Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

Recommended Photo Store
 
Buy Through Our Amazon Link or Banner to Support This Blog
 
 
 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Lex's Tweets
  • Jonathan's Tweets
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • So – Whither Occupy What Street?

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on October 24th, 2011 (All posts by )

    As a terribly scarred and battle-hardened first gen Tea Partier, I have been following the fortunes of the OWS with mixed emotions; those emotions mostly being a combination of disbelief and horror. Your leaderless insurgency just sort of decided to get together, camp out in a public place and make enough of a spectacle for the media and general public to take notice?

     Well, that’s a goal of sorts, but didn’t anyone do any serious advanced event planning? Organizing skilled volunteers with specific skill-sets to see to billeting, finance, portapotties and their maintenance, security, law-enforcement coordination, clean-up, outreach and education? Nobody gave consideration about differentiating yourselves and your main message (whatever that message may actually be) from pervs, rapists, assorted unappetizing/potentially embarrassing freelance whackos  (more here) and a collection of thievish and destructive blights on the activist community. Was there no guidance considered to urge protest participants to make nice with business owners and members of the general public who have varying degrees of concern about the space you have chosen to take over for your purposes? Was there any prior planning (which prevents piss-poor performance, as the old military saying goes) in advance of these momentous decisions to take to the streets? No confabulations, through social media, no focused meetings of intensely interested volunteers, no hours-long conference calls, thrashing out the basics?

    Sigh – it appears that the answer to these questions is not.

    (As an aside – you will never get 100% consensus among rational adults about anything. Settle for 2/3rd majority, respect the dissenting 1/3rd, and move on. Give way to the minority on something else: it’s called negotiation, my dears – or in vulgar parlance: horse-trading. Prioritize what is important and which you will not compromise upon, and work out what lesser principals you will trade off to achieve that. It’s what adults in a functioning democracy do. People who have real lives and real jobs, those who do not live the Great and Shining Cause 24/7, 365 days a year, will not have the patience or endurance for epic meetings deciding upon minutia  . . .  however, I have noticed that a certain kind of career activitist/community organizer does have stamina sufficient for meetings of the endless and ultimately pointless sort. I’d advise you to avoid that kind of person, but it probably is a bit too late. )

    I do have to hand it to the Occupy Whatever Street – the major national news media are already giving the various protest events the warm sloppy tongue-bath, even to the point of serving your public relations functions. It took the SATP a good six months of outreach and conferences with various local TV news directors and newspaper editors to get any respect at all. But, as a sort-of PR professional, I have to say that this good-will towards the OWS probably will not last, and may already be shriveling. A long-established protest site in the heart of a big city can only be made to seem cool, subversive, and glamorous for so long, in the face of ongoing noise and vandalism, reported harassment of local residents and law-enforcement personnel, and just the general rat’s nest appearance of the average OWS protest camp. This will not go over well in the long run with ordinary, hard-working, peace-loving citizens, even those in general sympathy with some of the stated goals. There are a fair number of new reports indicating that your immediate neighbors in your various venues are growing sick and tired of your presence. This is something that you should pay attention to; bad optics, from a public affairs point of view. Which brings me to my next point –

    A street protest is just a starting point for a truly broad-based and ground-up political movement. Getting together in a public space all those who are moved enough to be unhappy about things as they are  . . .   that is only the first step. The next one is to go home after a decent interval, to fully understand the issues and the various options that would perhaps alleviate those of most concern, and to continue the outreach, the consultations, the epic convention calls, the even-more-epic meetings among the most dedicated and skilled – the formulation of email lists, the cultivation of donors  . . .  all of that. It’s much more of a job and not as attention-catching as a simple temporary event. It’s work, and it’s hard and dedicated work. It is not fun – hardly a romp in the park, if I may be so kind as to draw that analogy. It’s work. Hard work and it will almost always take a lot more temporal and psychic energy than you might think at first. Been there – done that, ever since working to resettle Vietnamese refugees in 1975-75.

    Unless the OWS protestors are all willing to do that work, then they are merely dilettantes in protest, having a public and spectacular temper-tantrum. At this point, it looks to me that all the OWS energies are bent on staying where they have chosen to plant themselves – bad idea, that, if it has become the be-all and end-all. There’s really no other place to go, once that has been decided upon.  Perhaps the decision has already been made, for that’s  the way of these leaderless insurgencies. (If indeed, the OWS is truly the leftish equivalent to the Tea Party – then it is leaderless.) But still – I can’t help recalling how the various mass Tea Party rallies have left the public spaces they were held in – so much tidier than they had been, before: how everyone worked to clean up after … and then they went home and began to work on taking over the local political caucus. Maybe the OWS-inspired insurgents will do just that.

    Or not.

    If I were a media talking-head, doing this as a straight news story, I would be doing a stand-up in front of a government building, and saying solemnly, “Only time will tell!” 

     

    6 Responses to “So – Whither Occupy What Street?”

    1. renminbi Says:

      We will see how much they can tolerate 30 degrees and 25 MPH winds- my guess is almost all of them fold and depart-unless Soros is really paying them a lot.

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      Sgt – I have heard – unverified – that they are for the most part camping on private property – if so – and Bloomberg won’t arrest them – it is to his political detriment.

      Imagine the tongue bath the MSM is giving them and how they treat the tea party –

      I think from this point on they are hurting their cause.

    3. renminbi Says:

      The park was built in exchange for a zoning variance-extrabuilding volume usually. The private
      owners did want the creeps removed, but apparently got phone calls from some of our councilmen threatening to make life difficult if they didn’t back off on that.

      I don’t know who is more verminous-Chi. or NY politicos. They would make good shark food,but the sharks might not have the stomach for it.

    4. TMLutas Says:

      The OWP people are a great Alinsky case study, for example in illustrating his maxim that demonstrations should not last too long.

    5. T.K. Tortch Says:

      Seems to me the various Tea Parties are exactly the people who don’t “live the Great and Shining Cause 24/7, 365 days a year”, and that this is ironically why they feel compelled to organize, argue, and demonstrate.

      They feel that they have to when they’d rather do anything other than attend a political rally on their weekends, because it’s too late to avoid that activist/community organizer you warn against. He’s in the White House, and they know he has plans to politicize their personal whether they want it or not.

    6. Sgt. Mom Says:

      I know, I know … if they’re looking to have basically a public tantrum which grows into public unrest, then they’re on the right track. But if they really want to change the paradigm …
      in the worlds of this Lolcat – Ur Doin it Rong.

    Leave a Reply

    Comments Policy:  By commenting here you acknowledge that you have read the Chicago Boyz blog Comments Policy, which is posted under the comment entry box below, and agree to its terms.

    A real-time preview of your comment will appear under the comment entry box below.

    Comments Policy

    Chicago Boyz values reader contributions and invites you to comment as long as you accept a few stipulations:

    1) Chicago Boyz authors tend to share a broad outlook on issues but there is no party or company line. Each of us decides what to write and how to respond to comments on his own posts. Occasionally one or another of us will delete a comment as off-topic, excessively rude or otherwise unproductive. You may think that we deleted your comment unjustly, and you may be right, but it is usually best if you can accept it and move on.

    2) If you post a comment and it doesn't show up it was probably blocked by our spam filter. We batch-delete spam comments, typically in the morning. If you email us promptly at we may be able to retrieve and publish your comment.

    3) You may use common HTML tags (italic, bold, etc.). Please use the "href" tag to post long URLs. The spam filter tends to block comments that contain multiple URLs. If you want to post multiple URLs you should either spread them across multiple comments or email us so that we can make sure that your comment gets posted.

    4) This blog is private property. The First Amendment does not apply. We have no obligation to publish your comments, follow your instructions or indulge your arguments. If you are unwilling to operate within these loose constraints you should probably start your own blog and leave us alone.

    5) Comments made on the Chicago Boyz blog are solely the responsibility of the commenter. No comment on any post on Chicago Boyz is to be taken as a statement from or by any contributor to Chicago Boyz, the Chicago Boyz blog, its administrators or owners. Chicago Boyz and its contributors, administrators and owners, by permitting comments, do not thereby endorse any claim or opinion or statement made by any commenter, nor do they represent that any claim or statement made in any comment is true. Further, Chicago Boyz and its contributors, administrators and owners expressly reject and disclaim any association with any comment which suggests any threat of bodily harm to any person, including without limitation any elected official.

    6) Commenters may not post content that infringes intellectual property rights. Comments that violate this rule are subject to deletion or editing to remove the infringing content. Commenters who repeatedly violate this rule may be banned from further commenting on Chicago Boyz. See our DMCA policy for more information.