even great men
Achmed Jones posted:
Welcome to the OWS thread, enjoy your stay.
This post reads to me like making fun of a teenager for having acne and going through awkward growth spurts. It might look funny, but it doesn’t mean they’ve done anything wrong. This movement is very young, and a lot of the people involved are coming to political activism for the first time and have a lot to learn. That’s what happens when something is new: it goes through growing pains and a period of awkward development. While there are plenty of historical analogs for this movement, there is also a lot that is new and unprecedented, and all that shit needs to get worked out and ironed out and solved, and it is going to take a long goddamn time. So some of this stuff is good for a quick laugh, and the movement certainly invites a lot of criticism, and at least some of that criticism is well-deserved (I just wrote about 2500 words of criticism, and I’m as deep in this shit as anyone). But the detractors in this thread will quickly jump on the slightest blemish with the triumphant declaration that THIS will FINALLY be THE INCIDENT to DESTROY THE MOVEMENT, and declare it will bring humiliation and tears to anyone involved. I don’t think these people want the movement to fail, but I think they desperately want an excuse to not be involved, which makes them quick to bandwagon on the slightest possibility of an Achilles Heel. It is worth pointing out that the myth of Achilles shows that even great men can have vulnerabilities; it certainly doesn’t show that the existence of any vulnerability indicates certain disaster.
Not too long ago the consensus model was new and revolutionary and made OWS ~special~. For a while it was “agent provocateurs? This is unprecedented and surprising!” Now the new hotness is I guess a complete lack of organizational structure not only for decision making but as a replacement for tactical response to organized brutality. History repeats etc. Hopefully the lessons that activists have learned in the past hundred or so years will be heeded before it’s too late to do so. Luckily, people are generally at least willing to recognize when something doesn’t work so well, which puts OWS in a far better position than most movements.
8:23 pm • 31 October 2011 • 1 note • View comments
capacity for doing
Fried Chicken posted:
Every last bit of this just reeks to high hell of someone who is happy, enthusiastic, and doesn’t know the single first god damn thing about what they are talking about.
Your post was a load of “No it isn’t” without a single constructive point in any of it. If you think I am fundamentally mistaken about some term or concept I used, please help clarify and show me why I am wrong and what would be a better way of thinking about it. If you think you know better than I do, I am all ears. Instead, you bitch about people not knowing anything, without doing a goddamned thing to try and educate. And I have no interest in talking with someone who clearly has no desire to contribute, and post was completely worthless. I also, at least for the moment, see no reason to hide any of this from the cops or DHS or any other intelligence organization. I am not advocating violence or any other illegal activity. I have not discussed any sensitive or dangerous information, and I have no such information to share in the first place. I am talking about how to strategically assemble, as is our constitutional right. Talking tactics here is necessary and entirely appropriate, given the presence of severe police-state restrictions on where and how we can assemble. I will continue to talk about how to exercise this right as long as I have a forum and the physical capacity for doing so. Moreover, any idea I have from a month of hobbiest-revolutionary fun is surely a drop in the bucket of what the cops and the military are prepared for. I have no doubt in their significant abilities, and I have no doubt that the shit I’m saying now has been discussed for decades at the highest levels of the existing institutions. So I see absolutely no advantage to keeping mum, and every advantage to talk openly about these issues, and on public infrastructure while it is still available. If shit goes down next year, or in five years, we will be better off for having these conversations now to start thinking and planning and conceptualizing the future, instead of sitting on our hands and mumbling to ourselves.
8:07 pm • 31 October 2011 • View comments
I’ve been meaning to write an essay called “On Process” since my fist trip to Chicago. This isn’t it, but it has the seeds of a lot of the ideas I have, and it is also really fucking long. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Don’t both this and Mr. Random’s ideas rely on abandoning the leaderless nature of the movement? You would need leaders and a hierarchy; consensus is not fast or responsive.
Honestly, I’ve become entirely disillusioned with the process of consensus, what it is meant to represent, and what function it serves. “Consensus” is supposed to be the collective analog of “decision-making” in the individual. An individual makes a decision (by some black-box mental process), and then acts on that decision. The decision is supposed to motivate and explain the action; insofar as the decision making process is sensitive to reasons, then the action itself can be understood as rational. Similarly, the consensus achieved at Assembly is meant to serve as the rational, open, democratic process of achieving a shared decision, and as the grounds for motivating and explaining the activity of the collective. So I am, for a million philosophical, psychological, and practical reasons, skeptical of the individualist ideology at work in the “decision” model, and this leaves me with almost no conceptual resources for understanding what “consensus” is. Admittedly, my experience comes out of my local (and small) occupation, and from attending the GAs at Chicago, which is one of the least organized and prepared occupations around from what I’ve read. But it seems quite clear to me that:1) The VAST majority of the time at GAs is spent on general announcements (mere pointers to actual useful information) and process (explaining process, making sure we keep to process, etc). These are what I will call “Solidarity Rituals”, which I will explain below. But they have nothing to do with direct action of the sort modeled on individual decisions. 2) Of the issues and proposals that actually come up for consensus at GAs, there are two broad types:a) Someone asks “Hey I want to do this thing (start a library or a compost heap or distribute a leaflet or whatever), and I’d like the permission or endorsement of the GA”b) Large-scale framing issues (lists of demands or grievances or official declarations, how to engage with the press/politicians/police, etc).Of type (2a), there are the sorts of proposals that are no brainers: if you want to start a community compost heap, just fucking do it. Such a thing only gets accomplished if there are people willing and eager to work on the project, and if you can get those people to do it, then just fucking do it. I don’t see any reason (other than making the announcement, getting a temp check, and general Solidarity Ritual functions) for bringing up such proposals to the GA in the hopes of reaching consensus. Then there are more controversial types of (2a) proposals that have implications for the entire assembly. For instance, at Saturday’s GA in Chicago, it was proposed that we have a collective Halloween action at Rahm’s private house after dark. This was controversial because of the possible public/media perception, and because of the possibility of police involvement, both of which affects the occupation as a whole. Such issues tend to devolve into proposals of type (2b), and get mired in sweeping theoretical debates about the nature of the movement, what is good and bad about it, etc. I think such issues are incredibly difficult to work out at assembly, but I think that they are also the right sort of things to be brought before assembly for general discussion because they have consequences for everyone. So I don’t object to type (2b) proposals; if GAs serve any function at all, it is to work out the grand narrative and ideological basis for the movement. I just think it would be helpful if people were prepared to have some of these discussions, and I think the theoretical underpinning of a lot of this process and movement are sorely underdeveloped, which makes listening to these public discussions incredibly frustrating. But you can’t work out a theory or lecture at the GA; those discussions have to take place between individuals outside of the process of Assembly, on the corner and on message boards and the like. But whether or not type (2b) proposals reach consensus, the actions proposed at Assembly will or will not be taken by dedicated individuals, often whether or not the action will be endorsed by assembly. Some people will be going to Rahm’s house tonight, I’m sure of it, whether or not it reached consensus at Assembly, just like people gathered at the Thompson Center a few nights ago, without it ever being brought up at Assembly.So Assembly doesn’t stop actions from happening, and they don’t make actions happen. That can only be done by an individual. So I’m left wondering what the point of consensus actually is. Here’s what I think is the only real point of Assembly and the process: it is a Solidarity Ritual used to make sure everyone is on the same page, and that there is a general sense that people are acting in cooperation and for the sake of the whole collective. It ensures that the Assembly is unified and coherent, instead of pulling at the ends and disorganized. Here’s another Solidarity Ritual: drum circles. Drumming makes everyone feel synced up, united, on the same page. It feeds a deep psychological need for community and unification. General Assembly, likewise, serves solely to satisfy this psychological need, independent and regardless of whether the satisfaction of this need actually results in any productive action or benefits the collective. To put it simply, General Assembly is there to make us Feel Good, and that’s really it. This, I claim, has absolutely no relationship to the supposedly “rational” process of decision-making that serves as the traditional analog of consensus.Of course that doesn’t mean it is a bad thing. Feeling good is important; feeling engaged in a community is even more important still, and the process of inclusiveness and all the hand signals and stuff reinforce that good feeling and makes sure that the perception of engagement is available to all comers. But good feelings don’t get anything done except attract numbers. Attracting numbers is incredibly important, mind you, but it shouldn’t be confused with democratic success. For anything to actually get done, you need people willing to take action, and charismatic enough to attract enough people to help realize the action. That’s all I see in Chicago: I see a handful (maybe 30) extremely dedicated, talented, and smart people who are wildly successful with crowd-control and that’s about it. They aren’t leaders, but they are the Organizers, and it doesn’t take much to recognize who they are and see the kind of power their wield. They are raised on Internet. They know how to mobilize otherwise aimless crowds of people to do their bidding: to take a park or march down a street. These people excel at using People’s Mic to shut down provocateurs and other dangerous situations. These people are capable of giving a stirring speech that rouses passions and results in collective action. Most of the time, these organizers are taking action that was never discussed at Assembly, or anywhere else for that matter, but was a spur of the moment snap decision by an individual in response to an immediate situation that requires collective action. That doesn’t make the organizer a “leader” in the sense that the person alone embodies or represents the actions of the collective, but it does mean that the person has a lot of power over what the crowd does.Most of the time, these people are acting in the spirit of cooperation, and with goals that would probably align with consensus of the Assembly, had it ever come up for vote. Maybe. But what matters when actions get taken is not what Assembly thinks is good, but what the individual agent thinks is good, and there is absolutely no mechanism except radical trust to ensure these stay aligned.Most of the time, unfortunately, the Organizers who recognize and understand the extent of their power over the crowd think they need to use this power to engage the powers of the Existing Order of Things. The organizers use their power to “put on a Good Show for the press” or to “put pressure on a politician” or to “overwhelm the police”. Such organizers don’t realize that the power of the people is not enough to stand up to the existing institutions of power, and that fighting a game where they have home-court advantage is always a losing proposition. They don’t recognize, at least in Chicago, that the power of the people is self-serving, and should be put into providing for the people, and that any energy used to throw dirt clods at the existing system is a waste of energy. Training people on the process of Assembly, showing them people’s mic and the rest of it, is important beyond the good feelings it instills. It makes sure that the people are malleable and primed for puppet-mastery when needed. It shows, above all, discipline, which is a word that you won’t see much used to describe these protests but is nevertheless the most appropriate description of the Occupations. “Discipline” comes from the Latin “discere” which means “to learn”. A ‘disciple’ is one who has learned a method, and has come under the control of its instruction. These occupations are massive exercises in crowd-sourced discipline. Its participants are eager to learn, and are eager to talk about events at other occupations, and of resistance movements from the past. They are forming a tradition that is not disconnected from the past, but is attempting to harness its best aspects into an amalgam of techniques and tools to keep the power they’ve generated going for the indefinite future. They are engaged in rituals designed explicitly to pacify and unify the movement, to keep it nonviolent and free of internal dissent, to ensure that we are better off working together than against each other. As I said in the OP, this is the creation of a Church of Dissent. Churches are always created through impressive efforts of discipline and control, and these Occupations, if successful, will be one of the most surprising feats of human discipline ever achieved. From my perspective, People’s Mic is a form of free-style prayer: an intonation of words that get us on the same page and have us collectively thinking the same thoughts, which is exactly the traditional function of prayer. Retraining people on a secularized version of prayer-based crowd control is important if only to break the mind control of modern capitalist media and politics. But none of this is about “democracy” or “the will of the people” in the abstract ideal sense that appears on the signs of the protesters. This is about turning individual minds over to the hive mind, and trusting that the hive mind to work in the interest of the individuals collectively considered. Part of that means being ready to be influenced by your neighbor, should you judge their recommendation to be in the collective interest, and you’ve already been psychologically primed to err on the side of cooperation, so it won’t take much to make you act as part of the collective. Part of this means that some people (not everyone) needs to have some lust and skill for control and power, and to take advantage of the opportunity to be surrounded by a bunch of malleable people to use that potential energy for the benefit of all. I think this scares a lot of people. Hieronymous Alloy has been openly and lucidly skeptical of this strategy for several dozen pages of this thread; others have a more knee-jerk reaction, but in either case the concerns are justified. I myself have some reservations about the process going on here, but I don’t think I (or anyone else, for that matter) understands the theory well enough to come down definitively one way or the other, and since this is an unprecedented set of events, I’m personally inclined to watch them play out. But to close I’ll say a few things in favor of “trusting the hive-mind” and “twiddling the hind-brain” or however you want to think about the zealotry of religious fervor at play in these occupations.First, regarding the problems with being “easily influenced”: After three weeks now of near continuous occupation, I’ve seen a lot of stupid ideas shot down, and a lot of good ideas get taken on by the collective. I’ve seen people, even very stubborn and incorrigible people, change their mind and change their views in the spirit of cooperation. The influence at work here is by no means easy, even outside the formal process of Assembly. But there is influence and power at work in the occupations that don’t function along the lines of traditional social organization, and I’m not convinced that’s a bad thing. I’m not arguing that the crowd-sourced method will always result in the best decisions; obviously it doesn’t, especially in the short term. However, I do have some amount of trust that people can actually act in the spirit of cooperation, and to at least some extent put their egos aside and work together. I also think that the open, inclusive nature of the process, while not entirely a “democratic ideal” (whatever that means), does empower people to think directly about what is in the interest of the collective, and to speak out when something goes against the collective good (even if it doesn’t jive with their personal moral sense). In other words, my point is that I don’t think “easily influenced” is another way of saying that the individuals don’t have any autonomous moral sense or feeling of responsibility or obligation. I don’t think that being “easily influenced” means that the individual’s ethical sense gets turned off, or gets put under the control of another individual. Instead, the individual’s ethical sense gets tuned into the good of the collective, and not the self-interest of the individual, and that’s exactly how a community is able to function as a collective agent. That might scare you if you are a libertarian- (or Randian-) leaning type who values personal autonomy and self-interest over all else, but hopefully the people interested in this occupation aren’t that anti-social. So while the process might result in the loss of some individual agency, I’m less that reluctant to give it up for the sake of the collective good.Second, with respect to those individuals who do the influencing: As long as these people are never given any formal authority, and have to rely only on their charisma and ideas to generate action, then I think the power and wisdom of a participatory and engaged crowd is enough to keep the organizers and influencers in check and within some acceptable social ranges. That is, absent some formal position of power, the chances of some truly malevolent charismatic genius harnessing the existing system for nefarious ends is fairly unlikely. As long as the system stays open, leaderless, and committed to inclusive direct democracy, it is really hard for a seriously bad idea to stick around unopposed for any significant length of time. At least, over the long run. In a moment of confused panic, even good and smart people are easily swayed for all sorts of nefarious ends, and you might have some instances of terrible evil occurring as a result. But assuming we’ll always have the chance to reassemble and take stock, I don’t see any such individual derailing the occupation.
8:00 pm • 31 October 2011 • View comments
the ghandi countdown
Martin Random posted:
Trying to out-discipline and out-armor the police is a losing tactic. The police can always beat an inexperienced demonstration crowd when the crowd has numbers because of their superior discipline, experience, coordination, and equipment.
I just wanted to emphasize that this is entirely correct. At the Assembly in Chicago this weekend, I ran into a representative from OWS who is making the trip west to hook up with other major occupations in order to build a world-wide Occupation Alert System, that was secure, authoritative, and could quickly mobilize people anywhere to respond to immediate crises. The elevator pitch he gave at the GA was something like this: “The next time something like Oakland happens, we need everyone to respond immediately, and we can’t wait for days or even hours for the word to spread.”Talking to the guy afterwards, he was concerned that the pace, scope, and authority of the standard techniques like FB and Twitter did not make for an effective alert and coordination system, especially in response to large crises (and the possibility of direct conflict in the streets). FB and Twitter tend to let information get buried and lost, are difficult to search, convey very little concrete and useful information, and there are all sorts of security holes and noise using those services. Crowdsourcing the media works over the long term and over large scales, but for direct and immediate action you need something more flexible and spritely. We are at stage 2 of the Ghandi Countdown: they are laughing at us. If we make it to stage 3, however, (where they actually fight us directly, instead of just lobbing explosives from behind barricades and denying it afterwards) then we will need to organize a new generation of urban guerrilla nonviolent warfare techniques. And that takes exactly the form that Martin Random and Petey and others are describing. It means small roving groups that are linked back to some kind of centralized dispatch, which can respond with a flash mob within a few minutes notice. Places like Manhattan and Chicago, which are laid out on a grid system, are absolutely perfect for this kind of distributed action. It means that cops can’t show up 100 strong on their ponies and make a big show of force, but have to be scattered around the city, raising the chances of being outnumbered by the people, and generally reducing their role to glorified traffic cops. This wouldn’t be possible before the digital age. This is next gen tactics and we need to start thinking seriously of how to organize it. I saw a lot of people making suggestions to the OWS guy that weren’t any more developed than “A big skype conference call and IRC channel”, but that shit won’t cut it for a million reasons. I did hear the model of TinyChat brought up a few times, but I don’t know what lies down that path. Here’s how I think it happens, from my experience on the ground, given my near total lack of technical knowledge. Some system where a collection of about 20-30 people can collectively link as a roving cluster, with one person (with the fullest cell battery, maybe) designated as the com/media guy, who is in contact with a central dispatch that is monitoring the location and activity of all the other pods. OWS has shown that it isn’t too hard to get groups of 3000+ people gathered with about a week’s notice; if that amounts to 100 different protests in 100 different locations instead of one centralized gathering, with each pod coordinated and synced to the distributed collective, then the 200 police officers either have to split up 100 ways also (and be completely ineffective), or push all 200 cops at a single group of 30. That’s a dangerous scenario, but one which shouldn’t be a problem if the com/media guy has it all documented, and some central dispatch can coordinate the nearby pods to contract on that location within a moment’s notice. Let me emphasize: if these protests are going to work, then some tactic like this is absolutely essential. The police have a hundreds of years of experience dealing with crowd control of large groups of people, and they are effective at crowd control in nearly 100% of cases, including cases where the crowds turn violent and riotous. They know how to deal with these situations; they have extensive experience and training for exactly this situations. We cannot beat them at their own game. So we are forced to develop the next set of strategies, and that’s collective distributed actions. The last 10 years of watching our troops fight the “autonomous cells” of Al Qaeda have certainly been instructive, even for the X-Box generation, and it will soon be time for us to step up our own organizing efforts on the ground to meet this 21st century challenge.A system like that would require a lot of coordination and discipline, and I don’t think we have the tech yet to do it properly even if we assume a stable 3/4g internet connection. If things continue to escalate at their current rate, we’ll have to start dealing with deliberate network shut downs (like we saw in Cairo) within the next year. That’ll be a major hurdle to overcome when we get there, but I think by that point we’ll already be locked into a major tech and arms race with the state, which will mean that our grab for power is working. Just a few more points on this topic:1) DHS is already involved in these operations. The FEDs have been fighting urban warfare scenarios like this for a long, long time, and they know very well what they are doing. There are a lot of very smart, very talented people helping out with the occupations as well, but this is not going to be an easy fight, and at least from an organizational standpoint I think it will be the hardest in America since we have the strongest enemy, the lowest public support, and the least personal stake riding on our success than any other occupation.2) The next gen of internet toys and social modeling will be driven by this kind of arms race. Even if you don’t care about the occupation or want to see it fail, you have to recognize that these are the challenges that drive innovation and technological progress. I guarantee that in 10 years, the big internet fad that is so important that we can’t imagine how we ever got by without it, will have been developed to address the organizational needs of the occupation.
Using the human mic to coordinate the mass of the people and rapidly maneuver, unpredictably disperse and coalesce, or even retreat and then stampede, that is going to be unbeatable when you have numbers.
Imagine trying to head off or kettle a march that can use the human mic to turn on a dime or perform a coordinated about face. Impossible. Imagine everyone in a crowd spontaneously running at full speed to disperse only to coalesce two blocks away.
Any tactic that requires large numbers of people to coordinate and which can be shouted and quickly understood by untrained or mostly inexperienced people in one or two quick sentences is now possible. Just throwing stuff off the top of my head: Group charging and retreating, coordinated volleys of projectiles, even crazy stuff like “run forward and climb over” to completely overrun a line of shields.
The human mic is a leap advance in crowd tactics like the first rudimentary central nervous system was in multicellular organisms.
4:17 pm • 31 October 2011 • 67 notes • View comments
the space of practical engagement
If you want some food for thought on the subject though here is a nice quote by Susan Strange: “Structural analysis suggest that technological changes do not necessarily change power structure. they do so only if accompanied by changes in the basic belief system which underpin or support the political and economic arrangements acceptable to society.”
Technological change is always accompanied by belief-system change. Conceptual space is co-extensive with the space of practical engagement. The internet is as much a conceptual revolution as a technological one, and working out the nature of that conceptual change involves talking about the role of technology in these events. Asking us to stop talking about the internet is, in effect, asking us to stop trying to work out the nature of that conceptual change, and is stupid on its face.
4:43 pm • 21 October 2011 • View comments
we now live in video games
They’re using it as, well, a social tool.
I’m not disagreeing with your point, but I’m trying to suggest you are underestimating the scale of the social revolution that has been occurring for the last decade of so.The old critique of the industrial revolution, which was mistakenly taken as a critique of all technology, is that technology is fundamentally alienating. It mediates our relation to the world, it mediates our relation to each other, and it pulls us farther apart. This critique has undeniable force when you look at things like suburbanization, where people live in their little isolated boxes, eating the same pre-processed food, and absorbing the same, unified, highly produced and highly manipulative media. But participatory media (new media) is not alienating in this way at all. It requires the social interaction and community support of its members. Facebook doesn’t work if no one posts the shit that they do; most of it is boring shit because people are relatively boring, but taken in aggregate it replicates, at least to some extent, the lively and bubbling activity of a genuine bottom-up self-organized human community. New media has alienating aspects, certainly, but it nevertheless operates on a demand for fresh participation from its members. This kind of community is something we haven’t had, as human beings, for a very long time.And the thing is that it works. People take to it like candy. Instead of new media being an obstruction to social engagement, as suggested by the rhetoric of alienation, it has vibrantly facilitated an explosion of new forms of social engagement, some of which were unimaginable just a few years ago. I have no doubt that these occupations, and the worldwide uprisings of the year 2011, will go in the history books as one of the first major species-wide attempts at self-organization to usurp the power of oppressive forces. Whether or not these specific occupations are ultimately successful, I’m proud to have participated in this moment in history. We are calling in the new century with a digital revolution, which is not to say we we now live in video games (though some of us do), but instead that we have suddenly organized ourselves into a coherent signal, and that we’re starting to sync our clocks.
4:43 pm • 21 October 2011 • View comments
at least nominally “friends”
I’ve seen a number of people throughout this thread talk about how “old media” isn’t very important anymore, which is absolute bullshit. Far more people in this country get their news/information from television (and to a much lesser extent radio) than get it from the internet/social media. While the percent of people who get their information from “new media” will increase over time, for at least the next decade+ television will remain the most influential source.
It seems like some people tend to forget that most of the country isn’t young, white middle class 20-30-somethings. America’s poor mostly aren’t getting their information from twitter/facebook, and neither are adults over the age of 50. Also, even though many people use twitter/facebook, many of those people still consider TV their main source of news. When they do use the internet for news, they’re going to the websites of television news stations (or using yahoo news or something).
This isn’t a criticism of the Occupy movements in any way. I’m just pointing out that “Most people aren’t using ‘old media’ anymore; the media corporations are losing their control!” is nonsense, and the narrative is still controlled by media corporations. The only reason OWS has a chance of gaining support from a large portion of the country is that its core message is something that the media can’t really spin, and people suffering due to the economy are acutely aware of the problem.
I must respectfully disagree.
The old media controls the narrative of the old media, true. And millions of people continue to turn to old media for news and information.
However, the majority of people are gathering news and information online in addition to traditional sources, which means old media doesn’t have the monolithic voice it had 20 years ago. 65% of Americans use some form of social networking, and over the last few years that number has stayed stable among people under 30, but has skyrocketed with a 60% increase (from 20-32%) in people over 50 in the last year alone.
These are not insignificant numbers. It doesn’t show that old media doesn’t matter. It does show that old media doesn’t have the stranglehold on the narrative that it once had. The fact that a large majority of Americans have at least some sympathies with OWS is not because of the narrative presented in old media, but because these people are encountering media and information outside the standard channels. Facebook is sparking conversations that aren’t falling within the pre-determined limits of corporate-run media. These conversations are happening among people who are at least nominally “friends”, and those conversations are far more psychologically compelling than anything a talking head can spout.
People also widely recognize that old media has very little credibility left. That means that people who want real information are turning to Internet, including people who continue to consume old media sources. I have first hand experience with this: the Chicago Occupation needed coffee. A tweet was sent out, and within an hour we had more boxes of coffee than people to drink it, donated by people of all demographics who woke up to check Facebook to see how they could help. Nothing like this would ever be coordinated through old media sources. This kind of organization and planning requires reliable sources of information, and a crowd of people reacting to that information. These are people who are looking to actively participate with the news in their community, as opposed to passively consuming it- and the desire to participate in the community is not unique to the 20-somethings.
So the point is not that “old media has collapsed” or that it has gone away, or that it isn’t capable of framing the narrative within its scope of influence. The point, rather, is that old media has become obsolete. Its scope of influence has been dramatically overshadowed by the crowd-sources resources of a participatory Internet which have irreparably damaged its credibility and influence. The kind of community participation OWS has brought out takes place entirely outside the scope of old media, and if this is the kind of activity we wish to encourage then we we simply have no more use for the old media as it stands.
This is what it means to be “obsolete”. To say that something is obsolete doesn’t mean it is broken, or that it doesn’t work perfectly well at its job. The Sega Genesis machine in my closet works fine if I would ever bother to plug it in. But it is obsolete because it is no longer useful, because we have better and more effective alternatives that have successfully replaced its job.
3:23 pm • 21 October 2011 • 11 notes • View comments
animal of this occupation
Just putting in my suggestion that the symbolic animal of this occupation is clearly the pigeon, the most egalitarian of all animals.
That is all.
4:06 pm • 20 October 2011 • 21 notes • View comments