Eliot Spitzer Declares #OWS Already Won? Not Yet. But It’s A Start.

The spectacle, energy and unpredictability are contagious. Some national media are suddenly departing from the phony narrative of Right and Center-Right politics to give glimpses of the Occupy Wall Street drama.

Twitter naturally offers a more dynamic, unfiltered stream of tactical initiatives. When Ad Busters sent the initial email now months ago calling for the Wall Street ‘culture jam’ the call was for something brave, visceral but transitory. How delightful to see that simple summons to action grow into such an organic, ad hoc celebration of the possible.

All of it independent of the compromised, exhausted corporate facades foisted upon us by now a cable company as the voice of “the Left” or “Progressives” or “non-Rightists”. Or Arianna’s cynical duping of her readers and contributors to create her personal cash out with the dying AOL. How many long for the day to be free of both?

For all of their raucous, disorganized sprawl, #OWS and its now global siblings speak without pre-packed theme music, fast-flash graphic segment intros and patronizing (insulting?) personality brand enhancing promos groomed by focus groups and Q ratings. In other words, within the #OWS multitudes it’s highly likely there are voices much like you and the Stiftung. There’s also something restorative to the soul to see and and be reminded America as she once was and could have been. #OWS greatest gift so far is tangible reminder “We are not alone”.

Occupy Wall Street has already won, perhaps not the victory most of its participants want, but a momentous victory nonetheless. It has already altered our political debate, changed the agenda, shifted the discussion in newspapers, on cable TV, and even around the water cooler. And that is wonderful.

Suddenly, the issues of equity, fairness, justice, income distribution, and accountability for the economic cataclysm–issues all but ignored for a generation—are front and center. We have moved beyond the one-dimensional conversation about how much and where to cut the deficit. Questions more central to the social fabric of our nation have returned to the heart of the political debate. By forcing this new discussion, OWS has made most of the other participants in our politics—who either didn’t want to have this conversation or weren’t able to make it happen—look pretty small.

We agree with Spitzer’s evident excitement that #OWS has become so much more than a one-day culture jamming stunt. We caution, however, that the national dialogue has not yet changed. The electrifying possibility of #OWS – and its threat to narrative dependent Movement Rightist politics – is still playing out to a self-selecting audience. The larger step into mainstream demotic politics to effect concrete political change not on the visible horizons.

As it should be at this stage. #OWS in this manifestation is about the surprise discovery of hope. Thus, all the Tweety/establishment complaints about lack of a concrete, specific political plan (while these same people spend weeks ‘analyzing’ a laughably specious ‘9-9-9′ “plan”) miss the point. #OWS is a rejection of the fake MSNBC-Fox duality, of the congenital Obama Goldilocks compromises with the extreme Right. If along the way a few people act out to reify others’ narratives of ‘violent hippies [sic]’, etc. that’s a small price to pay for the overall achievement.

To a structuralist, OWS could be seen as a further harbinger of descent to demotic political shapelessness, of institutional feebleness giving way to palsy. In parallel with the Rightist narrative narcotic demanding fealty to vision and feeling over institutions, process, and empiricism, it marks in World Historical terms the pre-conditions of a Man on a White Horse phase. Which in turn ushers in a post-oligarchical new day. We believe that time is yet to come. #OWS signifies instead hope that our current politics and institutions can function for greater societal good. A call for functional politics, albeit not on Rightist narrative terms.

Is it naive? One observer remarked that if #OWS merely assisted the election of Liz Warren it would be worth it. That’s moving the goal posts just slightly from Spitzer’s #OWS ‘already won.’ We’d like to think people see our challenges as deeply systemic, albeit exacerbated by specific personalities today. We take delight in seeing #OWS evolve along its current, fairly orderly path. For the hope it ignites. And the possibilities for What Comes Next.

Comments

  1. RedPhillip says

    @Comment Because he’s a lackwit remora sucking his received wisdom directly from the elimination orifices of the beast he serves?

  2. DrLeoStrauss says

    Tweety and the NYT are determined to hijack the #OWS optics and frame “all” protesters as “angry.” Such appalling Reactionary assertion of privilege and status as message framers.

  3. DrLeoStrauss says

    ADBUSTERS TACTICAL BRIEFING #15

    Alright you redeemers, rebels and radicals out there,

    We’re living through a magical moment … #OCCUPYWALLSTREET has catalyzed into an international insurgency for democracy … the mood at our assemblies is electric … people who go there are drawn into a Gandhian spirit of camaraderie and hope for a new kind of future. Across the globe the 99% are marching! You have inspired more than you know. People are digging into Act One of the long Spring.

    Its now time to amp up the edgy theatrics … deviant pranks, subversive performances and playful détournements of all kinds. Open your insurrectionary imagination. Anything, from a bottom-up transformation of the global economy to changing the way we eat, the way we get around, the way we live, love and communicate … be the spark that sustains a global revolution of everyday life!

    As the movement matures, lets consider a response to our critics. Lets occupy the core of our global system. Lets dethrone the greed that defines this new century. Lets work to define our one great demand.

    OCTOBER 29 – #ROBINHOOD GLOBAL MARCH

    This is a proposal for the general assemblies of the Occupy movement.

    Eight years ago, on February 15, 2003, upwards of 15 million people in sixty countries marched together to stop President Bush from invading Iraq … a huge chunk of humanity lived for one day without dead time and glimpsed the power of a united people’s movement. Now we have an opportunity to repeat that performance on an even larger scale.

    On October 29, on the eve of the G20 Leaders Summit in France, let’s the people of the world rise up and demand that our G20 leaders immediately impose a 1% #ROBINHOOD tax on all financial transactions and currency trades. Let’s send them a clear message: We want you to slow down some of that $1.3-trillion easy money that’s sloshing around the global casino each day – enough cash to fund every social program and environmental initiative in the world.

    Take this idea to your local general assembly and join your comrades in the streets on October 29.

    for the wild,
    Culture Jammers HQ

    occupywallstreet.org / occupywallst.org / occupytogether.org

    PS. Check what’s being said about the Occupy movement

    Democracy Now!: Hundreds of Thousands March Against Inequity, Big Banks
    Chris Hedges: A Movement Too Big to Fail
    Elliot Spitzer: “Occupy Wall Street Has Already Won”
    Matt Taibbi: Hit Bankers Where it Hurts

  4. Comment says

    @DrLeoStrauss
    A mega Twat like Halperin would be no where if his dad did not become a famous leaker 30 years ago. He’s totally without core and his every statement on that repulsively smug show (Pat is only fresh commentator and he’s soft on Hitler) is devoid of meaning.

    Keller is more of a mystery – His columns are exercises in smug condescension and reader gets impression Keller thinks of himself as some sort well known with like Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde or even Hitchens. But he is not even as clever as 500 young people I follow on Twitter.

    Dr. Strauss gives as good an explanation as could be.

    Recall his boring essay about the very controversial Assange – Read it wanting to dislike Assange, but all Keller discussed was Assange bad fashions, body oder and lack of bourgois grooming.

    Recall Keller being a “reluctant hawk” who only cringed at Dubya mispronouncing nuclear. – Yet. didn’t care about the weakening of American and million dead people.

  5. DrLeoStrauss says

    @Comment
    The malady is the judgmental mind, perhaps. Keller has been groomed to judge, evaluate and negotiate internal supplicants, external pressure groups, and Slim, etc. Developing a personal core philosophy, communicating it, connecting with and thinking about an audience not on the menu.

    If that’s true, it would explain the random topics, the lack of communicated personality and recital-like content. He probably congratulated himself for including the dated Nurse Ratchet reference as being part of the current pop culture fixation.

    Anyone else have a theory?

  6. DrLeoStrauss says

    @Comment Very true, the furtive abuse of force and coercion against #OWS the perfect frame for casual media consumers get and instantly identify.

  7. Comment says

    Watching some comically stupid Republicans on Homeland Sec committee talking about Hezbollah dominating our southern border, Iranian domination of Western Hemisphere.

    One of them is reading a blood curdling Hezbollah attack on Americans and Jews supposedly writen in 1980 — 5 years before Hezbollah was created (at a time w/ Shia of Lebanon were passively allied with Israel)

  8. Comment says

    @DrLeoStrauss
    #OWS was also helped by fact NYPD confused peaceful protestors with the vile scum hooligans of London. They totally blew it and when Tony “Loose Nozzle” Balogna was caught sadistically Pepper Spraying a cute middle class gal named Chelsea Elliot, the whole thing was injected with new energy and spirit

  9. Comment says

    @DrLeoStrauss
    Saw that twat Mark Halperin on “Morning Joe” trying to do a pseudo contrarian limited hangout defense of #ows. But the twat couldn’t help himself and had to say they smelled because establisment media still depends on hippie cliche.

  10. DrLeoStrauss says

    @Comment #OWS really is a fine barometer isn’t it? One can imagine the Davos grandees perplexed, trying to determine on whom to bestow a speaking slot and invitation?

  11. DrLeoStrauss says

    @jwb Great questions posed. Agree with your analysis that either by happy circumstance or inspired improvisation, the lack of focus allowed the “we are the 99%” breakthrough. It’s particularly encouraging to see the interviews and tweets already focused on a post-Obama world.

  12. Comment says

    People who want “concrete goals” r mostly acting in bad faith – Mal Fides is part of what #ows opposes.

  13. Comment says

    “Olive Garden said hanging the American Flag in restaurant would upset customers. If you don’t like seeing our flag get out of our country!” Christine O’Donnell via Twitter

  14. Comment says

    Just saw Bret Stephens on Fareed declare his disapproval of #ows — Keep up the good work occupiers. If a tool like Stephens – totally alienate from normal life – disapproves, it shows good.

  15. jwb says

    The call for concrete goals comes not just from Tweety, whose response was entirely predictable, but also from many invested in the institutions of the left as well as from those who fear the demos turning into a beast that will be mounted by those dark forces that so often tap populist energies. Rumors swirl on the Twittermachine left of OWS as the first stage in a nefarious Paul/Nader alliance, with Paul cast in the role of the corporal, the whole plot underwritten by Salon. Personally, I find the recent not very convincing tale about Iran trying to kill the Saudi ambassador far more plausible.

    Although I was initially quite skeptical of OWS and thought it more a poor attempt at political theater than anything else, the refusal to issue a list of demands always struck me as one of the better stratagems, because it allowed the mass to coalesce where a list of demands would have more than likely fractured the nascent movement; the lack of demands also focused attention on the bodily presence of the movement and on the notion that it had a fundamental right to be recognized as a political entity. Because the issue they put forward initially was this basic claim to recognition, OWS became a stand-in for everyone the current politics would disregard; which is also why the “we are the 99%” tumblr has become the iconic online correlate to the kids (but not just kids) in the street.

    Toward the end of the summer, we discussed how Wisconsin was seeming more and more like it was but a freak wind sheer. Now that interpretation seems less true than ever. The fall storms have arrived here. Can we make it through the winter? Will the storms bring a glorious spring?

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