Saturday, September 29, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #75 - Part 3

Occupy: Media assist in making it invisible

The first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street on September 17 was marked with demonstrations, marches, teach-ins, and other events. Did you hear about any of them? Maybe you heard about the ones in New York City - but other than that?

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the way you crush a movement these days is by making it invisible. If September 17 was any indication, the Empire must be very pleased with itself.

Yes, there were demonstrations in New York City. About 1000 people took part and more than 150 were arrested amid the by-now routine thuggery of the NYPD during a civil disobedience action trying to block access to the New York Stock Exchange. Several papers covered that.

But there were also hundreds of Occupy protesters in the streets of San Francisco - and I found news of that only in the San Francisco Chronicle and a local radio station. And even then, while the article talked about the "celebratory" nature of the march, the headline read "Occupy protesters snarl traffic, streetcars."

Occupy Seattle turned out about 100 people for a march, news of which appeared only in the Seattle Times and other Seattle area media.

The Detroit Free Press was one of the very few sources that even mentioned that there were plans for protests to mark the anniversary in more than 30 cities around the world. In fact, I had to go to Business Week of all places to be told that Asheville, North Carolina, Hilo, Hawaii, and Oakland, California were among those sites. And Business Week was the only place I found that referred to calls for a day of "no work, no school, no banking and no shopping" in Toronto, Barcelona, London, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney, Australia.

Yes, there was coverage of the San Francisco action - in San Francisco. Yes, there was coverage of the Seattle actions - in Seattle. This, as I said two weeks ago, is how you crush a movement in this day and age: You break it into purely local segments with no sense of a greater connection and thus make it essentially invisible to the people, the nation, as a whole.

And at the end of the day, across those portions of the media that managed to mention the movement, there was the avuncular advice, consisting of the same old same old, urging Occupy to get into "real" political action, which apparently consists of supporting the election of supposedly liberal Democrats - that is, adopting, as again I said two weeks ago, the same old tactics and strategies that have failed so spectacularly over the last four decades.

Yes, indeed, the Empire must be very proud of itself.


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