Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘concern trolling

None Dare Call It Concern Trolling

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Erik Loomis has almost exactly the same reaction as me to news that the encampment Zuccotti Park has been cleared (and apparently permanently):

The clear strategy in response for OWS is to keep reestablishing the tent towns, forcing the cities to continue responding, burning money and political capital to do so, potentially creating situations of police brutality. But this also begs another question–is this movement becoming more about occupying space than a progressive upheaval? I think the lack of concrete goals really plagues the movement here–because they aren’t asking for any specific, at what point do they leave? Because there has to be some kind of end point to this. No city is going to allow this to continue for 2 or 3 years. Nor should they.

The worst case scenario here is that Occupy Wall Street ends up being the 2011 version of Mexico City’s UNAM protests in 1999-2000. These protests started in response to the creation of tuition at the nation’s most prestigious university. While it was only intended to apply to those who could afford it, it threatened to limit the poor’s access to higher education. It also tapped into general discontent over the neoliberal reforms overturning the gains of the Mexican Revolution. The government backed down on the tuition, but then a large group of protestors stuck around as part of a movement not dissimilar to OWS–anger at globalization, economic inequality, and rapid changes in Mexico that were hurting the poor. They didn’t have any concrete goals at this point either other than to spark political upheaval in the name of change. And while noble enough, the protestors also quickly wore out the patience of the Mexican middle class, not to mention the government. When the military finally dispersed the encampment after 10 months, not a lot of Mexicans were too sad to see it go.

The encampment needs to be a strategy, not an end in itself.

On Twitter, too, I see I’m not alone in this even among the occupiers.

RT @elliottjustin: Hearing *relief* from a few occupiers that the park was cleared. Is a potential PR win+was becoming distraction #ows

#Occupy speaks to a ton of crucially important issues (here’s just one!) and retains the potential to spark a long-term, wide-ranging progressive revival. Reducing this movement to a series of quixotic fights with police over the right to sleep outdoors in winter is almost the worst possible issue for #Occupy to decide to unite around. There are other ways to Occupy; it’s time to move on, time to grow.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Election as Heist

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Adam Kotsko explains your modern Democratic Party.

…The result is that every election becomes a kind of “heist,” where we just barely pull together enough ideas to get X% of the soccer moms, etc., etc. Then, in the rare cases where liberals actually gain power, every policy debate is characterized by the infamous Obama-style “preemptive compromise” — again, since the opponents’ preferences are hard-wired, there’s no need to have any actual debate. The entire debate can happen in the mind of the liberal, and the opponent will “have to” sign on for the carefully crafted compromise that takes all the opponent’s preferences into account. In the same way, if liberals preemptively reject policies that typically prompt conservative criticism, their conservative opponents “have to” refrain from attacking them on said issue. And the consistent lack of success of this strategy only shows that liberals aren’t doing it hard enough.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 4, 2011 at 10:35 am