"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Oct 6, 2011

Tear and Frembling

FDL's Kevin Gosztola on Ed Schulz and institutional liberals' attempts to hijack the Occupy movement: 

"...The utter-contempt that existed toward this bottom-up movement has now been swept under the rug. The Occupy Wall Street movement has energy and momentum, which is exactly what President Barack Obama needs to get re-elected. It has people and media attention, which is why the organizers behind the 'Take Back the American Dream' conference made a calculation to adjust messaging and include talk about Occupy Wall Street. They did this because the conference was to be about producing a movement that could counter the Tea Party and now, as Van Jones explained to attendees, a movement that could be a counter-balance to the Tea Party had sprouted. They acted as if the people in the streets were for their vision and agenda and talked about how those people showed it was time to build a 'Rebuild the American Dream' movement to rival the Tea Party from the left. They even went to the steps of Capitol Hill for a two hour rally to 'send a message' to Congress.

Now, leaders who are working on the Obama 2012 re-election campaign or progressive groups that will be canvassing door-to-door to convince people to not abandon Obama are looking to tap in to Occupy Wall Street’s energy. The country is about to see, as Salon’s Joan Walsh suggests, what happens when a movement without leaders meets leaders without a movement. The segment MSNBC host Ed Schultz did on October 5 indicates liberals, whom the Democratic Party counts on to deliver votes, will be working to contain this movement and make it seem these are really frustrated Obama supporters.

"...Schultz opened the segment saying, 'The Occupy Wall Street movement is about to reach critical mass and the Republicans can’t do anything to stop it,' an immediate sign that Schultz is focused on how the movement can help Democrats. 'There is no doubt that the Republican Party is afraid of the 99 percent message and now they are attacking it,'  he added.

After framing Occupy Wall Street as a group of the left that is against the right, even though the organizers’ message is clearly about those at the bottom against those at the top, he continued, 'This is the official start of the 2012 campaign. If this movement is heard by some candidate, this just may be the movement that starts a major change in this country.'  You mean if someone like Barack Obama comes along and wants a second chance to show that he isn’t bought off by corporate and special interests, especially big banks on Wall Street? Because, while there is a growing primary challenger movement against Obama, there is a scant amount of support for that among progressives. And, if he is talking about congressional candidates, they face the same system Obama has been unwilling to challenge and no matter how good they are will be managed by the White House so they cannot get in the way of business as usual.

(italics mine)

Rush Limbaugh*, addressing his millions of dittoheads:

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the White House is behind this. Obama is setting up riots. He is fanning the flames.”

"The anarchists and union thugs who are rallying against corporate greed are Obama’s constituents."

“Occupy Wall Street is his base. Those are his foot soldiers.”


Dennis Kucinich wants you to associate his mug with OWS. Juan Cole wants you to associate OWS with Steve Jobs and Americanist techno-aesthetics. Ed Schulz wants you to imagine OWS leading to the election of an unspecified candidate, who will of course lead a national movement to do vague major change. Michael Moore wants you to remember that Michael Moore showed up in NYC to do some hang time with the hippies. He doesn't want you to remember that he was early and often a supporter of the Bombmaster of Sarajevo, one General Wesley Clark. Rush Limbaugh wants you to be convinced that the OWS people are the vanguard of a riot army. He probably also wants you to remember that he predicted that Obama would use NBP shock troopers to round up white people and steal the keys to the heart of Muddle America. Van Jones wants you to think that he's not a stalking horse for the Obama Administration, and Sean Hannity wants you to believe with absolute certainty that he is one.

So, what do we have here?

We have famous and powerful people trying to de-anonymize and take possession of a self-organized, decentralized, anti-political, celebrity-free and uniquely clever set of affiliated groups whose main tactic - and it's a shiny one - is to re-create a social commons as a means of producing new means.

Why is that?

A little fear and trembling, maybe?

Heh. Makes me happy.

Also reminds me that the populares never stopped being aristocrats. They didn't really favor the people of Rome. Especially not the proletarians and the capite censi. They just used them up, sent them to the latifundia and the mines, or shipped them off to war.

So, mebbe it's time to quote some Shatner**, in lieu of the more traditional Bakunin or Marx:

"...Sing along with the common people
Sing along and it might just get you through
Laugh along with the common people
Laugh along even though they're laughing at you
And the stupid things that you do
Because you think that poor is cool

Like a dog lying in a corner
They will bite you and never warn you
Look out
They'll tear your insides out

`cos everybody hates a tourist
Especially one who thinks it's all such a laugh
Yeah and the chip stain and grease will come out in the bath

You will never understand
How it feels to live your life
With no meaning or control
And with nowhere left to go
You are amazed that they exist
And they burn so bright whilst you can only wonder why..."

* - transcript will be linked when it's made available

** - "Common People", Has Been, Shatner


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Here's the pic that accompanied the FAUX/Malkin complaint about OWS' lack of diversity.

Jack Crow said...

Obliged, Thunder.

I agree that it's just a tool in the hands of someone like Malkin - an effort to declare, and with no apparent awareness of the possibilities presented by subtlety - to suggest that the Occupy people are hypocrites.

Richard said...

Gosztola gets it; in fact firedoglake does, too, for the most part, which is pretty impressive given that firedoglake consciously avoid an explicit leftist identity

I suspect that Hamsher is a closet anarchist, anyway, she worked for the Bay Guardian in SF years ago before becoming a scriptwriter

as long as she keeps up the good work, I'll keep quiet

Jack Crow said...

I think Hamsher likes to have the money and influence, and fancy herself a radical, Richard. But, FDL isn't without uses.

And at least it's not this:

Liberals Insists That OWS Should Be About Taking Power

Richard said...

By and large, yes, I agree with you.

But, there is no question in my mind that the US would be a much better place if Hamsher was a true representative of liberalism, that is to say, if most liberals were close to her in temperment and perspective.

Hamsher rarely shows fear when it comes to right and wrong of an issue. She embraced the effort to free Bradley Manning right out of the box.

Jack Crow said...

You're right, Richard. I have a bias against the sheer earnestness of FDL. A defense mechanism, I imagine.

Jim H. said...

"what happens when a movement without leaders meets leaders without a movement." Well said, my well-saying friend.

Co-optation is always on the table, bien sur. Mais, without organizational structure and power, the first blushes of enthusiasm often blow themselves out. It's a fitting paradox; a puzzler.

I'm not sure where OWS, OTogether, etc., can go as a loose assemblage of the vague and disaffected. Do they have to have a 'message' or a 'list of demands' ?I don't necessarily think so. The mass movement works. But how? As a symbol, maybe. As an avant garde, perhaps. Both, however, imply usage. As sui generis, ie. itself? Who the fuck knows.

Jack Crow said...

Jim, I could hope to have written that, but the hope would be a lie. It's within the quotes.

I think, though, we can flesh out a way to contrast "organization" with "organizational structure," at least to explore the hybrid zone where self-organized people can accomplish tasks without necessarily leaving behind a permanent hierarchy which is then later more easily captured.

JTG said...

I think Limbaugh knows damned well that many of those college kids at the protests aren't going to make the same mistake of voting for Obama next time around, but whatever gets his listener base wetting their Depends is fine by him.

Jack Crow said...

There's a clear effort to make sure the Tea Party folks see the Occupancy as enemies:


PR said...

Rich 'Liberal' or rich 'Conservative' doesn't make any difference. John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi are as much a part of the 1% as Rockefeller,Koch or Bush.

Anonymous said...

don't delete my comments bitch!!! admit you were wrong about Common People!!!! respect Jarvis!!!!!!

Jack Crow said...


I don't delete comments.