[lbo-talk] dreaming in public

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Thu Dec 8 20:37:04 PST 2011

I haven't read the article either; but I suspect that in this case, after various confusions are cleared away (such as the meaning of "vanguard") You and Doug may not be so far apart. It is confusing to use the dictionary meaning of "vanguard" in a political context, but granting that, Doug does see OWS as 'merely' the first step in a long battle, as in the quote in your third point. In the usual political sense of "vanguard," as you say, OWS is definitely anti-vanguard.

You've been trying, as I see it, to theorize OWS, and that certainly needs to be done. (My argument for years on this list has been that "theory" arises from action rather than dictates it in advance. Well, we've had action now, but I think our attempts at theorization of it can be only fumbling. For one thing, OWS is obviously changing all along, but when that internal change will make it "something different" can't be prdictec.

Everybody can't read everything others want them to read. It's part of the wisdom overload of modern culture. (There is a lot of discussion of information overload, but I don't think that is really a problem. Knowledge or even wisdom overload does constitute a problem.)


P.S. All the 'revolutions' in literary criticism and theory over the last two+ centuries have been responses (sometimes conscious) to the overload of books that "everyone" should read. That was certainly the case with Arnold's "high seriousness"

(a way of excluding a lot of stuff from the "truly great' which everyone 'must' read). And both the New Criticism and "Theory" attempted in various ways to substitute "reading competence" for "much reading."

-----Original Message----- From: lbo-talk-bounces at lbo-talk.org [mailto:lbo-talk-bounces at lbo-talk.org] On Behalf Of shag carpet bomb Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2011 3:00 PM To: lbo-talk at lbo-talk.org Subject: Re: [lbo-talk] dreaming in public

you should try reading the article. I'll make two points, and probably spend more time on this than you bothered to put in.

1. dreaming in public is the name of the article. hence, i'm guessing he means something by utopia that you fail to grasp, though you do know better given recent criticisms of claims about cookshops of the future.

2. similarly, he is clearly using vanguard in a specific way as in: vanguard strategy to insert organzation into an existing uprising in order to radicalize it because the idea is the yokels are too stupid to be able to get radical on their own.

3. oh what the hell, here's a third point, I'll quote the article: "And the truth of the matter is that occupation will not eliminate the crime and social rifts that are innate to a population made radically unequal, indebted, and divided against resentful abstractions of itself. A series of tents is not going to end downtown blight, quell gun violence, or end the targeted criminalization and deportation of "extranjeros." "

goshes, I think the author might not have said what you attribute to him. shocker.

<> <> On Dec 8, 2011, at 12:57 PM, shag carpet bomb wrote: <> <>> bady's kicking ass lately: <>> <>> What I saw was the best of a generation, not because they took <>> themselves as representative of some vanguard, utopian future, but <>> as <>> an integral part of the long, slow, and brutal work of remaking <>> spaces <>> for democratic process. <> <> I'm tired of this disavowal of vanguard and utopia. It's not honest. <> Occupiers are leading the way, and hoping others will join them. And <> they're doing so with a utopia in mind. You can't write all this stuff <> about reclaiming public space without having some notion of what a <> better public space would look like - some approximation, that is, of <> utopia. It's like you have to say these things out of some 90s-ish, <> anti-totalizing, anticommunist reflex. <> <> Also I don't buy his argument about how targeting Wall Street is <> somehow less radical - or more "liberal" - than this reclamation of <> public space. Wall Street is a symbol, or personification in some <> sense, of the nature of financial and political power, exercised via <> the financial markets. It's about ownership and control. It's at the <> core of politics. That's why OWS has had such resonance with the <> broader society - it's extremely clear and accurate. It has a lot to <> do with why Oakland is the way it is. It has a lot to do with why <> people are being foreclosed upon. Challenging foreclosure and moving <> homeless people into vacant properties is an attack on Wall Street's <> power that also makes the mechanism of that power very clear and <> concrete. Putting a tent where a cop tells you not to is related to <> that power, but at several removes. I'm kind of skeptical that the <> Reclaim the City rhetoric has the same resonance with the broad public <> that it does with graduate students in geog! <> raphy. <> <> Doug <> ___________________________________ <> http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/mailman/listinfo/lbo-talk <>

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