Alexander Cockburn Declares Occupy Dead
People have written complicated pieces trying to prove it’s not over, but if ever I saw a dead movement, it is surely Occupy.
What appears to have set Mr. Cranky Pants on the path toward declaring a movement less than a year old “dead” is evident by the title of his Friday piece: Biggest Financial Scandal in Britain’s History, Yet Not a Single Occupy Sign; What Happened?
Cockburn may be falling prey to the media frenzy that demands consistent headlines from its subjects in order to keep its audience interested. I also think there is some serious generational friction being exhibited in his little diatribe from the marginalized sphere of the American Left.
For example, this:
Before the fall came there were heroic actions, people battered senseless by the police. These were brave people trying to hold their ground.
There were other features that I think quite a large number of people found annoying: the cult of the internet, the tweeting and so forth, and I definitely didn’t like the enormous arrogance which prompted the Occupiers to claim that they were indeed the most important radical surge in living memory.
So, are we to think there are no longer instances of police state repression? And who among the notoriously decentralized Occupy movement claimed they were “the most important radical surge in living memory?”
From there, it gets worse, and more unsubstantiated condemnation of the occupy movement ensues:
Where was the knowledge of, let along the respect for the past? We had the non-violent resistors of the Forties organising against the war with enormous courage. The Fifties saw leftists took McCarthyism full on the chin. With the Sixties we were making efforts at revolutionary organisation and resistance. Yet when one raised this history with someone from Occupy, I encountered total indifference.
There also seemed to be a serious level of political naivety about the shape of the society they were seeking to change. They definitely thought that it could be reshaped – the notion that the whole system was unfixable did not get much of a hearing. After a while it seemed as though, in Tom Naylor’s question in this site: “Is it possible that the real purpose of Occupy Wall Street has little to do with either the 99 per cent or the one per cent, but rather everything to do with keeping the political left in America decentralised, widely dispersed, very busy, and completely impotent to deal with the collapse of the American empire…(my emphasis added)
While I think what Cockburn lays out here should be taken into consideration, I’m surprised he can’t understand why the notion that the whole system was unfixable did not get much hearing. That kind of cynical assessment will never attract anyone to “the cause”. Maybe Mr. Cranky Pants should ask himself why past movements have yet to produce a more equitable and just country instead of bemoaning the use of the internet by occupiers.
The other part of that quote the stood out was the hinting of a “real reason” Occupy got started. For someone who has been extremely condescending to anyone skeptical of the 9-11 narrative, this conspiratorial musing is quite curious (it should be noted there are those who wonder if George Soros and AdBusters were cynically behind the seeding of Occupy).
The fractured impotency of the political left in this country is in full display with Cockburn’s bleak assessment. Movements of all colors continue, the work goes on, and not everything is going to gain national traction. What seems to matter more is that whoever Alexander Cockburn talked to, they didn’t know much about history, and they are naive in thinking they can reshape the world.
Stay tuned, Alex. We’re just getting started.