How Occupy botched its protest

This is quite a stunning Survey USA poll for San Francisco that was just released showing declining support for the Occupy movement.

Twenty-six percent of those who originally supported the movement, say they now oppose it. That number increases to 31 percent among Democrats.

The survey was taken yesterday, a day after this in nearby Oakland:

occupy_flagburning.jpg

  • The headline says “How Occupy Botched Its Protest.” That implies to me that the article is going to, you know, show how Occupy botched its protest. Did someone hit the “publish” button on a draft by mistake?

  • Bob Collins

    I should’ve spelled it out: When you ransack offices and burn a flag, you’re probably going to alienate people who were on your side.

    Oh, and if you’ve lost San Francisco, you’ve probably lost America.

  • Jim Shapiro

    I got it, Bob. It’s the flag burning thing.

    Personally, I’m not a flag fetishist. But I understand the power of the symbol, and the symbolic power and meaning of fire.

    Dumb move by these angry adolescents. Apparently these guys are more interested in picking a fight than they are in persuading people of the correctness of their position.

    Fyi budding revolutionaries: An upside-down flag is a more effective symbol of protest. It signifies distress, and most people won’t understand the meaning, opening an opportunity for discourse.

    Too bad the drooling, knuckle-dragging right wing misunderstood and co-opted “My country, right or wrong…”. It’s actually pretty revolutionary. It ends: When right, to keep her right; when wrong, to put her right.”

    -Carl Schurz

  • B Joe

    A more interesting survey would have asked people how they feel about OWS’ goals.

  • Jim Shapiro

    B Joe – are you being facetious?

    If so, pretty funny. If not, I think one of the failings of the movement is the shying away from defining specific goals, and instead choosing to trust in the original organic nature of the protest.

    Call me old-fashioned, but the need for some type of leadership is necessary in order to be productive. The lack of leadership almost inevitably results in anarchy -which is great if you wanna destroy stuff – or collapse.

    Good leaders understand the importance of sharing power, and of gaining allies rather than making enemies.

    They also know that violence won’t win the day. It victimizes the innocent, alienates current or potential supporters, and can never win against the dominant structure. Accept of course by creating innocent martyrs.

    And anyone who is willing to sacrifice the innocent is kind of missing the point.

  • Ed Shaw

    Why are the actions of the few people in the photo significant regarding a nationwide movement?

  • Mark from St Paul

    I look forward to 5-10 years from now when we find out there were five FBI agents and three anarchists in that office….

  • John P II

    Jim – You are old-fashioned.

    “Oh, and if you’ve lost San Francisco, you’ve probably lost America” (Collins) I think this will be the really interesting part. I can see some Bay area residents getting tired of the disruptive tactics used by some Occupy Oakland and Occupy San Francisco protesters, but this could be balanced out in the long run by keeping the spark of protest burning. Interesting that 66% of the lost supporters were over age 50.

  • this is NOT lucy

    joel,

    nice blog! I bookmarked it so I could read more later. Love the corn field story. Dark ages indeed.

    Thanks for spelling it out Bob. Dark ages, indeed.

    Jim, it has been my observation that people are more likely to talk about you rather than engage in discourse with you. Darl ages indeed.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Ed Shaw – Ever hear that “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch” line?

    Aware of the fact that the visual news media is a collective pyromaniac?

    This kind of thing is so counter-productive, I wouldn’t be surprised if the action was planned by a wall street/ big bank saboteur to discredit the movement.

    Then again, without strong, intelligent leadership this silly stuff is fairly predictable.

    Too bad.

  • Bob Collins

    Let’s put it another way.

    The “one bad apple” excuse aside, perception is reality in matters of public movements..

  • B Joe

    Jim,

    Who should lead OWS? Most of the people who’d volunteer are part of the problem. Do you think AFL-CIO really supports the goals of OWS? Do you think the Democratic Party really supports the goals of OWS?

    OWS exists because it speaks to things that those who are currently in charge refuse to. The flag burning this is more of a distraction than anything else.

    The vast majority of OWS actions have been nonviolent. Despite your insinuations about the role of anarchy, I think any sort of objective viewing of the perpetrators of violence with respect to OWS will show that the authoritarians have shown much more of a willingness to strike first and strike disproportionately.

    Finally, OWS has clearly had an effect on the national discourse. Why else would GOP presidential candidates be co-opting the language of OWS?

  • Jim Shapiro

    Bob – Well said.

    To clarify, I don’t believe or fear that the flag-burners will influence other movement members to be thoughtless, but rather that fence-sitters will now paint the entire movement as violent.

    (Got a folksy metaphor for the “perceptio veritatis” thing? 🙂

  • Duke Powell

    News Cut, for months, has approved of the Occupy Movement.

    News Cut has slammed the police, tolerated rape, murder and the destruction of personal and public property.

    Now News Cut acts as if the Occupy Movement has just now crossed the line.

    Words cannot convey my disgust….

  • Jim Shapiro

    B Joe – “Who should lead OWS? Most of the people who’d volunteer are part of the problem. Do you think AFL-CIO really supports the goals of OWS? Do you think the Democratic Party really supports the goals of OWS?”

    Touche’. Some good, experienced potential leaders (eg some union officials and Van Jones) have made it clear that the movement should not be co-opted, and allowed to develop internally.

    I don’t have my figure on the pulse, but I hope that this is happening.

    I understand the catharsis in breaking stuff, and the extreme difficulty in maintaining the discipline to remain non-violent in the face of police attacks.

    Where’s MLK when you need him? (Oh, that’s right. The FBI had him killed.)

  • Bob Collins

    //News Cut, for months, has approved of the Occupy Movement.

    and for those of you unfamiliar with my good friend, Duke, by “approved” he means “mentioned.”

    // has slammed the police, tolerated rape, murder and the destruction of personal and public property.

    … the clubbing of baby seals, the abduction of small children, honor killings, and the drafting of Wes Johnson.

    “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor…?”

    “Germans?”

    “Forget it, he’s rolling.”

    Some specifics might be in order, although I do recognize that you can ruin a lot of healthy outraged that way.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Bob, I’m with Duke on this one.

    Our overlords at Wall Street and the big banks are directly or indirectly responsible for PLENTY of “murder and the destruction of personal and public property.”

    But you hardly EVER approve of those who finance our beloved job creators. Commie.

    ( While words cannot convey my disgust, I expectorate more of MPR.)

  • tboom

    Nothing will alienate 99 percent of your audience like a good flag burning.

    I too wouldn’t be surprised to discover moneyed interests behind this highly photogenic act of stupidity … but then I’m cynical.

  • Chris Nelson

    Going back to the comment about polling for agreement with OWS’s goals & the follow up comment about the lack thereof…

    It is a shame that, if anyone has articulated goals for OWS, nobody was paying attention. People like to attribute the bad acts of a few to the whole movement, but if only a few protesters were to put together a list of concrete goals, nobody would make the mistake of attributing those goals to all of OWS.

    On a related note, how about we quit focusing on the stereotype of who the OWSers are (dirty communist liberals, right?) and do more looking at why the protests are happening, what’s wrong, and what can be done?

  • Bob Collins

    //to put together a list of concrete goals, nobody would make the mistake of attributing those goals to all of OWS.

    It’s not that hard, really. It’s that the “movement” was covered as a…err… movement…. when the original goal seemed to be to call some attention to economic “unfairness,” although admittedly that was not well defined.

    In the end, all of the coverage was about tents etc.

    But I’ll give you two examples of issues that COULD have been covered:

    1) The question of why banks thinks an abandoned home is more valuable to them than an occupied one. I’ve actually asked that question many times, and nobody has yet to provide a good answer.

    2) Why hasn’t there been a perp walk of some sort for banks using phony documents to force foreclosure? This practice has been well documented and yet asking the question is somehow viewed as unAmerican. Why should people lose homes to a bank that made up the documents that they held a mortgage.

    Instead, we have attorneys general negotiating with banks to “settle” these situations.

    As the famous Harry’s Law scene this year said, “and we sent Martha Stewart to prison?”

    Now, sure, we can all get silly and dismiss other nonsense as a way to distract from actual questions that can and should be raised , but those are two that have nagged at me for months.

  • Bob Collins

    //Going back to the comment about polling for agreement with OWS’s goals & the follow up comment about the lack thereof…

    I did mention one Suffolk University poll here.

  • Betty

    “… the clubbing of baby seals, the abduction of small children, honor killings, and the drafting of Wes Johnson.”

    Speaking of ‘honor killings”, I think Mr. Honor Killings in the flesh was standng behind me today at the Best Buy while I was turning in my PC to have it investigated for slowness.

  • this is NOT lucy

    “But I’ll give you two examples of issues that COULD have been covered:

    1) The question of why banks thinks an abandoned home is more valuable to them than an occupied one. I’ve actually asked that question many times, and nobody has yet to provide a good answer.

    2) Why hasn’t there been a perp walk of some sort for banks using phony documents to force foreclosure? This practice has been well documented and yet asking the question is somehow viewed as unAmerican. Why should people lose homes to a bank that made up the documents that they held a mortgage.”

    Ok so we could say that that was a pre-revolution warm-up and the now that we have TOO really good issues, let the revolution begin : )

    mind you no honor killling of any sort here, we are a non violent group.

  • Jamie

    // “News Cut has slammed the police, tolerated rape, murder and the destruction of personal and public property.”//

    This Duke Powell person must be the same guy who sends out all those e-mails full of ridiculous lies about Obama and his administration. Or at least, he BELIEVES all those e-mails (I have a conservative friend who often forwards those proven-false msgs to me).

    As others have said, there have been very few Occupy protesters who have actually resorted to violence or destruction. And I have heard NO reports of any rapes, except for the Occupy protesters who have been assaulted by non-Occupy perps.

    And NewsCut has only REPORTED on the movement; it hasn’t “tolerated” or not “tolerated” anything.

  • tboom

    Bob, going back to your two questions:

    Question #2 has been bothering me too.

    As for Question #1, let me take a stab at an answer. (I’m not really sure I KNOW the answer, but I do know I THINK I know the answer … which, for me, is just as good as actually knowing the answer).

    The problem is banks no longer actually hold mortgages on homes, they just “service” the loans. The mortgages were sold and securitized shortly after the mortgage was written. By securitized, I mean the future principal payments and multiple pieces of interest payments (tranches) were split from the mortgage and placed in multiple securities and resold in the form of “can’t fail triple A” investments (collateralized mortgage obligations). Therefore, nobody actually owns the mortgage whole, so the actual holders of mortgages (multiple holders of multiple CMOs) rely on the servicer of the mortgage to do what’s in their best financial interest … but of course the servicer has no financial interest other than collecting fees for “servicing” the loan. Which goes back to Question #2, a couple of perp walks might instill the servicers (banks) with a sense that some sort of action needs to be taken in the interest of either the mortgage holder or the CMO (or both).

    It seems quaint, but the old “Savings and Loans” paid 5.25 percent on savings accounts, loaned money to home buyers at 8 percent and actually made good money doing it (all the while holding the mortgage papers in their vault).

    … or I could be completely worng.

  • Cid

    Or maybe Duke should move to Teheran, Beijing or Bagdad, where you can experience some real freedom.

  • This is NOT lucy

    Gosh, Joy is a real hum dinger.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05Jm82qIZwI