Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Poison Pill?

with 4 comments

The “model” civilization that’s sprung up at Zuccotti is itself increasingly divided between the stakeholders in the nascent movement who feel invested in the emerging economic, social and cultural causes of “the 99%,” and hangers-on, including a fast-growing contingent of lawbreakers and lowlifes, many of whom seem to have come to Zuccotti in the last week with the cynical encouragement of the NYPD.

UPDATE: Here’s a somewhat parallel story from Occupy Los Angeles, with a worse ending.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 31, 2011 at 12:34 am

4 Responses

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  1. the rhetoric of ‘low-lifes’ and ‘hangers-on’ is fucking disgusting–apparently society’s unwanted ‘untouchables’ have to also be unwanted untouchables at ows for the movement to remain ‘pure’ and clean and therefore viable. i worry that it will start to come out that ows isn’t against the rhetoric of bootstrapping because it’s anti-bootstrapping, but rather because it really is FOR bootstrapping but thinks it’s currently impossible–i.e. it just wants to get back to the “American Dream” and these ‘addicts’ and ‘lowlifes’ really should be working harder and not poisoning the pure and idealist movement. seems like ows might be at its most dangerous, and therefore most brave and best, if it were to take a cue from hamsterdam right about now…


    October 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    • One of my biggest anxieties about Occupy has been exactly that “bootstrapping” thing: that the chief complaint of many of the protestors is actually that just they didn’t get rich like they thought they were supposed to. (I linked to a Freddie deBoer a while back that said this better, that there was a sense in which OWS was not a critique of capitalism but a cynical ratification of it.) I think that’s still a problem but less so as time goes on, especially as satellite occupations like Oakland move to the forefront.

      I definitely thought of Hamsterdam when the NYDN played the “open-air drug market” card….


      October 31, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      • I actually had one particular person in mind when I put up this post, a friend who didn’t believe the cops were directing people to Occupy sites. In fact it sounds more and more like a coordinated national strategy.


        October 31, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      • undoubtedly something like a coordinated national strategy…what better way break the movement under its own contradictions than to force it *eliminate* those contradictions by locating, at its fringes, the contradiction it does not want to bear, the stubborn reality of the ‘undeserving poor’? (by the way, i’m not against contradiction, and think the movement has been carrying well so far — to quote a nice poster quoting whitman that fiona put up: do i contradict myself? very well, then i contradict myself. i am large, i contain multitudes…) gabor mate has a nice passage that opens his book _in the realm of hungry ghosts_ about the portland hotel/safe injection site for homeless addicts, in which he talks about the ongoing struggle (for himself, for funding, etc.) of treating ‘the undeserving poor’…


        October 31, 2011 at 5:02 pm

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