Occupy This

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JasonL
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Re: Occupy This

Post by JasonL » 28 Nov 2011, 13:23

fyodor wrote:
JasonL wrote:
Jake wrote:
Kolohe wrote:OFFS: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle ... story.html

It was a goddamn dinner invitation, you fucking stupid morons, not a collective action problem.
I suspect that OWS will eventually be is pretty much just a glorious "Greatest Hits" parody of all the problems with the ancient Athenian system of direct democracy.
How can the people in the middle of it fail to understand this? I can, if I expand my mind enough, imagine that people doing jazz hands may not feel self conscious about how it looks, but I simply can't fathom how anyone could think this is a good decision making process. Do results literally not matter at all? Do you never want to say "look, we accomplished X today?"
Well y'know this is pretty much what everyone says about everyone else they disagree with. "How can they not see how wrong they are?" But there's pros and cons to just about everything, and supporters of whatever will see the pros as triumphant and justify away the cons.
I get that, but what I'm saying here is that this is a degree of uncaring about results that's so dramatic I can't understand it at all. You are voting for a reason, because you want something to happen or a decision to be made or some outcome - but you are married to a process that produces thousands of votes and no outcomes. You care enough to take to the streets ... but are committed philosophically not to accomplish anything. It's baffling and different from "that dude wants a different outcome from the one I prefer". I get the same feeling watching jazz hands as I do watching people get "taken by the spirit" weepy in a church service - it gives me the creeps because I can't relate at all to what is getting them all worked up.

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thoreau
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Re: Occupy This

Post by thoreau » 28 Nov 2011, 13:24

fyodor wrote:More semi-seriously, maybe the Occupiers don't believe individuals are, um how did you put it, oh yeah, autonomous?
When Colbert met up with two hipsters who are Definitely Not Spokespersons but function in roles remarkably similar to spokespersons, they actually used the phrase "we are here as autonomous individuals."
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Re: Occupy This

Post by fyodor » 28 Nov 2011, 13:28

Highway wrote:
thoreau wrote:You know, I hates me some bailed-out banksters, and I salute everybody who braves cold nights and hot pepper spray to protest against them, but I completely fail to see how hating on bailed-out banksters necessitates such angsty deliberations over something as simple as a dinner invitation. Either go or don't go. If you believe that everybody there is an autonomous individual and none can speak for the group, then there's no need for a group decision on whether to go to dinner. Turkey dinner for some, staying at the camp for others.

Also, I really liked "We are the 99%" as a motto. It's supposed to mean that this is about economics, not culture. But their whole model is something that would piss off anybody who isn't into a very particular cultural and ethical mindset that 99% of us would find annoying as all hell.
I think the reason for the change, from 'a lot of people hating on bailed out banksters' to 'a group that's much more interested in consensus and angsty deliberations', is because the original people came, they complained, and they went home. Now the people there are the people Jake mentions: the ones who are less interested in actual results and more interested in the process, in the 'inclusiveness'. And indeed, I'd imagine that's what actually *drove* some of the 99% out of the Occupy camps and back home. "Hey, I came here to actually protest, not to play Jazz Hands and not get anything done." "Well, I don't agree with that, so I'm going to take the temperature of the group. Who thinks that we need to keep going with the process before we make a conclusion?" "Well, F this noise, I'm going home where it's warm if that's what you guys are gonna do."
Yeah, except I think it started out with that more hard-core ideological element and then was joined by more mainstream left-liberals and has since reverted to the original core.
Your optimism just confuses and enrages me. - Timothy

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Re: Occupy This

Post by Warren » 28 Nov 2011, 13:30

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Re: Occupy This

Post by thoreau » 28 Nov 2011, 13:32

JasonL wrote:but what I'm saying here is that this is a degree of uncaring about results that's so dramatic I can't understand it at all. You are voting for a reason, because you want something to happen or a decision to be made or some outcome - but you are married to a process that produces thousands of votes and no outcomes. You care enough to take to the streets ... but are committed philosophically not to accomplish anything. It's baffling and different from "that dude wants a different outcome from the one I prefer". I get the same feeling watching jazz hands as I do watching people get "taken by the spirit" weepy in a church service - it gives me the creeps because I can't relate at all to what is getting them all worked up.
Honestly, if I were hostile to the cause of OWS, but I wanted to destroy them in a Machiavellian way, I'd give them ample space to camp and arrest only those who block traffic. I'd let the camps either implode into disease and crime (at which point they've discredited themselves) or stabilize into slightly creepy but easily ignored temperature checks and consensus deliberations (at which point they might become as harmless and irrelevant as any other social club).
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Re: Occupy This

Post by fyodor » 28 Nov 2011, 13:43

thoreau wrote:
fyodor wrote:More semi-seriously, maybe the Occupiers don't believe individuals are, um how did you put it, oh yeah, autonomous?
When Colbert met up with two hipsters who are Definitely Not Spokespersons but function in roles remarkably similar to spokespersons, they actually used the phrase "we are here as autonomous individuals."
Well I'm only semi-serious to begin with, but this hardly proves my suggestion wrong. First of all, actions speak louder than words. Secondly, context is everything and I could imagine the point of these Definitely Not Spokespersons as being to spin the point that they are Definitely Not Spokespersons(contradicted by your own observation) and a good way to do that is to call everyone autonomous (i.e., not under the Definitely Not Spokespersons' cum Leaders' control) . Now, it's pretty extreme to say they don't really regognize individuals as autonomous, and I doubt any of them would overtly say that (thus I'm not entirely serious in using that language). But there may be a grain or two of truth to the idea that the phenomenon at issue is to some degree motivated by the urge (damn, there's a better word for that than that) to subvert individuals' interests to that of the group. I.e., is going to this dinner A Good Idea for the Cause? But maybe there are other explanations. Though considering the level of bewilderment and astonishment being expressed here (including by you), I think my suggestion at least deserves consideration. That it was Officially contradicted notwithstanding.
Your optimism just confuses and enrages me. - Timothy

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Re: Occupy This

Post by Ayn_Randian » 28 Nov 2011, 14:04

thoreau wrote:
JasonL wrote:but what I'm saying here is that this is a degree of uncaring about results that's so dramatic I can't understand it at all. You are voting for a reason, because you want something to happen or a decision to be made or some outcome - but you are married to a process that produces thousands of votes and no outcomes. You care enough to take to the streets ... but are committed philosophically not to accomplish anything. It's baffling and different from "that dude wants a different outcome from the one I prefer". I get the same feeling watching jazz hands as I do watching people get "taken by the spirit" weepy in a church service - it gives me the creeps because I can't relate at all to what is getting them all worked up.
Honestly, if I were hostile to the cause of OWS, but I wanted to destroy them in a Machiavellian way, I'd give them ample space to camp and arrest only those who block traffic. I'd let the camps either implode into disease and crime (at which point they've discredited themselves) or stabilize into slightly creepy but easily ignored temperature checks and consensus deliberations (at which point they might become as harmless and irrelevant as any other social club).
Not to go all Glenn Beck at the Blackboard, but this is the theory behind why Occupy Wall Street was forcibly removed: as it became more and more affiliated (in the public's mind) with the Obama Administration (arguably the Administration has endorsed the movement), and as OWS became a disease-and-crime-ridden late night punchline, the negative correlation with the two institutions was only going to get worse. Therefore (as the theory goes), the Administration called Bloomberg to clean them out before the negativity got worse.

I visited Zucotti Park the weekend before the clean out, and I can at least confirm one thing: it smelled terrible. Like, as bad as villages in Afghanistan terrible. There were definitely sanitation issues.
It has the effect of making me want desperately to do the opposite of what Green Day is suggesting I should want to do. Billy Joe Whassname may have created a generation of war mongers. - Jason L

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Re: Occupy This

Post by Sandy » 28 Nov 2011, 14:42

The problem with the "I understand and share their analyses of the problems" is that trying to engage them or their sympathizers on those issues requires so much bridge building that you've mined the planet free of stone on either side.

For example, take the Glass-Steagall thing. To them, it's both a cause and a solution. The reasoning...at least as anyone is willing to unpack it...is thus among your average supporter: Repealing Glass-Steagall helps The Corporations, and so it must be a bad thing and caused the recession. Therefore repealing it will hurt The Corporations and therefore prevent this from ever happening again.

I really wish I were exaggerating, but that's about the level of thought every time I've tried to tease apart why they're so focused on that when retail banks that owned investment banks actually performed better and investing deposits in derivatives was completely legal under Glass-Steagall. It turns out...they don't know what Glass-Steagall did. Those few who did simply accept as faith that the mixing of the two encouraged all the speculation, and no amount of "except there's no data that shows they were more risky than anybody else" will phase them.

So while we might...very loosely...agree with them that special pleading by corporations upon the public weal was a Bad Thing™, we can't even agree on the specifics of what caused that special pleading and thus will never, ever find common ground. Anything we do that reins in government will be perceived as Pro-Corporation and therefore bad. I doubt you'd even get an anti-bailout bill to pass twinkly-handed muster.

So we can say "yay fuck the system, fight the power, hippies forever," the fact is that damn dirty hippies got a bad rep for a reason, and recreating the mistakes of the past with jazz hands doesn't actually change the underlying illogic.
Hindu is the cricket of religions. You can observe it for years, you can have enthusiasts try to explain it to you, and it's still baffling. - Warren

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Re: Occupy This

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 28 Nov 2011, 14:50

Sandy wrote: So we can say "yay fuck the system, fight the power, hippies forever," the fact is that damn dirty hippies got a bad rep for a reason, and recreating the mistakes of the past with jazz hands doesn't actually change the underlying illogic.
Ya know, I knew a whole bunch of hippies back when there really were hippies and I never once noticed disproportionately lower hygiene on their part.

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Re: Occupy This

Post by fyodor » 28 Nov 2011, 15:10

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
Sandy wrote: So we can say "yay fuck the system, fight the power, hippies forever," the fact is that damn dirty hippies got a bad rep for a reason, and recreating the mistakes of the past with jazz hands doesn't actually change the underlying illogic.
Ya know, I knew a whole bunch of hippies back when there really were hippies and I never once noticed disproportionately lower hygiene on their part.
I'm reminded, apropos of nothing really, of these words I saw inscripted (presumably) by hand into the thick dust on a bus I saw at Burning Man: "We may be dirty, but we're not hippies!"
Your optimism just confuses and enrages me. - Timothy

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Re: Occupy This

Post by lunchstealer » 28 Nov 2011, 15:20

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
Sandy wrote: So we can say "yay fuck the system, fight the power, hippies forever," the fact is that damn dirty hippies got a bad rep for a reason, and recreating the mistakes of the past with jazz hands doesn't actually change the underlying illogic.
Ya know, I knew a whole bunch of hippies back when there really were hippies and I never once noticed disproportionately lower hygiene on their part.
Then clearly your hippies weren't true Scotsmen.

Honestly, I think it was the fact that you could blame the predators among them (of which Manson was only the most extreme example) on the hippy movement as a whole due to its counter-culturality, while similar predators among, say, evangelical churches, get viewed as isolated incidents. When the predation reached a certain evil-to-payoff ratio in perception, the whole thing started to fall apart. Also, a lot of 'em got too old to sleep in a big sex pile (or more realistically on the floor of a van) without chronic stiffness that even kind bud couldn't alleviate sufficiently.

Then again, I was busy being born at the height of the hippy era, so I speak from interpretation of received narrative, rather than from experience. But the disillusionment on display in Easy Rider seems to have been more real than imagined.
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Re: Occupy This

Post by Sandy » 28 Nov 2011, 15:27

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
Sandy wrote: So we can say "yay fuck the system, fight the power, hippies forever," the fact is that damn dirty hippies got a bad rep for a reason, and recreating the mistakes of the past with jazz hands doesn't actually change the underlying illogic.
Ya know, I knew a whole bunch of hippies back when there really were hippies and I never once noticed disproportionately lower hygiene on their part.
The smell was only one part of the bad rep they got. Most of it was for stuff we're seeing repeated with Occupy {Wherever} separate from hygiene.
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Re: Occupy This

Post by Jadagul » 28 Nov 2011, 15:48

The thing you have to remember is that there are two reasons to protest in a system. The first is to protest some specific decision of the system. The second is to protest the system itself.

So, say, at an anti-war demonstration, the thesis is (in theory): "While we recognize that the system can legitimately decide to initiate a war, we would prefer for it not to and are trying to encourage the system to make a different decision." Basically no one in the anti-war protests wants to, say, do away with Congress and the Presidency altogether.

In contrast, in Tahrir Square the main thesis was, more or less, "Mubarak is illegitimate". It's an attack on the legitimacy of the Egyptian governance structure as a whole. It may have been triggered by some specific grievance, but that's not what it's about.

And OWS has become much more like the second. The not-spokespeople have said that their goal is to prove a totally different kind of system can work, in which we have pure deliberative consensus democracy and don't have to deal with all this governance mess. Of course, what they've actually proved is rather the opposite.

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Re: Occupy This

Post by fyodor » 28 Nov 2011, 15:59

Jadagul wrote:The thing you have to remember is that there are two reasons to protest in a system. The first is to protest some specific decision of the system. The second is to protest the system itself.

So, say, at an anti-war demonstration, the thesis is (in theory): "While we recognize that the system can legitimately decide to initiate a war, we would prefer for it not to and are trying to encourage the system to make a different decision." Basically no one in the anti-war protests wants to, say, do away with Congress and the Presidency altogether.

In contrast, in Tahrir Square the main thesis was, more or less, "Mubarak is illegitimate". It's an attack on the legitimacy of the Egyptian governance structure as a whole. It may have been triggered by some specific grievance, but that's not what it's about.

And OWS has become much more like the second. The not-spokespeople have said that their goal is to prove a totally different kind of system can work, in which we have pure deliberative consensus democracy and don't have to deal with all this governance mess. Of course, what they've actually proved is rather the opposite.
Clearly, they just need to replace the people not in charge.
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Re: Occupy This

Post by Sandy » 28 Nov 2011, 16:00

Jadagul wrote:And OWS has become much more like the second. The not-spokespeople have said that their goal is to prove a totally different kind of system can work, in which we have pure deliberative consensus democracy and don't have to deal with all this governance mess. Of course, what they've actually proved is rather the opposite.
This. And if you're hoping for a grand OWS-libertarian United People's Front, you're likely to get caught up in explaining all the things the Romans have done well rather than accomplishing much of anything. Cheering them on is cheering on a return to the naive views of communism and communitarianism of the late 60/early 70s before we found out that such things work best for sunglasses-wearing religious cults in warm climes.
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Re: Occupy This

Post by Ayn_Randian » 28 Nov 2011, 16:03

And OWS has become much more like the second. The not-spokespeople have said that their goal is to prove a totally different kind of system can work, in which we have pure deliberative consensus democracy and don't have to deal with all this governance mess. Of course, what they've actually proved is rather the opposite.
Now, are they hoping to impute that model onto Washington, or are they hoping to impute that model onto all private affairs? I am genuinely curious, because I thought the latter was the goal, which is why I (and others) are so thunderstruck about how dumb it is. A parent, a managing partner, or any other "autocratic" model in private affairs does not have time to wait around while the kids decide whether they are going to waggle their fingers for McDonald's or Burger King.
It has the effect of making me want desperately to do the opposite of what Green Day is suggesting I should want to do. Billy Joe Whassname may have created a generation of war mongers. - Jason L

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Re: Occupy This

Post by Ayn_Randian » 28 Nov 2011, 16:04

Sandy wrote:
Jadagul wrote:And OWS has become much more like the second. The not-spokespeople have said that their goal is to prove a totally different kind of system can work, in which we have pure deliberative consensus democracy and don't have to deal with all this governance mess. Of course, what they've actually proved is rather the opposite.
This. And if you're hoping for a grand OWS-libertarian United People's Front, you're likely to get caught up in explaining all the things the Romans have done well rather than accomplishing much of anything. Cheering them on is cheering on a return to the naive views of communism and communitarianism of the late 60/early 70s before we found out that such things work best for sunglasses-wearing religious cults in warm climes.
Now, Sandy, just because they walk, talk, act, and believe in communism does not mean it's OK to call a spade a spade group of Commutards "commies".
It has the effect of making me want desperately to do the opposite of what Green Day is suggesting I should want to do. Billy Joe Whassname may have created a generation of war mongers. - Jason L

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Re: Occupy This

Post by Jadagul » 28 Nov 2011, 16:17

A_R: I think that depends on which ones you talk to. But some of them probably all democratic society--there's some very interesting if very wrong philosophy about how making decisions via open and public deliberation is itself the good.

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Re: Occupy This

Post by thoreau » 28 Nov 2011, 16:32

I suspect that this is directed at me to some extent.
Sandy wrote:This. And if you're hoping for a grand OWS-libertarian United People's Front
I don't hope or expect that my personal sympathies for two different groups on different issues need to or ought to translate into unity between those movements. I'm an autonomous individual :), I agree with one group on some things and another group on other things, and I don't pretend that this means the groups are compatible with each other. They are simply compatible with me (in some ways). They may not like each other, and they may not even like me, but I find something for me to appreciate in each.

Repeat after me: We're all autonomous individuals. We can think for ourselves.

"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Re: Occupy This

Post by fyodor » 28 Nov 2011, 16:58

thoreau wrote:I suspect that this is directed at me to some extent.
Sandy wrote:This. And if you're hoping for a grand OWS-libertarian United People's Front
I don't hope or expect that my personal sympathies for two different groups on different issues need to or ought to translate into unity between those movements. I'm an autonomous individual :), I agree with one group on some things and another group on other things, and I don't pretend that this means the groups are compatible with each other. They are simply compatible with me (in some ways). They may not like each other, and they may not even like me, but I find something for me to appreciate in each.

Repeat after me: We're all autonomous individuals. We can think for ourselves.

I think the problem is that you've at times talked as if you hoped we might agree with you. :)
Your optimism just confuses and enrages me. - Timothy

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Re: Occupy This

Post by Sandy » 28 Nov 2011, 17:03

thoreau wrote: We're all autonomous individuals. We can think for ourselves.
I'm not!
Hindu is the cricket of religions. You can observe it for years, you can have enthusiasts try to explain it to you, and it's still baffling. - Warren

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Re: Occupy This

Post by thoreau » 28 Nov 2011, 17:08

fyodor wrote:
I think the problem is that you've at times talked as if you hoped we might agree with you. :)
Well, obviously I think that whatever opinion I hold is valid, and thus I hope that everyone agrees with me. But I've never pretended that everyone who agrees with me on one thing must agree with me on other things if they are going to be self-consistent.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Re: Occupy This

Post by thoreau » 28 Nov 2011, 17:09

Sandy wrote:
thoreau wrote: We're all autonomous individuals. We can think for ourselves.
I'm not!

SSSHHHH!!!!
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Re: Occupy This

Post by fyodor » 28 Nov 2011, 17:14

thoreau wrote:
fyodor wrote:
I think the problem is that you've at times talked as if you hoped we might agree with you. :)
Well, obviously I think that whatever opinion I hold is valid, and thus I hope that everyone agrees with me. But I've never pretended that everyone who agrees with me on one thing must agree with me on other things if they are going to be self-consistent.
Obviously. Thus: :)
Your optimism just confuses and enrages me. - Timothy

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Re: Occupy This

Post by thoreau » 28 Nov 2011, 19:39

Academics have a similar culture about community and process. I'm in the middle of a process where somebody went out of there way to find every possible suggestion from everybody who might, if pushed, have some sort of opinion. So we modified the proposal, at which point somebody pointed out that other people need to be consulted on the change, even though the change was already the product of a massive consultation. If these people are OK with the change, we should probably pass their consent along to the people who first suggested the change, and pass on their OK. The culture is all about making sure that everybody is constantly getting feedback and approval from everybody else.

And every. single. one of these steps involves emails. And more fucking emails. And I find myself wondering if we can send Arnold Schwarzenegger back in time to kill the inventor of email.

And as I'm typing this one dumb motherfucker is already objecting to this innocuous change. We should do a fucking temperature check or something.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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