Thursday, September 29, 2011

I am now "the old Left leadership"

It must be true, according to a somewhat-prominent lefty supporter of the Occupy Wall Street protests. It must be true, because I criticized the messaging and tactics of Occupy Wall Street, so thus I am a member of "the old Left leadership" and I'm just upset because the youngsters bypassed me and my ability to funnel fundraising funds into my own pocket (say WHA?! Given that I don't even run goddamned *advertisements* on my blog because I feel it'd be unethical to be paid for doing this, I certainly was surprised to find that one out!). And furthermore, I hate Wikileaks (despite developing some of the technology they use for exactly the purpose that Wikileaks is using it for), and I hate Anonymous (see previous).

Man, I'm glad to hear that my pointing out that, like, the same damned tactics have been re-invented by every new generation of youthful wanna-be revolutionaries every five years for the past forty years and they haven't damn well worked has nothing to do with the fact that those tactics haven't worked a single time during the past forty years of futility and everything to do with being a member of "the old Left leadership" despite, err, not being so. Alrighty, then!

Oh yeah, my advice to youngsters re-inventing the same square wheel that hasn't rolled a single time when re-invented for the past forty years:

  1. Tell Giant Puppet Man and the Red Brigade to go home. Inclusiveness only works when it's inclusive of people who aren't, well, batshit fucking crazy. The GOP is inclusive of Michelle Bachmann and David Duke. Yeah, like that helps their image.
  2. Dress like grown-ups, not like children on a day trip to the city.
  3. Can the cant. Talking bullshit about "class struggle", "empowerment", "collective", or "dialectic". Americans are a pragmatic people who are suspicious of anything that sounds like some sort of "ism", 'cause general experience is that "isms" are Bad News. Tell folks what they need to do, and why they need to do it ("Wall Street Stole Us Blind!" "Indict The Wall Street Thieves!" "Regulate Wall Street!"). Leave the ideology to the ideologues.
  4. Pay attention to grownups who've been part of both successful and unsuccessful movements. One of the reason for the failure of every single protest movement of the past forty years has been because the kids haven't been willing to listen to the voice of experience. Daddy's movement failed, so Daddy isn't worth listening to. Well, not *everybody's* movement failed. In some cases, we won. Sometimes not big victories, but you take what you can. And even where we *did* fail, you can learn from us what didn't work, and avoid making that mistake, at least.
  5. Furthermore, don't dismiss the experiences and values of adults just because they're adults. One reason why the anti-war protesters lost the support of most Americans and consequently elected Richard Nixon not once, but TWICE, despite most Americans being against the Vietnam War, was because of their clear disdain for the values, modes of dress, and experiences of the majority of Americans, who they dismissed as "squares" with nothing of value to contribute. Hint: You spit on your elders, they tend to spit back.
And of course I'm just flapping my beak in the wind here 'cause nobody who needs to listen is gonna listen, but so it goes. Ain't that what I usually do anyhow?

- Badtux the Liberal Elite Penguin (heh!).


  1. I've read your other posts but I am still left wondering... doesn't the tea party break this mold? There is a whole lot a crazy that includes people dressing up in costumes, packing heat, threatening violence, and racism. The only explanation I can think of is that their media coverage was bought and payed for by the Koch brothers and Fox news.

  2. The Tea Party started losing its appeal to most people when other groups started tacking themselves on to the movement. When the corporate Right took over by providing air conditioned buses to events, JumboTrons and country western concert acts, (none of which was donated) it lost its original purpose and cause and was steered into something entirely different.

    Nobody should forget that the modern Tea Party movement started by the Ron Paulbots who were protesting the HUGE amounts of money that the Bush Administration was spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, then the bankster bail outs. Then the Kochs and Dick Armey pumped a lot of money into it and steered it in a slightly different direction -- mostly away from them.

    The Occupy Wall Street people probably need to take a few lessons from the Kochs. While it is great to have a "grass roots" movement, it needs promoting if you are ever going to be relevant. Hoping for press coverage simply by being there isn't going to work -- especially since the media is pretty much in lockstep with the very people you are protesting.

    Hoping for a galvanizing moment such as the pepper spray incident to gather attention can be counter productive. Yes, it draws attention to something that the media has been intent on ignoring, but you have to question what type of coverage they intend to give you.

    The media, dragged kicking and screaming into reporting this "incident", are more likely to portray the Occupy Wall Street movement as a "fringe" made up of "hippies and welfare bums", and will almost try to incite a riot so that they will have something they can report. The media (as well as Wall Street) are hoping for this thing to break out into a riot. Riots can be quelled and that would be the end of the movement.

    The "New" Left needs to take a breath and listen to the people that came before them. PR would be great, focused messaging would be even better. Keeping tag-alongs from attaching themselves to the movement keeps the message focused. Reaching out to people who can give money and support isn't a bad thing -- as long as you don't allow yourselves to be taken over.

  3. mycornertovent, the Teatards were part of an overall strategy to elect Republicans to Congress. They weren't a buncha youngsters sitting around a battery-powered campfire singing Kumbaya. They got the attention of the press by threatening violence. The press does like violence, it gives them woodies (and I ain't talkin' about a 53 Chevy station wagon either). Thing is, what interests the press (and politicians) has nothing to do with building an effective movement. Overcoverage of the Tea Party circus is what turned most Americans against the Tea Party over the past year.

    Regarding inclusiveness, you have to beware of Life of Brian "Splitters!" Syndrome. But that's another reason to can the cant. Ideological arguments are the end of most left-wing movements. Clear objectives, and a strategy and tactics for obtaining them are what counts. Leave the ideological arguments at the door.

    - Badtux the Practical Penguin

  4. The thing that the Occupy Wallstreet makes me think of is a reverse of Soviet show trials. Or, the mirror image of, perhaps? I sometimes wonder if it is all to placate people into thinking SOMEone, ANYone, is actually doing something about the corruption and plutocratic, proto-fascist behaviors manifesting in America.

    We are meant to watch it on television, think, "Oh, good, that showed the bastards" and then go back to our latte drinking and good sheeple behaviors.

  5. Every generation thinks it invented sex, music, humor, and politics. The present generation is no different. Nor was ours.


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