What’s Next For Occupy?

Day 14 Occupy Wall Street September 30 2011 Shankbone 49Erik Eckholm ponders the future of the Occupy movement, writing at the New York Times:

The ragtag Occupy Wall Street encampments that sprang up in scores of cities last fall, thrusting “We are the 99 percent” into the vernacular, have largely been dismantled, with a new wave of crackdowns and evictions in the past week. Since the violent clashes last month in Oakland, Calif., headlines about Occupy have dwindled, too.

Far from dissipating, groups around the country say they are preparing for a new phase of larger marches and strikes this spring that they hope will rebuild momentum and cast an even brighter glare on inequality and corporate greed. But this transition is filled with potential pitfalls and uncertainties: without the visible camps or clear goals, can Occupy become a lasting force for change? Will disruptive protests do more to galvanize or alienate the public?

Though still loosely organized, the movement is putting down roots in many cities. Activists in Chicago and Des Moines have rented offices, a significant change for groups accustomed to holding open-air assemblies or huddling in tents in bad weather.

On any night in New York City, which remains a hub of the movement, a dozen working groups on issues like “food justice” and “arts and culture” meet in a Wall Street atrium, and “general assemblies” have formed in 14 neighborhoods. Around the country, small demonstrations — often focused on banks and ending foreclosure evictions — take place almost daily…

[continues at the New York Times]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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32 Comments on "What’s Next For Occupy?"

  1. Hadrian999 | Feb 12, 2012 at 5:38 pm |

    i say spread out, create teaching teams and send them out to smaller cities, have them teach their tactics and lessons learned to create occupy groups, imagine coordinated occupy groups in every city with a pop. over 50k

    • Anarchy Pony | Feb 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm |

      As long as they have the fortitude to maintain it in the face of violent police repression. 

      • Hadrian999 | Feb 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm |

        that’s the whole point, gives a broader target for the police/feds makes it harder for the feds to control the cops, smaller cities cops probably won’t be as well trained and can probably be baited breaking on the law on camera. the first step in a larger uprising is to damage the legitimacy of the government

        • I had no idea you studied your Guevara so closely.

          • Hadrian999 | Feb 12, 2012 at 8:06 pm |

            “Guerrilla warfare” is a must read for everyone- I’m totally on an NSA watch list now aren’t I

          • Anarchy Pony | Feb 12, 2012 at 10:00 pm |

            I’m sure you’re on various lists of a long list of state and federal acronyms.

            Is that as hard to read as I think it is? It sounded good when I thought it out, but now I wonder if it is a little convoluted.

          • It makes perfect sense.

        • What legitimacy?

          Step one was done for us. Check.

          • Hadrian999 | Feb 13, 2012 at 1:11 am |

            not really, as long as a majority of people believe that the US is a democracy it hasn’t been achieved

    • Hellfire7885 | Feb 13, 2012 at 4:59 am |

      If I might add something.

      Deal with the people giving the mocvement a bad name. Kick them the fuck out.

      • Hadrian999 | Feb 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm |

        but how do you do that, the undisciplined amorphous nature of occupy doesn’t really lend itself to being able to purge unwanted elements

  2. Mr Willow | Feb 12, 2012 at 7:13 pm |

    I still say organising a nation-wide boycott of the polls come November is one of the better moves to make. 

    The current authority is the prevailing problem, as it represents only the aristocracy of Corporate America, rather than the needs of the citizenry as a whole. It has made itself illegitimate through its collusion with private enterprise, rather than its concern for public affairs. A refusal to participate in a system that has proven itself to be wanting or inadequate in its concern for the public good is a statement of the recognition of that fact. 

    In the meantime, I agree with Hadrian. Move out of the major cities—without leaving them entirely—and begin organising in smaller towns and rural areas. The more dispersed the movement is, the more difficult it will be to stymie or control.

    • Hadrian999 | Feb 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm |

      I have had that idea, you would have to have it be big though, and it would have to cut across racial and class lines or the power folks could spin it into anti American commie/hippie/whatever.
      it would be a thing of beauty if you could turn it into a vote of no confidence on the whole damn system

      • Mr Willow | Feb 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

        Which is why spreading out makes it more feasible. 

        The demonstrations and marches in the cities have been great, but outside of them most people are still on the fence concerning the message or purpose of the Occupy movement, mostly because they still rely on the private news media to keep informed—which, as has been shown, has a tendency to distort messages to their own ends, and have used the inherently horizontal organisation of the movement against them; purposely confusing the public that don’t live in the cities where the encampments were or the marches are taking place, so they have no real reference for what to think outside a presentation designed to mock, discredit, and vilify the movement itself, as well as those participating in it, making it very difficult to educate the public about the actual stances of the Occupiers, because those that shared those stances before Occupy ever formed are already one the same page with them, as it were. 

        Everybody else, however, has been conditioned to think that anything outside of ‘official sources’, most of all information coming directly out of Occupy encampments, is some sort of commie/hippy/whatever propaganda. This is the biggest barrier, but one that needs to fall. Education of the public is a top priority if anything remotely positive is to get done, otherwise the cycle of elections will continue, with the public becoming ever angrier after each one, because things won’t improve until you attack the power structure, which is Corporate America controlling the legislative process.

    • axisofinfinity | Feb 13, 2012 at 11:19 pm |

      the problem i then those that agree with the ruling elite will have all the votes directly instead of directly indirectly as it is now.

      • Mr Willow | Feb 13, 2012 at 11:49 pm |

        It doesn’t matter who gets the votes because the vast majority of the people we vote for are owned by the same handful of plutocrats, so the ruling elite will get what they want anyway; and even if somebody who genuinely cares for the needs of the public gets elected, everyone around them will impede their every action—so nothing positive will be accomplished—if they aren’t simply killed. 

        The system needs to be brought to a screeching halt in order to assess which parts of it need to be changed, replaced, and/or discarded, and an utter refusal to participate in the system—or a nationwide vote of no confidence—is one of the only ways (that I can think of) to do that without bloodshed. 

        • This is why the slender thread of hope in my heart constantly suggests a return to the agitation of the late fifties and late sixties. The DNC and formal political structure must be ‘upheaved’…invaded and redirected from within. Only an firm ideological shift in the parties inner workings…by uncompromising individuals…will effect any change. It did work once…and much what it accomplished has taken decades for plutocrats to undo…and if it worked once…perhaps its time to work that mojo a second time for a new era. (I entertain no illusions about it being easy, or lasting forever…but the time is right to make that pendulum swing our way for once…and lay some groundwork to undo the last 30 years of neo con mania and the harm its wreaked.)

          • Eric_D_Read | Feb 14, 2012 at 10:03 am |

            What did the agitation of the 50s and 60s really accomplish though? Civil rights for minorities and women’s place in corporate America are the only lasting changes; and they were never contrary to the interests of the oligarchs and technocrats. Quite the opposite, actually.

            Everything else that they fought for was crushed so completely that the 60s radicals turned into 80s yuppies and Reagan Democrats. I can’t think of a political or cultural movement that was more thoroughly crushed.

          • Eric_D_Read | Feb 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm |

            Turn on, tune in, cash out.

          • My point exactly. What good was done…has been undone…although theres a bit more that was accomplished than meets the eye. The later years of the Warren court laid down most of what we regard as ‘rights’ being lost today…(ie: Miranda, anti-search and seizure, the degree of due process). Not to mention we can’t lightly dismiss civil rights as a minor change. Aside from the obvious gains for black Americans, there were leaps forward for Native Americans and all other people of non-Caucasian ancestry. The groundwork for all gay rights really began in the late 60s and early 70s…post Stonewall and post Chicago in 68 (the riots as activists protested the stolid DNC regulars ignoring calls for action).

            Chicago in 68 was a game changer that forced the party to the left…and a lot of new blood entered the system in a short period of time…in part, this gave us massive changes in the role of government (compromises that helped create the EPA and enhanced workers rights and labor laws)…much of which was for the better (and admittedly some for the worse…but not every new idea works out great.)

            So the end point is that I still think we need a forcible hijacking of the existing party…a rebirth with a lot of new faces who still have strong ideals. If they won’t let a third party have a voice…just STEAL their party out from under them and boot their corrupt asses to the curb. The fun part is when they try to cheat and weasel their way out of having to follow the rules they routinely use against us…when their own organizations are suddenly flooded with people who want them unseated and replaced with decent folks who haven’t yet been bought (and know that getting bought will quickly get them booted) 🙂

            These pendulums swing back and forth…so some decades see regression…others progress…but one thing remains true…its easier to coopt existing structures than it is to craft all new ones…and besides…I like the irony of shitcanning the DNC old schoolers from their own party and leaving them out in the cold. Maybe its a dream…but its worth making real just for that alone.

            (PS: I should add that half the reason the GOP is so violently racist in nature…is that a hefty portion of Southern democrats fled the party and became Republicans after the DNC moved to the left. This tells us that the changes were quite real and serious. That kind of radical change is needed now…force the pseudo Dems out and make them be the conservatives they actually are. Fuck em…they’re nothing but deadweight anyway.)

          • Jin The Ninja | Feb 14, 2012 at 10:30 am |

            perhaps because i was born post-regan/thatcher/mulroney
            and have witnessed the decline first hand of our democratic-socialist mainstream party (NDP) , i cannot give myself to the belief in reform. Although your argument is very logical and well-written, and perhaps if i was inclined towards a more positive worldview of federalism and representative politics, i’d agree with you more strongly.

          • Mr Willow | Feb 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm |

            If you’re trying to reform the system—concerning which I tend to share Jin’s opinion, but for the sake of discussion—then I would argue more toward the establishment of a very strong third party. (or even a fourth or fifth)

            The DNC, for all intents and purposes, is in lot with the GOP, grovelling at the feet of their campaign financiers, so whatever cynical eye I have for representative politics in general, I cast an even more austere gaze at the prospect of seizing control of the Democratic party. 

            Like you, I entertain no illusions it will be easy. The public have been conditioned to treat any third party as little more than a curiosity—even in the case of the Independents—and, as was the case with the TParty, there is always the chance of it being coöpted and absorbed by one of the wings of our current establishment. 

            But that could be the new party’s platform—that the current two parties are not all that different from one another, and our politics for the past couple decades could be equated with a juggler, tossing a ball between two hands.

            “For a real choice, vote [insert party name]!”

            Still, I would rather see a complete shutdown and restructure, not just the addition of another choice at a restaurant buffet.

      • Hadrian999 | Feb 14, 2012 at 12:09 am |

         in the current model you have to be in someones pocket to run in a national election, every person you could possibly vote for has been bought, support of any kind for the system is nothing less than support for the ruling elite. If we had a system of proportional representation instead of a winner take all system there might be an argument for taking part in the system but in the 2 party system there is no reason.

  3. Ceausescu | Feb 13, 2012 at 12:57 am |

    This article is a fraud. It’s pure manipulation and it’s anti-change / anti occupy-movement, and if you don’t see this, you’re probably majestic.

    “this transition is filled with potential pitfalls and uncertainties” 

    What pitfalls and uncertainties ? People are trying to revolt and they get put down violently. What’s uncertain ? Whether they’re gonna be put down ? Or whether they’re gonna continue to revolt ?

    “Will disruptive protests do more to galvanize or alienate the public?”

    Are we talking about the zombie public who deeply sleeps and eats all the propaganda from mainstream medias ? All the consumers ? Will they galvanize to reality or….aliens ?

    “Though President Obama has not publicly embraced the Occupy movement,
    its fingerprints are evident in his increased focus on economic
    fairness. ”

    HAHAHAHAHA ! ™Obama™ focusing on economic fairness. You know, I’m not actually laughing…I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore !

    “A danger for a movement like this, driven by a committed core group with strong views, is political marginalization, said Todd Gitlin,
    an expert on social movements at Columbia University. Mr. Gitlin, whose
    book “Occupy Nation” will be published electronically by HarperCollins
    in April, said, “You can be big but still isolated,” which he said was
    what happened to the radical antiwar movement he joined in the 1960s.”

    Finally, something interesting.
    For the zombies, it’s useless, for they have digested too much shit. The precious information just mixes with the shit; like a cocktail, if you like to visualize colorfully.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m paranoid. If so, clearly aliens !

    • Tuna Ghost | Feb 13, 2012 at 2:54 am |

      What pitfalls and uncertainties ? People are trying to revolt and they get put down violently. 

      They’re not revolting.  They’re protesting.  There’s a difference, and not all the protests were put down violently.  And the ones that were drew a lot of media attention.  The future of the movement is almost nothing but ways to fail and uncertainty.  That goes for any extended protest and movement to create change within a society.  Its not easy, and its not always successful.

      Are we talking about the zombie public who deeply sleeps and eats all the propaganda from mainstream medias ? 

      That’s a glib and not very helpful view of the public.  For instance, Ron Paul has been consistently ignored in the mainstream media, but that hasn’t stopped him from being relatively successful in the GOP race.  It’s because people, more and more often, are getting their news from alternative sources.  This has been a huge help to the Occupy Movement, and it quite correctly is focusing on these alternative sources precisely because the mainstream news isn’t to be trusted.  

      HAHAHAHAHA ! ™Obama™ focusing on economic fairness. You know, I’m not actually laughing…I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore !

      …but recently, Obama has been mentioning a commitment to economic fairness.  Whether or not he’s serious, or if his view of fairness is acceptable to the Occupy movement, is at this point irrelevant.  Its election season, and Obama is talking about economic disparity because he thinks that’s what a large part of his base is concerned with.  The Occupy Movement had a lot to do with that.  A couple months ago, when I wrote http://disinfo.com/2011/12/everyone-wants-to-know-where-does-the-occupy-movement-go-from-here/
      that article, which gathered opinions from people like Michael Moore and writers at the Huffington Post and other news outlets.  The general consensus of the articles I read in research seemed to be that the Occupy Movement needs to get political in order to start creating real change.  Some posters disagreed, thinking that to even engage the system in an attempt to make it better was a waste of time–better to reject it outright, alternative currency, anarchistic direct democracy, etc.  But there nevertheless remains within the Occupy Movement a strong desire to engage with the political system.

  4. All the occupy movement is doing is bringing the problem into the light of day.  That does nothing if the ones in power don’t care if they are in the light or not.  They don’t care because there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it peacefully.  They can pay men to pepper spray the masses, they can and they have and will do so in the future.  They would have no problem paying them to spray the crowds with bullets, and they can get away with it.  blame it on one bad cop no dognut and we start back at square one.  Only difference is that you know you may get shot and nothing will happen.  They know they can shoot you.

    Peace is all well and good if both sides recognize it and are willing to make changes. If only the oppressed side is willing to talk it won’t matter.  Talk all you want the bullies are going to snuff you out and that is their plan in the first place.  Talking just bides them time to organize to spray you.

    I salute the protesters but the game is over in that arena.

    • axisofinfinity | Feb 13, 2012 at 11:24 pm |

      Yeah that’s the power the government’s got. If we’re peaceful they can do anything. If were violent they’ll DO everything. There seems to be no way…

  5. With enough money I can pay half of the citizens to kill the other half.   Don’t know where that quote came from bit it is not mine. 

  6. More rapes and murders!

    (according to Andrew Breitbart)

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