October 03, 2013

#Occupy decides to join #banksters instead of beating them - #OWS exploitation

Sadly, my hopes are officially mistaken
My Photoshopping, in part
In less than 500 words, from the new issue of the Baffler, Chris Bray tells us how the "Occupy" movement has officially sold out to the hypercapitalist Wall Street it allegedly loathed.

Damn, Baffler really kicks ass and takes names on this:
Occupy, being loosely defined in its goals and its membership—a movement, not an organization—has long been a theme waiting for its marketing opportunities, despite the apparent withering of the brand. Not much is being occupied by Occupy, anymore, but it still looks good on a T-shirt. Or splashed across a debit card, with a low $1.95 fee for cash withdrawals, because fight the power.
Yep, it's all about the branding and marketing. "Thanks," Adbusters.

But, wait, that's not all. It gets better!
As the seminal 1967 book infamously stated, the poor pay more, and a transition from a big corporation’s prepaid debit card to a social movement’s corporate-supported prepaid debit card won’t turn off the darker realities of the socioeconomic bottom. Maybe it’s time for Occupy payday loans, Occupy check-cashing storefronts, and Occupy pawn shops. 
I couldn't have said it better myself.

But, I've said similar on the branding and other things from the start.

Adbusters? Strikes me as a bunch of graphic artists pissed off that they couldn't get jobs at top U.S. or Canadian graphics or advertising shops.

OWS? Strikes me as a bunch of rich white kids who got either MBAs or JDs precisely because they wanted to work on Wall Street, then the Great Recession hammered them.

No, really: Their own internal demographics prove the richer, whiter and better educated, as I've blogged before. I just took a guess that the "better educated" is probably those two degrees, and why. Most the Occupy folks probably had parents with three times the income mine had.

Meanwhile, proof that they've joined the banksters? Felix Salmon had that earlier this week, discussing this debit card in detail, while noting it had no Visa logo (at that time). He covers the details of the apparent exploitation angle, noting it's no better than any other debit card:
Occupy Money says in its FAQ that its card is “more than just a prepaid card since it features additional services. It’s our aim to make the card and its associated charges less expensive than other cards on the market.” But it doesn’t feature an explicit price comparison. And if you look down the list of fees ($0.99 per month, $4.95 to load cash onto the card, $3.74 to deposit a check onto the card at a store, 4% for instant check deposit via your smartphone, $1.95 to withdraw cash from an ATM, $2 to speak to an agent, $0.99 for a balance inquiry, etc) then it’s hard to come away convinced that the cost of this card is really going to end up being lower than the cost of its competitors. As for the “additional services”, there’s no indication of what those might be. I find it hard to believe that they include anything you can’t get from Simple or GoBank.
Bray says he'll stick with his credit union. If you want to go more private than that, there's other options. The whole Islamic private banking system has been around for centuries.

Meanwhile, per what I first blogged about this yesterday, this is also just another case of Occupy hypocrisy. The lack of transparency involving Rolling Jubilee on debt reduction is nothing new. Thomas Frank agreed with me and many others in nailing them for this "horizontal leadership" nonsense, though Frank failed to note that that too is a myth, or rather, a lie, as I blogged here. The creation of the debit card only underscores this. Because, now that you've got a money-making tool in hand, your leaders will become more visible. It may not be by choice, but they will become more visible.

Hey, Occupy douchebags, why don't you go beyond the Visa partnership and pretend to like actual poor people? You could partner with McDonald's on their debit payroll cards.

Basically, I'm at the point that NOTHING some tentacle or another of the Occupy octupus does will surprise me. It may still disgust me, of course, but even that's going to fade.

Or another way, per another bete noire? The Occupy kiddies, the ones who were Ivy League gravy trainers? They strike me like the Atheist Plus movement, the offshoot of Gnu Atheism. And, yeah, in both cases, there's "leaders." The Occupy folks who were actually serious? I feel sorry for you. Of course, you were warned by better and more famous people than me, about the need for organization, visible leadership, planning and more. And, this is why America could use some of old Europe's hard-hitting, occasionally jaundiced, social skepticism.

As for you of the young who weren't the richer, whiter and better educated? Most of us are naive at times when we're young. I hope you learned some lessons. And, don't deep too deeply into Euro-style social skepticism, but just a bit. That includes being skeptical about the Adbusters and Anonymous types who pushed for this movement, fueled it, exploited it and everything else.

To wrap this up: To any of my real progressive friends? If you talk favorably about the Wall Street original of the "Occupy" movement any longer, I'll kick you in the gonads.


PDiddie, aka Perry Hussein Dorrell said...

It's over for Occupy now. They pulled their own plug.

Anonymous said...

First, have you verified that the Occupy movement actually owns this debit card and it's not just some bank profiting off their brand? Secondly, you sound like an armchair activist. You sound like an agent of the status quo - the kind who says "I want change, but I don't like YOUR kind of change." If this is in fact a product of the Occupy movement, it will indeed show that the movement has jumped the shark. But to denigrate the impact of the movement on people is sick. There are thousands of new activists and organizers who got their start thanks to inspiration from Occupy. Many of us (myself included) have moved onto other causes and strategies, but may people (myself included) sat on the sidelines as armchair activists until Occupy came along.

Gadfly said...

OccupyMoney is a quasi-official leadership-related spinoff from the "leaderless" OWS. Remember, I already demolished that "leaderlessness" myth.

As for me? I was in antiwar protests more than a decade ago. I've also protested at eXXXon annual shareholder meetings.

YOU, on the other hand, sound like someone whose ox has been gored. As noted, much better skeptical left-liberals than I, like Doug Henwood, have also put "paid" to much of the mythology of the Occupy movement.

Deal with it.