Just a bit west of the library there is what appears to be the inner circle of Occupy Wall Street.
Several people, many working on laptops powered by a portable generator, sit in an area closed off by tables. Most people—including protesters—are kept out by beefy people whose blue arm bands mark them as members of the security group.And, this is why I'm skeptical of my own left-liberalism, let alone that of others. It's also why I'm a deliberate contrarian at times.
Exactly what this secretive group is doing is not clear.“They’re media relations, and outreach and planning,” one person said.
So why are outsiders being kept from the area? No one would answer.
It's not just that this has leaders. It's the lack of transparency. It's the secrecy.
Where did we hear this before?
Oh, yeah. Dear Leader. Remember we were going to have the most transparent administration in history?
To riff on Orwell, "some are less leaderless than others."
This directly connects with my blogging about how the "99ers" website was actually started in June 2010.
The other concerns I have? Such as how a number OWS folks might actually be duped Obamiacs who believe he's being held hostage by the GOP? The concerns I've blogged about before about how for at least some, protest as performance art or whatever might be an issue? I'm not alone on those thoughts.
Meanwhile, "leaderlessness" claims can backfire. Someone suggests $20/hr minimum wage, then the mainstream media gets blamed for reporting it. You can't have it both ways.
Although you can certainly try! The "General Assembly" of OWS says that it's the only "official" site to speak for the general assembly, claiming that other websites have no right to speak for it. From a Facebook friend:
Posting and reposting such sites is furthering someone else's agenda, not the movement.To which, I responded:
So, the "movement" is subject to the advice of the General Assembly? Sounds like ... uh, leadership to me!I have the feeling that, at some point before the end of the month, at least parts of Occupy Wall Street going to devolve into some sort of Trotskyist or Randian farce.
PDATE: Per the New York Review of Books, here's yet more reason to be skeptical, even cynical, about at least a certain swath of the "movement," along with claims of leaderlessness and at least some of the actual leaders:
Adbusters, in a word, a magazine I found pretentious when I first looked at it 15 years ago. From the story author's "welcome to Adbusters" email:
Thank you for joining our network. You are now part of a 90,000+ strong global network of activists, cultural creative’s [sic] and meme insurgents—a revolutionary force that, with your active involvement, just might reshape how power and meaning flow in the 21st century. Together lets live a little more on the wild side, launch a few telling cultural interventions and pull off some surprising pranks, jams and other essential mental resuscitations.And, even without receiving such a "welcome" email, the "antic, Dadaist tone" is exactly what I saw 15 years ago, too. So, yes, I'm hard on OWS. To riff on Rahm Emanuel, protest as street art is wasting a good crisis, as are the degree of pampered Millennials. Union members who have shown up at Zucotti Park should take over, especially left-liberalish ones like longshoremen.