Occupy Fail on May Day 2013 NYC



Occupy Wall Street’s presence at the recent May Day protest in NYC was, at best, insignificant and, at worst, detrimental. I was hanging around the usual Occupy crowd that was there. There were a lot of familiar faces and very few unfamiliar ones. This threw up a red flag for me almost immediately because I had issues with these people previously where they had accused me–in so many words–of being an undercover cop because I asked a lot of questions.

After the main march had left, the occupiers were still chortling and hanging around union square when one of them announced that they would be taking a different route and would instead be going to Foley Square to hold a “People’s Assembly”. Now I was left with one of two options: either I followed the main march which was much larger then their small group of, at most, forty people. The other option was to follow the occupy people. I chose to follow them, comforting myself with the notion that the bigger march would probably not be very exciting anyways and that maybe something interesting would occur.

Of course, nothing of the sort occurred. From the start, things were kind of funky.They were throwing the birds at cops and yelling and acting like complete and utter fools while asking onlookers to join them. No one did. Hell, I wouldn’t if I were them either. Then just as I was about to considering ditching them to go march with the main group, they suddenly started running. When I caught up with them, they then announced that they would be joining the main march.

What was the point of that? I do not know. Thankfully, i managed to separate myself from them when I got to the main march and instead marched behind the Party of Socialism and Liberation, a misguided but organized and rowdy group of young communists.

When the march finally came to a halt, a middle-aged lady said to her companion, “Is it over?”

“No,” he replied, with a whimsical smile. “This is going to take many years.”

Too true, I thought to myself. But it was strange how when Occupy first came out on September 17, 2011, it seemed like it was going to be the beginning of another major protest movement the likes of which we had not seen since the 1960’s civil rights and anti-war movements. How the mighty have fallen.

Now exhausted and with little else to do, I wandered over to Foley Square for the “People’s Assembly”. However, the only people I saw there were the familiar faces that I had seen at so many Occupy gatherings in the past. I stayed and watched the occupiers dance like fools as they “explained” the various hand signals that they required for the consensus process.

The consensus process is something that is worth taking time out to mention here. If anyone has ever seen the movie, ’12 Angry Men’ you will know already, with little thought and effort, how the consensus process can be somewhat of a problem–especially when there are way more than 12 people. The idea that consensus can be used as a form of government is absurd. Why occupiers still perpetuate the idea that it works for them, when it is completely clear that it does not, is beyond my comprehension.

So they began taking stack for people to form break out groups to discuss various ideas and topics. I proposed a topic about new people and helping them get assimilated with activism which met with very little interest. Instead I had a discussion with a man who was trying to propose an idea that would open up the cracks in the wall for direct democracy in NYC and elsewhere. But since I didn’t live in NYC, I couldn’t help him.

At this time, the groups were beginning to do report backs but I was long gone. I was on a subway that would take me to Penn Station, which would then take me to a train home. The fact is that Occupy Wall Street, once a fire that was lit under the asses of people frustrated with the system, had deteriorated into nothing but a psuedo-political social clique. This statement is supported by their ineffective and disorganized approach towards activism, which is a word that seems to mean very little when it comes to dealing with ordinary people and their issues. I’m not going to say that Occupy itself is dead, because Occupy can never die. Occupy is a feeling and an idea that expresses the point of view that something is very wrong with the current system and that it must be changed.

However the leaders of Occupy Wall Street, who do not call themselves such, need to take a deep and thoughtful look at what they are doing and get out of their shell enough to back off and let other people take over their roles or else freely admit that their ways aren’t working, and actively seek new ways to change them, because for a so-called “all-inclusive” movement, their attitudes and tactics make for a very exclusive revolution.


6 thoughts on “Occupy Fail on May Day 2013 NYC

  1. This is hilarious!

    > Occupy Wall Street’s presence at the recent May Day protest in NYC was, at
    > best, insignificant and, at worst, detrimental.


    > I was hanging around the usual Occupy crowd that was there.

    Well, that’s the problem; what did you expect? LOL

    > The idea that consensus can be used as a form of government is absurd. Why
    > occupiers still perpetuate the idea that it works for them, when it is completely
    > clear that it does not, is beyond my comprehension.

    Because they have no other ideas? Oh wait, here’s one!

    > So they began taking stack for people to form break out groups to discuss
    > various ideas and topics.


    Seriously though, as a full-time Occupier since about Day 10, I totally agree with your perceptions here — EXCEPT that this is NOT all of Occupy Wall Street you’re talking about, but the core group of clowns that the rest of us all got sick of long ago, and instead of submitting to their leadership — whoops, I mean, “facilitation” — just continued doing our own things instead. These people may have had a big part in the initial call that drew us all together in Zuccotti Park, but they’ve been fucking up every attempt to make this a true mass movement ever since.

    Pity you weren’t tuned into the events Occu-Evolve organized for May Day, long before the Occupy 1.0 crowd set up competing events such as this “People’s Assembly” — from the photos I’ve seen I think it should have been called the White People’s Assembly — which was set up as an alternative to Occu-Evolve’s Kimani Gray Memorial Assembly in Zuccotti Park, scheduled half an hour later.

    No worries, though, I livestreamed the whole thing, you can check it on my archive at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/may-day-nyc-with-occu-evolve
    Some highlights:
    Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham, at Kimani Gray Memorial Assembly in Zuccotti Park http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/32224375/highlight/351883
    Dispute with Brookfield Security over books in Zuccotti Park, part 1

    Don’t give up on Occupy. Just give up on getting different results from the same people using the same tactics.

    1. Hey Atiq,

      Thank you for making this comment. I did hear something about occu-evolve before I went to May Day but at the time Foley Square seemed like a safer bet.

      It wasn’t my intent to be insulting by lumping all of Occupy into the same boat as the “facilitators”. However, I think it should be clear that from my perspective this is all I’ve known about Occupy since the physical occupation was dismantled. I guess it was out of my own ignorance that I decided to call them ‘Occupy Wall Street’ even if for the purpose of simplicity.

      But I still don’t want to make any apologies for this article. Even though I don’t know all the people in OWS and all the people who are involved, it seems clear to me–and please correct me if I’m wrong–that these people somehow have gotten a monopoly on the label of occupy. Perhaps because they were there the longest? I’m really not too sure because I wasn’t an original occupier. I spent one night in Liberty in early October but that is about it.

      I was hoping that the last couple of paragraphs would have clarified how I felt–and still feel–about occupy in general, but in case it wasn’t I’ll say it now: Occupy represents the disillusionment with the current governmental system and existing social structures; and for that reason, I still Occupy.

      Sorry if I offended.

      –Kevin Limiti

      1. No offense at all, but look around—there are Occupies everywhere, no longer in physical occupations, but doing a wealth of different things. To where did you go home from Penn Station? If it was New Jersey, hop on a Monday-night Occupy Sandy New Jersey call; if it was Bergen County, look for a small group who could really use some new, motivated folks at our monthly GAs/meetings (search on the Bergen Grassroots Web site; they have been hosting us). If it was Long Lsland or Connecticut, I have no immediate suggestions—I would start with InterOccupy.net—I have not recently been on Occupy Together, but that site used to have good information.
        In short, Occupy is what you make it—welcome back!

  2. The only thing I’m going to say here is dealing with the consensus model. It CAN be used as a form of governance. The reason why it never worked in Occupy is simply FACILITATION SUCKED!!!

    In order to properly facilitate a meeting using consensus the facilitators need to have the courage to do something. SHUT UP A DISRUPTOR. As no facilitator in Occupy ever had the guts to do this the entire concept of consensus took a hit.

    I’ve been in a group now studying consensus for the past 7 months. The process can work. It can take a very long time. However, if the meeting is properly run, and facilitation steps up and TAKES A STAND against disrupting individuals the meeting can be controlled.

    The problem in Occupy was it was too sweet and the facilitators never had a fucking backbone. DO NOT blame the consensus process because a few people didn’t know how to control a meeting.

  3. AMEN, brother. Consensus is the achilles heel of american leftism, and it HAS to go. Since it’s widespread adoption n the mid-70’s, it has hamstrung every movement I’ve been involved with. I’ve written a lot on this subject the last 2 years (I was in Zuccotti starting 9/20/211), and you can find my writings here: http://occupyyourbrain.tumblr.com. I hope you’ll have a look. In particular, see a piece called “Occupy is Dead”, from February, 2012. I’d love to meet you.

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