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Colin Asher

Great post, Spence. I don't think we have any real points of disagreement here.

One small thing: The more time I spent down at Zuccotti Park, the more apparent it became to me that the meaning of the events would not be found onsite. All of the journalists scrutinizing the movements of the crowd and the statements of participants (I include myself here) were really missing the point. I tried to get at that point in the article, but I'm not sure I succeeded.

The ultimate import of the Occupy events will be decided in the broader polity. And the winner (if I can use that word) will be the group that can best wield the occupations as a political totem in service of whatever goals they are pursuing. My Hooverville analogy isn't perfect, but this is where I think it has some utility. Hoovervilles were not themselves political movements, but political movements were able to point to them as evidence that capitalism was failing. Whether a particular camp was well organized or dysfunctional hardly mattered (except to the people living there, of course).

If I'm right about that...the 'hijacking' of Zuccotti park hardly matters. I find the RCP folks to be personally distasteful, but they, like me while I was down there, were probably coming at the this thing the wrong way. If they get twenty converts out of their efforts that will hardly matter in the final reckoning.


2 points. First, I find this ongoing question of OWS goals and demands to be either intentionally obtuse or utterly tin-eared. The message is clear - almost everybody in the country has first hand experience with economic injustice. We can feel the inequality, we understand the message clearly, we don't need 'bumper stickers'. We're living in the nightmare.

But what about DEMANDS? That's the other point. Why make demands - inherent in the protests themselves is the point that we're powerless - that we've lost faith in our ability to change things through the ballot box, that the political system and the economic system have been corrupted and co-opted to serve only the wealthy and powerful, and then have been hardened to prevent the unwashed masses from trying to restore justice or balance. Until government is willing to take the (acknowledgedly large) political risk of challenging the toxic status quo, demands or proposed solutions would be pointless. At this point it's enough to make people everywhere think about their experience over the last couple decades, and their perception of the system of governance and it's availability to them, and arrive at some profound conclusions on their own...


another great Spencer liked to say "If you don't stand up for something, you'll fall for anything."

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