Occupy Wall Street: Finished?

Why did it fail?

Look at that poster.

Look at the red headline in that poster.

What does it mean? Anything?


This is the original Adbusters post for Occupy Wall Street:


On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

And what was that one simple demand?


The most exciting candidate that we’ve heard so far is one that gets at the core of why the American political establishment is currently unworthy of being called a democracy: we demand that Barack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington. It’s time for DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY, we’re doomed without it.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

And … that’s it.

That’s the entire demand, period.

And some of them understood what it was about — at the beginning.

Operation Occupy Wall Street: Day Two Photos

That was one hundred percent on-message.

Hell, even when I finally found them in Liberty Plaza days later — Occupy Wall Street: Day Six Photos — this was the first sign I encountered:

That’s exactly what it was all about.

But they’d already jumped the damned tracks:

Wait. What?

Even though that’s probably true, what the hell does it have to do with the “one simple demand” the entire thing is supposed to be about — and is trying to accomplish?

By September 23rd, they’d already hopelessly lost all focus: Occupy Wall Street 2011: Placards

Placards such as these did nothing but alienate people:

We’d seen that message before. In the 1960s. From the pack of spoiled unwashed bastards who then went on to sell out, join Wall Street, and destroy this nation in a way no outside enemy ever could. Anyone with any damned brain, knowledge of history, or who lived through that time understood that.

And even though this placard might be true …

… again, those with any damned knowledge of American history understand why we have a democratic republic instead of direct democracy. As would be shown in the coming weeks, the direct democracy practiced by their own General Assembly was unwieldy, prone to hijacking by side issues, and unable to act in a timely manner.

And this …

… is just generally insulting. Who the hell is to say what someone else needs? The blatant hypocrisy was already there, sabotaging the original effort. When people brought up the issue of that damned Drum Circle and how it wasn’t needed, some whiner would pipe up about “liking” it and then that one moron had to be accommodated because dismissing such stupidity would be seen as “oppressive.” So don’t go around lecturing the Normal 99% about what they “need” when you couldn’t distinguish between “want” and “need” yourself!

By this post — Occupy Wall Street: Sunday, September 25, 2011 — it was already all over the map.

Most of the original intent had been lost, so much so that by October 1st — Occupy Wall Street: October 1, 2011 — I was already saying:

When you start something, you better have a goal and an end in mind.

I don’t think they ever did.

… and it was evident even to that prat Max Keiser that they’d gone into loony-land:

Really, nothing brings straight home the point of how it all degenerated than these two photos:

October 1st:

November 6th:

Suit Man turned into a shrine! Because, you know, going to a nearby church or walking to a Buddhist temple in Chinatown was just too impious. They had to show everyone how “spiritual” they were. It was another way of lording their self-delusional superiority over the Normal 99%.

When they started out, they were supposed to hammer home one single message, over and over and over.

They couldn’t even stick to that.

Had they stuck to a single message, they might have actually accomplished something.

And having done that, having shown that the people had the power to really change things by going out into the streets, they could have gone on to address other issues about how the financial system has been rigged against the average American.

Instead, the took their one single chance — a chance that is so rare and precious that people have died for it — and blew it.

They failed utterly, totally, miserably, and in ridicule.

They showed the Normal 99% that they do not represent them.

They’ve set back the cause of reform by years now and have probably done irreparable damage to that cause.

The entire idea of reform will now be linked to all the Marxist-deconstructionist anti-American anti-Normal 99% side-issues displayed for weeks in Liberty Plaza that hijacked the original intent.

Anyone who tries to speak up now will be slandered with the label of “Occupier.”

Thanks for nothing, you unfocused spoiled brats.

Previously in the Protest Category



Filed under Protest

20 responses to “Occupy Wall Street: Finished?

  1. Herb Parsons

    I have to admit, I don’t agree with many of your views, but I DO agree with the post. I’ll also say, had they idiots been as well spoken, direct, and concise as you were here, they may have gotten some POSITIVE attention. Instead, they looked like a bunch of morons whose one goal was to get people to look at them.

    • mikecane

      They quickly became full of themselves and forget why they were there — even the ones who started out knowing why they were there. A disgrace.

  2. This piece sucks. Just because you don’t understand how all of these things are interconnected doesn’t mean they’re not. In fact, they are. And we’ve connected the dots repeatedly.

    Reform is a waste of time and energy. I worked for reform for years. Our system is too broken to fix.

    All that aside, your tone is that of a nihilist concern troll. If you cared about the movement, or the cause, you would have, by definition, joined it. Instead, you creep through photographing, and, as you’ve said, not talking to people, and then you write smears and nonsense on your blog.

    Fortunately, you’re insaaaanely wrong about everything including the results. The occupation is not over and being an occupier will be a badge of seriousness and commitment. I think you need to quit reading the Post and Daily News and get your head up and out of your negative mindset.

    • mikecane

      This is the kind of self-delusional reaction I’d expect from someone in the Plaza, but not from you, having exchanged tweets.

      Nevertheless, the facts remain: There was supposed to be *one* demand, and it was cast aside for a proto-Marxist deconstructionist agenda that gave everyone with a petty grievance a voice instead of focusing on what the *point* was.

      If our system is “too broke to fix,” what the fuck was the point of occupying in the first place when the agenda from Adbusters itself clearly said what the *goal* was supposed to be?

      Keep *not* making sense and people of the Normal 99% will keep ridiculing and dismissing all of you.

      • I, too, am surprised that this is the kind of thing you choose to publish, and not outrage that you seem. on Twitter, to share with us about the clear violations of law and good sense evident in the city’s behavior. What Adbusters posted has nothing to do with anything because they had nothing to do with the actual execution of Occupy Wall Street. Nothing. We are a horizontal movement and having “one clear demand” was never in the cards. There were countless angles and sources of anger from Day 1 and your selective publication of photographs to make a case that we became incoherent over time is an unacceptable manipulation of the facts. Bad faith, bad writing, bad approach.

        The 99 are with us. You don’t speak for them. Occupy is everywhere, far beyond Liberty Square, and vastly more representative of the opinions and experiences of the majority than your slanted and seriously meanspirited views.

      • mikecane

        Well, look, if you have facts that Adbusters had nothing to do with this, point me to links that set me straight. Because as far as I’ve seen, it was Adbusters that began all this. They might not have had any organizational hand, but from what I’ve seen, that poster was the catalyst for everything that followed.

        Oh, I have other posts here in the Protest category where I rage against the brutality of the NYPD. And I’ve expressed that rage on Twitter too. Just last night there was TV news footage of a cop punching a protester in the head — and the protester was not resisting, simply sitting in the street! That’s unacceptable and outright brutality and I tweeted that too. The NYPD is more of a cult than it is a policing force, at this point. They are as dismissive of criticism and correction as Occupy Wall Street has been, so both groups have that in common!

        No, the Normal 99% are not with you. They hate the economic squeeze and unfairness of it all, but they don’t at all agree with most of the niche-grievance placards I’ve photographed — just as I’ve photographed placards that they *would* agree with.

        You also ignore the fact that a week or so before the raid, I finally came down on the side of those in Liberty Plaza and said they should remain. But a week later, conditions had spun so out of control and were such a danger, that I had to also post what I was seeing for myself. I even tweeted that post to you.

        And as it turned out, Bloomberg’s office *did* try to reach an agreement, according to numerous reports, but the way the entire occupation was structured, no one was empowered to agree to anything. Had the space been safe and clean, I’m convinced all of you would still be there. Despite the machinations and promptings of DHS, I don’t think Bloomberg would have agreed to any raid without clear health and safety concerns. I’m sure Bloomberg expected a brutal winter to eventually close it all down.

    • I had to fix this for you:
      “Fortunately, you’re insaaaanely wrong about everything including the results. The fight is not over and being Tea Partier is a badge of seriousness and commitment. I think you need to quit reading the New York Times and Daily Kos and get your head up and out of your negative mindset.”

      Thank you.

      • “The 99 are with us. You don’t speak for them.”

        EXACTLY! AND NEITHER DO YOU!!! I am the 99% as well and Occupy’s antics made me ashamed to be a part of the 99%, so much so that I refused the label!
        Speak for YOURSELF and YOURSELF only…anything more than that without MY express permission to speak for me is similar to rape/theft of my voice. Why would you do that?

  3. There’s an even worse problem here. You quoted it yourself, “The most exciting candidate we’ve heard so far is…” What? I reread that piece; it sounds like a movement in search of a demand.

    Am I imagining this? Take a look at the last sentence again: “Post a comment and help each other zero in on what our one demand will be.”

    That’s just ass-backwards. A demand should generate a movement, not the other way around! It’s no surprise it ended this way.

  4. Why is there no “reply” link on your reply to me?

    Adbusters published that flyer, at which point their involvement ended. That’s just a fact; if you’d made any effort to actually involve yourself or understand #OWS, you’d already know that it’s just a basic truth.

    You’re wrong about the views of the 99. There are quite a few polls that prove their support. It’s not 100% of the 99%, but it’s a huge percentage, and if you expand Occupy to include Occupy the Hood, all the labor movements that are down with Occupy, and all of the electoral political organizations that have courted and supported Occupy, our mandate is huge. It takes a mind firmly against giving OWS any respect at all to ignore those things.

    My problem isn’t with criticism or new ideas; I love those. My problem is with your two-faced tone. You court attention from me and from matt taibbi and others, pretending to sympathy with whomever, while when I come to your blog it’s trash right out of the NY Post. Your tone is sneering, not constructive or helpful. For you to accuse me of being “bad at taking criticism” is extremely tone-deaf.

    You should stop pretending to be a photojournalist until you have the courage to speak to your subjects. This idea that interacting with people interferes with your work is ridiculous and crippling. You cannot tell peoples’ stories, or the story of a movement, from the outside. Real journalists know that. You don’t. That’s why your commentary is nowhere near the realm of anything I could actually respond constructively to – it’s about getting attention, not adding to collective knowledge and thought. I’ve given you enough attention already; no more.

    • mikecane

      >>>Why is there no “reply” link on your reply to me?

      I don’t know. WordPress’ software, not mine.

      >>>You should stop pretending to be a photojournalist

      I don’t pretend to be that. I post exactly what I see. Hey, where’s all the love for the self-empowerment?

      >>>This idea that interacting with people interferes with your work is ridiculous and crippling.

      I never said that. You put that idea in your own head. Be glad I didn’t blog the things I simply *overheard*. I’m not interested in the words that spill from people’s mouths at Liberty Plaza. Cant is cheap. Actions count. And so far, the actions have been nothing but failure. Not one single goal achieved that has affected change in the system. So what was the point?

      • You do pretend to be that. You have a blog, you post photos, and really ill-considered thoughts.

        You wrote the other day: “[I] try not to speak to people so I can go in and out without harassment.” So…?

        Actions count. You posting smears, taunts, and really just plain insulting stuff here — I’m supposed to take you seriously? You call us brats and say we fucked up. You say we’ve set back the cause of “reform”. These are unqualified statements. How am I supposed to react to that kind of nonsense?

        It’s sooooo clear that you don’t understand what we are doing. We are empowering every voice. We are creating spaces free of distorted corporate nonsense. You say you don’t know what “a space for non-commercial dialogue” is: how about somewhere where no one is trying to wheedle you into anything, where people are genuine, where ego is not in play?

        And you call me a narcissist below as well. Because I’m here? Because I’m actually invested and not just sniping from the sidelines? Because I think it’s ridiculous for you to get so worked up about something you don’t understand and clearly aren’t trying to? Look dude: you’re the narcissist, abusing the term “self-empowerment” to justify posting half-truths and insults on the Internet.

        I engaged with you in good faith. That was a mistake, because it got me and the rest of the occupiers nothing but insults and slander from you. My bad.

      • mikecane

        Well, look, Dicey, I’m not the only one observing everything as I have done. So if you’ve got corrections to make, continue to do so. As for opinions, hey, everybody has one. And many of the things I’ve posted have vilified and sometimes supported what I’ve seen. In the adult world, people start out with a plan and a goal and stick to it until it’s been accomplished or a change of course is required. I don’t think I’m the only one who has seen no plan, no goal, and no single overarching accomplishment (aside from the credit union transfer you reminded me about — but isn’t that a side-effect?). We’ve seen disorder, disarray, no one functioning to correct issues that would have never arisen in the adult world, and now the de-occupation of what was supposed to be an occupation.

  5. I do want to respond to a number of just dumb mistruths, though, lest they spread any further:

    * Bloomberg didn’t try to negotiate; if he had, he would have done what many other mayors and officials have: go to GA and engage. It’s not hard to speak to an empowered group; go to GA. The idea that it’s impossible to engage OWS constructively is thoughtless and wrong.

    * The raid was planned from the last time they tried to evict us and had nothing to do with facts on the ground. It was the Mayor’s call, not Brookfield’s. The problems in the space were just a pretense and nothing more. The goal was to silence us, and to overlook that because things got congested (a plan to resolve this already being in the process of being implemented) is to ignore the facts on the ground.

    * We haven’t accomplished anything? Uh, what? We’ve moved 5 billion dollars from commercial banks to credit unions. We’ve moved the Overton window sharply to the left. We have changed the conversation in this country and opened a space for genuine, non-commercial dialogue. We’ve demonstrated the value of collective organizing and self-empowerment to thousands of people in New York alone. We demonstrated that we live in a police state, a truth non-evident until exposed. We’ve built bridges between communities in a city traditionally fragmented and divided. These are among many enormous wins.

    Did we do things wrong? Yes! But the conversation you’re trying to start is not that conversation. It’s nowhere near that conversation. And ultimately, you’re not prepared to participate in that conversation, because you never got close enough to know what we did wrong. Someday, I’ll be having that conversation with the world. We’ve had it on an ongoing basis within our own community and if you’d been here you’d already know that.

    You are biased and unfriendly – admit that to yourself, if not to us. Because it seems clear that you think you’re doing someone a service. The only person you’re serving is you — and the powerful whom, if only you had an audience, would dance gleefully at your placing OWS and them on the same plane of judgment.

    • mikecane

      >>>Bloomberg didn’t try to negotiate

      Are you saying the Deputy Mayor who made the claim flat-out lied?

      >>>We’ve moved 5 billion dollars from commercial banks to credit unions.

      Yes, I will grant you that. I had forgotten.

      >>>We have changed the conversation in this country and opened a space for genuine, non-commercial dialogue.

      Listen, I don’t even know what the hell that means.

      >>>We’ve demonstrated the value of collective organizing and self-empowerment to thousands of people in New York alone.

      OK, that’s so self-centered and narcissistic as to be unbelievable. It’s like everyone else who ever did that in NYC never existed.

      >>>We demonstrated that we live in a police state, a truth non-evident until exposed.

      I think all the people who have been abused by the TSA got that idea before any of you ever even got the idea to occupy anything.

      >>>We’ve built bridges between communities in a city traditionally fragmented and divided.

      I don’t even know where you get that fragmented and divided idea from.

      >>>Someday, I’ll be having that conversation with the world.

      Ego check!

      >>>You are biased and unfriendly – admit that to yourself, if not to us.

      Yes, I am biased towards those who get shit done — and get it done well. Ask anyone.

      >>>Because it seems clear that you think you’re doing someone a service.

      Yes. The person whose name is on this blog. That would be …. me.

      >>>The only person you’re serving is you — and the powerful whom, if only you had an audience, would dance gleefully at your placing OWS and them on the same plane of judgment.

      It’s cute how you can make these things up in your head, Dicey. Both Ego and Reality Check needed.

      • >>>Bloomberg didn’t try to negotiate
        >>Are you saying the Deputy Mayor who made the claim flat-out lied?

        Yes. Are you aware that a Deputy Mayor also refused to be served with the Injunction that would have prevented the raid? Maybe you’re aware that all of the items taken (trashed) during the raid were intentionally and individually destroyed, including the People’s Library, and every $ of the value of those donated and occupier-purchased items must be repaid from your taxes?

        Dude. Don’t listen to the Mayor. Don’t listen to politicians. Their legitimacy is completely gone and they no longer care.

      • mikecane

        Look, more than one report has cited a meeting with the Deputy Mayor and a contingent from OWS, even naming one person from OWS: Han Shan. See the NYT article:

        The NYT came out in its Editorial for OWS, which surprised everyone — are you saying this report is a lie? Or does the disarray of the group make it more likely that you were just never in that loop? I want you to check on that *thoroughly* before you reply because your own credibility is on the line with that.

        I’ve covered The People’s Library here:
        If you have any questions about that, Comment further there.

        I don’t think any court in the land would uphold a judgment for OWS and restitution for items destroyed in the raid. Especially since most of the material was freely donated and any purchased by OWS should have been covered by insurance (even though I don’t think insurance would have either covered it or — if covered — paid out such a claim). As for personal items that were destroyed, that’s the fault of each individual there for not seeing that a raid was inevitable given the deteriorated state of health and safety there plus the prior raids that occurred in other cities. At some point, people have to be responsible for their own possessions despite the illusion of *no* responsibility as part of a group.

  6. Bill Hough

    PJ Media has a good account of the stupid and inspid “day of actiuon ” here:”

    Meanwhile, by continuing to use human shields during their riots, the Flea Party continues to alienate the real 99%

    Today they reached a milestone-busting 300 incidents on John Nolte’s rap sheet:

    Explain again how the normal 99%ers are supposed to embrace this despicable movement.

    Personally, I’m still waiting for someone from the Flea Party to wake the eff up and get a clue about congressional insider trading. Those idiots who are pissed at NYPD for trashing their precious “people’s library” should start restocking it by getting this book:

    Imperious government officials are the real “1%.” They should occupy Washington.

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