". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Corrente: Ms ExPat: Don't be afraid to say revolution!

Dr. Cornel West was at Zuccotti Park last night, and Ms. ExPat got video of it. Here's her account, but follow the link to her blogpost to see the video.

Also recommended today: Ralph Nader's article in Counterpunch on

[ " Don't Be Afraid to Say Revolution!

Wed, 09/28/2011 - 1:55am — MsExPat

"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will smile from the grave/ And say, we movin' step by step/ Toward what he called a revolution/Don't be afraid to say, Revolution!"

"Cornel West is here", Milcho said, as we were wandering through Zuccotti Park at dusk. The sky was gray and it smelled like rain; people here and there were securing food, medicine, bedding, under plastic tarps. Milcho, Wendy and Amy and I came to Wall Street together tonight. I am corralling everyone I know to come to the Park to see this live and without filters. And you who are reading this, and can get here should come too, for this is history, friends!

We walked over to the meeting area, and sure enough, there was the unmistakable corona of hair, the too-long white shirtcuffs. We followed him up to the meeting area, sat down. And then watched as tonight's General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street unfolded:

It's late, and I'm too tired to write this well, but as the 11th night of Occupy Wall Street closes, I note a couple of new things:

1. Demographics: Changing, indeed. More diverse, different ages. Some union people, college professors doing teach-ins, old lefties having a look-see. Also: the front line of the media has officially landed. Yesterday it was Michael Moore, today Susan Sarandon. Matt Taibbi says he's visiting tomorrow. Moore is coming back tomorrow to film the General Assembly with Laurence O'Donnell for his MSNBC show. I think O'Donnell is a jerk, but if they just sit back and film the process of the meeting, that would be a real breakthrough in changing the MSM narrative, I think. Right now, most of the people I talk to in my daily life still think OWS is a hippie fest.

2. Cops: Now there are two kinds of blue shirts on the scene--the regular patrol cops, and the (kinder, gentler) Community liason cops in royal blue polo shirts. No white shirts. When the community police are around, you know someone is worried about image. What this says to me is that the city's decided that more violence would be really bad for optics.

3. The Organization--continues to dazzle! After West's remarks, the meeting began with reports from Outreach Committees (they've teamed up with an important black radio station in Philadelphia for Occupy Philly, and they're going to support the Verizon worker's union strike), from the Medics who've started a counseling service, from techies who are doing Linux and open source teach-ins, and from the Laundry Committee, who've washed everything. They've even organized morning tours of Wall Street, which they're offering free to passing tourists!

The most interesting report though was from the committee that's drafting Demands. This is the big media sticking point ("But What Do They Want? There's No Unified Message!").

The group is going to use the next few days to talk about demands. And then here's what they'll do: on Friday, they will spread blank sheets of white paper all across the park. Some will have topic headings, some will be all blank. Magic markers will then be distributed, and everyone will write, in large letters, the issues and goals they think are most important. If you agree with someone's poster, you can put a "Check".

Fascinating! It is actually rather Chinese in technique. It reminds me of the student Big Character Posters that appeared in Tienanmen Square.

After the writing exercise, they'll collect all the papers and collate them into a larger online manifesto, which can then be debated/modified/changed online in a Wikipedia-style collaboration.

4. Location, location location: It's becoming clearer that the choice of New York City, as opposed to say, Washington DC, for the launch of this effort, was genius. For what it says is, of course, that this movement is not about the US government. The real enemy is the Financial-Bankster complex. I have not heard or seen any mention of any political candidate or party inside the Park. Forget "post-partisan"--that was so 2008. This is a post-party movement. It is what we Correntians have been waiting for--but not in the form we expected!

5. Obama is dead, dead, dead. Really. These young people were his eager troops. And they've moved on. Way on. The talk on the ground is not about elections anymore. It's about transforming society.

That's it for now. I urge all of you who can to come to Wall Street if you possibly can make it. This is one of those moments when time seems to hover and pause, and focus is laser-sharp. It's a rare moment of collective creativity. Who could have guessed it would bloom now?
" ] 


Foxessa said...

Also, see this, as primary media scrambles to finally catch up, since they've been ignoring these movements -- until, of course, It Happens HERE!

[ "“But that is not actually happening. Corruption is ruling our country.”

Increasingly, citizens of all ages, but particularly the young, are rejecting conventional structures like parties and trade unions in favor of a less hierarchical, more participatory system modeled in many ways on the culture of the Web.

In that sense, the protest movements in democracies are not altogether unlike those that have rocked authoritarian governments this year, toppling longtime leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Protesters have created their own political space online that is chilly, sometimes openly hostile, toward traditional institutions of the elite. " ]

Foxessa said...

Here's another analysis along the same lines: Much of the so-called progressive element also believes the only valid protest is SUPPORT FOR A DESIGNATED DEMOCRATIC PARTY CANDIDATE.

Check out "Why Establishment Media & the Power Elite Loathe Occupy Wall Street"

[ " The latest show of contempt from a liberal comes from Mother Jones magazine. Lauren Ellis claims that the action, which “says it stands for the 99 percent of us,” lacks traction. She outlines why she thinks Zuccotti Park isn’t America’s Tahrir Square. She chastises them for failing to have one demand. She claims without a unified message police brutality has stolen the spotlight. She suggests the presence of members of Anonymous is holding the organizers back writing, “It’s hard to be taken seriously as accountability-seeking populists when you’re donning Guy Fawkes masks.” And, she concludes as a result of failing to get a cross-section of America to come out in the streets, this movement has been for “dreamers,” not “middle class American trying to make ends meet.”

First off, nobody in the last week can claim to be reporting on Occupy Wall Street and genuinely claim it isn’t gaining traction. Ellis conveniently leaves out the fact that Occupy Wall Street is inspiring other cities to get organized and hold similar assemblies/occupations. Second, if the protesters did have one demand, does Ellis really think that would improve media coverage? Wouldn’t pundits then be casting doubt on whether the one demand was the appropriate singular demand to be making? Third, so-called members of Anonymous are citizens like Ellis and have a right to participate in the protest. It is elitist for Ellis to suggest Occupy Wall Street should not be all-inclusive. And, finally, there is no evidence that just “dreamers” are getting involved. A union at the City University of New York, the Industrial Workers of the World, construction workers, 9/11 responders and now a postal workers and teachers union have shown interest in the occupation. " ]

Another is from salon:

[ "A siginificant aspect of this progressive disdain is grounded in the belief that the only valid form of political activism is support for Democratic Party candidates, and a corresponding desire to undermine anything that distracts from that goal. Indeed, the loyalists of both parties have an interest in marginalizing anything that might serve as a vehicle for activism outside of fealty to one of the two parties (Fox News' firing of Glenn Beck was almost certainly motivated by his frequent deviation from the GOP party-line orthodoxy which Fox exists to foster).

The very idea that the one can effectively battle Wall Street's corruption and control by working for the Democratic Party is absurd on its face: Wall Street's favorite candidate in 2008 was Barack Obama, whose administration -- led by a Wall Street White House Chief of Staff and Wall-Street-subservient Treasury Secretary and filled to the brim with Goldman Sachs officials -- is now working hard to protect bankers from meaningful accountability (and though he's behind Wall Street's own Mitt Romney in the Wall Street cash sweepstakes this year, Obama is still doing well); one of Wall Street's most faithful servants is Chuck Schumer, the money man of the Democratic Party; and the second-ranking Senate Democrat acknowledged -- when Democrats controlled the Congress -- that the owners of Congress are bankers. There are individuals who impressively rail against the crony capitalism and corporatism that sustains Wall Street's power, but they're no match for the party apparatus that remains fully owned and controlled by it." ]