For anyone who is not familiar with it, Noam Chomsky has a very interesting idea that it is an essential function of government to “manufacture consent” by various means. That as part of it’s duty to keep the peace and to govern, it must influence the press and various other “free speech” organs to “manufacture consent” as needed to advance proper governance. You can hear him discuss this in 9 videos here:
IMHO, what we are seeing now in the Occupy Wall Street movement is a slightly different effect. A non-governmental organization (The Progressive Movement, for lack of a better term) attempting to influence the population at large, and the government in particular. To subvert the ‘worth’ of the expression of the peoples voice via The Tea Party and via the vote (by inducing a bias against non-progressive parties and candidates) via a manufactured “protest”. It can not do this by “manufacturing consent” as that is the role of government and the pie is too big for them to steal in any case. So instead, they want to “pee in the other guys soup” by distraction and by manufacturing false “issues” to distract from the real ones (that we are, for example, dead flat broke and there is no way in hell we can pay for the Progressive Plan on things like health care and welfare). IMHO, this process of artificial outrage and protest is manufactured. It is manufacturing dissent.
Based on the same ideas of things like ‘necessary illusions’, this movement attempts to create an illusion that most folks are “outraged” or most folks are “against corporations” or “against wall street”, when most folks just don’t care much at all, or are in favor of making money.
Can we test this idea in any way? How about “size”. How “big” is the O.W.S. movement?
Size of Manufactured Dissent
On Fox Business channel, they just reported that there are now about 400 OWS sites “world wide”. How big is each? I’m sure the smaller ones will be no where near as large as the Big One in Wall Street itself, so how about we use it as a ‘proxy’ (and a conservative one at that) for the others in size.
New York (CNN) — In the first major show of strength since police evicted Occupy Wall Street demonstrators encamped at Zuccotti Park, protesters on Thursday massed by the hundreds at their former home base, while others marched toward the New York Stock Exchange.
OK, “hundreds”. Let’s call it 1,000 just to give them the benefit of rounding up. So if every other “protest” in the world is the same size, that’s about 400,000 people. Compared to a world population of about 7,000,000,000 people. My calculator makes that 5.71 x e-5 about 0.0000571 or 0.00571 % of the population. Hmmm… kind of small.
Now maybe most of those 400 places are not in spots like Ethiopia, Bejing, India… So lets use just 1,000,000,000 people as that’s about what you get when you add the EU to North America and Central / Eastern Eurasia (Russia and FSU plus a bit of the old Balkans et. al.) Now were at 0.0004 or 0.04 %. Still damn near nothing.
But maybe that’s still too large a net. Not a lot of Russians are likely involved in the OWS stuff… so let’s just call it 1/2 billion. LESS than the sum of EU and US populations. That moves it all the way up to 0.08 % … Oh Dear.
So what we can say is that not only is the OWS in the “fractional percent” scale, but it’s in the “fraction of 1/100th of a percent scale. Almost in the ‘noise’ level of the numbers… Hmmm.. noise… seems curiously accurate…
There are a load of articles that trace the history of the creation of the OWS movement. This one finds ties to ACORN (the folks found guilty of shady dealings and potentially breaking laws all on the government dime via grants, that were eventually withdrawn… though many parts of it have ‘re-candled’ to new names and new grants.)
The former director of New York ACORN, Jon Kest, and his top aides are now busy working at protest events for New York Communities for Change (NYCC). That organization was created in late 2009 when some ACORN offices disbanded and reorganized under new names after undercover video exposes prompted Congress to cut off federal funds.
Another interesting ‘snippet’ was from ABC news (who tossed a popup ad in my face that I could not close, so the whole window is closed and they get no linky…) where they were interviewing one of the “protestors” who was described as being on “the finance committee of OWS”. Finance Committee? Not exactly your “peoples protest”… No, this is a structure, created, artificial entity.
The OWS ‘movement’ is, IMHO, an example of “manufacturing dissent” to achieve a political goal. It is intended only to smear and distract the conservative and liberatrian POV as typified by the Tea Party financial conservative and libertarian ideas. It is constructed by ‘folks with an agenda’ as the ACORN folks were PO’d at getting caught and defunded and want some revenge, along with access to power and money again.
The rhetoric from the ‘leaders’ is clearly left wing / progressive filled with hate and class warfare. (Why is their hate not ‘hate speech’ but others is? Clearly as it is in support of the Progressive Agenda and Democrats…) Their behaviour comes straight out of the ’60s anti-war protests and, IMHO, many of the leaders are just trying to reclaim past glories. Pining for the Good Old Days of pot smoking at the war protests… ( Hey, I was in one then. I’m, speaking from personal experience here… BTW, I went as I had a crush on this cute girl who wanted to go… it’s a long story… I didn’t really care at all about the trains carrying war material…)
So what’s it all mean? IMHO it is “full of sound and fury signifying nothing”. The numbers of folks are pitifully small. The goals are stupid at best. (Shut down Wall Street? Give me a break. Most trading is done over computers in centers scattered all over the world. At best you can annoy the few folks who actually work on Wall Street, many of whom are in the Restaurant and Janitorial unions…) It’s like that dog chasing the car. If it DID sink it’s teeth into that tire, it sure would not know what to do with it. (whop yelp whop yelp whop YELP whop…) It would be amusing, if it didn’t do so much damage, for the Wall Street and financial folks globally to just go ahead and shut down for a few weeks and watch the economy slide to a halt. Need a loan? Sorry. That ATM near the park? No cash. Sorry. Credit card for gas or the groceries for your park lunch? Sorry…
No, they don’t want to shut down wall street. They want face time on the nightly news. Something that they are getting “in spades” and way out of proportion to their size or what their ‘program’ justifies. They are hoping to make a lot of stink, get some ‘street cred’ by getting an arrest on their record, have a lot of news time; and drive the Tea Party and The Obama Screw-Ups out of the news. They want to create the “necessary illusion” of a mass movement against the Evil Capitalists. But it isn’t “mass” anything and it isn’t a movement.
It’s a manufactures microscopic noise maker. Nothing more.