Wednesday, January 1, 2014

An Open Letter to Margaret Flowers

Justine - what do you suggest? We are part of the 'us' of which you speak. I hope you realize that Occupy is not the whole movement. It is part of a wave that has been rising for decades.
No Margaret, you weren't one of us. You were a competitor to Occupy. I remember you. We worked together in the past. But that doesn't mean you were an Occupier. You weren't one of the scrappy anarchist kids sitting around in a park fighting the cops all day all week like me.

You're part of the professional left. You and your fellow organizers down in D.C. who were organizing Stop The Machine—you guys actually knew what you were doing! You guys did everything right, pulled all the proper moves in the left-wing playbook, and had a perfect pristine and respectable action. You had big names involved like Chris Hedges and the backing of the NLG, Food Not Bombs, etc. That's great. They made a rational choice in supporting you guys. The problem was that they dismissed us entirely and didn't take us seriously, because you were organizing your action at the same time.

But it doesn't matter because we won. We were a bunch of amateurs who had no idea what we were doing, but we still beat you at your own game. Because we had the right stuff. There was a certain magic to the original group that occupied Liberty Square. And as soon as we gained media attention, the liberal elite swooped in like vultures to take it from us.

So I advise you to tread lightly when you speak about who deserves credit, because you're treading on my pride. Occupy was a cultural phenomenon that no group or individual can rightfully claim as their own. It was not a result of the work that your "wave" had been doing for decades. No no no. To be quite honest, I think the only reason we were successful, is because we made it crystal clear that we weren't you!

That was the brilliance of our strategy. We were too scrappy to be part of the liberal elite, yet too professional to be written off as lifestyle anarchists. We were the new kids on the block. And our mystique of anonymity piqued the curiosity of the world press once it became clear we couldn't be ignored. Everyone was fascinated because they didn't have the slightest clue who the heck we were! And that is why we won. And we will continue to win. Because we still have that magic, except now we know what we're doing.

Perhaps the American Fall will come in 2014 now that Occupy is in it's terrible twos. Whatever happens, I imagine it'll be quite interesting.

This conversation originally took place on the AlterNet comments section.