Tom’s concerns about smug OWS protesters

Tom Clark commented very cogently to my post about protests, 1967 and now. (See below)

I asked my friend Amiel Alcalay who has been involved with  CUNY student supporters of OWS as I too remember the disconnect, the smug, cavalier and self-righteous attitudes that abounded in the anti-war Viet era.

Amiel replied that now, just as then, mainstream media are doing their best to trivialize on-going events. He told me that  some 20,000 union members marched in NYC on December 2 – and the best coverage available came from Russian TV.  Here it is:

When I saw him the morning of  December 3, he was pretty frazzled having spent most of the night at central booking to bail out CUNY students. Of course CUNY students do have a vested interest: the proposed $300 hike in tuition is daunting for many of those privileged enough to attend a university.

I can’t help being deeply encouraged by  connections linking OWS and union members, so missing back in the 60s-70s.  But Tom has a point: Us grizzled ones have ample reasons to fear that “movements” loose focus, go out of control, become sentimental, callous,  self-important and (shh) fascist.  All of us so love to have our anger justified, magnified and replicated. It’s as addictive as any other pleasure stimulus you can think of.  Even in the face of  THAT we can’t be paralyzed by our admiration for perfection. Change has to be possible.


  1. tom clark

    And not only that, Martha — change is inevitable, like it or not.

    Wish I thought I was going to be liking it better and better, but doubt that; while also acknowledging that the way I feel about anything will matter to nobody but me, and even that, not for long, now.

    This is just meant to say (I guess), a solid yes to not giving up, a slim maybe to hope — and all due props to not getting fooled again (again).