Thursday, July 19, 2012
OWS, An Autopoundical Dogmatic View Two
My first post on OWS is dated November 26th, 2011. I don't understand what has happened since.
A generation for which I have boundless enthusiasm and sympathy has lately diagnosed what it thinks is my problem. They think it is hard to comprehend a 21st century movement from the perspective of the 20th century politics, media, and economics. They are quite correct, but I am trying my best, just as I try my best to drag myself out of the stratosphere every morning. My 20th century politics are rooted in the 19th, as exemplified by a favorite Bertrand Russell quote: "All movements go too far." This idea, which I have accepted as axiomatic, has not kept me out of just social and political movements any more than it did Russell, but my criticisms of some current causes for not going too far have caused me to join him in Victorian anachronism.
I can be modern. I use technology. I used it to check up on the progress of the Occupy Movement and was specific in my inquiry. A google of "street clogging" yielded much useful information. Here is a video of a group intentionally and successfully clogging a street:
Although there are barricades up and police are in evidence, there don't seem to be any arrests. The street is decidedly being clogged but no one is upset by it. This demonstration hardly qualifies as civil disobedience. Frankly, I don't know what to make of it.
Another tactic that seems to have lost its tuck is campus unrest. If there is a core contingent of organizers, it has clearly outsourced its public presence. Seemingly, marching bands --which are themselves migratory collectives-- have had their bid accepted. As a former long-time gardener of such places, I will reproduce some notes I made on ecologically sound band-abatement decades ago:
Left open the garden gate again
And marching bands got in. It's
Not like cows which, although
Destructive, are gentle and
Easily led away. You have to
Find the prancing major --
Fuzzy hat and wand, very hard
To catch-- and aim him out.
There is a kind of wire. No good,
Snags nothing smaller than
Tubas and morning finds
Marimba boys strangled in
Their straps. More work but
Kinder to just study their
Habits, and when they bulk up
For migration, mind the gate.
There were traps that are now mercifully outlawed. I never used them. Heard stories of how captured marching bands had chewed off their own rhythm sections to escape. But still, sacrifices are unavoidable if a movement is to get its point across. Can't give up or lose interest after a year or two. Have to put a face on movements and keep it on, and make it look way more fun than it really is. As this photo I found by the incomparable Alfred Eisenstaedt suggests, you must raise good new people to good new ideas.