#OWS: The PR Battle

by lizard

How long does it take for the New York Times to expose its complicity in trying to control the narrative emerging from this weekend’s mass-arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge. Apparently, 20 minutes:

Since ignoring this protest hasn’t worked, and ridiculing the protestors hasn’t worked, it’s now time for outright misrepresentation of events on the ground, and the corporate whore, I mean the Gray Lady is happy to do its part.

The distinction of being “allowed” on the bridge and “marching” on the bridge is important. Protestors involved have been saying they were led into a trap by NYPD. The counter narrative is that the protestors purposely marched on the bridge, stopping traffic and breaking the law, which warranted the mass arrest. The NYT has altered its story to back up the NYPD’s version of events. No surprise, but still disgusting.

The occupiers, though, got a boost in the PR battle when the information that JP Morgan had recently gifted the NYPD 4.6 million dollars.

Even more encouraging, some unions and other liberal groups will be adding their voices this coming Wednesday:

Among unions, the United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United and Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 have said they will participate in the protest next Wednesday.

The Working Families Party, MoveOn.org, Make the Road New York, the Coalition for the Homeless, the Alliance for Quality Education, Community Voices Heard, United New York and Strong Economy For All also plan to support the demonstration.

“It’s a responsibility for the progressive organizations in town to show their support and connect Occupy Wall Street to some of the struggles that are real in the city today,” Jon Kest, executive director of New York Communities for Change told Crain’s New York. “They’re speaking about issues we’re trying to speak about.”

The World Trade Organization protests in Seattle put a scare into the consolidation efforts of the global elites. Then 9/11 happened, and the forces gathering opposition to globalization were sent scurrying for cover as Bush decimated civil liberties and allowed the war machine to go berserker.

There was hope the electoral process that produced the first black president would bring the country back from the fatal union (fatal to Democracy) of the corporation and the state, known as Fascism. That didn’t happen, and it’s not all the president’s fault.

But the man had his chance to capitalize on the national sentiment of disgust that the reign of Bush and his crony capitalist backers created, and he has failed miserably (I mean, my god, he can’t even put together a bill to get Americans back to work without including a time-bomb for Social Security).

Well, that chance is gone, and now it’s time to try something else.

The number of protestors arrested just over this weekend is around 700, which stands in stark contrast to the number of bankers/traders/hedgefund managers who have been held criminally accountable for their role in crashing the economy: ZERO!

Wall Streeters are not Masters of the Universe. They may hold the levers of the economy right now, but their recklessness, arrogance, and inexcusable greed have weakened their position significantly. Their reign of terror will not last forever. I hope they have enough money squirreled away to pay for Xe’s security services, because with the assault on every manifestation of unions in this country, not even the NYP will cover their asses indefinitely.


  1. lizard19

    j-girl, pbear, so glad you guys helped convince me to join twitter.

    the pic j-girl tweeted tonight of the sign two marines were holding gave me chills:

    2nd time I’ve fought for my country
    1st time I’ve known my enemy

  2. lizard19

    from @drgrist:

    All that sentiment that Obama tapped into – that things are badly, fundamentally broken – still exists. OWS is it detaching from Obama.

  3. lizard19

    it’s sorta funny watching CNN now reporting from the occupation. the reporter seemed amazed she ran into teachers hanging out, grading papers.

    i guess she believed all the initial reports that this was merely an extension of Burning Man.

    there have even been a few journalistic mea culpas, apologizing for initial snarky depictions of the protestors (i can’t find the link right now).

    images of military personnel are important. young vets are an incredibly important part of the smoldering anti-war movement, and in the PR battle, they represent powerful symbols of personal sacrifice who have seen directly what US imperialism is doing abroad.

    not many members of the military and law enforcement are part of the 1%, and lots of ’em know it.

    how do you ridicule vets, who have risked their lives for the freedoms being expressed in this peaceful occupation? (maybe pogo can tell us)

    • lizard19

      one person does not a movement make. there will be all kinds of opportunists taking advantage of the attention now being given to what’s happening, not just in NYC, but across the country.

      like that asshat Michael Moore, peddling a book while he hogs some headlines. but the attention he brought was good. the media always loves them some celebrities to spice up their coverage, and Moore loves to oblige. if he’s doing a little dealing on the side, more power (and money) to him.

      maybe he could use some of the cash he’s accumulated with his docudramas to bankroll some serious litigation against that sadist Tony Bologna who likes pepper spraying unarmed women enclosed in plastic netting.

      anyway, this from your link: “The police said it was the marchers’ choice that led to the enforcement action.”

      i would suggest you actually read the post, for i address that specific issue. i even added a big image of duel screen shots to make it really simple for youtube junkies like yourself.

      • Ingemar Johansson

        Oh, I got the gist of your post.

        To which I respond.

        William Congreve, in The Mourning Bride, 1697:

        As you’ll answer it, take heed
        This Slave commit no Violence upon
        Himself. I’ve been deceiv’d. The Publick Safety
        Requires he should be more confin’d; and none,
        No not the Princes self, permitted to
        Confer with him. I’ll quit you to the King.
        Vile and ingrate! too late thou shalt repent
        The base Injustice thou hast done my Love:
        Yes, thou shalt know, spite of thy past Distress,
        And all those Ills which thou so long hast mourn’d;
        Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d,
        Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.

        Cry me a river Liz, the Grey Lady stabbed it’s own.

  4. Turner

    I signed an online petition “joining” the protesters. Seems kind of weak, but what else can we do here in rural Montana?

      • jack ruby

        I just happened to catch a couple minutes of the winger radio show voices of montana this morning and a caller mentioned something about an Occupy MT event in billings. Of course he was also a bit loony and went on over the entire course of my drive to work talking about how frightened he was because this is all ‘greed’ and ‘jealousy’ on the part of the protestors and this was how communist revolutions started. i have no idea if there is really something going on in billings or not.

      • jack ruby

        The oddest thing about the caller..he would only identify himself as an anoynmous big swede.

  5. Turner

    David Atkins, at Hullabaloo, has an excellent piece today on institutionalists, anti-institutionalists, and the Wall Street protesters. It’s more insightful than most of the lefty Obama-War talk we get at 4 & 20. See http://www.digbysblog.blogspot.com.

    • JC

      Well, you may think it is excellent, but I think he doesn’t understand the nature of the OWS movement. He creates a scenario that polarizes institutional dems from movement activists, and then postulates that the only solution is for them to respect each other and work together.

      While nice and cushy and feel good, Atkins reveals his ignorance when he states that anti-war protests did little to end the Vietnam wars. That statement has been proved incorrect time after time by historical analysis. He further states that the culture wars will prevent conservative religious fundamentalists from engaging in a movement against corruption in our government. I don’t believe that for a moment. Government and corporate corruption transcends the culture wars.

      So I don’t put any faith in Atkins solution that better democrats prodded into doing the right thing by activists will solve the problem of creeping fascism in our political-corporate power structure. Our electoral and governing systems are broken–broken intentionally by an oligarchy of plutocrats that do not want to, and will not yield power. Money is power in american politics. And as long as those that hold power through their stranglehold on politicians by their financing of our elections and governance through lobbyist proxies are allowed to continue unfettered, nothing will change.

      Asking good and better democrats to alter the power structure in Washington D.C. by pressure applied by movement activists will not work. Those politicians who would reform campaign financing and politics will never make it into office to do their duty because the money is aligned 100% against them.

      Better that movement activists focus on things like taking first amendment personhood rights away from corporations, and getting corporations and money out of elections. Then maybe good politicians would follow a populist movement, once the fear of not being not able to compete in a fascist government electoral structure has abated.

      But to be honest, what I see happening with the OccupyWallStreet movement is a bunch of people who have given up on the system and are planting the seeds of the next american revolution. They do not believe in reformation of our current political system. And when people like Atkins tell them to align their efforts otherwise, they just laugh and keep moving on.

      • Any institutional system only changes when there is enough pressure from outside the system to force change upon it, otherwise changes that come from within are only window-dressing.

        • JC

          You don’t believe that institutional systems can implode? How is it that empires die, if not by war?

          Conversely, how can the 99% assert enough pressure on the 1% to yield political power, when the 1% already have far more political power and money than the 99%? That’s where the notion of revolution is built upon. Revolution does not inflict “institutional change”, It tears down the institution, and builds anew.

          • I think I would include both revolution and war as “outside pressure” that forces a change upon a system, mainly because both are forces that any institution – no matter how big or whether they had a hand in unleashing such forces in the first place – can contain and control. I do think that institutional system can implode, I never stated that they couldn’t.

            The basics of it is… any institutional framework is only sustainable for as long as the conditions in which a specific institution was founded can be continued. Hence we have America’s foreign policy and defense institutions conjure up conditions, i.e…. the War on Terror, that allows them to continue to operate in a fashion those institutions became accustomed to during the cold war, the historical time period that gave birth to said institutions.

            The British Empire is a great example of an imperial system imploding, but it wasn’t a direct result of war, rather the debt incurred in order to fight both world wars became such a great burden that the British could no longer pay for the policing and administration of their colonies, costs which had greatly increased because of demographic trend in their third world possessions and the growing self-determination movements. Add on top of that the fall of the British pound as the world’s reserve and trade currency and the end result is that the British Empire fell apart because of financial stress and you don’t get a truly recovered and new Britain until Thatcher.

    • lizard19

      sorry the content we write and provide for you free of cost isn’t as insightful as you would like, Turner. i certainly wish there wasn’t all this lefty Obama-War talk to discuss, but there is, and until the reckless course this country is hell-bent on continuing gets changed, i will keep at it.

      • Turner

        So do you want to be paid for your comments?

        • lizard19

          no, i do not. but maybe you should consider the constraints on non-paid bloggers to provide “insightful” content. i sometimes wonder why i spend my limited free time doing this when so much of what concerns me doesn’t seem to concern many others.

          • I’ve tried to explain to you, politely and otherwise, for a very long time, Lizard. There is no problem with writing about what concerns you. If it didn’t concern others, they wouldn’t comment. The only problem here is that you react poorly to disagreement, and assume it’s a lack of concern on the part of those others.

  6. Ingemar Johansson

    Salting the wounds.

  7. Ingemar Johansson

    Missed a profitable capitalistic opportunity.

    I could have sold a couple thousand of these bumper stickers in NY.

  8. lizard19

    on September 27th, Sally Kohn bought in to the NYT framing of #OWS:

    One of the downsides of anarchists is they tend to oppose most forms of organization—including their own. Rather than the usual “we’re all in this together” sense of purposeful community that propels meaningful protests, Occupy Wall Street felt like the political equivalent of a rave; it made recent uprisings across the globe seem like a trivial fad. Standing in its midst, I was reminded of the uppity kids from my college days who dressed up like punks and protested because it seemed cool.

    the next day, she’s singing a different tune.

    The grandfather of protest — or riots, depending on your perspective — Gandhi deeply deplored violence. But Gandhi also said, “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” Indeed, people in the United States and across the globe are feeling increasingly impotent in the face of the growing power and wealth of Wall Street, dimming the rest of our prospects for a prosperous future. In the face of such injustice, I don’t wonder why people protest. I wonder why more people don’t join them.

    nice Sally. from anarchist to Gandhi in just one day.

    • Ingemar Johansson

      Every time someone mentions Gandhi I’m reminded of a quote I once heard, can’t remember the author.

      “It it weren’t for out involvement in the war against imperialist Japan in the Pacific theater Gandhi’s bayonetted corpse would have floated down the Ganges.”

  9. rawr

    If you think Obama doesn’t support the union of mega business and state as much as Bush, then you’re just a partisan hack. This is THEIR economic system. Crony capitalism and a thieving Federal Reserve that answers to NO ONE. End the Federal Reserve. Give the middle class a level playing field where they have the ability to take care of themselves and their families! If you think raising taxes by 3 or 4 percent on the elite is really going to produce equality, then you’ve been duped by Demicans and Republicrats.




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