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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Occupy Wall Street (from the perspective of a man whose never been to "climate camp" and doesn't eat organic beans)

So, I've been gone a long time, and I'm not entirely sure if I'm really coming back. I've been working my arse off the past few months, doing shifts any hours of the day (and night), hitting up to 75 hour weeks on occassion. But now I find myself unemployed once again, so may well restart the site if I can be bothered, and if I feel I can take the time off my Masters.

What I wanted to discuss today is the Occupy Wall Street protests, which have been a big news item for the past few weeks. With /pol/ (back? it's not really /new/) in existence, I've been able to see what others have been saying about OWS with a bit more ease over the last few days, and have also caught up on all the anti-Jewish ravings that get posted constantly on that board.

Despite the fact that 4chan was founded by a Jew, and is run by the team depicted here, who are roughly 50% Jewish, and 16.7% Arabic.

I've mostly been lurking (as you all know, I'm a /fit/izen at heart, so most of my posting is focused there), and leaving the occasional comment when I thought it was appropriate (for example, when I thought I might get quads). This evening, however, someone posted a link which would have forced me to lose badly had I been in a "you rage you lose" thread. I've only skim-read the linked article, but felt compelled to comment on it - and not just somewhere that deletes posts every few hours.

Here's a link to the article. Have a read for yourselves:

Now, as I've said, I haven't read the article in detail myself, because I was so busy raging hard at a couple of the statements made near the beginning of the post. The exact text I want to comment on, is the following two paragraphs:

Occupy Wall Street’s General Assembly operates under a revolutionary “progressive stack.” A normal “stack” means those who wish to speak get in line. A progressive stack encourages women and traditionally marginalized groups speak before men, especially white men. This is something that has been in place since the beginning, it is necessary, and it is important.

“Step up, step back” was a common phrase of the first week, encouraging white men to acknowledge the privilege they have lived in their entire lives and to step back from continually speaking.

Now, whilst I could easy write an essay on the ways in which men are oppressed more than women in modern society here, I won't. Not because I don't want to, but because I have a far more important point to make.

So far, the OWS protests have been entirely about protesting "the 1%". The greedy upper-classes, who use capitalism to oppress the vast majority of the populace. We have seen prices skyrocket, with no noticable increase in wages for the average working individual, whilst huge corporations are turning record profits. Not only this, but these same companies are then refusing to pay even the small taxes the world's Governments impose upon them, with apparently no remedy available for the people who need that money to come back into the system - to pay for healthcare and education. It is a sorry state of affairs, and certainly worth protesting against. However, I can see these protests breaking down because of things like the "progressive stack". And here's why:

These tactics are making it so the protests are no longer about class - they are dragging in other issues. It seems a lot of people find this hard to believe, but much of the populace does not identify itself as being only "liberal" or "conservative", "republican" or "democrat".

For many people, there are instances where they believe a liberal standpoint is more appropriate, and others where a conservative stance is better. For example - yesterday it was announced that the Government was planning to increase sentences for teenagers caught in possession of knives, and my thoughts were "about fucking time". And yet, I am in favour of increasing the taxes on the rich, and the better-off. In favour of increasing the minimum wage, and benefits, and bursaries for small businesses. I am strongly in favour of all the social policies the "99%" are fighting for - I'm happy to see the earnings disparity in our society greatly decreased. In short, I am massivley in favour of socialism as far as the economy goes. And yet, it seems a lot of people are unable to grasp the concept that an individual could be very left-leaning on Economic strategy, but very right-leaning on crime. And that's a problem.

People like me will inevitably be alienated when what should be an economic protest turns into a "pro-liberalism"/"pro-democrat" protest. By bringing in issues like feminism and race, these people are going to be losing support for the cause they are actually fighting. I sit here a disadvantaged male in a world which seems to want to fuck me any way it can, and I am strongly opposed to the idea of women being given any more privilege over men than they already have. In my last year of university, I was living with 2 black guys, and my 2 best friends were both Chinese. Clearly, I am not a racist (well, against blacks or Cantonese people at least - I can't prove I don't hate Spics with a burning passion...) - and yet the idea of telling white men who may have very valid points that they should not express those because other races need to have their say first seems ridiculous to me.

Imagine it from the other side, if you're a liberal. Imagine a campaign from the right where they're arguing about an issue that affects you too, and that you might be considering joining. Now imagine that, along with this issue, they're also arguing that abortion be made illegal, and that automatic weapons should be legalized for self-defence. Suddenly, you don't want to join their protest, because you don't want to back those two other points, and feel that by joining the people protesting the main objective, you would be getting lumped in with those supporting the other two. They have just successfully alienated you. And it's the same here - you are alienating economic socialists who feel that men are oppressed in our society. You are becoming the stereotypical liberal campaigners. Feminism, Climate Change, Organic Beans - bringing these things into your protest will inevitably harm it. Because it makes you into a stereotype. Something the media, or the right, can point at and laugh. It doesn't matter if it's rational or not - that's just the way the world is.

Just think of how you see the Tea Party, and realize that if you press all of your issues as hard as they press theirs, you look to non-liberals as the Tea Party look to non-Republicans: ridiculous. This is a legitimate campaign, and worth fighting for - why sink it by adding issues that supporters won't relate to? If you're campaigning against military intervention in the middle East, why bring gay rights into it as well? What would you say to someone who was arguing something you were in favour of, but was also shouting that paedophiles need to be castrated? Or all the immigrants deported? You'd tell them to fuck right off with their protest - so why can you not see that pushing feminism and affirmative action into an economic debate will not help one bit?

I really hope people take my advice, and just argue one issue at a time, so we can actually get enough support going for this movement to change something. But I highly doubt it. Which is a shame, because I can see exactly where this protest is headed if it becomes a simple matter of "Left vs Right" over "Wrong vs Right".

Right down the fucking shitter...


P.S. Check my Sextets, bitches.