Monday, June 24, 2013

ANOTHER LEFTY PROTEST MOVEMENT BECOMES ALL ABOUT THE ACT OF PROTESTING

I'm not sure whether I've said it here, but my disappointment with Occupy Wall Street stems from the fact that it very quickly became a movement that wasn't about Wall Street so much as it was about Occupy Wall Street. What I mean is that the message of outrage at our economic order eventually got lot because the people of Occupy became obsessed with their right to occupy. The message "We're not leaving this encampment" became more important to Occupy than anything the occupiers were saying about the plutocracy.

Something similar is happening again with Edward Snowden -- with the help of Glenn Greenwald, Wikileaks, and the governments of China, Russia, and who knows what other countries, he's made this all about him. Specifically, as with Occupy, it's all about his apparent belief that he's entitled to evade the laws he's flouting. To me, the whole point of civil disobedience is to take whatever punishment the authorities you're defying choose to dole out, as a way of focusing public attention what those authorities do.

And yes, we know from Bradley Manning that Snowden would be badly mistreated in prison even before he saw a courtroom. I can't blame Snowden for not wanting to face that. But by now Manning looks like a much more principled leaker.

In a way, this is happening on the right as well -- tea party groups whining about the difficulties they had getting special tax treatment from the IRS seem to feel they're entitled to a government declaration of apolitical status while engaging in politics.

It's kind of the White People Problems version of civil disobedience -- The Man shouldn't get to retaliate after I spit in his eye. Yes, The Man's retaliation would probably be disproportionate, but having the world see that is the point, isn't it?

11 comments:

Phil Perspective said...

Something similar is happening again with Edward Snowden -- with the help of Glenn Greenwald, WikiLeaks, and the governments of China, Russia, and who knows what other countries, he's made this all about him.



Just look at Fluffyhead yesterday. The media wants to make it about Snowden. We can talk all day about why it's wrong and how they miss the point. It's just how things are at present. How you fight that, I have no idea. And if Snowden were to be captured, the TradMed would forget about Snowden and turn to something else.

stefanbc said...

Hell yes

Victor said...

Daniel Ellsberg was a real hero.

He leaked what needed to be leaked, and was willing to take whatever medicine was handed out to him.

By running away, and continuing to run, Snowden became, and still is, the story.

And the only thing our MSM likes about as much as celebrity deaths and missing white chicks, is people on the lam.

Never Ben Better said...

Totally agree with you, Steve.

redscott said...

Easy for you to say. I'm sure you'd be right behind him when the time comes - way behind, running in the other direction.

max said...

he's made this all about him.

No. He hasn't made it all about him, people like you and the chattering classes have made it all about him. He's running, he's been running all along, and any port in the storm and all that.

Specifically, as with Occupy, it's all about his apparent belief that he's entitled to evade the laws he's flouting.

It doesn't do me any good if he gets caught and winds up serving life in Supermax. If the neighbors took up smoking marijuana I'm not going to report them. If people evade unjust laws, that's fine with me. And the entire NSA-surveillance complex is rank from top to bottom. Surely the government that cannot see fit to go after a banker for anything will survive being flipped off by a leaker.

So I don't really care if Snowden evades the USG. That the Chinese and the Russians have helped him (for entirely selfish reasons) is funny, given how bloodily the US has behaved (for entirely selfish reasons) for the last ten years. In short: fuck 'em.

max
['If that isn't clear, let me say that the day after the election I had a far better feeling about having supported marijuana legalization in Colorado and Oregon than I did about having supported evading the election of Mitt Romney. The former was a good thing, the latter was dodging a bullet.']

max said...

Feh. Only takes i and not em. Shame on blogger.

max
['It's Monday.']

BH said...

A re-reading of Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" wouldn't hurt any of us. Although he was obviously thinking and writing in a far different world, this passage seems pertinent: "Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison... If any think that their influence would be lost there... they do not know by how much truth is stronger than error, nor how much more eloquently and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced a little in his own person."

Tom Hilton said...

I agree with everything except this:

And yes, we know from Bradley Manning that Snowden would be badly mistreated in prison even before he saw a courtroom.

Well, not really, since Snowden would be subject to an entirely different (i.e., civilian) justice system than Manning.

profacero said...

So, you oppose protests ... do you also oppose the protests in Brazil, Turkey, Spain, Greece ... ? (many of which are, in fact, related in some way to Occupy?)

Steve M. said...

I don't oppose protests. I certainly don't oppose the protests in the countries you named, because they're focused on issues. Occupy was focused on economic injustice at first, too -- then it became focused on "THE MAN CAN'T TELL US TO LEAVE ZUCCOTTI PARK!!!" The occupying became more important than the issues the occupying was meant to highlight. That's when Occupy started to fail.