Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Occupy Everywhere

‘Their Thinking Is Not Only Nonstrategic, but Actively Opposed to Strategy’

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UPDATE: A response.

Chris Hedges against the black bloc: The Cancer in Occupy. This piece is blowing up among the Occupy Oaklandistas in my Twitter feed right now.

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February 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Against Demands

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At Stumbling and Mumbling, via @zunguzungu.

So, how might “demands” of the sort that James makes be reframed? Here are three possibilities:

1. An assertion of rights. James says we should have a right to recall MPs who break manifesto promises. But why frame this as a “demand”? Why not instead say that the breach of such promises is tantamount to a breach of contract and thus a violation of basic democratic rights? Framed this way, it is manifesto-breaching MPs who are making unreasonable demands – demanding to stay in office despite lying to voters.

2. Stress the benefits of the policies. For example, egalitarian policies such as taxing the rich or nationalizing utilities can – if you insist – be presented as a way of increasing aggregate demand, by redistributing income from savers to spenders.

3. Use the language of inevitability and necessity; you don‘t have to demand what will happen anyway. Marxists, of course, used to do this, to the chagrin of champions of free will such as Isaiah Berlin. But the trick has long since been copied by the right. It has claimed (reasonably) that bank bailouts were necessary and (less reasonably) that public spending cuts are. And of course every boss trying to justify mass layoffs does so by claiming they are necessary.

The left should relearn this trick. Rather than “demand” change, it should point out that things can’t go on as they are, and so change is necessary.

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January 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

Quick Hits – 2

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* University 2.0: MIT launches MITx.

* Gorbachev: What happened after the Soviet Union ended in 1991? Why were the opportunities to build what Pope John Paul II called a more stable, more just and more humane world order not realized?

* Chinese Century watch: China to put an taikonaut on the Moon.

* More ’12 election chaos in the making: Gary Johnson’s Libertarian Leap Could Complicate New Mexico in 2012. Here’s Obama’s game plan, with Virginia (okay) and North Carolina (uh-oh) as linchpins.

* The Dumbest Idea In The World: Maximizing Shareholder Value.

A letter from Occupy Wilmington.

* Why the “Mary Sue” concept is sexist.

So, there’s this girl. She’s tragically orphaned and richer than anyone on the planet. Every guy she meets falls in love with her, but in between torrid romances she rejects them all because she dedicated to what is Pure and Good. She has genius level intellect, Olympic-athelete level athletic ability and incredible good looks. She is consumed by terrible angst, but this only makes guys want her more. She has no superhuman abilities, yet she is more competent than her superhuman friends and defeats superhumans with ease. She has unshakably loyal friends and allies, despite the fact she treats them pretty badly. They fear and respect her, and defer to her orders. Everyone is obsessed with her, even her enemies are attracted to her. She can plan ahead for anything and she’s generally right with any conclusion she makes. People who defy her are inevitably wrong.

God, what a Mary Sue.

I just described Batman.

* And even conservatives hate SOPA. I think that’s everyone.

‘A (Very Very) Brief History of Occupation Tactics’

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm

‘Proximity to Power Causes Even the Most Stalwart Progressives to Suffer Strange Fits of Amnesia and to Develop Violent Allergies to All Forms of Popular Democracy Outside the Conventional Channels’

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So: stage one has ended. Someday soon, I suspect, we will thank the mayors and their cops for the gift of their shortsightedness, for pushing the movement out of the parks and forcing it into a fruitful and vibrant nomadism. Onward: to the universities, the ports, the banks, as far as our legs and our imaginations take us.

Ben Ehrenreich in the Los Angeles Review of Books on the end of the beginning of #Occupy.

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December 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Saturday Night Fever

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* We had a fine time at the South End Art Hop in Burlington this afternoon and bought some tiny pieces from Moe O’Hara, John Brickels, and Nicholas Heilig (the last of whom was making this great anti-Christmas print as we passed through his studio). I bought a couple of Heilig’s Live Art prints for my office at school, but alas—the Swedish Chef was all sold out.

* Scenes from the class struggle in Iowa: Mitt Romney offers Rick Perry a $10,000 bet. Now #What10KBuys is trending on Twitter, and the best is all anyone is talking about. I’m closer than I’ve ever been to being the smartest man in politics. I almost can taste it.

* Scenes from the class struggle everywhere: The Walmart Heirs Have The Same Net Worth As The Bottom 30 Percent Of Americans.

* The Boston Review had an interesting back-and-forth recently on ethical consumption.

* North Carolina is still trying to figure out what to do about its postwar eugenics program.

* On the impracticality of a cheeseburger. Via you-know-where.

* And it looks like Monday will be another big day for #Occupy.

Friday Night!

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The gravity in this place is different. I’ve spoken to others who’ve traveled out here, too, and returned home safely. When you become one of them, you learn quickly that you share a language others can’t understand. Xeni Jardin, on diagnosis.

* On a less life-changing note, I’m devastated that I can’t attend this panel on Brecht and the Muppets.

* Nate Silver: No, this time there might really be a brokered convention. Ezra Klein: Newt Gingrich will not be the Republican nominee — even if it means a brokered convention. 21 reasons Newt Gingrich won’t be the Republican nominee for president. Romney goes after Newt’s sci-fi plans for moon colonies and space mirrors. (Meanwhile, Steve Benen goes after Romney’s apparent belief in cold fusion.) Desperate Romney PAC panics, unloads on Newt:

But what I found truly remarkable was the message Romney’s allies put together. Consider the areas of attack: foreclosures, flip-flops, immigration “amnesty,” climate change, and finally, “Newt supported a health care mandate … the centerpiece of ‘Obamacare.’” The spot then relies on a George Will column.

This is just astounding. Does Mitt Romney’s Super PAC know anything about Mitt Romney? He supports foreclosures; he’s the most shameless flip-flopper in a generation; he’s too big a coward to take a stand on immigration; he used to believe in climate change and supported cap and trade; and George Will thinks Romney is “a recidivist reviser of his principles,” who seems to “lack the courage of his absence of convictions.”

More at Gawker’s Brief Guide to Conservatives Freaking Out over Newt Gingrich.

NYU to offer classes on Occupy Wall Street.

* Another David Graeber interview.

* Bookstores are becoming mere showrooms for Amazon.com. More at MetaFilter, including some commentary on tomorrow’s “Price Check” Day.

Dan Frommer explain the new Twitter.

* Tor brings to my attention Nick “Simulation Argument” Bostrom’s Letter from Utopia (2006-2010).

* The headline reads, “World Watches as Norway Runs Out of Butter.”

Norwegians have eaten up the country’s entire stockpile of butter, partly as the result of a “low-carb” diet sweeping the Nordic nation which emphasizes a higher intake of fats. “Sales all of a sudden just soared, 20 per cent in October then 30 per cent in November,” said Lars Galtung, the head of communications at TINE, the country’s biggest farmer-owned cooperative.

* And io9 has a exhaustive list of the rules of magic. Study hard. You never know.

Thursday Night

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* Breaking Trust: The Past and Future of the University of California.

We are at a tipping point for determining whether or not the university is indeed fulfilling its constitutional mandate to “encourage by all suitable means” the “general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence…essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people.” As such, perhaps shifting attention away from the autonomy of the regents allows for consideration of the public trust that structures that autonomy. How, exactly, does the (temporarily withdrawn, but still looming) threat to raise tuition and fees 81% express a will to further the public’s interest? How does decimating language programs, student services, and the core teaching missions of the university promote the public good? Allowing “joint” research projects with massive corporations to direct the course of university scholarship for decades to come? Permitting the UC president to wield “emergency powers” for two years and counting, depriving faculty of a voice in shaping the university?

* We pretend that 2 degrees C is our threshold. Yet the climate scenarios and plans presented to policymakers do not actually reflect that threshold. As Anderson and Bows say, “most policy advice is to accept a high probability of extremely dangerous climate change rather than propose radical and immediate emission reductions.”

* Josh Marshall has been all over Mitt vs.Newt today. You can tell he’s really enjoying this.

* Meanwhile, Bill Kristol is still waiting for Godot Jeb.

* If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, Newt Gingrich is from the planet Trantor, a fictional world created by Isaac Asimov in his classic Foundation series about galactic empire. UPDATE: Retort! Krugman is from Trantor; Gingrich ain’t.

Over 46 Million Americans On Foodstamps For The First Time Ever.

* Duke Energy has been fined by the NRC for installing the wrong circuit breakers at its Oconee Nuclear Station.

The 40-year-old nuclear station just outside Seneca installed the system, called a standby shutdown facility or backup control room, about 30 years ago as an added safety precaution.

On June 1, an engineer discovered that breakers associated with the system would have tripped if exposed to high ambient heat — likely in an emergency. The breakers have since been replaced with fuses not susceptible to the heat problem.

* Why New New Twitter? Because “we can and have an obligation to reach every person on the planet.” That’s why.

* And Geoff Nunberg says “Occupy” is 2011’s word of the year. Seems hard to argue there.

Ten Commandments

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Theory & Event & Occupy

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 5, 2011 at 12:29 am

Saturday Links!

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“A lifetime achievement award is a little alarming,” said Jameson, who came to Duke in 1985. “But on the other hand, it’s very nice to have the recognition.”

* Your democracy at work: Barack Obama Has, on Average, Attended a Fundraiser Every 5 Days in 2011.

* Matt Stoller: When a switch in the party in power does not result in policy changes, there’s little point in electoral politics.

* And just to counter that cynicism a bit: arguably one of the more important (and more progressive) components of the ACA took effect yesterday, the requirement that health insurance companies spend at least 80% of premiums on actual health care. UPDATE: Countering the counter-cynicism, Tim Worstall says this probably isn’t a big deal after all.

* Some North Carolina poverty facts.

* As is standard journalistic practice, the New York Times has allocated space for an accused child molester to tell his side of the story.

* If Duke is one of eleven campuses with “major Occupy movements,” I fear for the movement. Occupy Duke was genuinely tiny, and the #occupyduke hashtag is comprised almost exclusively of mockery and contempt.

* Occupy Commencement: UNC students are petitioning against Michael Bloomberg as commencement speaker.

* And Reuters selects the best 100 photos of 2011. Here’s #72:

Never Could Get the Hang of Thursday Links

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* Occupy Wall Street as Obamaism’s “rotten fruit”? John Hellemen speculates on 2012 as 1968.

* Frank Luntz, fearing it’s winning, explains how to fight Occupy.

Don’t Mention Capitalism: Luntz said that his polling research found that “The public…still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we’ve got a problem.”
Empathize With The 99 Percent Protesters: Luntz instructed attendees to tell protesters that they “get it”: “First off, here are three words for you all: ‘I get it.’ … ‘I get that you’re. I get that you’ve seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system.”
Don’t Say Bonus: Luntz told Republicans to re-frame the concept of the bonus payment — which bailed-out Wall Street doles out to its employees during holidays — as “pay for performance” instead.
Don’t Mention The Middle Class Because Americans Don’t Trust Republicans To Defend It: “They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers,” Luntz instructed the audience. “We can say we defend the ‘middle class’ and the public will say, I’m not sure about that. But defending ‘hardworking taxpayers’ and Republicans have the advantage.”
Don’t Talk About Taxing The Rich: Luntz reminded Republicans that Americans actually do want to tax the rich, so he reccommended they instead say that the government “takes from the rich.”

* zunguzungu vs. the Regents.

* Zach Blas interviews Ricardo Dominguez, visiting Duke this January for our Marxism and New Media conference.

* I completely forgot that Ali G interviewed Newt Gingrich.

* I don’t care who is drawing it; a Watchmen sequel is still the worst idea anyone has ever had.

* 131 members of Congress are now co-sponsoring a bill that will forbid members of Congress from insider training, leaving a mere 304 who support the laughably corrupt status quo.

* And speaking of the laughably corrupt status quo… Via my brother.

Sunday Links

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* Why they occupy: University of California edition.

* The recession comes home to Morris County.

Morris County has experienced a sharp increase in motor vehicle burglaries throughout 2011, according to Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi, who said the increase can be attributed to independent trends that have emerged in small geographic areas in the county at different times and committed by different individuals.

* MetaFilter has your Neil deGrasse Tyson Overdrive.

* Get me Val Kilmer: Christian Bale says he’s done playing Batman.

* Alan Moore on Occupy.

“I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn’t it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It’s peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction.”

cf. Frank Miller.

* Also on the Occupy beat: “Pre-Occupied: The Origins and Future of Occupy Wall Street.” And also at the New Yorker: Was anti-Keystone activism the real political movement of 2011?

* Something Is Happening: Notes on the First Two Months of Occupy.

* Mary Roach: 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Orgasm.

* Aaron Bady: “When everything that can be recorded is recorded, our means of protecting privacy must fundamentally change.”

* Robotic prison wardens to patrol South Korean prison. But the prototype looks so friendly!

$185B

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Think Progress: According to cg42, a consulting firm that does work for the biggest banks, “the nation’s 10 biggest banks could stand to lose as much as $185 billion in deposits in the next year due to customer defections.” Of the banks, “Bank of America is the most vulnerable and could lose up to 10% of its customers and $42 billion in consumer deposits in the next year.”

Written by gerrycanavan

November 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Occupy XKCD

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Randall Munroe joins the 99%. Click to enlarge.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 21, 2011 at 11:59 am