Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spaghetti Against The Wall; The OWS Backlash.

Everything old is new again. A movement is afoot, its activists are the twenty-somethings that provided the shock troops for Obama’s 2008 run. But having gotten burned by Barry, the Gold Star Generation has gone non-partisan. Looking past personalities, this generation has began to think in structural terms; at how a rigged political game produced a man like Barack Obama.

Part of that education, part of that enlightenment, began in the sands of the Maghreb and on the Nile river.  In the beginning of 2011 a tectonic shift erupted in the political configuration of North Africa. It began in Tunisia, and it began with a fruit vender.

Seeing corrupt, venial, non-responsive governments abroad fall to popular movements abroad some US citizens began to wonder where their reform was. The question was mooted over the spring and summer, with the response breaking out in the autumn.

From almost nowhere, and with almost no formal leadership, Occupy Wall Street blazed on to the political landscape, just in time for the blaze of fall colors. Nobody saw this coming, at least nobody who “counted.”

But the people who were most caught off guard by this eruption were the right wing and their enablers in the chattering class. In the beginning, the Corporate Media did not report on OWS at all. The odd dog barked, the usual suspects screamed “hey look at this;” but most of the oxygen in the room was being consumed by other concerns.

Because the “responsible” and “mainstream” media was studiously ignoring OWS the right wing media was able to pretend that OWS did not exist. That was the message behind “what do these people want?” However as soon as it became apparent that OWS was not some transient bunch of political mayflies, that the movement had legs and a message, the Corporate Media overcorrected for their previous lackadaisical coverage.

It was at this time that the right wing and their enablers hit the panic button, and  one was this running about with their hair on fire more obvious than Fox News. As the official mouthpiece of the counter-revolution  Fox began a FUD campaign of epic proportions. Fox leaned heavily on the fear aspect of FUD. As per their playbook, they went straight to the big lie and never looked back.

With Fox though, one lie is never enough; and sometimes the lies fly so thick and fast they fail to make a coherent whole. You saw this process in the early days of Barack Obama’s presidency. Accusations against Obama were just heaved out into the aether with the hope that one of them would stick. It mattered not one whit that the accusations made any sense individually, and at other times contradicted each other. It only mattered that negative things were being said about Obama. From time-to-time Fox and freaks manages to find an overarching absurdity like the death panels, but for the most part, as it concerns Obama, it is still any port in a storm for Roger Ailes’ shop of horrors. No bit of calumny about  Obama is ever laid to rest, not even the foolishness that is birtherism. Sooner or later every trope, no matter how putrid or decayed, is dragged out, propped up, and placed on display.

As it was and is, so shall it be. Having ignored and belittled OWS, Fox and the Wingnut shock troops are now tossing any available brickbat at hand. The outright absurdity of some of the charges is quite breathtaking. Accusations of Communism, Anti-Capitalism, treason, and radical-leftism are bandied about with abandon. Never mind that authoritarian, moribund, Communism is the exact opposite the democratic impulses of OWS. Never mind the organic and populist instincts of OWS have almost nothing to do with modern Socialism. Never mind that the near universal pacifist nature is the exact opposite of image of hooliganism. It has been all slander all the time by the talking heads of Fox. It has been near libel by the bloviating peanut gallery of the right blogosphere.

It is quite a strawman set up by the forces of reaction. It is quite a monstrosity.  The caricature of dirty, rotten, lazy, spoiled, rich-kid radical who defecates and copulates in the street, is being dragged out once again. It is an old trope, but one that has served reactionaries since the sixties. Nothing infuriates the Geritol set that watches Fox religiously than the idea that young, nubile bodies are frolicking in the dirt without their permission. The big,fat lie that OWS is chock a block full drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes and other low lives getting their freak on is repeated with creepy, prurient glee. The repetition of charges of teen aged and under-aged whores running rampant in Occupy Oakland gets more frantic by the hour. It would be hilarious if the undercurrent of these charges were not so toxic.

With the General Strike in Oakland going sideways in the last hours, there is no end of concern trolls attempting to have Occupy Oakland to stand for the whole movement. Oakland has a long history of unrest, violence, police brutality and very tense race relations. The city is deep in the hurt locker economically and the general weirdness of the San Francisco Bay tends to take a deeper, darker, more violent turn in Oakland. It was perhaps naive of Occupy Oakland to think that it could take on that history merely by non-violent means. Just using persuasion to change the behavior of the hard core homeless, unemployed, mentally ill, and others was always going to be big mountain to climb. Still, it was not like Occupy Oakland could trust the notoriously unprofessional Oakland Police to establish more pacific conditions within the tent city.

It is no deep dark secret that supporters of the corporate oligopoly and their wholly own subsidiaries in the political duopoly want to smother OWS in its crib. Thus, the drum-beat of slander continues. The bad-mouthing, the lies, the distortions, the snide comments, the constant pinging of the OWS movement continues.

The playbook of the right is no mystery, it is to marginalize and demonize their opposition, to render it other, and thus illegitimate. No trope, no big fat fib, is off limits. No guilt by association is too absurd. There will be no quarter asked or given by the right, no halt to their triumphal march.  Therefore there will be a continuous stream of non-reporting, distorted reporting, and out right lies propagated by the reactionary right and their enablers in the corporate media. The mentality of “if it bleeds, it leads” of “mainstream” “journalism” will always focus on the pointless tom-foolery of the few idiot anarchist hangers on, to the detriment of overarching pacifism of OWS. Its all about the visuals dear reader. A picture of some bandana wearing yob kicking in a store window sells more newspapers and airtime then a mass of peaceful protestors. Titillating tales of teen prostitutes running wild in the streets captures more eyeballs than explaining income inequality. The profit motive for the corporate media will alway make them dumb down the story; it will alway make them plumb the depths of the lowest common denominator.

The operators of the mighty right-wing Wurlitzer understand this. That is why they keep tossing in all manner of garbage and nonsense into the discussion. It is all about corrupting the brand of OWS. It is all about optics. If OWS can be reduced into just another foolish, muddle-headed, America hating, far-left bit of moon-bat excess, then it can be marginalized, and made politically impotent.  The right can then continue on its program of peonage. The whole program hinges on the low-information, cynical, and uninvolved majority of US citizens continuing to stay in their lazy boys. The last thing right-wing triumphalism needs is an informed, motivated, and active citizenry. The last thing the right-wing needs is the middle class actually questioning corporatism. Once the unwashed middle stops buying into the message that “government is the problem;” once they understand that  the problem is trans-national corporatism, they will be much less willing to listen to right-wing “solutions” that only make the problem worse.

That is why Fox and the entire right-wing edifice continue their attempt to demonize OWS. That is why they keep tossing out talking points in the hope that one will stick. The spaghetti against the wall tactic worked to tear down Barack Obama until the more vicious and focus attack of the TEA Party could grow legs; it is now being used on OWS.

The best way for OWS is to deal with these calumnies is call them out and then get back on message. Liberals and Progressives make a huge mistake in reacting to obvious right-wing garbage. Best to point out the fear-mongering as fear-mongering and move on. It is the economy, and the concentration of wealth, that is the message of OWS; stick with that and don’t bother with the chaff. In the end there really is no real response to “we are the 99%.” Stick with economic justice, stick with small “d” democracy, stick with the occupation, the 1% are starting to sweat; that’s a good thing.
Post a Comment