October 22, 2011

Putting Theory to Test

Marc Comtois
"Within every city there are people who freeload, who make people’s lives miserable. We just deal with it. We can’t kick them out."

In response to dissatisfaction with the...General Assembly, many...have adopted a new...model, which allows each working group to act independently without securing the will of the collective. “This streamlines it,” argued Zonkers. “The GA is unwieldy, cumbersome, and redundant."

“Someone has to be told what to do...Someone needs to give orders. There’s no sense of order in this f*****g place.”

Rhode Island politics? Nope. The evolution of order in Occupy Wall Street. Funny things happen when idealistic notions of "democracy" meet with reality. Which way is it evolving, though? Not listening to every voice?
explained Josh Nelson, a 27-year-old occupier from Nebraska. “And we’ve had issues with the drummers too. They drum incessantly all day, and really loud.” Facilitators spearheaded a General Assembly proposal to limit the drumming to two hours a day. “The drumming is a major issue which has the potential to get us kicked out," said Lauren Digion, a leader on the sanitation working group.

But the drums were fun. They brought in publicity and money. Many non-facilitators were infuriated by the decision and claimed that it had been forced through the General Assembly.

“They’re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music," said Seth Harper, an 18-year-old from Georgia. “The GA decided to do it ... they suppressed people’s opinions. I wanted to do introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldn’t.”

To Shane Engelerdt, a 19-year-old from Jersey City and self-described former “head drummer,” this amounted to a Jacobinic betrayal. “They are becoming the government we’re trying to protest," he said. "They didn’t even give the drummers a say ... Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive.”

Dictating when people can speak?
As the communal sleeping bag argument between Lauren Digion and Sage Roberts threatened to get out of hand, a facilitator in a red hat walked by, brow furrowed. “Remember? You’re not allowed to do any more interviews,” he said to Digion. She nodded and went back to work.

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If you really want to fight progressivism, send the Occupiers as many supplies as you can spare. The damage they are doing to their own image is beyond belief. It's like watching the self-destruction of socialism on fast forward.

Posted by: Dan at October 22, 2011 1:05 PM

"a facilitator in a red hat walked by, brow furrowed. “Remember? You’re not allowed to do any more interviews,” he said to Digion."

Says who??? You're not the boss of me!

Posted by: Monique at October 22, 2011 8:03 PM

Posted by Dan:
"It's like watching the self-destruction of socialism on fast forward."

A city in Poland is being "occupied". I noticed that, although invited, Lech Waleska (spelling from memory) declined to appear.

On my morning trip to Dunkin Donuts, I stopped to speak with the "motorcycle bums". They have little sympathy with the "occupiers". They seem to be of the theory that if you can't pay your student loan, that is because you chose to major in Art History, Black Studies, Women's Studies. etc. "What did they expect?" They were more concerned with a new federal regulation, supposedly coming into effect on January 1, that limits paid "sick days" to 7 per year. This is resulting in a complete redo of vacation days, etc, by their employers. There was also some concern that NASCAR is experimenting with electronic fuel injection. I guess they like the "restrictor plates".

Interesting cross section of America there. They run the gamut from truck drivers to a guy who describes himself as a leg breaker for the IRS. I take it that he works in collections.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at October 23, 2011 4:26 PM

Warrington, I can't pay my student loans with a perfectly practical degree in International Affairs that made me gobs of money down in DC -- then after 4 years I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease after nearly dying twice.

Now I can't pay my student loans because I'm having a hard time finding the 25-30 hrs of work/week I need to stay healthy (plus for a while, I was looking in RI). So the $40k my career could have paid off continues to collect interest, and I am generally effed due to what I can't seem to see an angle on being my own fault.

Hopefully I'll find a job in the Pacific NW that doesn't discriminate against sick people who *want to work* -- but American capitalism generally doesn't allow for that idea, productivity-wise.

Point being... those generalizations are extremely annoying when you're caught on the outside. Students loans can really crush folks caught in a bad place, and the U.S. Government is collecting the dues.

Posted by: jparis at October 23, 2011 5:27 PM


The bizarre way in which healthcare is tied to employment in the United States is not a capitalist feature of the system.

Posted by: Andrew at October 23, 2011 5:51 PM


I hope I didn't seem harsh. But your situation, tied up with medical issues, is not the typical one.

But, to my point, a bachelors in International Relations, is really preparation for a Masters. It might be of meaning in DC, but not elsewhere. Besides, it puts you right in competition with all those military officers who got passed over and left with an MA in International Relations.
It is a favored degree with military officers and about 80% of them have an MA these days.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at October 23, 2011 6:52 PM

A degree in International Relations means you are going to work for the Federal Government and continue working there. As the Dothraki say, "It is known." The good news is that Uncle Sam is hiring and is paying up to $10,000/year in loan forgiveness.

Posted by: Dan at October 24, 2011 7:40 AM

Dothraki! A new challange. And I had just mastered the Klingon language.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at October 24, 2011 5:56 PM

The occupation has already made rules for everyone who ventures into the park. They have taken over public property,in disregard of the rights of everyone who might not agree with them to use the park,while claiming to represent those same people.

They have repeatedly infringed on other people's rights with callous impunity. Such as the Convention Center Act in which they disrupted a private meeting. They have also infringed on people's rights to use the streets by blocking traffic. They do not care about people's rights.

This is the face of Democracy aka. mob rule.

Posted by: helen at October 26, 2011 1:51 AM
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