Ted Rall was here for and FDL Book Salon a while back. I try to visit his site at least ones a week. He has a guest post there this week which goes along with that was covered in the Salon and to me some of the best advice for OWS I have heard so far. Then ending summary pretty much says it all.
The OWS mentality reminds me of a particular piece of advice that I’ve been told phone company linemen used to get as part of their training back in the 1970s. When you’re up on a wooden phone pole, if you slip, your instinctive reaction is to try to grab hold of the pole. By the time you realize you’re falling though, you’ve already achieved too much speed to be able to stop yourself that way. Grabbing the pole in that situation would be identical to pressing your chest and arms against the world’s largest cheese grater. The splintery wood on the outside of the phone poll would simply rip through your shirt and skin, and you’d arrive at the bottom of the poll as a bloody mess with a big smear of blood and tissue marking the trail you took down. When you start to slip, so went the advice, you have to accept that you are already committed and hope that the two broken legs you’ll be getting when you hit the sidewalk will teach you to be more careful next time.
That’s the lesson the OWSers still haven’t grasped. They think there’s a painless, bloodless way out of this for them. Sure, for a very small number of the 99% there is. But for many of the 99%, they’re already in freefall but still think that, somehow, their legs aren’t going to shatter when they hit the concrete.
You can’t try to change the system while you continue to empower it by using the smart phones, the credit cards, the Facebook accounts, the Twitter posts, and all the rest. You don’t get to have so many amusements and distractions and an “oh, we’re serious, but, golly, we don’t want to give up our shiny little toys and we don’t want to suffer” mentality AND get to win.
Look at the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It took over a year. And why did the bus company cave in? Because the 1% only took 1% of the seats and only paid 1% of the fares. The blacks were the essential lifeblood of the bus line economy. If OWS wants to win, they need to start organizing and start applying economic pressure, just like was done back in the 1950s. Enough with the theatrics. Yes, a flair for the dramatic helps, but it’s window dressing. Enough with trying to shame the bankers. Either figure out what you’re doing or quit your bitching. Enough with these pointless, idiotic, quixotic tantrums.
This has been my main complaint with the OWS movement all along. And my biggest complaint with the left in general. This insistence on protesting in a nice, agreeable, consenting manner. Doing that is not a protest !
Look at the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement and the union strikes. They were NOT NICE or agreeable. The whole point is to be a major but major thorn in the side of the system. Which carries the risk of “getting your legs broken”.
That’s what makes it a protest.