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Re: <nettime> A Movement Without Demands?
Michael H Goldhaber on Mon, 9 Jan 2012 17:42:24 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> A Movement Without Demands?

I have several comments on this discussion.

First, a serious question. Snafu and Jodi Dean, why did you put your argument in favor of demands in such academic and turgid prose that it is a foregone conclusion the most in the occupy movement couldn't possibly understand it and would probably toss it aside with disdain? It reads to me as if intended for some non-existent vanguard party oddly composed of those who have read the right books. Surely not, but then for whom was it meant? If this was really the best you could do in terms of prose, then left intellectuals are of even less relevance than most  would want to believe. I suspect you could do better, so I have to wonder just what got  into you.

Second, I disagree about the need for demands, and much of the rest of it. "We are the 99%" is a brilliant slogan because once heard, it  is impossible to forget that the one percent have had too much power for too long. AND,  they are only one percent, and thus vulnerable. Their power cannot be allowed to stand, and that has to be remembered in almost all contexts all the time. Just by itself, the slogan reduces that erstwhile power very substantially. When Verizon tries to impose a new fee, it is quickly shouted down. The Governor of New York is forced to change his stand on taxing the rich. The President is forced to speak of inequality in a way he hadn't before. And on and on.

The slogan thus is in itself a vast store of demands that keeps on generating new ones in numerous guises and fora. More than that, it alters relations of power just by itself, in much the way, over a much longer period, that the consciousness raising of the women's movement decades ago altered power between men and women.  You are part of this movement if you take the slogan even partly to heart, whether you Occupy or not. 

Another point. Jodi says the movement isn't found in poor communities. Well, Occupy Oakland is one of the largest and most visible, and much of Oakland is very poor. Homeless people made up a substantial portion of the occupiers here, and so did many others from the poorer parts of town. There was a true intermixing and dialog between many segments of the 99%, so it can happen. 

I don't know where the movement is going and how successful it will be in its current form, but I am quite sure it's not going to die. I have no prescriptions to offer it, and I frankly doubt that any of us on this list ought to be in the business of trying to do that. And even if some try, I doubt that  the kinds of suggestions offered in this discussion will have much sway.


On Jan 6, 2012, at 10:12 PM, Brian Holmes wrote:

> Well, Snafu was right and I'm sure that many good debates will flow
> from his and Jodi's co-written text.

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