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Why Occupy Wall Street Failed


By Patrick   Follow   Sun, 28 Apr 2013, 1:32pm PDT   2,618 views   79 comments   Watch (1)   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)  

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/91a3782a-a80f-11e2-b031-00144feabdc0.html

London and cities across the Anglo-American world. Largely supported by the public, they also captured significant media attention. In retrospect, the real surprise is that all this did not happen sooner. Anger with banks and the mess they had caused had been boiling for three years. Recall, for example, the (thwarted) attempt by the US House of Representatives not normally an anti-Wall Street body to impose a 90 per cent tax rate on bonuses by bailed-out financial companies.

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fedwatcher   befriend   ignore   Mon, 29 Apr 2013, 12:45pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 40

Occupy Wall Street was a very big tent. It thus included many diverse elements. Enough of these elements calling for free this or free that could be targeted as representing the entire movement. They made a mistake by not having an agenda that cooler heads could vet for acceptance by the public at large.

What Occupy Wall Street needed was a simple agenda that the 99% could easily buy into. Criminal prosecution of the people responsible for the crash would have worked as item number 1. Ending “Too Big To Fail” would have worked as number 2. And removing corporate “personhood” would have worked as number 3.

thunderlips11   befriend   ignore   Tue, 30 Apr 2013, 3:31am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 41

Rin says

Thus, the faltering notion of a multi-continental global standing army, after being decimated in two world wars, setup all the former colonies for independence. The whole Gandhi thing was more of a feel good story about a poorly dressed underdog spiritual guru, perpetuated by American journalists.

Agreed. This is a very interesting subject and a point that more people need to understand. Most people outside South Asia have just seen the Gandhi movie and that's where their knowledge of Indian history begins and ends.

From the horses mouth, Clement Attlee:

An extract from a letter written by P.V. Chuckraborty, former Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, on March 30 1976, reads thus: "When I was acting as Governor of West Bengal in 1956, Lord Clement Attlee, who as the British Prime Minister in post war years was responsible for India’s freedom, visited India and stayed in Raj Bhavan Calcutta for two days`85 I put it straight to him like this: ‘The Quit India Movement of Gandhi practically died out long before 1947 and there was nothing in the Indian situation at that time, which made it necessary for the British to leave India in a hurry. Why then did they do so?’ In reply Attlee cited several reasons, the most important of which were the INA activities of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, which weakened the very foundation of the British Empire in India, and the RIN Mutiny which made the British realize that the Indian armed forces could no longer be trusted to prop up the British. When asked about the extent to which the British decision to quit India was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s 1942 movement, Attlee’s lips widened in smile of disdain and he uttered, slowly, ‘Minimal’."


http://web.archive.org/web/20121012175308/http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060212/spectrum/main2.htm

thunderlips11   befriend   ignore   Tue, 30 Apr 2013, 3:32am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 42

fedwatcher says

Occupy Wall Street was a very big tent. It thus included many diverse elements. Enough of these elements calling for free this or free that could be targeted as representing the entire movement. They made a mistake by not having an agenda that cooler heads could vet for acceptance by the public at large.

Yep. Basically Mykeru's law. The moment the public saw pictures of camps dominated by Drum circles, Anarcho-Feminist Teach Ins, Hackey Sack kicking, and signs supporting the Revolutionary Committee for the Spartacus League, they lost all interest.

If instead the public saw pictures of the same number of everyday people in everyday clothes protesting bailouts, without the Free Tibet, MIM-RAIL, and Legalize Marijuana signs that have bupkiss to do with financial reform, it may have been a different story. People might have actually pulled up and joined in here and there, and it may have grown exponentially.

thunderlips11   befriend   ignore   Tue, 30 Apr 2013, 3:55am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 43

C Boy says

Yeah, except the Government of India Act 1935 occurred in, well 1935, prior to WWII.

And was only partially implemented, did not devolve control of India to Indians, but merely set up a weak federalism where some day-to-day administrative decisions would be left to the provinces, but overall control was solidly retained by the Empire. Each province would still have a British Imperial Governor with actual final say. Think Star Wars and the Imperial Senate.

In fact, the Act of 1919 eventually called for the creation of self-governing institutions, the 1935 Act said nothing about this.

The key part of the Government of India Act is the bit about corporations; it said all UK corporations have full rights in India, but Indian based corporations have only the rights the UK wishes to give them. In other words, UK-based businesses could do anything in India without local restrictions by Indian Governments, but India-based businesses would be subject to any and all special restrictions by the UK government.

thomaswong.1986   befriend   ignore   Tue, 30 Apr 2013, 5:59pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 44

fedwatcher says

What Occupy Wall Street needed was a simple agenda that the 99% could easily buy into. Criminal prosecution of the people responsible for the crash would have worked as item number 1. Ending “Too Big To Fail” would have worked as number 2. And removing corporate “personhood” would have worked as number 3.

again, you point to some mortgage and the banks as the culprit, but you still leave the guilty party off the hook ( the 99%).

try to explain to a person back in 2000 to 2008 prices of RE only appreciate at rate of inflation.

or you could say, has there has ever been an instance where prices would appreciate 10% or more for a long period of time in the future... just compounting rate after several years would be off the chart as we seen.

either way, you would have been ignored and called some crazy nut job...

Robert Shiller - On Home Prices Always Going Up

"too big to fail" was related to AIG and underwriting of insurance policies held by companies in many industries including transportation industry. No insurance policies on many transportation companies would have frozen the food shipments for example. So you can forget food being shipped to markets so you could eat. Or who will underwrite the Fuel shipment contracts. You get the picture.

But hey.. as long as you beat on a drum all day, the logistics dont cross your mind.

bg   befriend   ignore   Tue, 30 Apr 2013, 11:38pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 45

C Boy says

It failed because the police and bankers worked together (as reported by the NY Times bakers manned police emergency bunkers).

I am not so sure about this. I have family in law enforcement. I am also about as liberal as they come. I think OWS was not as effective as it could have been because it did not organize around a purpose. The police have to get involved when something is conducted in such a way to threaten public safety. I don't think the police were colluding with bankers. THe police that I saw were doing their jobs.

In my opinion, there were some good ideas behind OWS. Unfortunately public protests not only attract those who are ideologically in agreement with an issue, it also draws out antisocial people who just use it as an opportunity harm people. The police were there for the second group, not the first.

The police that I knew who had to work the protests were in agreement with the ideas behind much of OWS. They had to intervene when crowds threw bottles, threw rocks, made the public unsafe or destroyed property. I don't think it was about colluding with the banks.

pdg   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 1:16am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 46

OWS failed, IMHO, because it did not focus the seething sea of public anger onto one of two easy to understand points. I think that anger is still present so it's not too late to reorganize.

Mr Happygoluckofus   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 1:20am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 47

pdg says

I think that anger is still present so it's not too late to reorganize.

That will never happen before 2016, not with the love fest going on with Obama. And the thought detention on the freedom of speech. Where one party is free to spew vile and anger against the other, but the other party are vile racist and bigots when they do the same.

bgamall4   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 1:45am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 48

CaptainShuddup says

It failed because they failed to direct their anger in a direction where it would be of any use at all. As it were, it was just the worlds longest and biggest Drum Circe.

The jury is out over whether they failed. You don't see main street buying houses or trusting banks do you? You do see main stree living more frugally and teaming up in households.

The OWS was not lost on the Millenial Generation. The game isn't over.

C Boy   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 1:45am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 49

bg says

don't think the police were colluding with bankers. THe police that I saw were
doing their jobs.

“The Midtown Manhattan Security Initiative will add additional cameras and license plate readers installed at key locations between 30th and 60th Streets from river to river. It will also identify additional private organizations who will work alongside NYPD personnel in the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, where corporate and other security representatives from Lower Manhattan have been co-located with police since June 2009. The Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center is the central hub for both initiatives, where all the collected data are analyzed.”

Press Release from Mayor Bloomberg and Police Comissioner Kelly
October 4, 2009

Philistine   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 1:49am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 50

CaptainShuddup says

And the thought detention on the freedom of speech

You overlook that your beloved Bush made the largest strides in that department with his Patriot Act and Homeland Security nonsense. If you conservatives weren't so damned obsessed with Us versus Them, maybe you'd see who We are.

Obama is not having a love fest. The only one obsessed here seems to be you, the way you invoke him for everything under the sun. Myopic ignorance of recent history.

I find it ironic that a Boomer wantsta bitch and moan about OWS, but forgets about the sell-out Flower Power hippie "protesters" that had their peyote beans and Canned Heat records and were happy to move on in the '80s and buy Bimmers and gated homes and engage in one of the most egregious credit swindles of the 20th century.

Mr Happygoluckofus   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 2:03am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 51

Philistine says

You overlook that your beloved Bush made the largest strides in that department with his Patriot Act and Homeland Security nonsense.

Yes and when it failed to protect us,(see Boston TERRORISTS) of course it wasn't no fault of the Homeland Security and the Patriot act, this administration is looking for more ways to rob freedoms from its Citizens to mask their own ineptitude. They Fucked up, and now WE have to pay. But make no mistake, as long as they wont admit when or where they dropped the ball, then Terrorist will continue to strike with "Nothing but Net" while we are on the pavement with Obama's boot to our necks.

thunderlips11   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 3:08am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 52

Excellent piece that explains much better the point I am trying to make about OWS messaging and the problem of the "activismists".


One of the most frustrating things about being on the left is the profound number of clowns who situate themselves beside me. We’ve got generational warfare clowns. We’ve got New Age gibberish clowns. We’ve got conspiracy theory clowns. We’ve got clowns that smash storefronts in costumes, terrifying and alienating the public. And of course, we’ve got hippie drum circle clowns.

I call these, and others, clowns because they’re behavior seems primarily aimed at personal performance and tends to be accompanied by self-marginalizing lifestyles and costumes. While they seem to retain a broad thematic interest in left goals and can even occasionally explain them to you, their actions are more about personal lifestyles than about any principled interest in success.

This is especially true among the often-ridiculed, privileged, college student radicals. You know the type: the white kid going to an expensive private school on their parents’ dime, just wanting to learn how to lead The Good Life. These individuals are not generally interested in the kind of boring, long, and often unsuccessful work of running campaigns and winning. They are interested in their own personal purity, ridding themselves of the toxicity of living wrongly, oppressively, with unchecked privilege, and so on.

That is, the concern is inward towards themselves and their own “souls” if you will, not outwards towards others who are suffering. While I think this tendency exists broadly in the student left or in circles of immense material privilege, perhaps it is best found in the wheels-off concept of allyship.

In theory, allyship refers to those with privileged identities being deferential to and supportive of those with oppressed identities without telling them what to do. In these privileged student circles however, allyship is a competitive social justice sport where people try to rack up what I would call ally points. Allies buzz around learning how to be the best ally, chiming in about this or that privilege, this or that erasure, this or that marginalization. Self-appointed allies do this stuff never, it seems, to actually push things forward in meaningful ways, but generally just to salve their own discomfort, and purify themselves of badness.

People interested in purity leftism are ultimately selfish. When purity leftists do actions and organizing, their interest is not in reducing oppression as much as it is in reducing their own participation in it. Above all else, they want to be able to say that they are not oppressing, not that oppression has ended.


http://mattbruenig.com/2012/05/10/purity-leftism/

msilenus   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 3:55am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 53

OWS did not fail. Liberals think that we live in some magical fairy land of instant radical political gratification. Political reality shifts so slowly in this country that most liberals cannot even perceive what actual victory feels like. In some ways OWS was more successful than the TEA movement.

OWS was successful in precipitating a shift in popular perspective. Prior to OWS, all economic discourse centered around GDP growth. Today, disparity is routinely also discussed. OWS did nothing less than open up a new dimension in how we perceive the economy. The winning Presidential candidate in 2012 made wealth disparity ("strengthening the middle class") a major issue of his campaign. Creating a notion that wealth disparity is a thing that government should be worried about is a huge ideological coup for a country like this.

Furthermore, OWS did nothing more than that. That is a virtue. Contrast that with TEAism, which attempts to coopt and extort the GOP into adopting its agenda by running radicals in primary elections. Without TEAism, there is simply no way the Democrats could possibly have held the Senate for the last four years. Karl Rove just founded an organization to combat the threat TEA poses to the GOP's Senate aspirations through open and organized infighting. Perhaps even more significantly: with real power has come real scrutiny on their batshit extremist ideology. If Mitt Romney hadn't been forced to cover himself in that stinking taint during the Republican primary, he might be President today.

The wheels of politics turn slowly, but wealth disparity is a serious issue in national politics today, and OWS did nothing to sabotage its chances of leading to real policy changes. The only sense in which the movement was a failure is a simple artifact of the fact that liberals don't have the good sense to know when they're winning. Or, at least, not yet losing. See also: pretty much all liberal critiques of Barack Obama's first term.

Mr Happygoluckofus   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 4:20am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 54

msilenus says

Today, disparity is routinely also discussed.

Yeah that fucking Grandma collecting a $300 social security check to pay $1800 worth of bills, became the problem thanks to that narrative, that America's richest Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Mayor Bloomberg, directing the eye daggers from them selves to those who have it easier than the OWS participant who just got a Bachelor degree in Liberal Arts, and now demands to make as much money as someone in their prime with a lifetime of experience to guide them.

This was also the undoing of the Unions, so congradufuckinglations, for picking the worlds worse petty fight to pick. Now everyone wants to know what's in your wallet.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg, Gates, and Buffet, wealth quadrupled since Obama came in office. Welp gotta get back to my barricade, I've got OWS rabble at my door wanting to set me ablaze because I still have enough money in the bank to pay this months bills.

Ceffer   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 5:07am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 55

Best ways to get laid: Rock Star, Drug Dealer, Religious Leader, Politician, Pimp, Commune Leader, Revolutionary or some combo of the above.

Charlie Manson and his celebrity mass kill provided a nice social enema that at least ended the pretense of utopian sociopathy of the 60's.

Wall Street is now just a self cluster fucking nebula of computer information, ridden by a handfull of insecure money herders. How do you occupy that?

APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 5:10am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (5)   Dislike     Comment 56

OWS failed because they had no plan to cook the banksters.

Here's the deal that would have worked:

Grab the fuckers.

Inject them with 10 Lbs of MSG to tenderize the meat.

Tie hands and feet back and throw on grill.

Stick fingers in your ears to cover up the shrieks of agony - or just sing along!

Dress with salt and pepper to taste.

David Losh   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 12:51pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 57

Occupy Wall Street was an extension of protests in Spain.

The problem here, in the United States, is that we weren't as cluster fucked as Europe, now China, Mexico, and South America.

We have bankruptcy, and foreclosure rights the other countries don't have. We don't have the same level of desperation.

You're right to point out the drum circle aspects of that movement here, it was more militant in Europe.

Let me also point out that the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s went nowhere until the Black Panther Party had an armed resistance, and the Chicago Seven gave a voice to what the black community wanted, they wanted power, and they got it.

Revolution takes armed resistance. Our country was founded on that set of principles.

upisdown   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 1:29pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 58

David Losh says

The problem here, in the United States, is that we weren't as cluster fucked
as Europe, now China, Mexico, and South America.

You're killing me. We had protests by morons that carried signs that said "keep your government hands off of my social security". And those idiots were funded by billionaires, yes that's with a B, to shuttle around those morons like rock stars on rock star-type of buses.
OWs was a poorly thought out cry for attention by young and unskilled people that thought if you scream louder and more often, you'll get the results that you want, like a crying baby. It's funny but both of the above did the exact same thing, and the people associated with either group despise the other. Yet, they both tried the same tactics, with the same useless and predictable outcome.

Dumb and dumber comes to mind when I think of those 2 gropus of idiots.

thunderlips11   befriend   ignore   Thu, 2 May 2013, 2:31am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 59

I loathe the Tea Party and OWS equally.

For me, Anonymous is my preferred group. Instead of complaining about government spending while getting medicaid to pay for their motorized wheelchair so they can zoom back into Sizzler and eat all the mashed potatoes, making their diabetes worse, or complaining about teh evil Patriarchy and the necessity for everybody to eat uncooked vegetables, Anonymous actually fights the Power.

Everybody needs a Low Orbit Ion Cannon.

Dan8267   befriend   ignore   Thu, 2 May 2013, 5:39am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 60

thunderlips11 says

I loathe the Tea Party and OWS equally.

But for different reasons. The Tea Party is organized and has an agenda, but it's evil. OWS has no goals, no organization, and no criteria for success. Sure, they "believe" in decentralized movements, but not a single one of them understands how distributed algorithms work.

thunderlips11 says

Anonymous actually fights the Power.

Defacing web sites may be a minor nuance and embarrassment, but they hardly motivate change. Denial of service attacks will disrupt business for a short period of time, but any major company will be back online shortly. The loss of revenue will be minimal, especially if purchases are only delayed instead of canceled.

Anonymous's biggest accomplishment was the one time it copied corporate email and released it causing the asshole Aaron Barr to resign as the corporation HBGary Federal was investigated for all its malfeasance. This is good, pretty much the same thing that Wikileaks does except for getting the data itself rather than relying on whistle-blowers, but that's only one instance and HBGary Federal is still in business. So other than ruining one asshole's career -- for which I am grateful -- what has that hacking instance accomplished?

Now if Anonymous could break into real government records, find evidence of illegal or unethical activity, and release it to Wikileaks, that would be much more useful. I'd love to see Anonymous find evidence of prosecutorial misconduct in the Central Park Five jogger rape case. There certainly is plenty of evidence to be found of misconduct before, during, and after the trial.

Automan Empire   befriend   ignore   Thu, 2 May 2013, 8:39am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 61

I've long self-identified as "Hippie, the rare capitalist variant." Therefore, I have been involved with various left-flavored movements and causes through my adult life and seen firsthand how they work.

One of the biggest differences between right and left, disaffected people who feel drawn toward the tea party OR the OWS movement, is this.
Conservatives by definition have a top-down, authoritarian structure, and they do NOT welcome dissent and different opinions. They form group structures which, through selected homogeny, can become strongly united and therefore powerful behind a given cause or mindset. They are great to be involved with, PROVIDED you agree with the dominant consensus reality.
"Liberals" (a term cheapened unto meaninglessness by sloppy misuse like overprinted unbacked currency) on the other hand, often value diversity of opinion SO MUCH that they are unwilling to take action to deal with even obvious crackpots and provacateurs. "Herding cats" is too kind of a description of what it is like trying to keep even a small group of widely varied people with differing, sometimes competing agendas, focused on presenting a uniform, coherent message to the public at large.
There is a time and place to paint your body and skip nearly naked with a flute, or possibly even to shit on a flag, but FFS, SOMEONE needed to tell those people to take it somewhere else when reporters were showing the world the OWS demonstrations, IF they (individually and collectively) had any motivation to win others to the cause.
I agree that the OWS movement was not wasted entirely; some of its memes live on and have gained traction in the mind of main street America. Thanks to the loons and crackpots getting so much attention in the MSM, the only way forward for the movement is to reinvent itself as something newer and better. There are legions of Americans who would benefit greatly from the reforms sought by the original OWS movement; however, if you say "Occupy Wall Street" to them, they tune out and reject you by the second syllable.

Rin   befriend   ignore   Thu, 2 May 2013, 12:16pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 62

thunderlips11 says

‘The Quit India Movement of Gandhi practically died out long before 1947 and there was nothing in the Indian situation at that time, which made it necessary for the British to leave India in a hurry. Why then did they do so?’ In reply Attlee cited several reasons, the most important of which were the INA activities of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, which weakened the very foundation of the British Empire in India, and the RIN Mutiny which made the British realize that the Indian armed forces could no longer be trusted to prop up the British.

who would I have guessed that my forum moniker, RIN, would be a part of history :-)

David Losh   befriend   ignore   Thu, 2 May 2013, 2:30pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 63

upisdown says

You're killing me.

You're ignorant.

Dan8267 says

The Tea Party is organized and has an agenda,

Really? Disrupting Congress is an agenda?

Automan Empire says

"Hippie, the rare capitalist variant."

and finally the Hippie reference.

Occupy Wall Street had one message of the 99%. That's it.

Wealth and power was Europe. Old money holding public court, holding all the cards, all the time, for centuries, thousands of years.

Now they have tenuous holdings, more body guards, fewer people paying the mortgages, bad stocks, very bad stocks, and a false set of economies.

Here we had one message of the 99% that are The People. It helped get an African American elected President of the United States of America. We have pot shops on a lot of corners, we have gay marriage, gay rights, a powerful African American Community. It's all because we are the 99%.

End of the war in Iraq, Afghanistan?

and the tea party brought us grid lock in Congress. Give me a frigging break.