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December 12, 2012

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That was a very well written article. The Occupy movement was (is?) interesting to me because it seemed to rally a number of people around under-appreciated but real problems. Things like completely out of control student loan debt. Things like the assumption that just because you aren't working you must not want to work. Things like capitalism being captured by cronyism. Things like the drug war having a greater toll than its alleged benefits.

But, but, but, it was too....something.... to deal with those things effectively. Too incoherent? Too scattered? Too outgunned? Maybe all of that.

The thing I think it tried to do is point out that something had changed from the world of the baby boomers. The boomers came to adulthood in what may turn out to have been a golden age period. But they don't see that as luck. They see that as their own virtue. Some of the institutions and habits of that era are still useful, but maybe some of them aren't. I think the Occupy movement tried to wrestle with some of that. And with or without the Occupy movement, there is still plenty of that to be wrestled with.

I think its just too hard for people to camp out for long periods of time. I do not think the occupy movement is dead at all. I think it just moved in doors.

About the boomers and the goldne age--you are right. "Born at the right time' like the song says. I am a boomer and I completely recognize that life is much harder for he people youger than me. their choices are much more limited. And the REpubicans are doing everythig they can to make the choices ewven worse. That's part of why I don;tthink the occupy movement done; I am not the only person who is disgusted, really disgusted, by the Republican party.

The Occupy movement was (is?) interesting to me because it seemed to rally a number of people around under-appreciated but real problems.

Agreed.

The boomers came to adulthood in what may turn out to have been a golden age period.

I think that is absolutely right.

But they don't see that as luck. They see that as their own virtue.

Not always. Not all of us, or even many or most of us.

The "boomers" are the folks born between 1946 and 1964. The earliest part of that cohort came of age in the summer of love. The latter part of that cohort came of age in Reagan's first term.

IMVHO "boomers" is so vague a term as to be almost meaningless. There is no single experience or attitude that they all have in common.

FWIW.

My take on Occupy is as follows:

They accomplished some really remarkable, amazing things. Coming from a purely bootstrap level, they sustained a fairly coherent voice of protest, for a fairly long time.

Phenomena like Occupy are normally ephemeral, and I imagine that Occupy will also be ephemeral.

But the concept of the 99% is in the lexicon now, and they made that happen. And, they made it happen with no particular big money backing, and with no institutional support of any kind. Basically, they made it happen starting from nothing.

The Occupy phenomenon also developed and/or adopted, apparently organically, a number of techniques for grassroots governance, that may prove to be fairly robust. I have no idea what the folks involved with do with those going forward. Maybe nothing. But everyone involved will have had the experience of getting some hundreds of more or less random individuals more or less organized and coordinated toward some basic common goals.

Starting from basically nothing, they pulled off a a project of hundreds to thousands of people occupying public spaces, in a number of cites across the country, and sustained that for months.

That's actually a pretty notable achievement.

I don't know what will become of Occupy as a "movement", but the people involved will take their experiences with them for the rest of their lives.

And for the rest of us, the idea of a plutocratic elite is now part of the common discourse.

Mission accomplished, IMVHO.

Here for once I must disagree with russell, who writes,

The Occupy phenomenon also developed and/or adopted, apparently organically, a number of techniques for grassroots governance, that may prove to be fairly robust.

Quinn Norton's piece in Wired describes in detail the failure of Occupy's governance (the GA).

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. ...

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.

I know only what I have read, but I can easily believe this description. I know from personal experience that even in a small organization with a clear shared goal governance is difficult. I can only imagine how hard it is in a situation like Occupy faced, with a constant threat of violence both from within and without.

I heartily agree, though, with this:

And for the rest of us, the idea of a plutocratic elite is now part of the common discourse.

All to the good.

P.S., Friday the thirteenth come on a Thursday this month!

In Oakland, a few weeks later, I called my Wired editor to tell him I needed to expense a gas mask

If i were a child again, that would make me want to be a reporter.

The boomers came to adulthood in what may turn out to have been a golden age period. But they don't see that as luck. They see that as their own virtue.

I agree with russell that the first sentence is true, but the second two are a gross generalization, and even as a generalization are terribly inaccurate. I recently came across the term "Generation Jones" for the second wave of the baby boom - those born in the mid-fifties and later. To me, there seems to be some truth (generalizing again) that there are attitudinal differences between those two groups. The younger segment tends to be more cynical about institutions (government), what people think of as the Reagan youth.

Quinn Norton's piece in Wired describes in detail the failure of Occupy's governance (the GA).

I did read that.

I went to the Boston Occupy site before they shut it down. I mostly wanted to just check it out, but I also brought in some basic supplies like band-aids, aspirin, etc.

The place was pretty well run. People had their jobs, and they did them, effectively, and with an obvious sense of purpose and focus. The place was, in a nutshell, well sorted.

I don't know if Boston was run via its own GA, and I can't speak for any of the other Occupy sites. Boston was a pretty well organized and run place, while it was there.

IMO the fact that folks pulled off anything remotely like Occupy, with the minimal resources they had available to them, was (and is) fairly amazing.

Friday the thirteenth come on a Thursday this month!

Where have you gone, Walt Kelly?

A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

I think of Occupy in the sense of the Civil Rights Movement. In a sanitized retrospect, there were a few demonstrations, a few people got hurt, and then Good Won. Only the most loathesome of people opposed the Civil Rights Movement. I wonder how they could do that, when they only number a few dozen people? :)

In reality, the Civil Rights Movement started long before the Civil War, and had many, many defeats. The elites generally opposed it, the press mocked it, and the evildoers were a powerful and large group of people, who exulted in what they did.

Similarly with the Occupy Movement. The elites have always grabbed everything whenever they could, and come up with justifications as needed (e.g., neoliberalism). The MSM supports the elites, and mocks those who oppose them.

When people wonder why Occupy didn't change the world in a few months, I look at what they did, and consider it an excellent start.

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