A Eulogy for #Occupy

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Anonymous, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Anonymous Member

    The Rise and Fall of the General Assembly

    The Occupy GA was a consensus committee lifted from the Spanish protests against EU austerity measures in the summer of 2011. It was the organizing principle of Occupy.

    The GA was the constitution, crown, and divine right of Occupy. All authority flowed from the process, but it was more than this. Something that, in a matter of months, was baked into the social order. The GA built things, managed money, let people who society had long been kept apart speak to and listen to each other.

    The GA process also became part of everyday life: the queue, called “stack”; the people’s mic; consensus; arguments and counter arguments; points of information; blocking. Fights and logistical problems fell into little GAs, and the GA became a way of organizing thought. Hand gestures, called twinkles in New York, let groups express their feelings in silence. All of it migrated into the culture of camp life. After a while in the camps, you put your concerns “on stack,” and you twinkled people in conversation as a phatic. At first, like so many parts of Occupy, it was a wonder to see.

    But living in parks, having to rub elbows with the people society was set up to shield from each other, began to stress people and make them twitchy from constant culture shock. Grad students trying to reason with smack addicts was torture for both sides. The GA became the main venue for this torture, and sitting through it was like watching someone sandpaper an open wound. Everyone said “Fuck the GA” as a joke, but as time wore on, the laughter was getting too long and too hoarse; a joke with blood in it. The metaphorical pain became less metaphorical with each eviction, with the gnawing feeling that something was coming.

    Because the GA had no way to reject force, over time it fell to force. Proposals won by intimidation; bullies carried the day. What began as a way to let people reform and remake themselves had no mechanism for dealing with them when they didn’t. It had no way to deal with parasites and predators. It became a diseased process, pushing out the weak and quiet it had meant to enfranchise until it finally collapsed when nothing was left but predators trying to rip out each other’s throats.

    By the time I returned to NY from visiting the camp in DC, exhausted with the pain of six evictions, the NYC GA was a place where women were threatened with beatings, and street kids with calls to the police. All the reasonable people had gotten the fuck out. It had become a gladiator pit no one enjoyed watching. Even Weev, the famous internet troll, didn’t last through the nastiness of the GA I took him to. He left while I wasn’t looking, without saying goodbye. We never spoke about it. I didn’t blame him, and I didn’t have to ask why. It was the tiny, brutal, and bitter politics of failed people.

    This is what the GA became in so many places.

    “I saw women trying to talk, trying to question where the money was going,” an occupier in San Francisco named Morgan told me, “and the meth fiends running finance would get directly in their faces (and) give them the meth glare from just inches away. People would try to pull them back, and within a minute they’d be doing it again. No one got into Occupy to get into physical conflicts with speedfreaks.”

    After pouring all his spare time and expertise into Occupy Morgan too left, defeated by the process. “I think all of us who believed in it feel the failure as part of ourselves. It was really difficult to see what it had become.”

    The idea of the GA — its process, its form, inclusiveness — failed. It had all the best chances to evolve, imprinted on the consciousness of thousands of occupiers like a second language. No idea gets a better chance than that, and it still failed.

    Fuck the GA. Bury it at a crossroads, staked through the heart, and pray it never rises again.

    A Vacancy of Voice

    It’s the job of a media to tell the truth to its society, but Occupy’s homegrown media refused to tell itself the truth about what was going wrong in the camps. That let the arbiters of truth become a few young men who figured out how to stream video from their cellphones. The livestreamers got drunk off their modicum of fame, behaving as tiny entitled prophets to the movement. Their ethics were incoherent, what they filmed was arbitrary, but they mistook randomness for truth. They had just discovered documenting events, and thousands of people flocked to see them do it. But without any traditions of narrative, they didn’t see their own commentary enter the story, how every shot and angle and word overlaid was editorial.

    There was no critique in Occupy, no accountability. At first it didn’t matter, but as life grew messy and complicated, its absence became terrible. There wasn’t even a way to conceive of critique, as if the language had no words to describe the movement’s faults to itself. There was at times explicit gagging of Occupy’s media teams by the camp GA, to prevent anything that could be used to damage the movement from reaching the wider media. Self-censorship plagued those who weren’t gagged, because everyone was afraid of retaliation. No one talked about the systemic and growing abuses in the camps, or the increasingly poisonous GAs.

    Journalist Adam Rothstein showed up on the day of the first march in Portland and was there every day until their eviction, two days before Zuccotti’s. He started off with sanitation and doing the dishes, moved to media, and eventually started their paper, the Portland Occupier, independent from the GA.

    “One of the main reasons I wanted to have the PO separate from the GA, is I wanted, from the very beginning, a means within the process for booting people out. The GA had no such process,” he said.

    His original idea was to tell positive stories from the camp. He worked with media teams from Boston, LA, Chicago, and New York, and traveled to other camps to get the stories out. In time, Rothstein came to see that Occupy’s media needed to tell all the stories of what was going on: the wonderful and the terrible. By then it was too late.

    I asked him if the movement’s media had failed it. “Yeah,” he replied:

    Not failed for lack of trying, per se. Failed for inexperience, and failed for lack of seeing just how important that role was. Failed for tactical missteps, in not making a big enough impact as media, and failed for strategic missteps, of not taking a critical enough approach.

    What we really needed was someone to speak with compassion, as occupiers, about what occupiers were doing wrong. That small blade edge was so fine, given the criticism we were getting from the corporate media, given the criticism we were getting from supposed allies on the left, and given the few tools, resources, and talent we had to work with.

    There was always more we could have done. But I don’t think anyone was really aware of how dire the situation was, and how slim our chances were of making it past what the larger media environment wanted us to be.

    “We needed Homage to Catalonia,” he told me later, referring to George Orwell’s book on being part of the failed coalition of anarchists, liberals and Communists who fought fascism in Spain in the 1930s. Instead of Orwell’s eloquent honesty, Occupy got egomaniacal live streamers.
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  2. Anonymous Member

    Nice writing. In retrospect I think that it's amazing that Occupy got off the ground at all, and I'm glad it did, however briefly. Onward.
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  3. anonymous612 Member

    tl;dr: OWS failed, no one was surprised.
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  4. fishypants Moderator

    Nicely written.

    I thought from the title and the length that it would be shit, and it really wasn't.

    update: oh, it's from quinn, I should have realised.

    update2 (having read the full article): it's worth reading. prose gets rather purple towards the end. but overall v good. I hadn't realised the camps became so horrible.
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  5. Anonymous Member

    I hope this method of protocol replaces Roberts Rules of Order.
  6. Unfortunately consensus relies on one rather foolish assumption.
    That there are no trolls within the group.
  7. Anonymous Member

    The group controls that by not repeating their words. The rants against Jews died that why.
  8. Anonymous Member

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  9. Alas poor occupy,i knew thee well.
    For it is nobler in the heart to weather the slings and arrows of outrageous methheads.
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  10. raboon Member

    Quinn is high quality.

    Flooding a group with fuckheads is the slow but sure way to collapse. Just look at the Pentagon.
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  11. Anonymous Member

    I still love the leadurr who took donations from the poor campers in the park for some communal resources fund to be shared equally and he went and stayed at a fancy hotel in NYC costing a grand a night while the others were shitting in the woods like bears and shivering in tents.
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  12. Anonymous Member

  13. anonymous612 Member

    Those hand signals. Gets me every time.

    How fucking long did they spend coming up with an alternative to fucking clapping? And how much actual protesting could they have done with that time, if they had just gone "you know what? clapping works, let's get back to work."

    Worthless. Utterly worthless. They might have actually achieved something if any of them wasn't utterly fucking incompetent. So much wasted effort...
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  14. Anonymous Member

  15. Anonymous Member

    It was a car-wreck that became a cancer to You Tube.
  16. anonymous612 Member

    indeed. what annoyed me the most was the long series of people who went "Hey, your cause is good, but your methods need work. Let me help you," and got chased off and accused of being government agents or whatever the fuck. Even when people tried to help them, they insisted on being fucktards. Unintentional idiocy because you're new to protesting or w/e is one thing, but willful, intentional idiocy is unforgivable.
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  17. Anonymous Member

    yes. and while i cannot remember their names, i vaguely remember the earliest conversations i had in this forum with the two guys that ended up running off and starting WWP v.2 with their What is the Plan site. I tried so hard to negotiate with them, and i just couldn't get through to them. Especially when it came to tempering hot tempers and calls for any form of violence as being an acceptable course of action, even destroying public property. and all of them had an angsty, i am the only one who can save the world rant they had to deliver with such heavy handed tones of self-righteousness without the life-experience to back it up, or without a truly democratically agreed upon goal to progress towards. they were lost opportunists who found a way to get some e-fame and profitability for themselves. it didn't last long, however.
    I know that you were all up in that, and I don't even know how you could stomach it.
    I was on You Tube moar during that time, and a woman who is known to make all sorts of conspiracy themed videos, and who was pro-occupy, although even she did not know exactly what it meant beyond the high emotional tide at that time. They ranted on me about how much they hated Jews, and everything wrong is to be blamed on them. Then this same woman told me that I gave thoughtful advice and asked me if I would write something for them.
    I politely declined.
  18. Anonymous Member

    also, it was people who wanted that certain rush, but don't understand the foundation it was built on.
    i said to somebody, "hell, if you are going to rip of chanology shit, at least you could have ripped off the peaceful protest instructional video.
    (and some idiot told me i must be cointelpro.)
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  19. Anonymous Member

    Oh, but an old fiend of mine who moved up to a yuppie lifestyle thought it was stylish and decided to make it a subject of her art photography. But then, she tends to romanticize things.
    I saw the ugly underneath.
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  20. Anonymous Member

    what's such a well written piece doing on this forum?
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  21. anonymous612 Member

    Lonny Harris and Lee Daiber. Or "Firstmonkey" and "Mavendetta". Or "OptimusCrabs" and "End_Fear". Depending on what moonbat website you prefer.

    Well, the Planfags had the added problem of being a giant clickfraud scam for Harris and Daiber, so there was an extra helping of dumbass there. But Occupy itself had plenty of dumbasses all on its own.

    Stage 1: recruit members.
    Stage 2: we'll tell you after stage 1!

    My secret: most of that was in the middle of particularly godawful boring late-night college courses. Planfags were a welcome diversion. It was that or solitaire.

    Yeah, that sounds familiar. When Occupy first started I went onto their main IRC and asked them (and I quote, exactly) "Okay, sell me on your cause, why should I get involved and protest with you?" And the ONLY answer I got, over and over again, from all of them, was "IF YOU HAVE TO ASK, YOU MUST BE WORKING FOR THE FBI. GTFO, FBI."

    Somewhere out there, there are specific planfags that to this day believe I'm employed by the CIA. To this day.
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  22. There is no doubt the world needs saving. But if theres one group of people I'd fear taking over more than the current regime its the occupikies and planners.
  23. Anonymous Member

    Yeah. If they had a sense of what it is they wanted to achieve, beyond cashing in raeg for a popularity contest with no aim, they could have had the potential to have some spirited and lively conversations in there about whatever they wanted. But, they were themselves power-hungry and paranoid, and they had a pretty distorted sense of reality which was beyond any calm and fair reproach.

    612, they were intimidated by your intelligence.
    i only lurked that site.
  24. Also, I can't even read AdBusters anymore.
    forget it. F.O.S.
    Wired is more honest.
  25. Mutante Member

    George Soros tried, he lied and died
    Got too close to the starry host
    Grease baby dirt trash sex appeal
    Zip fly pop I feel too real
    Kill me
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  26. It is interesting from the perspective of a social experiment.
    Outside of that, I am not sure what "Occupy" means from one person to the next.
  27. anonymous612 Member

    I know right? All that media attention, all that passion and recruiting, wasted. It's like they got a thousand people to donate food for starving children...and then they just let it sit in the back room until it spoiled and went bad. That food drive was Occupy, and the back room of wasted food was the Plan.

    Actually I think it's more they were intimidated by any anon at all. Remember, they thought they had negotiated a peace treaty because their Dear Leader had talked to one troll from AnonOps, so omg why are these anons so upset with us omg.
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  28. Hey, I'm liking that Zen koan stuff.
    You could do a reading at City Lights Bookstore in SF on weekly poetry night.
    I don't know their schedule anymore. LOL
  29. Anonymous Member

    They were rebel boys doing a lot of Magickal thinking.
    They wanted me to play with them, I did for a bit talking about some cool and interesting shit, but then the testosterone kicked in, and they kicked this girl to the curb in teenage raeg to start their own seekrit tree fort where no girls are on the internet and they can share their favorite superhero names and personal wiccan sigils that mom doesn't know about. lololol
  30. Anonymous Member

    I enjoyed lurking around WITP just for that entertainment alone.
    It was better than Twilight.
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  31. Anonymous Member

    They were ascared of you like a kid is ascared of being caught doing something naughty by their Mom.
    ( lol ) Verbally, you chased them around with a wooden spoon, smacking their asses with your sharp wit. No fucking wonder they thought you must be your own "enigma" / but they were not Thinkers.

    They weren't thinkers --independent thinkers - enough to understand that an individual can wrestle with their own morality while adventurously exploring new ideas freely, with no harsh critic stifling that natural and innocent curiosity that we all had when we loved learning. (And referring back to my initial interactions with them over the internet, I think that they were inspired or fascinated with the idea of meeting someone who would encourage them to express their individuality in a medium utilizing the mask of anonymity.
    And, also I tried to teach them, subtly so as to not sound off all their anti-establishment alarms, that along with Freedom, and we do have freedom of speech here.... That there is Responsibility that goes along with it.

    And, the paranoia is all that , "oh shit, someone must be logging my very keystrokes right this second" fears and stupidness.

    TL;DR They were dishonest.
  32. Social Engineering. ;)
  33. Anonymous Member

    The worst part that just makes my heart drop was right from the get go, they took in idealistic kids around their same age, and probably younger, lured them in with /b/ Bait, and then switched it into a con where they lied to and took the "lunch money" of the kids there, and instead of "food" the two founder Twats conspired to cash in for themselves, and even took a vacation on it, laughing at how stupid their new "Sheeple" are.
    I am telling you, 612, we have to write a new internet mythology, because this one gets filed in the
    Failure to stay in the game due to:
    I tried to warn you, bro.
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  34. grebe Member

    Firstmonkey... was he the guy with the Planet of the Apes avatar in the dome? I vaguely remember him. He would say, "Our forum is full of moonbats and sucks... but we're working on it. I've made some changes blah blah blah."

    I had a hard time understanding why someone would put so much effort into a project with no defined objectives. So I wondered if WITP was like when hobos join in with Anons protesting --you wonder, did some Scientologist just offer this street person a fiver to hang out with the Anons for a while?
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  35. Anonymous Member

    Well, it's not like anyone here would naively trust some asshat who then waltzes off with the money, server and ramen noodles never to be seen again.
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  36. anonymous612 Member

    We learned all we needed to know about WITP the day the primary moderator claimed the reason the site had problems was because his enemies were using Chaos Magick against him.

    Firstmonkey during his tenure at WITP had a compulsive hatred for WWP. He might have come to the dome, but I don't remember it. I know r3x/telemachos did, though, with roughly that conversation subject, but he had some ancient Greek avatar.

    Lol, speaking of Firstmonkey and WWP, you should have seen how furious he got when da5id showed up and invited all the non-idiots to abandon ship in favor of WWP. He bitched about that for WEEKS. WEEKS. I seem to recall people getting banned from the irc or forum just for mentioning the incident.

    My favorite part of WITP was when the anons convinced the planners to rebel against the admin team and start doxing and prankcalling their own admin staff. Something about the admin logging in to catcalls of "SO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR THREE DWIS" that just gives me warm fuzzy feelings.

    Because they artificially increased membership and advertising clicks as part of their plan to sell the site at an artificially inflated price.

    WITP had the best irc chatlogs. I wish Occupy had been a tenth that entertaining.
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  37. Anonymous Member

  38. Anonymous Member

    I called it months in advance.
    Months in advance.
  39. anon walker Moderator

    Not only was it mystifying and silly, it also was one of the elements that doomed the movement. You don't start a grass-roots movement by requiring people to learn sign language before they can participate.

    I took one look at that shit downtown here, laughed, and walked away. They alienated someone who might have at one time been tempted to contribute. I am sure I'm not the only one, so it's no surprise that it didn't appeal to mainstream America, even though their issues were very relevant to their lives.

    The GOP didn't learn (but it should have) that alienating your voters is a bad idea.
    The Catholic Church should have learned it, and hasn't.
    The NRA is feeling it these days.
    The Boy Scouts are about to hear all about it.

    You don't alienate the people who support you. It's that simple.
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  40. anon walker Moderator

    ...and the mandatory Sunday night drum circles...
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