Say Goodbye to the Occupation


Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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40 Responses

  1. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    Occupy was inevitably going to become unpopular, just as the Tea Party has, and just as any social movement that criticizes the status quo eventually will be.

    Just like that wildly unpopular Civil Rights movement.  Or the Women’s Suffrage movement.  Or any other social movement that criticizes the status quo.

    OWS’s current unpopularity was among the most evitable of outcomes, if you ask me.Report

    • Neither of those movements were popular (to say the least) at a comparable juncture.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      I’d be interested in seeing an opinion poll on the Tea Party now, actually. The most recent one I’ve seen is from August and there’s a lot of new information since then.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      Actually, the Civil Rights movement was highly unpopular right before MLK’s death, largely because the Civil Rights movement beyond basic rights to more abstract things like unionizing minority workers.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        You’re right.  All I meant to point out was that writing off OWS at this stage of the game seems more than a little premature.


        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          This.  Hot, then cold.  Then hot, then cold.  The early critique was that they would not last.  Well, maybe they won’t.  But if lasting is the criterion, then how can we take seriously the critique that change (and indeed, needed corrections, cleaning up, reflection, moderation, and more savvy planning) is not occuring on the short, external timetable of this or that observer?Report

  2. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Although here the movement’s lack of goals could perversely work in its favor.  “45% of Americans oppose the Occupy Wall Street movement’s goals, whatever they are” is a Jon Stewart laff line waiting to happen.Report

  3. Avatar E.C. Gach says:

    Groups like OWS that rebel against the status quo inevitably have the problem of how to regulate those who associated purely for the “rebel” part and not the larger segment that is more likely interested in achieving actual change.

    Remaining “leaderless” and disorganized is one way of letting “fringe elements” fester and run the project off the tracks (if ever it was on them).Report

  4. Avatar Steve S. says:

    May I reprint a comment I just made in E.D.’s thread?  That was a rhetorical question, here it is:

    Anti-slavery, women’s suffrage, women’s rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, gay rights, and on and on, are all things that began as aspirations, then disorderly movements.  None of them accomplished their goals in the first couple of months,  None of them were broadly popular in their nascent stages.  All of them took decades or even centuries to realize significant gains.  This is a long game, E.D., and if you’re going to follow its progress in a daily tracking poll you’ve already lost it.Report

    • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Steve S. says:

      Agreed, and like the previous mkovements, I am hopeful Occupy will graduate from wild colorful street theater to serious alliances with Labor and environmental groups.

      The power structures we are protesting are not going to meekly surrender just because some of us sat in a park; restoring a progressive tax system and breaking the stranglehold that Wall Street has over our system is going to take years of work.Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    “were considering supporting like-minded political candidates.”

    Somebody’s finally following Jaybird’s advice!Report

  6. Avatar Roger says:

    Hasta la vista, baby!Report

  7. Avatar wardsmith says:

    Here’s a funny thing. Near where I currently reside, there was a Tea Party event. I didn’t hear about it, certainly not from my local media (largely owned by a single corporation). Only after the fact did it merit a page 9 comment in the local paper wherein I was shocked to learn that 15,000 were present. Now as I’ve come to find out, that was a smallish Tea Party event, and the press could not have said less if they tried. I know a newscaster socially and asked her at a dinner party why they were so inept at covering this. She told me they were ordered by management not to discuss it and could only mention local tea party events if another competing media outlet did. They were specifically not authorized to talk about them /before/ the fact (even though they received invitations and brought news trucks with GHz uplinks) because they weren’t supposed to “advertize” for them.

    Meanwhile with OWS “events” across the nation the press falls over itself to talk about “crowds” in the 10’s and 100’s max. That hasn’t stopped the MSM from contrasting and conflating the two, OWS and TP. As far as a “movement” goes, this one has already received vastly more ink than its numbers could possibly justify. Something is fishy in Denmark.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

      yeah, yeah, And no. try again. Did you see what calculated risk had to say about CNBC’s coverage of OWS? Your contacts? are they teh liberals in town?Report

      • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kim says:

        Kim, Kimmi, whoever. I will NEVER respond again to one of your posts unless you can be bothered to add a link. Unlike you, I’m not a full time blog troll dropping flyby bombs wherever I go. If you’re up for reasoned discussion I’m all yours but this is not that.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:


          I posted a cited source. From a large blog, which has a huge commentariat. It is unreasonable for you to ask me to look back through and find the exact comment. I’m not bluffing — you could check the cnbc archives if you don’t believe me.

          Jason and James have a point when they ask me to cite my sources — they’re saying that they want to investigate some of my conclusions further.

          This ain’t that, though. This is just link-sourcing for its own sake. And, because this is a full month later, I ain’t playing. You want me to sift through 30000 messages? sorry, kid. but no.Report

    • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to wardsmith says:

      “I have a friend who says…”

      Seriously? Thats your best shot?Report

      • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Liberty60 says:

        Like Kimmi can’t figure out how to come in under a different guise. Here’s actual data.

        Not to mention the majority of “stories” about the Tea Party were commentary by pseudo journalists not covering anything and attempting to agitate for their party, er I mean base, er I mean readers/viewers.

        Meanwhile I’m still waiting on Janet Napolitano’s report on how scary the Occupiers are. You know the whole climate of fear? Cause we sure saw that about the Tea Party and it was pure propaganda. You know the usual SOS the left dishes out on our collective plate.Report

        • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to wardsmith says:

          Your link is to a graph that shows OWS getting more media stories in the first week, then progressively less over time, matching the Tea Party.

          You claimed in your post that there was a media conspiracy to suppress stories about the Tea Party- your mysterious friend who works for a newspaper (which of course can not be named) told you so.

          Apparently the global media consortium doing business as “News Corp.” AKA Fox News, NY Daily News, Wall Street Journal, et. al., didn’t get the communique about a media blackout. Maybe George Soros left them off the cc list or something.

          What I recall was wall to wall fawning reports of Tea Party rallies- in one case a Fox reporter was caught actually prompting the crowd in chants and cheers.

          But yeah, I guess that all pales in comparison to your Deep Throat source who blew the whistle about the conspiracy while getting second helpings of cocktail weenies.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:


          you ought to know that I use the “i have a friend” enough not to call you on that one!Report

    • Avatar Scott in reply to wardsmith says:


      I agree, funny that Elias is comparing OWS and the TP when they couldn’t be more different. Last time I checked the TPs didn’t break all sorts of laws while trying to be morally superior. I don’t Denver any reports of deaths or sexual assualts at TP rallies either despite that some folks brought guns.Report

  8. Avatar George T says:

    The OWS made many tactical mistakes, like getting the endorsement of the Communist Party USA and the American Nazi Party.  It’s rather ironic that if successful, they would be the first people put up against a wall and shot as “useless eaters.”  Threatening to throw Molotov cocktails at Macy’s on Thanksgiving was probably not a good idea, and all the rapes generated some pretty negative press, too.  That’s why it was so easy to dismiss the occupation as a Nazi Party endorsed bomb-throwing rape camp.

    The problem they face isn’t the “vast disparity of wealth.”  It’s the vast disparity of intelligence, manners, common sense, and hygiene, combined with the perpetual unpopularity in this country of angry communist and Nazi messages from kids in Che Guevara shirts (were their Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot shirts still in the laundry?)

    Despite the media bending over backwards to present the protesters in the best possible light, the general reaction of the public is wondering how such people managed to graduate from Romper Room, much less from college.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to George T says:

      Easy for some.  Easy if you want to.Report

    • Avatar b-psycho in reply to George T says:

      Threatening to throw Molotov cocktails at Macy’s on Thanksgiving was probably not a good idea

      Where’d you hear that?Report

      • Avatar George T in reply to b-psycho says:

        And the New York Daily News, and Drudge, and everywhere else.  CBS New York is running the video of the threat.

        The problem with a movement where the rank and file includes large numbers of thieves, rapists, thugs, terrorists, anti-semites, Nazis, and communists, mixed in with general idiots, is that they’re not really good at hiding who they are.  In the days before good press coverage, streaming video, and the Internet such movements could sometimes achieve success, installing a dictarship run by thieves, rapists, thugs, terrorists, anti-semites, Nazis, communists, and general idiots, but today, not so much.

        Government is about sewer, gas, and electric, whereas these protesters look like a Zombie apocalypse.  Nobody would trust one to mow their lawn, much less run their city.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to George T says:

      the perpetual unpopularity in this country of … Nazi messages from kids in Che Guevara shirts

      And this is why Poe’s law exists.


      • There have been and are some who carry Castro’s water, if Guevera isn’t probative.Report

        • I don’t doubt the existence of kids in Che shirts.  I’ve seen plenty of ’em myself.  I’ve just never heard  one spouting Nazi slogans.

          But I’m getting a kick out of imagining der Fuhrer in a Che shirt.  Or maybe Goebbels.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to James Hanley says:

            Joseph Mengele would probably be a more apt comparison, especially since Guevara described his summary executions of civilians in medical terms, such as “I ended the problem giving him a shot with a .32 pistol in the right side of the brain, with exit orifice in the right temporal.”

            Then again, Goebbels would make a closer match to Che’s cries like “We must create the pedagogy of the The Wall! ” refering to lining civilians up against a wall and executing them as a teaching tool, but I don’t recall that Goebbels <i>personally</i> killed anyone, much less the several hundred that Che did.  Of course Goebbels constant denunciations of the rich, of capitalists, of capitalism, and his calls for wealth redistribution and social justice would be right at home at any OWS protest, too.

            It’s a difficult call.  How best to compare mass murderers, by their methods, motives, statements, their clinical precision, or their victim tally?





  9. Avatar dhex says:

    <i>But even if the national media’s coverage of the Occupiers had been incessantly positive…</i>

    if? they found a crowd of news-creating, incoherent white people they could finally rep!

    nypost excepted, of course, due to insider info they have about the undead spirit of chairman mao living on in the hearts and minds of the occupados. and because it’s the nypost and being irresponsibly surrealist while having the snappiest headlines in the tri state area is their thing.Report

  10. Avatar pete.mack says:

    I’m a fan of occupying and arterial roads with bicycles in formation, especially during rush hour… Picketing federal buildings is also a lot of fun. I’v also been studying the WA State long gun open carry laws, to see what protests need livening up.Report

  11. Avatar Joecitizen says:

    Pete, leave the long dancing shoes at home until the music starts. SWAT and other units are good out to 600 yards. If they call in the drones to the party, they can pick up body heat. Don’t put it past them to use air burst ordnance on civilians.Report