populist movements. I've been to the Occupy LA protests and the Industrial Workers of the World and the Revolutionary Communist Party of the USA have both attached themselves to it and are actively recruiting. That last one is a maoist cult. So. What. Populist movements always attract the fringe. For the tea partiers, that means that they get the evangelicals and the Ron Paul Fans. ALl of these groups are shrill, all of them are on the fringe and none of them matter. The Tea Party want us to quit spending ourselves into oblivion and the Occupiers want money to get out of our Political process and you know what? Both are worthy goals.

Thirdly, there is some overlap here. Go down to Pershing Square in LA and start counting Gadsden flags. You'll see at least a few.

Hammbone said...

@ironhost01:

1: teabagger isnt a homophobic slur in this sense this is the name the members of the tea party have taken for themselves.

2: i agree with the statment that the teaparty isnt as crazy as its fringe elements are, but i thought that the OWS movement was about getting big money out of government...

i dont know why people keep crying about them wanting the disolution of all corporations and attacking the wealthy... all ive seen is asking them to keep their hands out of our governmental representation's ass...

ironghost01 said...

@Hammbone

1) Originally yes, it originally started as an move to send tea bags to congress and the oval office in response to the stimulus, most likely with whatever dim bulb who thought to use that term not knowing that it was a pretty powerful double entendre. It was used as a verb. Then, way back in the early days of the movement, Janine Garofalo linked it to the act and the insult took off on the left as the term Bob used. It absolutely is a slur.

2) That's what I said. The OWS crowd wants to get money out of our political processes. Six of one half dozen of the other. On this, I support them. That being the case, the fringe left is absolutely there and one of the most consistent demands that I heard was for higher taxes.

biomechanical923 said...

@Ironghost
I think the "teabagger" insult was mostly spread around by Bill Maher, who seems to be the source for a lot of Bob's political views.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

If someone can apparently afford to take a couple weeks off of work on a whim and road-trip to New York (or whatever city that happen to be protesting in now) to bitch about how they don't have enough money, I'm going to have a lot of trouble taking them seriously. And, I'm inclined to right off the protests on that alone.

I mean, I get what they're saying.. corporations are to powerful in our society. But, I don't blame the corporations for looking out for their own interests, everyone does that. I blame the government for consistently going out of it's way to enable them. And, I've always thought the best way of dealing with that is to restrict how much authority the government had to actually do that.

I mean, for example, banks are always going to look for bail outs, and the government will always give them out if they can... The best solution is to take the government's right away to give them out in the first place.

Sylocat said...

"If someone can apparently afford to take a couple weeks off of work on a whim and road-trip to New York (or whatever city that happen to be protesting in now) to bitch about how they don't have enough money"

Um, you are aware, aren't you, that many of those people cannot actually find any job to take time off from? That's, you know, one of the main reasons people are protesting.

"I mean, I get what they're saying.. corporations are to powerful in our society. But, I don't blame the corporations for looking out for their own interests, everyone does that. I blame the government for consistently going out of it's way to enable them."

So, corporations are just "looking out for their own interests," huh?

Guess what, those scumbag politicians are just "looking out for their own interests" too. They want campaign donations. They will "look out for their own interests" by doing what it takes to get them. Those politicians who repealed Glass-Steagal? They were "looking out for their own interests." It's what they do.

If we should just accept corporate maleficence and take it as a given, then we should do the same with political maleficence.

Phobos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phobos said...

Why be so down on this protest, just because it does not have amazingly cogent aims at the moment. I seem to recall the people sitting in the square in Cairo not having a unified message at the beginning apart from being p!ssed off.

The way the protests were being reported was that they wanted backing reforms. So we don't have these too big to fail situations again. Where even though so free market supporting the government have rewarded market failure. Which don't get me wrong they had to do as many peoples saving would have been caught up in those failures.

So anyway let's give them a bit of time to work themselves out before completely dismissing it. The important thing is that people have been motivated enough to come out onto the streets for something they believe in. That to me is a good thing....

biomechanical923 said...

Right now in Zuccotti Park...and across America...

http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/154845/lazy-hippies

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Sylocat

I don't see how unemployment has much at all to do with the protest. The "theme", such as it is, is that the wealthy and corporations have too much money and power compared to the rest of us. And, of course, issues of unemployment doesn't appear anywhere on the "official" list of demands.

I'm sure some of the people there are unemployed. But, that's not and never was what the protest was about.

Corporations and politicians are held accountable to the people differently. If you don't like what a corporation is doing, don't buy their products or use their services. If enough people do that, they'll either change or go out of business. Again, I won't blame a corporation for doing whatever they think they need to, but that doesn't mean I'll personally support them if I think it's unethical.

Politicians and government, on the other hand, are more directly accountable... If they do things people don't like, they should be voted out; if they don't do things people want, they should be voted out. That's why protests like this can work every once in a while. It tells the politicians what they have to do to stay in office. So, if a politician is openly practicing maleficence, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Sylocat said...

I don't see how unemployment has much at all to do with the protest. The "theme", such as it is, is that the wealthy and corporations have too much money and power compared to the rest of us.

Yes, and one of the consequences of that power was that OUR economy was turned to shit so THEY could get more short-term profits. That's why many of these people cannot find jobs; because Wall Street fucked over the economy.


Corporations and politicians are held accountable to the people differently. If you don't like what a corporation is doing, don't buy their products or use their services. If enough people do that, they'll either change or go out of business. ... Politicians and government, on the other hand, are more directly accountable... If they do things people don't like, they should be voted out; if they don't do things people want, they should be voted out.

It's the same thing. If you don't buy a corporation's products, you are VOTING, with your wallet, against them. A different type of ballot and a different type of box, perhaps, but it's all the same reward/punishment system.

Corporations are as beholden to their customers as politicians are to their constituents. And they should be held equally accountable when they screw others over.

So, if a politician is openly practicing maleficence, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

By your logic, we have no one to blame but ourselves when corporations practice maleficence, either; after all, WE'RE the ones who keep purchasing their products and keep them in business.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Yes, and one of the consequences of that power was that OUR economy was turned to shit so THEY could get more short-term profits. That's why many of these people cannot find jobs; because Wall Street fucked over the economy.

But, how does fucking over Wall Street in return fix that? You think that if the government steps in and starts regulating things more they'll all start suddenly hiring more people? If we start taking rights away from corporations they'll bring more jobs back to America?

I mean, yea, be mad at Wall Street. There are more than a few people there that should get locked up for what they did. But that'll do fuck all to help our unemployment situation. Tearing down financial institutions may perhaps make things better in, oh, 10 to 20 years. But, if anything, it'd make unemployment a lot worse in the short term.

By your logic, we have no one to blame but ourselves when corporations practice maleficence, either; after all, WE'RE the ones who keep purchasing their products and keep them in business.

Well, frankly, they would have all gone out of business 2 years ago had the government not come and stepped in.

And yea, you're right, perhaps people doing business with these corporations, especially with what we know now, should feel a bit guilty about helping perpetuate this.

Sylocat said...

But, how does fucking over Wall Street in return fix that? You think that if the government steps in and starts regulating things more they'll all start suddenly hiring more people? If we start taking rights away from corporations they'll bring more jobs back to America?

Well, Deregulation sure hasn't motivated them to do it. In fact, deregulation made it easier for them to send our jobs overseas.

And at this point, I don't think any action of theirs is going to solve the problem. What they ARE going to do is actively attempt to hinder any real solution (they are after all, as you so charitably put it, "just looking out for their own interests," which you insist we shouldn't fault them for).

Tearing down financial institutions may perhaps make things better in, oh, 10 to 20 years. But, if anything, it'd make unemployment a lot worse in the short term.

And your solution to the problem is to further neuter the government, which would make things worse in both the short and the long term.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Sylocat

I wasn't aware there was any sort of regulation that made it harder to send jobs overseas... I was under the impression that that was a simple reality of living in a global economy. I like the idea of such regulation, but I'm less than convinced it could actually practically accomplish anything (and even less convinced such legislation would ever pass).

Frankly, I don't think there is a solution. No short term one at any rate. That's the thing about economic bubbles bursting... they return things to how they would other-wise naturally be. I think unemployment has settled out where it is because our economic system simply can't support more jobs than this. The housing bubble merely created the illusion there was more to go around.

Sylocat said...

When in doubt, move the goal posts, eh?

And you're right, it won't pass. That's why your solution of "take away the government's ability to enable them" is ridiculous: The government ALREADY has no power in this system. None at all. If a politician disobeys, the financiers will just pour money into their opponent, and here's the thing: You and I talk about boycotting and voting people out, but most voters cannot process ANYTHING more complicated than mindlessly voting for whoever has the most ad time on the magic electric boxes. No one who isn't willing to take bribes can get elected, and we won't change that by doing things the clean and pretty way.

See this for more details.

I think unemployment has settled out where it is because our economic system simply can't support more jobs than this. The housing bubble merely created the illusion there was more to go around.

No. Sorry, but know, people said this EXACT same thing in 1930, and then we passed the WPA. And don't even try to tell me that the WPA wasn't a good thing. Right-wingers on both sides hated it, they still do, even though (or perhaps BECAUSE) it worked, it was necessary, and... well, just read that article.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Sylocat

My "goal post" is that the protests have absolutely nothing to do with unemployment. That despite a few tragic anecdotes, this is pretty much just a bunch of spoiled upper-middle class kids trying to "stick it to the man", with the exception of all the spoiled upper-middle class kids who are there to hang out with friends or to just be at the big event.

We did get a bit off track from that, yea.

I'm inclined to think that the sort of person who "mindlessly vote for whoever has the most ad time on the magic electric boxes" tend not to want to bother to take the 10 minutes out of their day once a year to vote anyway. Fortunately, apathy is our friend here.

That said, it's always bothered me that there is rarely any real outcry against the corruption of the politicians themselves. That's the problem that needs to be fixed before you can fix any others.

The WPA was a short term answer for a problem that was ultimately solved by WW2. It was a good thing, absolutely. But, something like that can't actually fix unemployment. It doesn't actually create more real jobs, and it doesn't actually put more wealth into the economy... it just makes things more bearable until the unemployment problem is fixed. I can't help but be reminded of all the recent "stimulus packages" that put people back to work for a few months until the money ran out and things went right back to normal. We're just talking about doing something like this on a larger scale.

Should we be trying something like this on a national scale? Ya know what, we probably should. I don't think of this so much "government meddling" as it's an aggressive unemployment insurance. But, it has to come with the understanding that it's not the solution, it's a band-aid until we can find a solution.

And, I would note that the "Occupiers" aren't demanding anything even remotely like this.

Aiddon said...

This is what I have to say: if they're still around a year from now and actually an organization with actual LEADERS, THEN I'll start taking it seriously. Until then, this isn't a "movement", it's just a REALLY focused group one step above a mob.