Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Over-Analyzing The Obvious

There's been absolutely tons of commentary about the Occupy Wall Street protest from bloggers and journalists, much of it concerned with the apparent lack of specificity and cohesion regarding its goals. Will Wilkinson's two cents pretty much hits the nail on the head for me:
Set aside for a moment the question of the efficacy of protests and mass demonstrations as engines of social and political change. Isn't the efflorescence of spontaneous, meaningful community cheering in itself? Generally, I think it's a mistake to see phenomena like Occupy Wall Street or the tea-party movement as immediate inputs to reform. If one insists that this sort of thing must "make a difference" in order to justify one's support, it is possible to see protests, rallies, gatherings, be-ins and so forth—with or without intellectual or strategic cohesion—as investment in "social networking" and the inculcation of ideology and activist identity that may eventually pay dividends through conventional channels of reform. But that's boring, and life is too boring already, which brings me to my point. When life is both boring and lived within a matrix of maddening institutions, why not get together with thousands of like-minded folks, scream about it, screw up traffic, get arrested, whip one another into a frenzy of self-righteous indignation, spit on some people, provoke the jackboots, and maybe even wreck some stuff? Why is that not a good idea?

2 comments :

  1. As long as you're willing to admit it's no more than self-gratifying quasi-cathartic yelling, I suppose that's fine. Though for that somewhat selfish short term goal, isn't this a bit wasteful? A bit childish?

    When the right wing gets mad they get organized and they get people in Congress. When the left wing gets mad we start drum circles. So fine "wreck some stuff" [and to see why that's NOT a good idea, remember Britain], but recognize it for what it is; wasted potential.

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