Winner 2013 Webby Awards for Best Political Website
Top Banner, Site wide
Apr 23, 2014

 Choose a size
Text Size

Top Leaderboard, Site wide





The Divide


Truthdig Bazaar more items

 
Report

The Cancer in Occupy

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Feb 6, 2012
Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

The Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. The presence of Black Bloc anarchists—so named because they dress in black, obscure their faces, move as a unified mass, seek physical confrontations with police and destroy property—is a gift from heaven to the security and surveillance state. The Occupy encampments in various cities were shut down precisely because they were nonviolent. They were shut down because the state realized the potential of their broad appeal even to those within the systems of power. They were shut down because they articulated a truth about our economic and political system that cut across political and cultural lines. And they were shut down because they were places mothers and fathers with strollers felt safe.

Black Bloc adherents detest those of us on the organized left and seek, quite consciously, to take away our tools of empowerment. They confuse acts of petty vandalism and a repellent cynicism with revolution. The real enemies, they argue, are not the corporate capitalists, but their collaborators among the unions, workers’ movements, radical intellectuals, environmental activists and populist movements such as the Zapatistas. Any group that seeks to rebuild social structures, especially through nonviolent acts of civil disobedience, rather than physically destroy, becomes, in the eyes of Black Bloc anarchists, the enemy. Black Bloc anarchists spend most of their fury not on the architects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or globalism, but on those, such as the Zapatistas, who respond to the problem. It is a grotesque inversion of value systems.

Because Black Bloc anarchists do not believe in organization, indeed oppose all organized movements, they ensure their own powerlessness. They can only be obstructionist. And they are primarily obstructionist to those who resist. John Zerzan, one of the principal ideologues of the Black Bloc movement in the United States, defended “Industrial Society and Its Future,” the rambling manifesto by Theodore Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, although he did not endorse Kaczynski’s bombings. Zerzan is a fierce critic of a long list of supposed sellouts starting with Noam Chomsky. Black Bloc anarchists are an example of what Theodore Roszak in “The Making of a Counter Culture” called the “progressive adolescentization” of the American left.

In Zerzan’s now defunct magazine Green Anarchy (which survives as a website) he published an article by someone named “Venomous Butterfly” that excoriated the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN). The essay declared that “not only are those [the Zapatistas’] aims not anarchist; they are not even revolutionary.” It also denounced the indigenous movement for “nationalist language,” for asserting the right of people to “alter or modify their form of government” and for having the goals of “work, land, housing, health care, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.” The movement, the article stated, was not worthy of support because it called for “nothing concrete that could not be provided by capitalism.”

“Of course,” the article went on, “the social struggles of exploited and oppressed people cannot be expected to conform to some abstract anarchist ideal. These struggles arise in particular situations, sparked by specific events. The question of revolutionary solidarity in these struggles is, therefore, the question of how to intervene in a way that is fitting with one’s aims, in a way that moves one’s revolutionary anarchist project forward.”

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
Solidarity becomes the hijacking or destruction of competing movements, which is exactly what the Black Bloc contingents are attempting to do with the Occupy movement.

“The Black Bloc can say they are attacking cops, but what they are really doing is destroying the Occupy movement,” the writer and environmental activist Derrick Jensen told me when I reached him by phone in California. “If their real target actually was the cops and not the Occupy movement, the Black Bloc would make their actions completely separate from Occupy, instead of effectively using these others as a human shield. Their attacks on cops are simply a means to an end, which is to destroy a movement that doesn’t fit their ideological standard.”

“I don’t have a problem with escalating tactics to some sort of militant resistance if it is appropriate morally, strategically and tactically,” Jensen continued. “This is true if one is going to pick up a sign, a rock or a gun. But you need to have thought it through. The Black Bloc spends more time attempting to destroy movements than they do attacking those in power. They hate the left more than they hate capitalists.”

“Their thinking is not only nonstrategic, but actively opposed to strategy,” said Jensen, author of several books, including “The Culture of Make Believe.” “They are unwilling to think critically about whether one is acting appropriately in the moment. I have no problem with someone violating boundaries [when] that violation is the smart, appropriate thing to do. I have a huge problem with people violating boundaries for the sake of violating boundaries. It is a lot easier to pick up a rock and throw it through the nearest window than it is to organize, or at least figure out which window you should throw a rock through if you are going to throw a rock. A lot of it is laziness.” 

Groups of Black Bloc protesters, for example, smashed the windows of a locally owned coffee shop in November in Oakland and looted it. It was not, as Jensen points out, a strategic, moral or tactical act. It was done for its own sake. Random acts of violence, looting and vandalism are justified, in the jargon of the movement, as components of “feral” or “spontaneous insurrection.” These acts, the movement argues, can never be organized. Organization, in the thinking of the movement, implies hierarchy, which must always be opposed. There can be no restraints on “feral” or “spontaneous” acts of insurrection. Whoever gets hurt gets hurt. Whatever gets destroyed gets destroyed.

There is a word for this—“criminal.”


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 17, 2012 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

David J. Cyr, if you GOTV-ers were correct and the public saw not voting as passive acceptance, you wouldn’t have half the country not voting. Fewer than 10% of Democrats and Republicans approve of the system they’re voting for, but at least they know that the system is rigged and that only the parties they disapprove of have any chance of winning, so they admit that both parties are evil while hoping their own party might be a tad less evil.

Voting in rigged elections cannot be used for revolutionary purposes because the elections are rigged.

DJC: “Electoral campaigns of protest in opposition to the corporate party’s policies, and in advocacy of sane and sensible solutions, are a means of access to communicate with the ‘normal’ majority who’ve been ‘educated’ to believe that all politics are contained within elections.”

So as part of that “normal majority” you’re trying to “educate” activists who know better, to forget everything they know and work within a rigged electoral system?

Not only are not all politics contained within elections, no politics at all are contained within rigged elections. Rigged elections are a sham to fool the gullible into thinking they have a voice when they don’t. Like you thinking that your vote for third party candidates is a protest, when who you vote for isn’t even counted and your turnout only counts as support for the system you pretend you’re protesting. You can’t protest a system by voting for it.

Voting isn’t part of a diversity of tactics, it is obedience to the system, doing your civic duty to the system, delegating to the system your power and authority, and granting the system your consent.

DJC: “Whether that access to communicate is achieved or not is dependent upon the numbers supporting the non-corporate electoral alternatives.”

But since US votes are counted secretly and are unverifiable, you’ll never know what numbers actually voted for your third party candidates, what number of votes were allocated from other candidates to your third party candidates by the central tabulators, and what number of votes were simply thrown out. Of course since you believe in the system, you’ll trust whatever the system tells you.

DJC: “Voting for the changes you want adds support for protests against the system you oppose.”

No, David. You don’t join the KKK to and vote in its elections to oppose racism. You don’t join the Mafia and vote in its elections to oppose organized crime. And nobody who opposes the US capitalist imperialist system would vote in its rigged elections. Voting is the duty of citizens who support the system, not a way to oppose the system or bring about change.

Their irrational belief that electing a few good people could bring about change within a centralized power hierarchy shows that Greens would rather gain power within the corporatocracy than adhere to their own values of decentralized government. That’s why Greens invariably became corrupted in any country where they gained power, as they were mere opportunists to begin with, except for those who organized outside of and in opposition to electoral politics.

Everyone who cared to investigate, knows that US elections are rigged. GOTV-ers like you are either too apathetic to investigate or are part of the problem and are trying to swindle the ignorant into participating in a rigged system.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 17, 2012 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

Jay Moore’s article is good.  For various reasons people like to forget the context of the Civil Rights movement, or maybe they’re simply ignorant in the first place.

However, I think Hedges’s attack on the Black Bloc, however dumb, has had a good effect.  People, not all of them hardcore radicals, are discussing what needs to be done and how to do it.  I haven’t seen too much of that in proggie circles.

Report this

By elisalouisa, February 17, 2012 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

Taken out of context TC, the entire paragraph below.

So, on balance, on the question of violence and non violence, such choices are contextual and should be made in light of the whole panoply of effects we can predict. More, choices by a few should not be made in ways that trump choices of the many, imposing violations of non violence on those favoring it by deeds undertaken against agreed norms. Those favoring any tactic that others reject should undertake their own separate efforts, not piggyback on larger ones that do not accept their views. And finally, in any event, at the very least in highly industrialized countries, choices to utilize property damage, much less great violence, have a very high burden of proof, precisely because we know that typically
their negative effects are great, and their positive benefits minor, if real at all.

Report this
David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 17, 2012 at 4:26 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Mark E. Smith:

“Voting in US elections delegates power to the US government instead of retaining power in the hands of the people”
__________________

Not voting against it doesn’t make the corporate-state any less powerfully supported by the people’s votes for it. Those not voting are publicly perceived as passively acquiescing to the corporate party’s (R) & (D) activist majority vote.

From a non-corporate dissident people’s power movement perspective, protest voting in elections should not be considered an end in itself. But it is an organizational tool available, with powerful potential — if it would ever be fully used for good purpose… for revolutionary purpose.

Electoral campaigns of protest in opposition to the corporate party’s policies, and in advocacy of sane and sensible solutions, are a means of access to communicate with the “normal” majority who’ve been “educated” to believe that all politics are contained within elections. Whether that access to communicate is achieved or not is dependent upon the numbers supporting the non-corporate electoral alternatives.

Voting for the changes you want adds support for protests against the system you oppose.

“Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives.”
— Malcolm X

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 17, 2012 at 1:26 am Link to this comment

For Black History Month, Chris Hedges has shown his ignorance of Black History.

The Black Freedom Movement and Chris Hedges’ Misuse of History by Jay Moore

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2012/moore160212.html

“Malcolm on his visit to Selma, Alabama in 1965 to show support for the movement there and for King who had been jailed, spoke frankly to how this was a sort of good-cop/bad-cop approach. If the white racists did not want to deal reasonably with King, then beware; the alternative was having to deal with people like himself….the equivalent of today’s “diversity of tactics.”

Report this

By tomcat, February 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

I watched the Mr. Fish video “Occupy the North Pole” while I was listening to truthdig on kpfk radio (kpfk.org).
It’s the station’s fund drive, and the hour was all about Mr. Fish…he has a book of cartoons. Scheer et al were talking to Fish from his lair….somewhere in Pennsylvania.
The show will probably be archived for future listening.

Report this

By tomcat, February 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

Back to the debate.
An overly long and wordy article, but from Michael Albert (Noam Chomsky’s writing partner) on ZNET:

“So, on balance, on the question of violence and non violence, such choices are contextual and should be made in light of the whole panoply of effects we can predict.”

http://www.zcommunications.org/violence-begets-defeat-or-too-much-pacifism-by-michael-albert

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 16, 2012 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

When protesters say, “End the wars!” but continue to vote to delegate war powers to government,

say, “Tax the rich!” but continue to vote to delegate the power to tax to government,

and say, ““We are the 99%!” but continue to vote to delegate to the 1% and their puppet government the power to run this country,

they don’t have to be taken seriously as they are voting to continue the system they are protesting.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 16, 2012 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

David J. Cyr writes, “The benefits of those counter-culture lifestyle choices are not the product of not voting.”

By “counterculture” you are referring to “other than mainstream, traditional culture” which means people who don’t vote.

DJC: “The primary function of America’s elections is to measure the actual level of societal dissidence…..”

No, David, the primary function of US elections is to provide the cover of an “elected civilian government” for the military-industrial complex, the corporations, and the 1% who actually run this country to hide behind, so that they can claim that this corporate tyranny is actually a democracy or a republic.

DJC: “The dominant society considers the non-voting portion of the eligible electorate as being either majority vote acquiescent, or comfortably dumb.”

Wrong again, David. That’s the spin that you progressive GOTV-ers try to put on it so that you can get out the vote. Even voters know that non-voters are people who refuse to vote against their own interests out of habit, fear, or due to the barrage of GOTV efforts by conservatives and progressives.

DJC: “Effectively, every passively supporting corporatism non-vote is thrown onto the same pile with the (R) & (D) actively supporting corporatism votes that provide the collaborating people’s fulcrum, which gives the corporate persons’ lever power.”

It is actually the third party votes that are thrown onto the same pile as the (R) & (D) votes. Then, if the Supreme Court allows the popular vote to be “counted” at all, the central tabulators allocate the votes in the proportions that the 1% wish, with no reference to who people actually voted for at all. At the end, the 1%, the military-industrial complex, and the corporations who run this country can then claim that they got a 50% turnout, meaning that the collaborating 50% of the eligible electorate still support corporate rule.

DJC: “Protest votes are worth casting. If the protest vote is insignificant no significance is societally given to the protesters’ positions. Neither the state nor the people consider street protests to be seriously worthy of any concern if the protests have no effect upon the voting.”

If the votes were counted and verifiable, and there was proportional representation, a protest vote would be significant, but that is not the case in the US. As long as street protests do not deter people from voting, they are not taken seriously by the powers that be, as they can be brutally suppressed. Only if protesters are opposing this system, refusing to vote for it, and creating new and better systems, will they be taken seriously. When protesters say, “End the wars!” but continue to vote to delegate war powers to government, say, “Tax the rich!” but continue to vote to delegate the power to tax to government, and say, ““We are the 99%!” but continue to vote to delegate to the 1% and their puppet government the power to run this country, they don’t have to be taken seriously as they are voting to continue the system they are protesting.

DJC: “It is moral principles consistent for counter-culture people working locally for a better world for themselves to also protest vote in support of all others having a better world too.”

Voting in US elections delegates power to the US government instead of retaining power in the hands of the people, and thus ratifies the US government in defending global corporate polluters, suppressing democracy, enforcing harsh monetary policies, and waging wars of aggression all over the world.

DJC: “Voting for good against either evil is not about “winning” an election. It’s a moral imperative.”

If it wasn’t about winning elections, you’d vote in GAs, not in elections. When tyrants hold elections it is a moral imperative not to vote.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, February 16, 2012 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

I dont have much time, so I will post about the cartoon. Mr Fish has drawn what i take to be a terrorist. The person is holding detonators, with wires that go to his belt, which is composed of red dynamite sticks. The fanciful ‘see through’ nature of the dynamite creates a cage, in which the dove is held. The proximity of the dove to the belt dynamite

Taken in the context of the article, I took this to be an anarchist who was threatening to blow peace to smithereens.

However, after i read everyone else’s interpretation of the cartoon I suppose i could be wrong. Especially since I am not well versed in art interpretation. Whoever said it was ambiguous might be right. The best art brings out the viewer’s individual feeling and opinion.

I want to point out in my defense that Mr Fish usually makes strong unambiguous statements, rather insulting and critical to the people he is cartooning against. I should know!

Check out his other works and then look at this one again. Let me know what you think.

Report this
David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 16, 2012 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Mark E. Smith:

“Actually we [non-voters] have made something better. As people become more and more unhappy with corporatism, fewer and fewer people vote and more and more people are looking for ways to bring about change that actually have a possibility of being effective. Instead of being co-opted into a failed electoral system, younger people are creating systems in which they have a real voice, such as collectives, cooperatives, and general assemblies.”
_____________________

The benefits of those counter-culture lifestyle choices are not the product of not voting.

The primary function of America’s elections is to measure the actual level of societal dissidence, because people who demonstrate against the corporate-state’s predetermined policies usually still affirmatively vote (R) & (D) for them to continue.

The dominant society considers the non-voting portion of the eligible electorate as being either majority vote acquiescent, or comfortably dumb. Effectively, every passively supporting corporatism non-vote is thrown onto the same pile with the (R) & (D) actively supporting corporatism votes that provide the collaborating people’s fulcrum, which gives the corporate persons’ lever power.

Protest votes are worth casting. If the protest vote is insignificant no significance is societally given to the protesters’ positions. Neither the state nor the people consider street protests to be seriously worthy of any concern if the protests have no effect upon the voting.

It is moral principles consistent for counter-culture people working locally for a better world for themselves to also protest vote in support of all others having a better world too.

Voting for good against either evil is not about “winning” an election. It’s a moral imperative.

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

Report this

By ardee, February 16, 2012 at 4:16 am Link to this comment

Gee Kitty,

supercilious much?

Poor cat, out of litter huh?

Report this

By Okasis, February 15, 2012 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I read CH’s article and took a few days off so I could cool down and get control of my violent reaction. I sure wouldn’t want to be called a Cancer just because I throw things sometimes, especially when I never throw anything that anyone would care about.

So, now I’ve had time to do some more thoughtful perusal of different websites, and reread a few chapters of books I am impressed with.

The best explanation of the Black Block Activists is on:
http://www.undustrialism.com;

It’s an Anarchist site, and has rebuttals to Hedges article by both David Graeber and Peter Gelderloos, along with some others, including one posted by Occupy Oakland.

I cannot remember which one discussed Gandhi and non-violence vs violence when faced with Colonialism. You have to remember that, unlike King, Gandhi’s movement lasted for decades before the Brits were defeated.

Anyway, his opinion was that non-violence was the best approach, but that if someone acted violently against the oppressor, that was much better than not acting at all. And, under no circumstances would he turn the person using violence over to the authorities, or give them the name of the person.

Solidarity among the protestors is far more important than a few broken windows or graffiti. Or, for that matter throwing back a tear gas canister rather than being gassed. It’s all relative, and the Cops and Officials have the serious weapons and the power. You do what you gotta do, in this world, or you don’t survive seventy-five years as I have.

Report this

By tomcat, February 15, 2012 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment

I guess the question is:
Can peace and anger co-exist in him, or anyone, when anger and violence are all around?
It’s difficult to know the true content of anyone’s heart…does it become clearer when you see someone’s reactions to extreme stress?
There are no simple answers to these questions…no mathematical formulas where you can plug in the value of the variables and come up with a number.
It’s kind of sad that these kinds of conversations are necessary…but it’s a reflection of the current state of much of the world.
Imagine what it’s like somewhere like Greece where extreme austerity measures announced last week have led to upheaval never before experienced by the people there. A million people in the streets of Athens a few days ago.
Sudden drastic changes in your world…like the shock of a natural disaster…but likely to continue for a long time.
How to react?...or better, how to act…to keep calm and reason…while protecting the future for those who need your protection.

Somehow Mr. Fish’s artwork really gets to the heart of the matter.
(Sorry ....couldn’t avoid the pun)

Report this

By elisalouisa, February 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

My take on the another notable Mr. Fish cartoon:  The subject is one who has broken free from the chain of corporate servitude, costing him dearly. The love he once felt is imprisoned, perhaps never to be free. Surrounded by anger and violence, it is now part of his being, continually perpetuated in his acts.

Report this

By tomcat, February 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Ardee..Ardee..Ardee.
Mark may challenge someone’s position or argument, but I really haven’t seen him demean anyone.

To demean is to say to someone “you’re stupid” or an “idiot” or to a lesser degree..Bugs’s “maroon”?

One can attempt to lessen the value of someone (demean),
but the use of the word isn’t really appropriate unless you succeed, and I doubt you’ve succeeded at that on this forum.

One could also attempt to demean by overwhelming someone with his knowledge, vocabulary, etc.
I don’t believe you pose this threat, but does it threaten you?

Have you ever seen a horse fly?
Peace.

Report this

By ardee, February 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

tomcat, February 15 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

Ardee,
You poor boy.
Mark is saying he acts consistent with his principles.
Ya dig?
Woof!

You seem confused, let me help. Mark makes absolutely no recommendation and describes no concrete course of action. Instead he demeans those who believe that voting third party is a peaceful and proper way to achieve stated goals. Mark contributes nothing.

You seem to fail to understand that a cat meows and a dog woofs….are you as confused as Mark then?

Report this

By tomcat, February 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

Oz,
The cartoon is neutral regarding the future of the dove.
It simply portrays black (bloc) surrounded by anger (red), which also surrounds the dove.
Yet peace is alive and well within him, and may indicate the true nature of the protester (i.e., the “veil” appears to have been thrown off and he’s holding it).
It’s a peace shield, and a peace cage.
It’s a good cartoon, devoid of judgement, and a bit ambiguous, so it is open to interpretations.
It’s an artists view, and it doesn’t appear to take sides.
Although the protester is strong, it’s the calm dove that captures your attention.
It’s the light in the picture.
attracts

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael—It might be more intellectually rewarding to go by what I actually wrote.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, February 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

Mr Fish is a cartoonist. His cartoons are often attached to Truthdig articles. Scroll up and check it out.

With Hedge’s article as our guide, we can see that the cartoon exaggerates the level of ‘violence’ and also shows that the current situation is this:anarchists hold peace hostage to get what they want, and will probably end up blowing themselves up and killing the peaceful dove in the process.

Anarcissie takes a sunnier view of the cartoon, namely that the cartoonist means to portray that a little violence will set the imprisoned dove of peace free at last.

What do you think?

Report this

By tomcat, February 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Who is Fish?

Report this

By tomcat, February 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Ardee,
You poor boy.
Mark is saying he acts consistent with his principles.
Ya dig?
Woof!

Report this

By ardee, February 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

An imbecilic analogy deserves noting :

I don’t approve of Wal-Mart, so I don’t shop in their stores. I don’t approve of the US government, so I don’t vote in its elections.

As if the two acts were anywhere near similar. One , a shoppers choice, at best motivated by rejection of cheaply made goods by underpaid workers, perhaps not.

The other, a citizens failure to work for the government one feels this nation needs. Anyway you slice it this poster fails in his duty to this nation, and continually offers no other choices for a consciencious person to address in attempting change.

Sit on your couch,Mark, and gripe. Atta BOY!

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 15, 2012 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

tomcat writes: “As a long time Green, I can tell you some aspects of the Green strategy of running candidates at the national level:
1. Educational….to present information and viewpoints outside of the traditional narrow perspectives of dems and repubs.”

That can be done without running candidates. I was a Green myself for several years until I’d studied the electoral system enough to realize that it was designed to deny rather than to give voters a voice.

tomcat: “2. Movement and party building…by educating and awakening people, and creating a base which would vote Green in the important local races…city councils, utility commissions, school boards, etc.
Greens hold hundreds of these local offices throughout the country, and continue to run for them, as is the true grassroots strategy.”

Unfortunately, the United States has a system of centralized government. So when good people attain local office and try to do good things, the federal government defunds them.

tomcat: “3. In some cases, actually moving the debate.
In 2000, the peak of Green Party popularity (via Nader), had he been allowed in the debates, it’s not inconceivable that he could have won…..”

And if wishes were fishes we’d all have a fry.

tomcat: “That “election”, like no other, showed how the system was broken, yet all the evidence was glossed over and ultimately ignored.”

Particularly by Greens, who keep trying to beat a dead horse by using a system they know doesn’t work. And it isn’t broken, it is working exactly as the Framers of the Constitution designed it to do, ensuring that the 1% would always run the country.

tomcat: “Obviously, third parties have no chance of gaining national power in this closed system.
So as I said, I’ll vote for Jill Stein because she, and the party represent me, although I know the best and perhaps only chance for transformation in this country lies with Occupy.”

Okay, you know Stein can’t win, but you’ll vote for Stein because you believe that someone who won’t be allowed to represent you, represents you. That’s true. You are represented only by those who aren’t allowed to represent you, because it is a closed system.

No matter what excuses you and others may give, those who vote in a system where they know the game is rigged and they can’t win, have only one genuine motive for voting—they feel obligated to do their civic duty to the system. They may do it in what they fancy are rebellious ways, such as voting for people they know can’t win and who would be powerless if they did, but it is impossible for those who support the system to stop voting for it.

The excuses that “if” the votes were counted, and “if” third party candidates had an equal playing field, and “if” the media wasn’t biased, and “if” polka-dot fairies danced on ballot boxes, are just rationalizations for performing a civic duty to a state which is undemocratic and should be opposed rather than obeyed.

Report this

By tomcat, February 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

They’re PARAMETERS, not perimeters, baby.

Report this

By tomcat, February 15, 2012 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

As a long time Green, I can tell you some aspects of the Green strategy of running candidates at the national level:
1. Educational….to present information and viewpoints outside of the traditional narrow perspectives of dems and repubs.
2. Movement and party building…by educating and awakening people, and creating a base which would vote Green in the important local races…city councils, utility commissions, school boards, etc.
Greens hold hundreds of these local offices throughout the country, and continue to run for them, as is the true grassroots strategy.
3. In some cases, actually moving the debate.
In 2000, the peak of Green Party popularity (via Nader), had he been allowed in the debates, it’s not inconceivable that he could have won. In national polls he was, I believe, in the 15% range, but the polling threshold for getting into the debates was higher. The debate commission is made up of dems and repubs, so they keep the threshold high.
When Bush was selected, the vitriolic dem backlash against Nader led to a much weakened Green Party.
That “election”, like no other, showed how the system was broken, yet all the evidence was glossed over and ultimately ignored.
Remember, Jeb Bush had assured his brother that Florida would be his.
Obviously, third parties have no chance of gaining national power in this closed system.
So as I said, I’ll vote for Jill Stein because she, and the party represent me, although I know the best and perhaps only chance for transformation in this country lies with Occupy.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 15, 2012 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

David J. Cyr writes: “I’m well aware of the regularity of election “irregularities”... and of the regularity of voter suppression.”

So you don’t mind if the votes aren’t counted, or are flipped to different candidates, as long as people vote?

DJC: “However, the greatest problem with elections isn’t what the corporate-state does. It’s what too many people don’t do. There are too few standing together voting in opposition to corporatism, and even fewer willing to organizationally ensure that their votes are counted. We don’t have democracy because most people don’t want to do the work required to have it.”

David, you can’t vote “in opposition to corporatism” by voting in elections where a corporate government controls the outcome of the elections.

DJC: “Note how very quiet the all about GOTV “progressives” are here, Mark, while you wage a relentless campaign to suppress the Green vote turnout of opposition to the corporatism that their (D) votes protect and preserve.”

David, YOU are one of the GOTV “progressives,” you’re just getting out the vote for a different party. I’m not campaigning to suppress the Green vote, I’m campaigning to get people to stop voting in and for the corporate system. It isn’t the votes that protect and preserve corporatism, it is the elections that protect and preserve corporatism by giving voters the illusion of choice when the results of all elections held by a corporatist government are and will always be more corporatism no matter who you vote for, because it is the corporatists who “count” the “votes” and decide the outcome of the “elections.”

DJC: “While the non-voters have been “winning” every election for NOTA, by not voting, their not voting hasn’t made anything better.”

Actually we have made something better. As people become more and more unhappy with corporatism, fewer and fewer people vote and more and more people are looking for ways to bring about change that actually have a possibility of being effective. Instead of being co-opted into a failed electoral system, younger people are creating systems in which they have a real voice, such as collectives, cooperatives, and general assemblies.

When your Green Party meets, you and I both know you don’t allow the government to count (or decide not to count) your votes secretly, and you operate by consensus. The Green Party’s Ten Key Values are excellent, but it made the same mistake as the Democrats and Republicans by trying to seek power within the corporate system instead of opposing the system.

One of the most important Green Party values is decentralized government, so it is hypocritical for Greens to run for office in a system of centralized government.

I don’t approve of Wal-Mart, so I don’t shop in their stores. I don’t approve of the US government, so I don’t vote in its elections. Just because many people shop at Wal-Mart and vote, doesn’t mean that my opposition is useless, or that the people who shop at Wal-Mart and vote have prevailed because I won’t join them. I also tell people why they shouldn’t shop at Wal-Mart or vote, and there is growing opposition to both corporatist systems.

If you think you can change a corporate system by voting in its elections and getting people to run for office to be part of it, why don’t you try changing Wal-Mart by shopping there and getting a job there? Getting some Greens to shop and work at Wal-Mart would not change their system because it is a hierarchical bureaucratic system like the US government and it cannot be changed from within. Put your energy into good systems and boycott bad systems.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 15, 2012 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, February 14 at 8:36 pm:

‘I wonder why everyone is mad at Hedges, but nobody says anything about Mr Fish. The Fish cartoon protrays you guys as suicide bombers. ...’

The cartoon appears ambiguous to me.  Inside the suicide bomber, if that’s what the main figure is, there appears to be a dove in a kind of prison—a symbol of peace.  Perhaps it’s a satire of suicide bombers, who think peace will be, shall we say, spread around by blowing themselves up.  However, no one connected with the Occupy movements have blown themselves up, that I know about, so maybe its a satire of opponents’ fantasies about the Occupy movements.

Anyway—I don’t think most people discussing Hedges here are angry.  At least, they are not halfway as angry as Hedges seems to be.  Many people, including myself, disparaged his ‘cancer’ metaphor, which I see as the sort of rhetorical excess to which a habit of hysteria inevitably leads.  That sort of talk (as I have noted) has a very unpleasant history and association with violence, which Hedges claims to abjure.  I have also pointed out (as have several other people) that Hedges’s ideas of ‘violence’ and ‘non-violence’ seem to be in constant flux.  I don’t see anything here to get angry about, though.

Report this
David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 15, 2012 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Mark E. Smith:

“You seem to think that just because every previous election in US history has been rigged, the next one might not be. But nothing has changed, so you have no rational basis for that belief.”
__________________

I’m well aware of the regularity of election “irregularities”... and of the regularity of voter suppression.

However, the greatest problem with elections isn’t what the corporate-state does. It’s what too many people don’t do. There are too few standing together voting in opposition to corporatism, and even fewer willing to organizationally ensure that their votes are counted. We don’t have democracy because most people don’t want to do the work required to have it.

Note how very quiet the all about GOTV “progressives” are here, Mark, while you wage a relentless campaign to suppress the Green vote turnout of opposition to the corporatism that their (D) votes protect and preserve.

While the non-voters have been “winning” every election for NOTA, by not voting, their not voting hasn’t made anything better.

The “Principles” of Liberal Voters:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=491&Itemid=1

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 15, 2012 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

@David J. Cyr:

David, I’m sure you remember that in 2004, David Cobb was the Green Party candidate for President:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Cobb

The election was disputed, and Cobb and Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik sought a recount. But it was the 1% who had originally counted the votes who did the recount, and although the results of the recount differed slightly, they did not change the outcome of the “election.”

One woman in Chicago attended a vidotaped meeting of voters who believed that the election had been rigged. She said that she had voted for Cobb, but that the results for her precinct showed zero votes for Cobb.

Years later, Richard Hayes Phillips was able to do an audit of some of the votes in Ohio and provided conclusive, fully documented evidence of widespread fraud by elections officials. The book is called, Witness to a Crime: A Citizens’ Audit of an American Election, and includes “a CD with 1200 digital images of ballots, poll books, voter signature books, and other elections records, for all to see, and for none to deny.”

Among the things Phillips was able to document were that, “three-fifths of the ballots punched for a liberal black woman for Chief Justice, and half of the ballots punched in favor of gay marriage, were also punched for Bush. Thousands of ballots in heavily Democratic precincts were pre-punched for third-party candidates. Voting machines were rigged, tabulators were rigged, ballot boxes were stuffed, ballots were altered, ballots were sorted according to candidate, and ballots were destroyed.”

Everyone who votes, or who is considering voting, should have a copy of this book.

Phillips had to go to court to stop elections officials from illegally destroying the evidence, but it took a long time and much was destroyed before the courts could intervene.

Why would you revolt against a system that you trust enough to allow it to count your votes secretly, or to decide not to count your votes at all? Why do you trust a system that has been proven to rig elections? Another good book is, Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, an American Political Tradition-1742-2004, by Tracy Campbell. The 1% have always determined the outcome of US elections, not the voters.

You’re not revolting against the system by voting, you’re demonstrating your faith in the system and urging others to trust the system. You seem to think that just because every previous election in US history has been rigged, the next one might not be. But nothing has changed, so you have no rational basis for that belief.

You wrote a great essay explaining clearly why the system should not be trusted. And yet you turn around and ask people to trust the system and you, yourself, trust the system enough to continue to vote and allow the system to decide the outcome.

The Democrats and Republicans aren’t the problem, David. The problem is everyone who trusts the system enough to vote in its elections. People who have that much faith in an undemocratic system of government aren’t going to revolt, because they believe that the system is basically trustworthy and only needs a few reforms. It isn’t. The US system of government, whether you call it corporatocracy, plutocracy, oligarchy, or tyranny of the 1%, is rotten to the core and needs to be changed. It is not a government of, by, and for the people. Voting cannot change that.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 15, 2012 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

David J. Cyr responds to my statement that, “We cannot make the necessary changes to our electoral system by voting, by saying:

“Well, clearly not by voting how Americans have voted, with half abstaining…”

It doesn’t matter if every eligible voter in the country votes for Jill Stein, David, the Supreme Court will simply nullify the election and put somebody else in office.

DJC: The millions of voters who refuse to vote for people’s candidates standing in opposition to the corporate party’s (R) & (D) candidates, because they think that their votes might not be counted, are like rational atheists who irrationally commit suicide to prove that there is no afterlife.

No, David, it is not a question of belief. It is a question of fact. In 2000 the Supreme Court ruled that the popular vote does not have to be counted and they ordered that the votes not be counted.

People who vote are irrationally believing that their votes just might be counted, when the reality is that they have no Constitutional right to have their votes counted. It isn’t a question of belief, rational or irrational. It is a matter of undisputable fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that there is no need to count the popular vote and has shown that if they don’t like the results of an election they will intervene and order that the votes not be counted.

DJF: “If the Occupiers refuse to use the vote in revolt, then — regardless of whatever nonviolent or violent street tactics they deploy — their protest will just serve to increase the….mandate for a continuum of corporatism.”

Uncounted votes cannot be used in revolt. Only votes which have to be counted, in electoral systems where the count can be verified and the voters have the final say so that no government body can intervene and stop or overturn the vote, can be used in revolt.

I explained clearly how these conditions prevailed in Venezuela, allowing people to use the vote in revolt, but do not exist in the USA.

Unless votes have to be counted, they cannot be used in revolt because the 1% that people are revolting against will simply not count the votes.

Unless votes can be verified, they cannot be used in revolt because the 1% that people are revolting against can flip the votes, miscount the votes, throw out votes they don’t like and substitute votes they want, and there is no way to verify the fraud.

And unless the vote is the final say, the vote cannot be used in revolt because the 1% that people are revolting against will overrule it.

Votes can only be used in revolt in a democratic system where power in vested in the hands of the people and the people have the right to have their votes counted, the votes are verifiable so that the elections cannot be rigged, and the popular vote cannot be ignored by corrupt elections officials, the media, the Electoral College, Congress, or the Supreme Court.

In the 2000 race, Al Gore won the popular vote, but since the popular vote does not determine the results of US elections, he did not become President.

In the 2004 race, John Kerry won the popular vote, but since the popular vote does not determine the results of US elections, he did not become President.

In the 2008 race, Barack Obama won the popular vote, and since he was the preferred choice of the corporations, the military-industrial complex, and the bank and financial industry, who donated more money to him than to John McCain, he was allowed to take office.

I assure you that if Jill Stein wins the popular vote, the 1% will not allow Jill Stein to take office. Only those chosen by the 1% can take office in US elections. The Constitution was written to ensure that the 1% would always have the final say in US elections.

It is voting that is suicide. It is saying that you trust the system so much that you’re willing to cast a vote and allow the 1% to decide whether or not to count it. Do you?

Report this
David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 15, 2012 at 4:10 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Mark E. Smith:

“We cannot make the necessary changes to our electoral system by voting.”
_____________________

Well, clearly not by voting how Americans have voted, with half abstaining:

About 25% of eligible voters faith-based vote for the corporate party’s Republicans today, because they’re certain that their lottery numbers will surely win them millions or billions tomorrow.

Another 25% civil-obediently vote for the corporate party’s Democrats, because they’d much rather always surrender to fascism than ever lose to fascists.

Near all the remaining (approximately 50%) refuse to vote because they’re afraid they might win what they want… and then have to work together to keep it.

The millions of voters who refuse to vote for people’s candidates standing in opposition to the corporate party’s (R) & (D) candidates, because they think that their votes might not be counted, are like rational atheists who irrationally commit suicide to prove that there is no afterlife.

If the Occupiers refuse to use the vote in revolt, then — regardless of whatever nonviolent or violent street tactics they deploy — their protest will just serve to increase the voting for the corporate party’s Democrats of deception… providing another 99% popular vote (R) & (D) mandate for a continuum of corporatism.

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

Report this

By ZakkFlash, February 15, 2012 at 1:49 am Link to this comment

Hedging Our Bets on the Black Bloc: The Impotence of Mere Liberalism

http://occupyeverything.org/2012/hedging-our-bets-on-the-black-bloc-the-impotence-of-mere-liberalism/

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment

OZ——what kind of masochist invites Fish stories?

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, February 14, 2012 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment

I wonder why everyone is mad at Hedges, but nobody says anything about Mr Fish. The Fish cartoon protrays you guys as suicide bombers.

If I was an anarchist/communist, I would find the Fish cartoon attached to the article most insulting, worse than the article itself.

Now as far as “a long road to hoe” you are both wrong. The original saying came from the mouth of General ‘Fighting Joe Hooker’.

When he wasnt busy fighting rebels, General Hooker visited a brothel, and they say that 10 gals were all lined up on one bench to please him. But he shook his head and remarked, “Thats a long row of ‘ho’!” which everyone took to mean that it would be difficult to go all through the whole line in one night.

This also resulted in an addition to the American vocabulary. Whores would thereafter be known as ‘Hookers’.

Report this

By tomcat, February 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

Here’s an example of good things Occupy is doing:

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Occupy-Protesters-Help-Vet-Save-Home-139327183.html?fullSite=y

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment

yeah, get back to the land
and set your soul free

yup


http://youtu.be/mF_XB5xrHS4

Report this

By tomcat, February 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, kinda silly of me.
Gotta get back to the land….

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment

not to go all Korky on ya, but in case you didn’t know,
the expression is “long row to hoe”

Report this

By tomcat, February 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Let’s keep the party alive!
I posted this earlier on another forum:

The “debate” (I use quotation marks, because discussion was rarely rational, and often emotional)  on non-violence, OWS, black bloc, etc. raged for days on truthdig after Hedges’ article. I’ve been vocal about “supporters” of the movement being open-minded to black bloc (tactics).
The subject of violence is, unfortunately, one which most people don’t address in depth, although we live in arguably the most violent culture and country in existence.
I think this fact could be an example of a truth such as Havel referred to.
That is one truth that must be embraced by the people, to move them beyond their present level of support (which could easily shatter with the next broken window),  to a place where they will not react, and will rather think first about what the police did to provoke.
Again, unfortunately, this may be a long road to hoe.
And, as debates often incorrectly are framed, it’s not an either/or proposition.
Violence vs. nonviolence.
Perception, context, magnitude ...so many variables to discuss to reach understanding.
Basically, if you don’t know why it happened, shouldn’t you find out first before passing judgement?
As Mr. Moral Authority, C. Hedges, demonstrates, people do judge….and quickly.
How to help the people to be thoughtful and supportive…not judgemental…
(the emotional responses from witnessing “violence” is a huge issue in itself).

The people need to know the amazing things Occupeeps do.
I see those things all the time just from this listserve. Once they know, they’ll truly see the importance of this movement, which will then have their trust.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

@David J. Cyr: In Venezuela the people brought about a new government by voting.

Like the US, they’d also had a two-party system with an iron lock on electoral politics that had regularly garnered 97% of the vote. They’d also had a corporate-owned media where fortunes were spent promoting the major party candidates while third party candidates were smeared relentlessly or denied coverage at all. So I couldn’t understand how they’d changed things by voting and I asked a friend of mine who lives in Caracas. It turns out that even before 1998, there were crucial differences between the Venezuelan electoral system and our own. Among them:

In Venezuela, unlike here, the Constitution did guarantee that the votes had to be counted. Votes that don’t have to be counted aren’t really votes. If they don’t have to be counted, they’re not even suggestions, just a way to trick people into thinking that they’re participating when they’re actually being ignored.

In Venezuela, unlike here, the votes were verifiable. Every voter got a receipt showing how they had voted. In the case of a dispute, people brought their receipts and the receipts were counted openly and publicly. So they never had problems like thousands of votes disappearing or being flipped from one candidate to another as we do here.

In Venezuela, unlike here, the popular vote was and is the final say in all elections. So even though the 1% didn’t like the results of the 1998 election, their Supreme Court was Constitutionally unable to nullify it and select the President themselves, as the US Supreme Court did here in 2000.

In Venezuela, unlike here, the people were able to directly vote for all political offices, including President. With the new Constitution they can also directly vote to recall any government official at any time. Recently there was a recall effort organized against Chavez, but it lost because while many Venezuelans may disagree with him on certain things, they much prefer him to the corporate oligarchy they’d had previously, which had denied them the benefits they enjoy now, such as free health care, education, housing for the poor, etc. My friend from Caracas was up here to visit his mom recently and when he stopped by to see me he told me that he was shocked to see so many homeless people. Of course it is shocking, particularly since the US is not a poor or undeveloped country. We just have an electoral system rigged in favor of the 1% and against the 99%.

We cannot make the necessary changes to our electoral system by voting. When a system doesn’t work, you can’t make it work by continuing to use it as if it was working. That’s just beating a dead horse. Efforts to get a Constitutional Amendment to change our electoral system, even if successful, are unlikely to be ratified. Millions of people worked hard on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) for decades but it was never ratified.

In Ireland, as in Germany, Canada, and many other countries, they have hand-counted ballots with citizen oversight. When the Irish government tried to introduce electronic voting machine and central tabulators that would have made the vote count secret and unverifiable, as it is here in the US, the Irish people rebelled and refused to use the machines. Boycotts work. The Irish government ended up having to scrap the machines that they’d spent millions of dollars on, because people wouldn’t use them.

As long as we’re willing to vote in rigged elections, we’ll never get honest elections. And until we get honest elections, voting won’t change anything.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

David J. Cyr writes: “Where we differ Mark, is in our respective appraisals of the potential utility of using elections for revolutionary purpose.”

Yes, that’s exactly where we differ.

DJC: “Since voting for any of the corporate party’s Republicans and Democrats is a heinous criminal act — a war crime and a crime against both humanity and Nature — it is certainly better to not vote than to vote for either evil.”

Thank you.

DJC: “But, I believe it’s much more useful for people in opposition to the corporat-state to develop an organized political party of opposition and stand in support of their opposition party candidates.”

It is possible, and indeed has been done many times in many countries, for there to be organized opposition to the corporate state that does not take the form of a political party. In opposing a system, it is not necessary to play the system’s game and play by the system’s rules, indeed it is disadvantageous to do so. Since the rules benefit the 1% and not the 99%, we need to change the rules and change the game.

DJC: “It is better for the good to assertively vote against evil — regardless of how well the (R) & (D) evil have rigged their elections — than it is for the good to passively disappear themselves from the electorate.”

Wait! It is better to vote “regardless of how well the (R) & (D) evil have rigged their elections?” Even when they’ve rigged them so that the votes don’t have to be counted, which they have (although it was the Framers of the Constitution who did so long before the political parties had formed)?

It’s one thing to knock on a friend’s door and keep knocking when they don’t answer if you think they might be home and might not have heard your knock due to being in the shower or listening to music with headphones. It is an entirely different thing to keep knocking on your friend’s door and expecting, or at least hoping that they’ll answer, if you already know for a fact that they’re not home.

When the elections have been rigged so badly that there is no possibility of voters having a voice in government, which happens to be the case in the US, nothing can be accomplished by voting.

DJC: “When millions who would sensibly vote against the corporate-state’s (R) & (D) candidates refuse to vote, they merely increase the public’s perception that the only “reasonable” choices available are between the corporate party’s (R) or (D) evils.”

That’s not true, David. When the elections are rigged so that no matter how people vote, the corporations (the 1%) will always win, the public perception of the half of us who don’t vote is that it is foolish to vote.

DJC: “If the good intentioned refuse to use elections for good purpose, in firm opposition to (R) & (D) evil purpose, then the only option left is hospice care.”

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. It is not possible to use an electoral system designed for evil purposes, i.e., to keep the 1% in power, for good purposes, because it was designed expressly to prevent any such thing.

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

JD=== yes, you’re very effectively baffled. 


yes, sum is outrageously welty, and sum 150,000,000 ain’t.

.....when, in real life,  rather than in bullshit     ”  Further analysis shows that
much, if not all, of liquid assets that are the result of the proceeds of the labor
of the 150,000,000 finds it way into the coffers of the 400.”


get back to us .

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

RE: heterochromatic, February 13 at 12:15 pm

Heterochromatic asks “…you got a grievance and it ain’t been redressed?” The question baffles me. Is the question an attempt at humor? Does the question indicate a complete lack acuity on the part of the asker? Hum…? I’ll take the question at face value even though the use of the word “ain’t” indicates a mindless flippancy or an abstract sarcasm showing little talent in the use of sarcasm.

So chromy, are you oblivious to the reasons why the Occupy movement came into existence? Doesn’t the very existence of Occupy show that Occupiers have a grievance or two that they would like to see redressed? Yes Occupiers have a long list of grievances which they have stated tautologically. As for me, I have grievances more than one as well. For example, a grievous statistic that grieves me is the statistic that shows that just 400 Americans possess more combined wealth than the combined wealth of 150,000,000 Americans, such grieves me, I think this reality is egregious, and shows a systemic greed that is grievous and egregious. (I have a grievance against grievous egregious greed.) Now chromy, if you have a problem with mathematical perception let me point out that 400 is really, really, tiny as compared to 150,000,000, and the fact that just 400 people have more combined wealth than the combined wealth of 150,000,000 indicates that an individual who is a part of the 400 filthily, egregiously, rich (Rico?) as compared to an individual within the 150,000,000 has got lots and lots and lots and lots more money; more than he and his family could ever put to use. A person fortunate enough to build a fortune large enough to make him a part of the 400 would have so much money that he could use $100 bills for toilet paper and never notice the loss, or pay for a million dollar party i.e. wedding, debutante coming out ball, etc. without ever noticing the expense, while people who are a part of the 150,000,000 frequently go without the basic necessities of life and struggle to pay for such amenities as food and shelter for their families. People such as me are grieved by this reality and thus a grievance comes into existence. Further analysis shows that much, if not all, of liquid assets that are the result of the proceeds of the labor of the 150,000,000 finds it way into the coffers of the 400. The resulting grievance is concerned with grievous, egregious, greed and a condemnation of the egregious greedy i.e. arrogant, parasitic, compassionless, worshipers of mammon, who see their grievous, egregious, greed as a measure of their self worth. The humble millionaire grovels before the multi-millionaire, longs for more millions, and dreams of becoming a billionaire in order to put those paltry multi-millionaires to shame. Unfortunately, those 150,000,000 who create the riches of millionaires with their labor are always an obstacle to the humble millionaire achieving his dreams, what with their demands for a living wage and benefits and whatnot.  There are many more grievances that could be mentioned such as inordinate power in a democracy resulting in policies ultimately destructive to the welfare of many millions but desired and implemented by the 400 and their sycophants.

One additional small grievance that I will mention is the following. I’m grieved that a moron would ask the following question after I have made my opposition to violence perfectly clear.

“is that your justification for violence?”

As stated above I am baffled by such moronic question[s] the answers to which are self evident.

Report this

By Tommy The Cat, February 14, 2012 at 11:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sweet Jesus…how does one get off the “send me a
notice when a cat farts on Truthdig.com”??? This is
just another bullshit rag tag pile of narcissistic
drivel…leave the ‘he said/she said’ crap to FB or
YouTube, for cryin’ out loud!! I thought this puppy
was supposed to actually have some sort of cerebral
content/context…rather than the rants of folks that
NEED to move away from the desktop/laptop/coffee
shop…

Love,

Mr Know-It-All…
(well, at least toss in SOME humor, ‘cause remember
how the saying goes “beware of zealots, they’re
generally humorless”

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 14, 2012 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

Foucauldian, February 13 at 6:47 pm:

Is Graeber capitalizing on the events, you think?
Is there anyone left we can trust?

DG has probably enhanced his career recently by associating with activists and also being able to speak and write articulately about them, but not so many years ago he was denied tenure at Yale probably for the same associations. Radical activism is not always the ticket to worldly success, and DG has been at it for some time now.

I suppose there are people who perceive him as having outscored them in some way and are a bit envious.

Report this
David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 14, 2012 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Mark E. Smith:

“The framers of the Constitution were the 1% of their time and they wanted to ensure that they and people like themselves, those who owned the country, would always run the country. They opposed democracy, which they saw as mob rule by an incompetent rabble. So while they included an electoral process to allow at least some people to vote, they made sure that vote would never be the final say.”
______________________

Yes, the successfully achieved intent of the Constitution was to establish a non-democratic oligarchy representing the privatizing monied interests of the slave and indentured servant owning colonial gangsters, who no longer wished to pay tax tribute to their old monarchial mob bosses back in England. The Founding Fathers’ “enlightened” liberal design is still achieving their original intent. What the corporate media today refers to as the “Middle-Class” is actually the Indentured Class.

As the wealth of the Founding Fathers’ vicious young aggressively expansionist nation rapidly exponentially increased, and the systems of exploitation became far larger and more complex, more organizationally sophisticated corporate entities evolved to replace the small business slave holders… and a war was fought to determine whether white male landed gentry would maintain ownership of government and continue to inefficiently keep just black slaves in iron chains, or corporations would become the owners of government and much more profitably employ far greater numbers of wage slaves of all races… using mental chains, rather than metal ones.

However, after the corporate-state emerged from the industrialized North’s victory in the American Civil War, people’s movements developed with intentions to move towards democracy… the Populists, followed by Socialists, etc.

The early Progressives and the modern Democrats were the corporate-state’s response… it’s political kill/capture teams used to exterminate democratic organizations, and to either neutralize or moderate mass movements.

Todays corporate party liberals are actually conservatives, (D) dedicated to protecting and preserving the oligarchy that the liberal Founding Fathers created to privatize the commons and concentrate wealth.

Where we differ Mark, is in our respective appraisals of the potential utility of using elections for revolutionary purpose. Since voting for any of the corporate party’s Republicans and Democrats is a heinous criminal act — a war crime and a crime against both humanity and Nature — it is certainly better to not vote than to vote for either evil. But, I believe it’s much more useful for people in opposition to the corporat-state to develop an organized political party of opposition and stand in support of their opposition party candidates. It is better for the good to assertively vote against evil — regardless of how well the (R) & (D) evil have rigged their elections — than it is for the good to passively disappear themselves from the electorate. When millions who would sensibly vote against the corporate-state’s (R) & (D) candidates refuse to vote, they merely increase the public’s perception that the only “reasonable” choices available are between the corporate party’s (R) or (D) evils.

If the good intentioned refuse to use elections for good purpose, in firm opposition to (R) & (D) evil purpose, then the only option left is hospice care.

http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/features/2009/07/09/climate-wars-part-12-cd/

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

Report this

By ardee, February 14, 2012 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

By tomcat, February 13 at 8:19 pm

Cats dont “woof” just as you have nothing to say ever.

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

yes, Elisa, teach the old tomcat how it feels to have his nuts cracked.

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment

Elialouisa,
ALL wrong? Wow, you’re a tough nut to crack.
Perhaps you can…teach me?

Now where do you have De Niro’s picture relative to CH?
Come on…don’t be coy!...
although coy is kind of fun…

Report this

By Foucauldian, February 13, 2012 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

If you think it works, TC, only if you think it
works.

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

Oz,
Good one!
I don’t know about you, but she has incited me to action!
LOL

Report this

By elisalouisa, February 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

As usual you’ve got it all wrong.

Robert De Niro said, You talkin’ to me???

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 13, 2012 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

quite tacky.

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian,
How’s my new tack?
TC

Report this

By elisalouisa, February 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

Graeber links:
http://www.imackgroup.com/mathematics/704632-bloomberg-david-graeber-the-anti-leader-of-occupy-wall-street

http://www.observer.com/2011/12/banks-got-bailed-out-david-graeber-sells-out-ows-figurehead-goes-mainstream-for-newbook

http://capitalismisover.com/debt-by-david-graeber

Not everyone would understand passive resistance as you and other anarchists have proven so well. I really don’t get the impression that you are interested in my views as much as you wish to tear such a lifestyle/belief/aspiration apart. Much has been written about the subject. You could start there.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, February 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

tomcat said:

How much is CH paying you to be his defender and attack dog out here? Woof woof.

Elisalouisa, agent provocateur!

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

Dear E.
Passive resistance….demonstrative alone together…. ..hand cream…
O.k., I’m in!

Report this

By Foucauldian, February 13, 2012 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

I’m certain Anarcissie does.

Report this

By Foucauldian, February 13, 2012 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

One’s supposed to be emotionally tied up to his or
her position, tomcat.  What other way is there?

Perhaps you should try another tack rather than be
giving up that easily.

Report this

By elisalouisa, February 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

Those who Occupy Wall Street say for themselves what their demonstrations shall consist of. If those who use passive resistance wish to demonstrative together alone, so be it. Their commitment to that way must be respected.

Now if you will excuse me, a hand cream corporation has just e-mailed me, wishing to discuss an endorsement. Does anyone know the name of Graeber’s agent?

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

Elisalouisa,
This may be the last time I write, as my orbit will be taking me beyond the reach of your words…
and…you’ve failed to respond to my message….
so I’ll do what my gut told me to do a few days ago, and give up trying to dialogue with someone who is so emotionally tied to her position, that she won’t change.

How much is CH paying you to be his defender and attack dog out here? Woof woof.

God old wikipedia- here’s about Graeber:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Graeber


p.s. do you plan on submitting CH for sainthood?
TC

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

Sorry OZ,
but it’s a long road from rock and bottle throwing to Lenin…but how quickly you made the trip!
But I’ll make it easy for you.
My post is aimed at OWS supporters who’d like to or need to say what is and isn’t (mostly isn’t) ok for occupiers on the front line to do…the hand-wringers…like Elisalouisa and her precious CH.
My message is: overcome your fears…let them go.
Nonviolence is a strategy, not the answer to your prayers.
There has never been purity in a nonviolent movement.
Random, spontaneous, unpredictable, inevitable.
Things will happen which some label as violent.
When these things happen, don’t judge.
Trust the occupiers assess and act, if need be.

Report this

By Dylan, February 13, 2012 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow. Very disappointed in Chris Hedges take. He clearly has his argument and
facts wrong. Would have thought someone like him would have a better
understanding of the nuance on BB tactics. Hedges article is another tool that will
help to shatter the movement. Exactly what those in power are hoping for.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, February 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

JDMysticDJ said: “You imply that confrontation is an evil but more specifically that confronting authority is an evil.”

No, I never said that. Your entire two-page diatribe is based on a false assumption. All your dictionary definitions and tangential thinking was for naught.

Furthermore, you are beating a dead horse. Everyone passed it by. Credit your windy two-pager for that if it makes your day.

Report this

By Foucauldian, February 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

Is Graeber capitalizing on the events, you think?

Is there anyone left we can trust?

Report this

By elisalouisa, February 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

Odd coincidence that the release date of David Graeber’s book “Debt” is quite timely, having coming out on October 5th just when the NYPD pepper-spray incident occurred in Zuccotti Park. Coincidence? The fame that all this brought got the best of Graeber. Sadly, he left the winter weather and his friends at OWS for the good life. That meant TV interviews, articles in magazines, etc. to discuss OWS and his new book “Debt, the first 5,000 Years”,taking advantage of his OWS fame.  Most likely, when the winter weather has subsided and Graeber is in need of more publicity for the book he is now writing, he shall return. His second yet untitled book will include “the story of the Occupy movement. It will also be written quickly, most likely the release date synchronizing with a well publicized OWS event. Then off again to his hedonistic lifestyle, laughing all the way to the bank,  his OWS anarchist followers left in the dust.

Does all this infer that David Graeber is part of Wall Street? Chris Hedges where are you?

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 13, 2012 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

it sorta looks like a kid’s snare drum

http://youtu.be/VWQHf3tKkIU

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 13, 2012 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

(Part 1 of 2-part comment)

David J. Cyr, I just read your truly excellent, outstandingly informed and perceptive article:

The Violence of “Nonviolence”
http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=492&Itemid=1

I’d like to quote something you said in the article:

“Liberals persuaded the New Left to only use ‘nonviolent’ means, while those same liberals made it impossible for the Left to effectively use the nonviolent means that elections could and should have been used for to obtain social justice. Liberals ensured that no true Left alternative could use elections to become politically viable.”

That’s the only part I disagree with.

The framers of the Constitution were the 1% of their time and they wanted to ensure that they and people like themselves, those who owned the country, would always run the country. They opposed democracy, which they saw as mob rule by an incompetent rabble. So while they included an electoral process to allow at least some people to vote, they made sure that vote would never be the final say.

They did this in many ways. They included no guarantee that the votes had to be counted. They set up a system where votes would be for candidates rather than on issues like budgets and wars. They did not include a right of recall at the federal level, thus leaving government officials free to impose their own will with impunity rather than being bound to carry out the will of the people. This last one is important, because if you can’t hold your representatives accountable during their terms of office, they can wreak havoc and your only option is to try to elect more benevolent representatives once the harm has been done and cannot be undone.

But they went even farther. Rather than establishing a democracy where supreme power over government is vested in the hands of the people, or a republic where supreme power is still vested in the hands of the people but can only be exercised through their representatives, they vested power in the government and gave the people no power over their representatives and therefore no way to exercise their will through their representatives. That’s why even among Democrats and Republicans, Congress has less than a 10% approval rating.

The Framers also built in many more safeguards to ensure that the people would have only a worthless sham of a “vote” rather than a real voice in government that could influence or decide policy. They put barriers between the voters and the results of the election, like the Electoral College, Congress, which alone has the Constitutional right to accept or reject Electoral votes and the sole right to judge the “elections, returns, and qualifications” of its own members, along with the sole right to remove its own Members (something Congress has never done), and the Supreme Court, an unelected body that can nullify elections any time it wants, as it did in 2000, and whose decisions, no matter how unconstitutional, unprecedented, and irrational, cannot be appealed.

As blacks and then women got the vote, the government took more and more steps to ensure that the vote would be meaningless. Nowadays more than 92% of all ballots cast in US elections are “counted” by central tabulators and cannot be verified. That’s how Ralph Nader found himself getting a large number of votes in a district where he had almost no support, because the central tabulators had been programmed to take enough votes away from the Democratic candidate to ensure a loss, allocate enough of them to the Republican candidate to ensure a win, and distribute any excess votes among third party candidates.

(continued)

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

(Part 2 of 2-part response to David J. Cyr)

You’d have thought that the Democrats would have been up in arms, but they aren’t actually political opponents of the Republicans, they are political colleagues and partners of the Republicans. When people first starting pointing out that the electronic voting machines and central tabulators were unreliable and unverifiable, the Democrats and Republicans BOTH called us conspiracy theorists. As Walter Karp explained in his classic book, “Indispensable Enemies,” the Democrats and Republicans work together to maintain a lock on the US electoral system and neither one could do it without the other. They are not two parties, as they both represent the military-industrial complex and the 1%. There are a few mavericks on both sides of the aisle who attempt to represent their constituents, but those who control the electoral system make sure that the dissidents can never gain a majority and therefore will always be powerless and ineffective.

And, of course, if the 1% want another war, their puppet President doesn’t even have to consult Congress. If Congress should be as disobedient as to attempt to defund the war, as it did during the Iran-Contra scandal, the 1% can use the military and the intelligence agencies which are not answerable to, or subject to effective oversight by either Congress or the President, to continue the war by covert means. And if the President doesn’t follow orders, as was the case with JFK, the President can easily be eliminated and replaced.

As Emma Goldman famously said over a hundred years ago, “If elections could change anything, they’d make them illegal.” Emma Goldman was considered the most dangerous woman in the US and was deported.

In some countries, elections CAN change things. Those are countries where the votes DO have to be counted, where the votes ARE verifiable, and where the popular vote is the final say and cannot be nullified, overturned, or overridden by an Electoral College, a Congress, a Supreme Court, or any other governmental body. In such countries power is vested in the hands of the people, not in the hands of the government.

In countries where votes can change things, voting is the most precious right of all because it is the way that citizens exercise their power, either directly or through their representatives. In countries like the US where votes CANNOT change things, voting is ineffective.

In order to make voting an effective tactic, we’d first need, not just a few amendments (which are unlikely to be ratified in any case), but an entirely new Constitution that vested supreme power over government in the hands of the people and ensured that the popular vote was counted, verifiable, and was the final say.

We might be able to get a new Constitution if we were able to overthrow our government by violent means, but since the US is a military superpower, it would involve a lot of bloodshed and might not succeed. For that reason, before considering violence the only option, I advocate that we boycott the sham elections. That might not succeed either, but it is a nonviolent tactic that doesn’t involve bloodshed, and in some cases it has met with some success:

http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1172

It is a common tactic in many countries with rigged elections controlled by the 1%, for political parties that know they can’t win under such circumstances to boycott the elections altogether. While it isn’t always effective, it does detract from the perceived legitimacy of the election. The fewer people who vote, the less legitimacy an election has.

Thank you for your well-informed and insightful article, David, and I hope you’ll consider my response. We’re on the same side, the side of the people, and we do need to strategize and utilize the most effective tactics we can find if we’re going to bring about change.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, February 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

tomcat said:

...random, or spontaneous acts of violence against oppressors by an overwhelmingly peaceful movement must be at LEAST tolerated, if not entirely ignored, by supporters of the movement, and left in the hands of those on the ground to address as they deem fit…left for the beautiful hearts, minds, and spirits of the collective to analyze and, if need be, act upon.

TRUST in those who truly value the lives of the people and the planet.

Surrounding itself
With poseys and prose, the wolf
Slyly mingled with the sheep.

But this is, I swear,
The creature once called Lenin,
Destroyer of dreams.

Report this

By ozzzo, February 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

Chris,

I’ve been reading your blog for years but I never needed to comment because I agreed with most of what you were saying. This post is a sad departure from your usual excellence. Shame on you!

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

Hi E.,
Could you please answer my question from yesterday?
Here’s how it went:

Me: Perhaps there are some who’ve embraced nonviolence unshakably throughout their being, but they are few…and the rest of us…sadly…are many.
And perhaps that state of being is not an evolutionarily sound path, but, rather, a dead end.

You: Poetic but untrue.  Passive Resistance is not for everyone, but worth considering.

Me: What exactly is untrue about the paragraph I wrote, and how does that relate to your assertion regarding passive resistance?

Thanks.

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

J.A. Myerson from Truthout interviews Hedges- Feb.9-
a must read. Here’s some excerpts.
http://www.truth-out.org/interview-chris-hedges-about-black-bloc/1328799148

JAM: Then I wonder if you would explain your writing, “Here’s to the Greeks. They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country… Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out ... The Greeks, unlike most of us, get it.”
CH:.....I never in that article approve rioting.

Excuse me?

JAM: You speak of the black bloc as though it were a political organization with membership, a violent, secretive, nihilistic cabal, which calls to mind the Black Hand, conveniently. It sounds like a really snarky question, but I swear I am genuinely interested in your answer: were you aware writing this piece that that is not an apt description of a black bloc, which is no organization at all, but a protest tactic that does more than just smash and burn?

CH: I put in there that they detest organization of any kind. I use part of their jargon - “feral” and “spontaneous” protest - whereby you walk down a street and nothing is planned. You walk by a window and you break it. They feel that any kind of attempt to plan immediately imposes a kind of hierarchy that they oppose. That’s in the piece. There’s a limit to expounding upon the internal - I didn’t get into primitive anarchism and all this kind of stuff. But that was certainly part of the piece. It’s precisely because they detest - there’s a line in the article that says that they are opposed to those of us on the organized left. The operative word is “organization.”

Did CH answer the question?

JAM: I have seen black blocs de-arresting their comrades (stealing people back from police custody), without hurting anyone or anything. I have seen them win a tug of war with the police and confiscate their kettle netting. I have seen them returning tear gas canisters from whence they came in order to mitigate the suffering of children and elderly protesters in their midst.

CH: Let’s not paint these people as the Boy Scouts, come on.

I guess only CH gets to do the painting.

JAM: That sentiment I agree with completely. But it’s interesting to track the basis for your compunction in the piece. That expression seems sort of practical-strategic-pragmatic in a way that I really agree with, but you weren’t quoting Gene Sharp, you were quoting “All’s Quiet on the Western Front,” so it seems like part of your objection to black bloc tactics is less strategic-tactical than almost spiritual.

CH: It’s both. I’ve spent my life around mobs and groups and crowds and armies and they foster for me very frightening physical and emotional responses.

Ahh…fear…Hedges’ muse.

Report this

By elisalouisa, February 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

TC: I would respond to the nonsense of it all were it not for my compulsive hand-wringing obsession, which has once again manifested itself.

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

excerpts from an article by Peter Gelderloos
http:/www.counterpunch.org/2012/02/09/the-surgeons-of-occupy/:

“So why does he (Zerzan)appear at all in Hedges’ article? Presumably to provide the link to Green Anarchy. Of all the anarchists and others who have participated in black blocs in the last decades, green anarchists or anarcho-primitivists have only been one small part. Labor union anarchists, anarcha-feminists, social anarchists, indigenous anarchists, Christian anarchists, as well as plain old, unaffiliated street youth, students, immigrants, parents, and others have participated in black blocs.
However, for a mainstream audience susceptible to fear-mongering, the anarcho-primitivists can easily be portrayed as the most extreme, the most irrational, and this kind of crass emotional manipulation is clearly Mr. Hedges’ goal.”

“His characterization of Green Anarchy, and by extension, of all black bloc anarchists, is based on a single article that only appeared in GA as a reprint some ten years ago.”

“The medical language of Hedges’ title, referring to the anarchists as a “cancer,” should immediately ring alarm bells. Portraying one’s opponents as a disease has long been a tactic of the state and the media to justify the repression. This language was used against the Native Americans, against the Jews, against communists, and many others. Recently the police and the right wing used this same language of hygiene to talk about the occupations around the country as health threats so as to justify their eviction and generate disgust and repulsion.”

“In sum, Chris Hedges deals with the “Black Bloc anarchists” with fear-mongering manipulation and without the slightest glimmer of solidarity. But beneath the black masks, anarchists have been an integral part of the debates, the organizing, the cooking and cleaning in dozens of cities.”

“...anarchists are part and parcel of the Occupy movement and their methods of struggle resonate with many people more than the staid, hand-wringing pacifism and middle-class reformism of careerists like Chris Hedges.”

“It would be useful to debate the appropriateness of aggressive tactics in demonstrations, but Hedges has passed over the critique and gone straight for the smear. He calls the black bloc anarchists “a gift from heaven for the surveillance and security state,” choosing conspiracy theory paranoia to distract from the public record, filled with cases of government officials and the media alternately serenading and threatening the Occupy movement into an acceptance of nonviolence.”

“Around the world, people are fighting for their freedom and resisting the depredations of the rich and powerful. In the United States, there is plenty of cause to join this fight, but as long as people continue enact a fear-driven, Not-In-My-Backyard pacifism, and to pander to the corporate media as though they would ever show us in a positive light, the rich and the powerful will have nothing to worry about.”

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

On the subject of violence.
“We are Spirits in the Material World” (Sting)
Need I say more?...

ok, I will.
So long as spirit…the beautiful connectedness…is tied to an animate, demanding body, and a deceiving brain, violence will be…an option?

Saying we don’t believe in it…wanting to not do it…is not enough.
Practicing yoga, chanting om and meditating, or other roads to complete connectedness, are usually not enough.

Perhaps there are some who’ve embraced nonviolence unshakably throughout their being, but they are few…and the rest of us…sadly…are many.

And perhaps that state of being is not an evolutionarily sound path, but, rather, a dead end.

Either way, most of us are susceptible to violent urges under various circumstances…and I doubt that testosterone helps!

So, in this ultra-violent world and society, considering the meager nonviolent precedents , and the nature of the challenge against the military corporate complex….. random, or spontaneous acts of violence against oppressors by an overwhelmingly peaceful movement must be at LEAST tolerated, if not entirely ignored, by supporters of the movement, and left in the hands of those on the ground to address as they deem fit…left for the beautiful hearts, minds, and spirits of the collective to analyze and, if need be, act upon.

TRUST in those who truly value the lives of the people and the planet.


The issue of property destruction must be separately discussed.

Report this
Dave Ewoldt's avatar

By Dave Ewoldt, February 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, you keep applying your own biases to others intentions. You say that Occupy “invites” rock-throwing nihilists. All I see is a common adversary, which is coercive and violent authoritarianism. Occupy rather directly, by its quick claim to the 99% mantra, is opposed to elite hierarchies which by their nature are inequitable, enforce class hierarchies, and thus have a very strong tendency to embody injustice. Thus Occupy is inherently anarchic, but as I and others have pointed out repeatedly, the question of violence, and its effectiveness, has long divided anarchists in their struggle against illegitimate and coercive authority.

How Occupy works is yet to be discovered. So far they’ve just raised their voices in an open public display against the consolidation of wealth and power in a self-proclaimed elite at the top of the current control hierarchy, and have focused on the most visible manifestation of the 1% which is arrogant greed and financial manipulation. Since in my view hierarchy is at root of the discontent and grievances, it would make sense to me to get some practice in non-hierarchical methodologies and a way of developing social relationships that don’t depend on hierarchy and are thus just and equitable. But the Occupy movement doesn’t seem to be at that point yet, but does seem to be moving in that direction.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, February 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

You’ve previously complained about the intrinsic violence of the Occupy movement, and for certain definitions of violence the forceful, bodily occupation of another’s property contrary to the laws of the state indeed fits the definition.

I dont remember saying that. Unless you are saying that the rock throwing and molotov cocktail type anarchists are intrinsic to Occupy. But thats the whole question, isnt it: Does Occupy beckon those ‘anarchists’? Some Occupiers say no, others say yes. I suspect ‘yes’. So if there is an invitation to the rock throwers, then the question would be: is that invitation intentional or incidental? Is it a regretable by-product of the Occupy process? Or a desired and needed ingredient in the process?

Those are the questions. That is why i sketched out the Occupy process(you were invited to correct my description) and when it is corrected, we can see if the Occupy process beckons the rock thrower type anarchists or not.

Everyone wants to argue for what they want Occupy to be. No one can step back and ponder what the nature of Occupy is.

What is Occupy? Ask yourself, ‘what is its nature? How does it function?’ The answer is not determined doctrinally since the doctrine of Occupy is rather open-ended, nor is it determined by its claim to represent the 99%, so I proposed that the nature of Occupy is better discovered by investigating how it works. Once we understand that process, then you can modify the Occupy process to get the results you want. At the very least you can understand that Occupy “is perfectly designed to get the results it is getting.” That is a saying that is used in a system when things arent going right. We place the blame on our own process. We take responsibility for the results and modify our process to improve the result. 

You should already have done this yourself. Why not? It ought to be your constant method to look into the design of Occupy’s actions, and see what they would be at. Apparently nobody here can do it. Except me. I often find myself more intrigued by other people’s ideas than they are, taking them more seriously than they do.

True, this is your movement, not mine. I dont mind that you are suspicious, but at times when I ask for a little honesty from you, a little reflection… and then you refuse, it is very bad form for you to blame me for that failing on your own part.

Report this

By whitedog, February 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

ReadingJones, I did see that youtube video and thought there was something fishy about that guy, toowell trained and his speech seemed coached, and too well spoken for a street kid. No I thought he was a phoney. But hope for someone real to emmerge someday.

And Mark E. Smith, just because something is popular doesn’t make it effective, or am I missing something.

And, the counter to violence isn’t necessarily violent at all. To stand between someone and their attacker is a very helpful deturant, or simply to say- I am watching you. I’ve done my best to intervene at times in markets or anywhere when violent stuff happens, both work. But my goal isn’t just to detur the present violence but get the violent person to maybe think before they try it later when I’m not around. Sometimes I beg them to reconsider, try not to. Appeal to their better judgement. The kids if older look amazed, surprised, almost bereft. Its a strange syndrome- child and spousal abuse, lots of Stockholm syndrome in there.

Counteract governmental-political systemic violence is as tricky. In zen, negative attachment is as strong as positive attachment. To mention the problem even negatively reinforces it, establishes it, entrenches it. To submit the opposite is often the best remedy. But no counterfeits can work. No enacted phoney putup jobs will do it. No, it must be the real thing. Real love, real peacefulness. Real reaching out to the soul of the people. Real true good inner life. That will do it every time. Because its that that everybody wants. Its that that everybody needs. Especially the 1%. The violence becomes outmoded, ridiculous.

Report this

By heterochromatic, February 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

JD——“The redress of grievances might be accomplished without confronting
authority but when authority does not redress grievances and continues or
escalates those grievances confrontation becomes necessary in order to have
grievances addressed and redressed.”

———-


you got a grievance and it ain’t been redressed?

as you move to tactics of dubious legality, the authorities respond with
arresting you and booting you from your campsites?

is that your justification for violence?


better hope that most people haven’t noticed that the petition is quite vague
about the exact nature of that grievance and the remedy sought, as well as that
the petition has rather a scant number of signatories.


violent resistance against a well-organized state w/o real popular support or
many active participants is of dubious tactical utility.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

RE; O[B]zerkMichael, February 12 at 5:31 pm

“If you disagree with my description, please feel free to amend it.”

Here is the first amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

re•dress

1.  make up for something: to provide compensation or reparation for a loss or wrong experienced

2.  impose fairness on something: to adjust a situation in order to make things fair or equal

3.  compensation: compensation or reparation for a loss or wrong a party has experienced

Personally I believe references to the U.S. Constitution and the “Bill of Rights” are an exercise in futility; the U.S. Constitution is as subject to interpretation as is the Bible and for every Constitutional argument made there is a rebuttal that cites the Constitution. Furthermore, claims to understand the intentions of the “Founding Fathers” come from all political perspectives and those claims are always contradictory. Furthermore, furthermore, the “Founding Fathers” were not omnificent. They were at best analysis a bunch of rich white guys, neo-aristocrats, new world plutocrats, and bourgois elitists who objected to King and Country interfering with their conduct of business and who couched their objectives in high, but hypocritical, ideals. Feeling as I do about the futility of citing the Constitution why would I do so? It is the high ideals espoused by the “Founding Fathers” that I believe have merit. I like many others believe that the people don’t, but should, have the right to peaceably assemble to “Redress grievances” in order to “Provide reparation i.e. “The making of amends for a wrong or injury done”... for a wrong experienced, to impose “fairness on something…to make things fair or equal.”

My objection to Black Bloc Anarchist violence is that Black Bloc Anarchists go beyond peaceably assembling to advocate violence which, I believe, is contrary to the ideals espoused by more rational members and supporters of Occupy and counter productive in regard to achieving the objective of gaining majority support for Occupy objectives. My objection to the activities of Black Bloc Anarchists stems both from a moral and a pragmatic perspective.

(More below)

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

RE; O[B]zerkMichael, February 12 at 5:31 pm

You appear to be opposed to any “method” of redressing grievances that incorporates peaceable assembly as a “method.” You write:

“OWS seeks confrontation with authority.” 

True enough. The redress of grievances might be accomplished without confronting authority but when authority does not redress grievances and continues or escalates those grievances confrontation becomes necessary in order to have grievances addressed and redressed. You imply that confrontation is an evil but more specifically that confronting authority is an evil. If you really believe that confrontation is an evil let me suggest that you cease posting here; your history of posting here has been a long series of confrontations. If you believe that confronting authority is an evil then I’ll proffer that you are voicing the traditional conservative perspective regarding the legitimacy of authority but conservatives have no compunctions about being confrontational when it comes to “Liberal” authority; such is the height of hypocrisy, is it not? Your perspective appears to be - my confrontation is good but yours is bad. Where were you during the Heath Care Reform debate? Elements of the Tea Party were extremely confrontational some Tea Party members advocated violence e.g. “Second Amendment solutions,” and greater violence was manifest during the Health Care Reform debate as documented by the “Insurrection Timeline” Get out of my face with your “Don’t Tread On Me” bullshit and references to “Red Dawn,” (Are you also a fan of the “Turner Diaries”?)

As per usual, your comments are convoluted gibberish not really worthy of being responded to. I only respond lest someone become confused by your convoluted gibberish, disingenuous patronizing, and your attempts to ingratiate.

Yes I am opposed to “physical” violence in all its forms, institutional, factional, and individual, but absolute passivity is impotent as a means of achieving objectives. Confrontation in the form of non-violent protest and even non-violent civil disobedience is a necessary component of politics when all other “methods” have failed. I’ll proffer that violence in response to violence escalates violence while non-violent resistance diminishes violence and in actuality renders violence impotent. Confronting violence with non-violence has the affect of reducing casualties and presents a force that can not be vanquished by violence; such activism requires a kind of courage that can only be ultimately victorious as a means of achieving objectives and building consensus. The alternative to non-violence is escalating violence and to what point that violence will escalate to is an unknown that can only be speculated upon. One thing is certain though; anyone who believes the tactic of violence has any potential for a positive outcome is either mentally disturbed or a complete moron. Non-violent confrontation on the other hand has every potential for having a positive outcome. 

con•front [ k?n frúnt ]
 
1.  challenge somebody face to face: to come face to face with somebody, especially in a challenge, and usually with hostility, criticism, or defiance

2.  make somebody aware of something: to bring something such as contradictory facts or evidence to the attention of somebody, often in a challenging way

3.  encounter difficulty: to be forced to deal with something, especially an obstacle that must be overcome


con•fron•ta•tion [ kònfr?n táysh’n ] 

1.  encounter: a face-to-face meeting or encounter, especially a challenging or hostile one

2.  hostility without warfare: hostility between nations stopping short of actual warfare, though probably involving armed forces

3.  conflict between ideas or people: conflict between ideas, beliefs, or opinions, or between the people who hold them

Report this
David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 13, 2012 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

The corporate party’s “progressive” Democrats — being (D) dedicated to making peaceful revolution impossible — are always also quick to condemn any and every resistance to the corporate-state’s systemic violence that isn’t a perfectly peaceful response.

It’s no surprise to see comments here from old corporate party (D) dedicated activists assuming authority to dictate what tactics democratic assemblies of street demonstrators may or may not decide to use.

America never achieved democracy because there were too many Democrats.

The Violence of “Nonviolence”:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=492&Itemid=1

Report this

By Foucauldian, February 13, 2012 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Let’s give Michael more ammunition and just say that
in addition to (whatever the aims of) the Civil
Rights struggle, the Occupy, in part at least, is
about questioning the legitimacy of the US
government.

I don’t know whether you can handle that, Anarcissie,
but I think I can.  So why not just raise the stakes
here and see what Michael can dig up.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 13, 2012 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, February 12 at 5:31 pm:

Anarcissie said;

  There is no doubt that, according to the laws of the place and time, the counter in Woolworth’s was private property, and those who occupied it against the will of its proprietors were violating the law.  On the other hand, the Civil Rights movement is constantly cited here for the purity of its non-violence.

The civil rights movement demanded equal rights with the rest of society. The civil rights folks wanted the ordinary priviledges that all other citizens have, and did not expect special priviledges at all.

Occupy contrasts with this….

Actually, it doesn’t.  The Occupy movement demands equal rights and political power for all persons regardless of wealth.  Conceded, this is a bigger order than equality regardless of race; race is irrelevant to capitalism, class is fundamental.  However, the pattern of the two occupations is the same.  One might say the same of Mrs. Rosa Parks’s refusal to move to the back of the bus.

You’ve previously complained about the intrinsic violence of the Occupy movement, and for certain definitions of violence the forceful, bodily occupation of another’s property contrary to the laws of the state indeed fits the definition.  The state claims the streets, parks and vacant lots of the city as its property and denies protesters their use whenever the protest seems effective.  (Hence the cynically-named ‘free speech zones’ at contested public events like major party conventions.)  The state also claims a monopoly of coercive force, so any confrontation with the state deals in violence, always on the side of the state, often on the side of those who oppose it.  As we have all seen in the quasi-military operations against Occupy sites, regardless of their behavior.

Report this

By Foucauldian, February 13, 2012 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

Are we discussing the ends here, Michael, or the
means?

You have obviously expressed disapproval of the ends
(as per last post), so why should you be credible
about the means?

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, February 13, 2012 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

OkarkMichael, how do I say this diplomatically? Umm, you’re pretty clueless about the actual desires and goals of the Occupy movement, huh?

All I did was describe the Occupy confrontation process as a series of steps. I didnt include any desires and goals in my analysis, and I made that clear. After every step I made a disclaimer like this one: (a brief digression:  I am not discussing all the positive reasons why OWS breaks the rules, or all the negative aspects of the rules. I am only describing the OWS method objectively)

Here is another disclaimer (another digression: I am not describing a particlar escalation since Occupy gets more milage from keeping the threat vague. I am only describing the Occupy method)

There were 6 steps and each one had its own disclaimer. It was very tedious for me to do those disclaimers, over and over again. One ought to have been plenty, but I just knew there was this very low, caveman-like tendency to take a swat at things that are only dimly understood. I took that precaution and trouble so that even an idiot would understand that i wasnt talking about “goals and desires”, but process. Disclaimers took up half the space of my post.

Yet somehow you didnt notice the disclaimers. There were a total of six! 

How do i say this diplomatically… only a self-absorbed moron wouldnt understand that i was talking about the Occupy confrontation purely as process so that we could later discuss why Occupy gets certain results, some of which might be unintended. After that we could match those results up with what was originally desired by Occupy(which i never claimed to represent). That would be the work of others more qualified and intellectually capable than most.

Cavemen who pretend to be giving insightful seminars need not apply.

Report this

By ardee, February 13, 2012 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

PatrickHenry, February 12 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

  Imax,

  I miss what this site once represented.  This was once an open and respectful venue for discussions on many topics coming from many points of view.

This is based on your 10/15/2011 join date, the same date as heterowhatever…

In order to ascertain the true date of this slimer’s entry into this forum one would have to note the arrival date of his first ( as far as we know) pseudonym, Rico , Suave. I know this from a message he sent to me, inadvertently signing as Rico. I posted the message in this forum some time back, and have ignored him every since.

I, frankly, no longer have a problem with what this silly person posts here as I scroll past every one of his posts consistently. He has nothing whatever to offer, just as his initial foray here as Rico was simply as a sycophantic shadow to GRYM.

Report this

By draxsleeta, February 13, 2012 at 1:48 am Link to this comment

I really hope that Chris Hedges writes a full response to David Graeber’s n+1
article…I’m a fan of both of them, but Graeber pretty much destroys Hedges from
a logical/rhetorical point of view in this exchange and I want to see how Hedges
absorbs and integrates that (It’d be a pity if he just ignored it). Both men think
bigger and broader than most academics, but sometimes this impulse leads to
sloppy work and Graeber does a great job of point Hedges’ sloppiness in this
article.

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 12:17 am Link to this comment

Mac,
and what I said applies to Mark’s and Elisalouisa’s posts, too.

Report this

By tomcat, February 13, 2012 at 12:10 am Link to this comment

Mac,
If you’re interested in giving meaning to the words “dialogue” and “learning”, then try to reference your response to a post with some specific material from that post. Otherwise your assertions ring hollow to the reader, including me.

Now if your post was just to be a cheerleader, you know…. down with your school, up with ours….
then mission accomplished.

Report this
Dave Ewoldt's avatar

By Dave Ewoldt, February 13, 2012 at 12:09 am Link to this comment

OkarkMichael, how do I say this diplomatically? Umm, you’re pretty clueless about the actual desires and goals of the Occupy movement, huh? You can’t figure it out, that doesn’t sit well with you, plus you’re afraid it might negate all the stories you’ve believed in for so long. I’d guess from your avatar that you probably support Ron Paul, and might even listen appreciatively to Beck, Limbaugh, et al even though you’re actually smart enough to know they’re full of shit. Since you read Truthdig, though, I’d also guess you’re as desperate as everyone else to try to make sense of a world that no longer has any markers of rationality, because the evidence is mounting that the old ways only work for a few, and not even completely for them, and besides they’re cannibalizing the resource base your future and quality of life depend upon.

So, before you get all in a huff over any possible inaccuracies in the above, let me try to offer a framework that might be useful to you. Occupy _is_ the common citizen. Currently it’s made up of those who’ve managed to retain somewhat of an ability to connect the dots despite being victims of the American public education system. However we are systems and can inherently think systemically—we’re actually wired for it—we just need to return to practicing a little bit. Atrophied but not extinct—much as the elite might wish the latter to be so.

Occupy, even though it is still struggling to articulate this and find an effective way to move forward, understands that what it is up against are hierarchies of domination. Some within the movement also understand the fundamental role that disconnection plays as well. As we learn what we’re capable of with the knowledge that everything is connected to everything else at one level or another, many possibilities will start to emerge. But let’s put this into some practical terms. There is a very real and fundamental difference between confronting authority and speaking truth to power. Occupy understands that even an attempt at obtaining a privileged position for itself would be counterproductive. It currently is the little voice in the back of one’s head that is often called a conscience—functioning at a social level. You might want desperately to believe otherwise, because the stories you’ve bought into, which have defined your very life and provide everything you know as meaning, tell you this is a dog eat dog world made up of rugged individualists whose base nature must always be struggled with in order to control inherent greed and selfishness to at least some limited degree, that altruism is as much of a hoax as anthropogenic global warming, and so your made-up description of the steps of Occupy must be correct because you can’t possibly imagine anything any different.

Well, OzarkMichael, you’re totally off-base. Just flat-out wrong. Sorry to burst your bubble. But, you seem to be a big boy, so I think you can take it.

Report this

By Macresarf1, February 12, 2012 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

Mark and tomcat:  I see that you are still here.  Your views represent the most depressing view of humankind.  If you are correct—and the odds of cynicism, arrogance, greed, and violence winning out is always a good bet—you condemn
us to a terrible bloodbath, sooner than you may know.

  elisalouisa, your statements embody hope that the Occupy Movements may appeal in the Spring to tens, then hundreds of millions, who see the craziness of violent methods, and stand against them.

  Viva, elisalouisa!

Report this
Spire's avatar

By Spire, February 12, 2012 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment

There is another cancer turning up at Occupy—this time it is Andrew Breitbart, spelled p-s-y-c-h-o.
Here is an absolutely virally outstanding promo for what we might expect at the RNC this summer.


http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/02/web-talking-about-andrew-breitbarts-occupy-DC-freakout/48598/

Report this

By tomcat, February 12, 2012 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment

E.,
By the way, thanks for the “poetic” comment…it made me feel good!

Report this

By tomcat, February 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm Link to this comment

E.,
First and perhaps least important, if our student writer meant to use the word “quixotic” to describe the movement, he’s saying it’s unrealistic.
But he probably meant to express the magnitude of the task.

Now, “Such violence is sapping the life blood out of the movement”. Isn’t that what our student writer said?...the one who gets his pov from tv?...it’s very…Hedgesesque.

Now most importantly, and to the real issue, your last paragraph…could you expand on your thoughts?
What exactly is untrue about the paragraph I wrote, and how does that relate to your assertion regarding passive resistance?

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 12, 2012 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa: “Passive Resistance is not for everyone, but worth considering.”

Passive resistance is an oxymoron.

Nobody said it wasn’t worth considering. What many have said is that it isn’t the only tactic worth considering.

Just heard that the rioters in Athens, Greece, have set a Starbucks on fire. Sure wish they hadn’t done that. Anything else would have been okay, but not Starbucks—Chris Hedges is going to be pissed and now they’re going to lose his support. wink

Report this

By elisalouisa, February 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment

The point of the Daily Beast article was I believe that violence had diminished the strength of the movement. To quote, “The thoughtful protest innovator and the brutal anarchist are battling for the soul of the quixotic Occupy Movement.” FYI, the only news I watch on TV is C-Span and also Link. The Internet provides much of my news. I have seen more than one video on Occupy Oakland on the Internet. Such violence is sapping the life blood out of the movement.

TC “Perhaps there are some who’ve embraced nonviolence unshakably throughout their being, but they are few…and the rest of us…sadly…are many.
And perhaps that state of being is not an evolutionarily sound path, but, rather, a dead end.”

Poetic but untrue.  Passive Resistance is not for everyone, but worth considering.

Report this

By tomcat, February 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Elisalouisa,
My last post speaks to your concerns, but just to add:
the student who wrote the Daily Beast article “WATCHED IT ON TV”.
The problem is that people have learned to accept what they see on tv as the truth, and as reality.
It’s a process of giving up thought and reason, in deference to being spoon fed.
Over time, your capacity to think diminishes as does your desire to question.
It’s the deal you make with the tv.
If it’s on tv,  it must be true!

Report this

Page 5 of 12 pages « First  <  3 4 5 6 7 >  Last »

Newsletter

sign up to get updates


 
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook