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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day May Day, our Movement is Dying

So today is May Day, which means supporters of the Occupy movement were to, in essence, disengage from our capitalist overlords (ie., skip work, skip shopping, etc.).


Hopefully I'm preaching to the choir at this point, but for those of you who still may be holding out hope that this movement goes anywhere, you need only consider what they are asking for to see how completely hopeless a cause it is.

So far, in New York, the origin of the major part of the movement there has been sparse activity.  Yeah, go ahead and blame in on the rain, but just remember Milli Vanilli faked it too.

And let's discuss what OWS thinks this strike of workers will do vs. what it actually will do.  OWS, first of all, doesn't think anything since it is anarchist by nature with no leadership or spokesperson (indeed if the media is to believed, there is fear that the Democratic Party will step into that vacuum).  What actually will happen is people will not want to risk getting fired or reprimanded (which incidentally would only hurt the 99% in the long-run) so that this "mass" strike will not be of any significance.   As for putting an end to shopping for a day, well the same concept was tried with gasoline - people protested gas prices and there was a call for a national 'don't buy gas' day.   I bet you can guess how that turned out.   Yeah, people still bought gas.

At the end of the day, OWS has all these ways of demonstrating, all these instruments, that they try to inflict on the system, but they don't know what they want the end result to be.   So it all comes off as half-assed and half-thought-through.    So, OWS supporters, go ahead and tie yourself to a bank blocking other 99%ers entry, or pretend to stop shopping only to go back and buy double tomorrow, or call off work putting you and your family at risk.

Until you grow up and grow a head, all of your methods will be for naught and to the detriment of real change.   Because the one thing OWS is really good at is annoying the hell out of or confusing the hell out of the 99% of the 99% that think OWS is nonsense.

So you say, but Garth, what would you have done differently.
Well that's another topic but I'll summarize with two points:

1.  Shrug off the anarchist roots and embrace capitalism - but a reformed capitalism (that isn't corporatism)
2.  Focus your message with a leadership team that is less about income distribution and more at the core of changing our system - our screwed up politics.   So, rather than 99% vs. 1%, the message should be about the hazards of our existing two party system and how it interacts with the 1%.   After all, you can't affect tax policy and redistribution issues easily until you correct the political machine that sets those policies.  And, I think one would find much broader consensus on the nature of our politics than on the nature of our income distribution.


Dan Kervick said...

I don't even know what "capitalism" is anymore. I agree they should throw off the anarchist silliness. But "embracing capitalism" seems just as silly.

Garth A Brazelton said...

if you haven't read Ha-Joon Chang's "23 Things They Don't Tell you About Capitalism," you should. It defines what capitalism is, should be, and that for all its faults, it's still the best economic system we have available.

Garth A Brazelton said...

That said, I think even Mr. Chang has a fanciful and overly idealistic view of OWS. He talks about what the movement 'should be' about but he ignores what it has become or was in the first place.

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