What do Occupy Oakland and Anonymous have in common?

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SorenWhat do Occupy Oakland and Anonymous have in common?

9 Comments on “What do Occupy Oakland and Anonymous have in common?”

  1. Leif

    I appreciate, FT, that you generally focus more on solutions than on problems, and generally focus more on abstraction manifestations of injustice rather than on individuals.

  2. Ellington3

    I have to say that when the G20 was held in Toronto a few years ago I was a tad disappointed and a little miffed with a lot of the protesters. I did see (on TV, the city was a little too jacked up for me to go downtown in person that day) some of the protesters and in some cases I did side with their frustration and annoyance at the world’s leaders all meeting together and chatting while people felt so disenfranchised. but I was really really annoyed a the “professional” protesters who wore all black, covered their faces and just trashed the place and in some cases instigated fights with the police. (I know that that group has a specific name, I cannot recall it at the moment.)
    I watched on tv as a group of mostly white people running around yelling, breaking things, setting fires to cop cars, wreaking stores and the like and I was so ANGRY at them!
    I was angry because I thought there is a better way of getting your voice noticed and across without burning and pillaging the place, and b) I was really angry that it was mostly all white people doing this stuff and no one ( the media) or the group for that matter, was attaching a race riot tag to it! If this had been a group of mostly black, asian, or native Canadian people doing this it would have been racially motivated but when it is a group of white people doing it they do not get that “tag” and it is not heaped upon an entire “group”.
    I recall in university that one of my best friends (she still is my bf) was an anarchist and hung out with anarchists. They would sit around getting all mad at the system, smoke hash, and talk about how they were “pissed at their parents and their middle to upper middle class existence. I was the consumate outsider in their group because a) I was black, and upper middle class, did not do rec. drugs and did was not an anarchist. They would lecture me on the suffering of the world and that I have NO IDEA what suffering is, which I found a tad ironic because they would not take into account the fact that I was/am black and female.
    I thought some of what they felt about the world was sad but true, the economics of the world and the way that capitalism only gifts those with the money and the power per se, but I found them to be a tad annoying and like kids throwing a wobbly, who would just rant and protest and sometimes break things but had no really way about doing things I am sure they found me the same. : )
    I am saying all of this because I understand how you feel about the Occupy movements and Anonymous, they should be doing things in a constructive way, stop acting like first year university students with ironic “white” epiphanies about the world.
    In closing I hope that I did not come across as being racist in my saying this because I did not mean to do that at all but I find that in my experience this seems to be a white happening. There are black happenings as well. I just wish that the “happening folks” would just do “something” collectively organized and intelligent.

    Thanks for listening to me. : )

    1. futuretalk

      Haha you are probably right that it is mostly middle-class white kids doing the rioting. Here’s an interesting article about this topic: Black Bloc: The Cancer in Occupy.

      I’m not necessarily a pacifist, but I do think the times when violence is justified are few and far between. And regardless of your values, it’s simply not effective. But the anxiety is so high and some people have so little idea what to do, they just smash things. And the other people, the more mature protesters, I think they really have no idea what to do either because they are just walking around chanting shit. A protest serves the purpose of calling attention to a cause. Occupy did this very well in its infancy, but now the message is out and it’s time to grow into something bigger. And that–when you start asking for people to actually change their lifestyles or commit time/money to a new project that will actually DO something–is when people decide it’s time to go home for dinner.

      That is precisely why I created this blog–and I know we’re not there yet because I am still laying the intellectual foundation before getting into the gritty–to come up with an answer to this question of, “What the hell can we actually do that will make a damn bit of difference?”

      I begin to answer this question in my latest post and will definitely be getting more specific as we continue to talk about the future.

      Thanks for watching/reading, I always appreciate your comments!

  3. clh

    i’m not sure i agree entirely.
    i think that, often, the radical and the more moderate approaches to social change need one another. i’m not necessarily saying that’s what is going on in the situations discussed here but i do think that the more moderate position (that generally tries to bring about change through established channels and/or nonviolent demonstration) has a better chance of being effective if there is a more radical, violent faction threatening to do or actually doing real damage. the obvious, perhaps worn, example is the movements represented by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X. the argument can be (and has been) made that MLK’s message of equality and integration isn’t as effective without Malcolm X saying “by any means necessary.”
    i think a similar argument could be put forward in terms of the environmental movements today (though the success of any of those approaches is up for debate).

    again, i am not trying to say that’s what we’ve got here – i am certainly not trying to equate Black Power movements with disaffected, purposeless, reactionary violence, rather i’m trying to speak to the potentially productive uses of violence, force and destruction in general. and i do think that radical protest and ‘no compromise’ stances can be important and can get a lot done. (emphasis on the ‘can.’)

    along other lines, i think that i have something to say in response to your take on Anonymous but it still needs some formulating. just a heads up that i may return to this…

    1. futuretalk

      You sound like you’re quoting from Pacifism as Pathology, and I don’t necessarily disagree with you. As I stated in an earlier comment, I am not a pacifist. And I also mention this twofold method of creating change in my most recent post. However, I think that there is currently no need to waste energy on destroying elements of society when we can spend that energy creating what we actually want. It is a lie that the current structures are so dominant that they leave no room for innovation or growth not through them. It is true that they are fundamentally flawed. This process I am introducing is called Circumvention–developing local social structures that meet our needs. And this actually takes power away from the elite because the less we interact with their structures the fewer opportunities they have to oppress us. Anyway more to follow on that on the blog.

      TL/DR: I agree with your comment, but I think you are right in your assessment that Occupy Oakland is largely “disaffected, purposeless, [and] reactionary.” I am not (yet?) making a values-based argument when I proclaim my distaste for violent Occupiers. I am simply stating that they are ineffective, they cost the city money which comes from taxpayers, and since we have regressive tax structures they are actually exacerbating the very problem they are looking to dramatize, and they are phony in their presentation of lower/middle-class unity.

      At least they are TRYING to do something, though. Anonymous, I think, just enjoys the use of power, and they think visiting harm upon those who cause great harm is justified. Vigilantism is not a problem in and of itself, the problem is the narcissism of the vigilante. It’s like when I was a youngster and started shoplifting. At first I thought I’d do it to big, bad companies in order to punish them. Then it became a habit and I even stole from Goodwill. That’s when I realized that any justification of my actions was hollow rationalizing used to cover up my selfishness… and then I stopped. Anonymous is still in that phase of generally targeting those who cause some harm. But it will become a habit and if they run out of targets or get bored, they will keep doing what they do… unless they realize that any justification for such actions is just hollow rationalizing.

  4. Ellington3

    Hi!
    When I clicked your link about the Black Bloc, I got a link to Jimmy Kimmel chatting to Mila Kunis talking about playing World of War Craft! : )
    That made me laugh! : )

    1. futuretalk

      Hahhaha! I was sending that to my friend because it’s funny she clearly knows what she’s talking about. Anyway, I fixed the link!

  5. Ellington3

    Thanks! I like Mila she is very talented and pretty and it is rather nifty she likes video games! : )

    So did you send your friend the Bloc link instead? ; )

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