Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Let's get something straight"

Let’s get something straight: this movement has issued no demands. It is not a protest. It’s an occupation. Rebellions don’t have demands.
Read the rest at New American Media (via TruthOut), Why No Demands? Occupy Wall Street is a Rebellion, Not a Protest by: Michael Levitin

Michael Levitin is the managing editor of The Occupied Wall Street Journal, and former assistant news editor at the San Francisco Public Press. He was a Berlin freelance correspondent for Newsweek, the Daily Telegraph, the L.A. Times and others.

Levitin emphasizes that the difference this time is that the protestors have been joined by organized labor.

Let me just add that at the time of the Vietnam anti-war movement and countercultural revolution, we DFH's were really anxious to have labor join in since it was their fight, too.

That never happened for several reasons. First, the fight was not economic. Secondly, it was about the aspirations of the young, not workers. Thirdly, the media was successful in marginalizing and demonizing the protestors. Fourthly, the protestors were not only protesting the war but also what they perceived as cultural repressions. An essential aspect of the countercultural revolution was "freaking out" the cultural establishment and confronting traditional values. They called us "hippies." We called ourselves "freaks."

This time it's different. It's about economics, corruption, and control, and yes, perceived state capture by an elite. This is going to have reverberating economic implications as well as political and social one, whereas the Sixties and Seventies were about social revolution and to a degree political change, but not so much economic matters.


John Zelnicker said...

You're right, Tom. I was also there back then and economics had nothing to do with it. In fact, I think we were the first generation that didn't really have to struggle economically. The post-war years were pretty good and tons of people were making it to the middle class in the 50's and 60's. (At least, in the white community.)
A college education was not beyond the reach of many in the middle class. And they could do it without taking on staggering debt loads.
Not so any more. As I have said, along with others, for quite a while, the financialization of our various markets (stocks, housing, commodities, etc.) and the economy as a whole is one of the key factors that has created the mess we're in now.

selise said...

labor (usa and other) stood in solidarity with anarchists, environmentalists, human rights activists and many others during global justice actions in seattle, miami and elsewhere (mistakenly called anti-globalization by the msm). i can recall pallets of water bottles at the convergence center in miami (ftaa, 2003), a gift from a big union (iirc, the steel workers?) and union reps showing up to make statements of solidarity (and also participating in spokes council meetings). and fwiw, my release (along with about 80 others) was negotiated by union reps when were we detained by the police.

these actions were, at least in part, motivated by economic issues, which supports the main point... but i'd also like to connect some dots by including in the discussion the global justice actions of the late '90s and early '00s; which were also a response to the anti-democratic imposition of neoliberalism.

Anonymous said...

I don't trust the union leadership, they are corrupt, and in the pocket of the Democratic party. They may talk worker's right's and make noises against the status quo, but its just a show. They are clearly on the side of management and busy feathering their own nest.