OWS in danger of being jacked from within and from outside

Danger from the inside

“A chill descends on Occupy Wall Street. The Leaders of the allegedly Leaderless Movement” When my turn came to speak, I brought up the plans of “the leaders of the allegedly leaderless movement” to commandeer the half-million dollars sent to the General Assembly for their new, exclusive, undemocratic, representational organization. Before I could finish, the facilitators and other members of the OWS inner circle started shouting over me. Amidst the confusion, the human mic stopped projecting what I, or anybody was saying. Because silence was what they were after, the leaders won.

This is classic. A group that wants to run things completely by consensus finds such a system does not work after the group gets beyond a certain size. A system of consensus for governing in large groups inevitably leads to paralysis. Worse, a few determined insiders generally learn how to game the rules and take control. I saw this happened repeatedly in the Green Party of California when I was active in it from 2001-2004. Jo Freeman discusses this in-depth in her aptly-named The Tyranny of Structurelessness.

Danger fom the outside

Karl Denninger posted this video, asking “Is that a political advertisement“. It’s slickly done and seems like an attempted wedge from Democratic Party types. While it does mention OccupyTogether.org at the end, who has voiced cautious support for it but said they didn’t even know about it until it aired. It seems a bit much for an outside group to do an ad without even bothering to consult with or notify the organization first.

It was aired on Lawrence O’Donnell on October 14th which was the first time that we were made aware of the ad’s existence with the ad directing to our website at the end.

We have placed our name, identity, and the content of this website under a Creative Commons License, which allows others to share and remix these materials. While these ads did not use our logo, it did direct viewers to our site. We, the creators and volunteers at Occupy Together, had no input or affiliation prior to the airing of this spot.

All of which might be ok, except the ad is basically fluff. Perky people with perky ideas for change. But nothing of substance about how we need rule of law in the financial industry or how the 99% is being pillaged by the 1%. No, there’s nothing harsh or jarring like that, and certainly no anger. This sure seems like a lead-in for the Democratic Party to try to jack OWS just like the Republicans did with (most of) the Tea Party.

I don’t think it’ll work. OWS is too viral and too home-grown. It may morph, change, and even split into different groups. But it won’t be co-opted or jacked. Instead, it’ll keep growing. Why? Because the discontent is real, based on events here at home, and broad-based. It has plenty of support from people who aren’t in the streets with them.