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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Great. We're Mad. We Still Need A PLAN To Get Even.

Sept 25th, 2011
F. Grey Parker (NSFW post)
Ongoing streaming coverage of events in New York can be viewed at AnonOps

There has been a lot of discussion in the last 24 hours about the ongoing Wall Street protests. What, exactly, are the goals? I have asked this. Other folks that I genuinely respect have asked this.

Even some of those who are on the scene in New York have begun asking this.

The pushback against these legitimate questions has been fairly intense.

These petulant reactions to reasonable queries need to stop and they need to stop right now.

When you take territory in an occupation, as this is being called, you must very shortly deliver a set of demands. Sure, you can make some of the lower points on your list unreasonable. In fact, this is supported by the lessons of history. These more ridiculous requests only serve to make your insistence upon meeting core goals that much harder to argue with by comparison.

This list is what you use for... wait for it... what we once described as leverage.

You can call this collection of, quite frankly, rational extortions, a "pact." You can call it a "mission statement." You can call it a "declaration."

Hell, you could currently call them the "ANON-SCHEME."

It doesn't really matter what you call this collective battle-cry, provided that you have one.

It is with this that you unify your sympathizers. It is with this that you communicate effectively with outsiders. This is the tool which the civil-disobedient actor uses, when the media and the world do start paying attention, that makes it much harder to portray their movement as a mish-mashed, hob-job of unfocused rowdys.

Up until today, it was beginning to seem that some romanticized notion of a leaderless rebellion was almost the point of the New York demonstrations.

The elevation of this 'no-single-message-is-the-message' non-message to a statement of purpose was borderline pathological.

Alas, if any single target of the crowd came into focus during the last week, it seemed be a quest to force the so-called "mainstream media" to broadcast the event.

By the end of the week, "the story" was fast becoming the fact that there was no story on TV. The protesters were easily portrayed as children begging to be taken seriously.

I am not wholly unsympathetic. There were real, institutional efforts to marginalize everyone involved.

For example, the BBC published a drippingly disrespectful article on Friday about the events so far. It was shameful, both for its wildly false underestimation of the crowd which stated, "only about 50 people are currently involved," as well as for its lazy obsession with the phenomena that has become Liberato's Pizza (that's the pizza joint that has sent thousands of pies to the scenes of the protest).

Here's the rub. There is no consistent message and no leadership has risen to focus the energy of those gathered in support of any single, immediate outcome. The result of this vacuum?

There is no coherence.

"On the ground alongside their camp, the group has an array of signs spelling out their disparate goals.

They include "Tax the rich", "Another American against corporate greed" and "Peace".

However biased this may be, it cannot be argued to be false reporting. Where is the unity of purpose? More importantly, where are the policy demands?

"Tax the rich" isn't a revenue enhancement proposal... it's barely even a T-Shirt.

Here is the kicker with which the BBC's ever-so-smug reporter, JIll Martin, was dead on:

"Locals may be looking, but they are not necessarily comprehending." EMPHASIS OURS

Of course not. How could they? The event is intentionally incomprehensible.

The domestic journalistic venom from last week was, at times, even more poisonous than the BBC smear. Prior to yesterday, the only significant coverage by the New York Times consisted of a hit-job by Ginia Bellafante. She wrote:

"Some said they were fighting the legal doctrine of corporate personhood; others, not fully understanding what that meant, believed it meant corporations paid no taxes whatsoever. Others came to voice concerns about the death penalty, the drug war, the environment." EMPHASES OURS

That's right. An army of liberal, rich kids got together and, according to Gina, had no particular clue as to what they were doing. 

Get it? These stories weren't actually made up. The crowd made them easy to craft.

This is ridiculous.

We all know that Wall Street fucked us.

We all know that too many of us have stayed quiet for too damn long.


Who's bright idea was it to push this action forward without a plan?

Showing up in great numbers is not a strategy any more than terrorism is an enemy. These are both tactical actions. It is the ends to which they are directed and the gains which they achieve that determine whether or not they were for good or for ill.

Of course, this failure of planning was academic. Until yesterday.

It is serious now. In fact, as of yesterday, it is actually very serious. This is because it the #OccupyNewYork action is no longer being ignored.

The broader media has finally begun to take notice and report. At a cost. A moderate cost to be sure, so far. This is because the New York police finally started engaging in their own little organized riot after a week of standing back and basically keeping their cool.

We have now seen an organizer from USUncut arrested, apparently without warning or explanation, for speaking (law enforcement did not inform him prior to his detention of a statute prohibiting unlicensed public address devices)

We have witnessed a young man get neck-stomped, jail-style, for yelling and holding a flag... Really. That's it.

We also saw a group of young women, making no aggressive movements whatsoever, get pepper-sprayed after being forcibly cordoned into temporary police fencing... like cattle

For what? Why did we let anyone go through this if it was not to force a specific target to accept our list of demands?

Someone has to step in and organize something beyond just being there. The old cliche about "90% of life is showing up" is a disservice to the other 10%.

It's 10% time.

How about just one smart person rushes off to a lower Manhattan Kinko's, right now, and print-laminates 10,000 copies of something.

They can call it Our 3 Demands. Or, whatever.

Just pick three smart things that everyone in the park can get behind. And then? Get up, speak publicly, politic and get everyone in the park behind them, dammit.

I will throw you all a bone. Here are few ideas in no particular order...

*All identified fraudulent billing by U.S. military contractors must be immediately returned and deposited into an infrastructure bank. Failure to return fraudulently obtained monies in a period longer than 60 days will result in federal prosecution.

Ahem. We are talking, "conservatively," $60 BILLION. Right there. The contractors have it. They should give it back.

*Any citizen unemployed for more than 12 months is automatically given a job for 24 months in a New WPA

That's where we fix the roads, the bridges, the water-reclamation facilities and more. We can start by using the aforementioned $60 BILLION.

*Not only eliminate tax incentives for off-shoring manufacturing, but also add a penalty for those corporations that do. Add a 15% punitive tax for any company that moves more than 10,000 structural assembly jobs abroad in a year.

It's a no-brainer. Really.

Try it out. Make up your own. Make a demand. Now that the good-hearted Americans in lower Manhattan are being hurt and assaulted by police, almost any suggestion could start an avalanche in the system...

if all 7,000 of their brothers and sisters were crying out for it at the same time.


  1. Let's say you're right (though I don't necessarily agree that demands 'unify,' having seen the results of past single issue boomer protesting). Exactly WHO represents Wall Street? To whom would these unifying demands be delivered? Wall Street is a shape shifter world, and until one or two names are held up as the key 'criminals' who stole America's pensions, 401k's and homes, these kids are going to be as fluid and flexible in their presentation. There is a reason that there is no easily identifiable 'head of the snake'. That much I learned from the violent protests of the Sixties.

  2. That's my point. If we attack Wall Street as some lycanthropic or, as you put it, "shape shifter world," we are chasing phantoms.

    There are plenty of identifiable bastards to single out... and we should DO so.

    Saying "Wall Street IS BAD" is like saying "let's end the common cold."

    GREAT. HOW?!

    We kill the hydra one head at a time. Pick one. Attack it. I will join you.

  3. All well and good. You pick one and go protest at his/her place of business or home. Or you get legal representation to indict him/her. It sinks through the morass of the legal system thereby. Good luck with how to attack a hydra.

    This is beside the point you make: your picture is cool looking, but just for the record, what few people seem to know is that Time Warner, one of the largest media companies in the world and parent of Warner Brothers, owns the rights to the image and is paid a licensing fee with the sale of each mask. The mask is pre-"V for Vendetta" movie, true. Maybe Time Warner gets the money and maybe it doesn't. But if I were a protester, I'd not chance feeding that corporate beast by purchasing that mask and wearing it. Anyway, moving on...

  4. The problem with the mask is that its supposed to represent Guy Fawkes - who tried to blow up Parliament in the 17th Century. This is NOT an association we really want. Please read a history book before selecting a mask...If we don't, we become like the Tea Party - who have no idea what the REAL Boston Tea Party was about in the first place.

  5. One of your best entries to-date. Keep talking...I'm listening.