Monday, December 28, 2015

What happened to Occupy Wall Street

" Instead of welcoming other progressive forces and actually co-opting them, purists shamed 'liberals,' cultivated a radical macho culture more focused on big speeches at assemblies and arrests in the streets than the hard organizing behind the scenes, and turned Occupy into a fringe identity that only a few people could really claim to the exclusion of the hundreds of thousands who actually made it real.
Occupy Wall Street created a new discourse, brought thousands of people into the movement, shifted the landscape of the left, and even facilitated concrete victories for working people. But at the same time, a substantial chunk of its leadership was allergic to power. And we made a politic of that. We fetishized it, wrote articles and books about it, scorned the public with it. Worst of all, we used it as a cudgel with which to bludgeon each other.
Sure, the cops came for us — we invited them, after all. But we were the problem: When the state tugged hard enough, we tore at the seams."

 This is a look back, mostly, on what went wrong with the Occupy movement.  The main point seems to be that leadership was discounted or scorned, or even discounted itself, which then led many people to believe that the movement had no rudder, so they left.

"Our ego battles are a natural product of a movement that doesn’t have a clear answer for how leadership is to be appreciated and held accountable at the same time."

   I've been a protest organizer.  I've also been to many protests from different movements, including Occupy.  The author's whining about how leaders couldn't or wouldn't be leaders.  This to me is false.  The difference in these type movements is that leadership is a role, it's not a position of power.  It's a slot where hopefully the right person is performing useful organizing actions.  So long as that person does not claim any power thus provided as some sort of right, and so long as they are doing their role well, there should be no problem.  The problem is, like Anonymous people would say, "leader-fagging."  If the power of a leadership position gets to the person's head, then it's time to switch people.  Of course, this never goes smoothly... ego is such a terrible thing.

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