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Fatal(?) Defects in ExposeTheTpp.org (TPP = Economic Treason) - 'The Plutocrats are Laughing at You', #4

metamars's picture
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Backdrop: I’ve long been fascinated and dismayed (less fascinated, these last few years; more dismayed) about how ineffective activists are when opposing plutocratic agendas. And, it has occurred to me that the plutocrats probably view hapless activists with condescension, if not ridicule.

What is important, of course, is not whether a group of people are laughing at you, or not, but rather do they have any justification for their condescension, or not? Are activists setting themselves up for failure, or not? If so, is their incompetence readily discerned by the plutocratic class, or not? (If it is, that implies that the activists could learn to become strategically competent, comparitively easily.)

I believe the plutocratic class most certainly does have justification for their condescension wrt activists – they are whupping your asses, to put it bluntly – and hope that people will be sufficiently goaded by this ‘revelation’ to do whatever is necessary to not be strategic fools, no matter how well intentioned they may be. Good intentions and being a clever, resourceful political “guerrilla” are two different things. (“Guerrilla war” being my favored analogy for the struggle with the plutocratic class.)

On July 29, 2013, FDL carried a diary called Exposed: Stratfor’s 3-Step Plan To Conquer & Divide Activists which contained this quote:

Duchin and Mongoven were ruthless, and I think they were often amused by the naivete, egotism, antics and failures of activists they routinely fooled and defeated. Ultimately, this is war, and the best warriors will win.”

Whether their “amusement” rises to the level of audible laughter is also irrelevant. what is important is: are American activists ‘easy marks’, or not? Are they strategically foolish, or not?

See also:

UPDATED The plutocrats are laughing at you, Part 1: Why I won’t support rocunited.org

The plutocrats are laughing at you, Part 2: Anti-GMO Activists could be made COMPLETELY irrelevant by TPP (= Economic Treason), are oblivious to the possibility

The Plutocrats are Laughing at you #3 - Fear+Fact-based campaign against Alar worked, so anti-GMO’ers go Mr. Nice Guy and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

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Sorry, no time to write a polished diary.... If I make any errors (due to lack of research), feel free to point them out.

I took a somewhat hurried look at ExposetheTpp.org, inspired by a quoted description of Lori Wallach on prn.fm's page containing her interview by Gary Null as “the Trade Debate’s Guerrilla Warrior”.

Guerrilla Warfare is my favorite analogy for the class struggle going on, that America's 99% are losing badly. I HOPED that that description accurately described ExposeTheTpp.org. Alas, ExposeTheTpp.org does not rise to that level, IMNSHO.

First, Some Good Points

(The gold standard, so far, and so far as I know, for a website facilitating activism is local.350.org. So, you too, gentle reader, can have a 'tangible' aid in determining, for yourself, if ExposeTheTpp.org is optimal, by comparing it to local.350.org, and seeing for yourself where it falls short. See also the 'mobilization' techniques implemented by the 'kony 2012' folks. )

  • Prominent and Ubiquitous (in the case of Facebook) integration with social media
  • Action-Oriented
  • Facilitates Individuals at a local level. (See the Take Action page)

Secondly, the Ranked Defects

  1. No electoral threats, and no methodology for attempting to exercize a credible electoral threat. (For an outline of a methodology, startable with no budget by a single individual, see my diary Twisting Your Congress Critters’ Arm - A Goldilocks’-Sized First Step In Domination by the Electorate (Short Version)
  2. Other than the obvious main goal, there is no explication of reasonable sub-goals, much less maintaining metrics to objectively perform "mental contrasting" (see the book 9 Things Successful People Do Differently)
  3. No use of most aspects of anti-GMO movement. (See my diaries that I mentioned above.)
  4. No (or insufficient) call to inject memes more aggressively (implying face-to-face, not internet interaction), e.g. at public sidewalks next to schools, at stoplights (where local cops will allow), etc.
  5. No use of more incendiary, but accurate (and thus honest) rhetoric ("TPP = Economic Treason", e.g.)
  6. NO AVAILABILTIY OF FREE, DOWNLOADABLE FLYERS! This is in caps because it's a slam dunk that local.350.org gets right, and should have been anticipated by ExposeTheTpp.org! They tell you to "create a flyer", but why should you have to??? They should provide templates that you can localize with your event and contact info.
  7. No use of meetup.com. Beppe Grillo was smart enough to use meetup.com to grow a reform movement with SIGNIFICANT electoral success, in Italy. The #1 category of meetup.com group is stay-at-home-moms. Well, it looks like the Democrats were smart enough to take notice, because momsrising.org, which seems 90% credible (based on my quick perusal), nevertheless uncritically supports Obamacare.
  8. No Forum, for disjointed locals to compare notes
  9. No requirement that people who donate a picture of themselves, which a slogan written on their hands, do ANYTHING more significant (feel good, accomplish nothing activism, anybody?)
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Comments

Submitted by lambert on

No About Page.

No funders, no board, no links with other orgs (IIRC).

No bios.

It doesn't seem to be connected to anything, just floats in isolation.

metamars's picture
Submitted by metamars on

Ah, good points. However, I would point out that just "providing links" is a minimal level of "connectiveness". A web site dedicated to activism should employ at least obvious means of facilitating it's end goals. (And if the web site owners are sufficiently outside-the-box, also less-obvious means of facilitation)..

So, e.g., the Progressive Democrats of America web site provides a means for users of the web site to contact local chapter leaders. That to me seems "obvious". A slightly more sophisticated version of this is to provide contact names, plus inmail (for chapter leaders who don't want to get spammed and innundated with crank phone calls).

An even better level of facilitation of connectedness is to allow discovery (but with privacy considerations, at least as an option) of any member, by anybody else. And beyond this is the ability to throttle inmail (so you could get a digest inmail, say, once per week, of locals looking to contact you.

Of course, if these things were ubiquitous, they would automagically become "obvious".

I just took a look, and 350.org allows discovery at the granular level of interested individuals in your locality. (I'm not sure, but I don't think 350.org allowed that when I first blogged about them.) Yours truly also facilitates that in my obscure website, occupypublicspaces.org.

As far as I know, that's it!

A nirvana of connectedness would allow discovering individuals of allied organizations in your neighborhood. Ideally, you'd want to facilitate a joint filtering by issue.

So, e.g., when you searched an anti-TPP web site's map for local allies, (say ExposeTheTpp.org) members of ExposeTheTpp.org would show up as red pins, while members of other organizations (but not members of ExposeTheTpp.org would show up as green pins.

However, let's say that the Progress Democrats of America's website (pdamerica.org) facilitated discovery of local allies, and let's say that they were opposing TPP. At pdamerica.org, since they (say) they are about many issues, your "locate allies" map would have a dropdown filter, with TPP as one of the entries. When you select TPP, the map would filter out allies who don't have an interest in TPP.

Ideally, there'd be granularity down to the individual level. So, e.g., if I'm a member of PDA, bizarrely FOR the TPP; or if I have a full plate and didn't want to involve myself with TPP, I could opt out of discoverability as an ally, even if my organization was, as a whole, an ally.

Likewise, many Tea Party members would be your ally against TPP, but mostly your enemy on other issues. It's stupid not to politically cooperate, on any particular issue, with whoever and whatever will aide you....

metamars's picture
Submitted by metamars on

"The whole site seems to sort of float in the air."

Sorry, I don't know what you mean by this.

"Any thoughts on the reasons for the ineffectuality?"

This is a big, and somewhat painful subject. I have no problem saying that "the unions are poodles of the Democrats" or that "Amy Goodman is a left gatekeeper" (in the sense of a conscious, deliberate gatekeeper).

But what about people that I have no doubt as to their motives being high minded, limited only (as we all are) by their level of understanding?

Gary Null is a tireless worker for the public good, and extremely generous. Yet, his web site is basically an information portal. You can't use it to discover other users users in your neighborhood who you can collaborate with to fight TPP, or anything else. (There are links to activist organizations; but some of these can't strategize their way out of a paper bag.). In spite of his resources (which allows him to hire a few nutritionists, to help them with their nutritional issues, at no cost), it apparently doesn't occur to him that activists need help in figuring out what strategies are optimal. Such individuals (say a team consisting of political game theorists, sports coaches, retired intelligence agents, and current or retired military with training on strategy and tactics) could give advice on a public forum, for all to see (thus, indirectly teaching the 'bewildered herd' of activists).

BTW, last summer I offered to give my website, occupypublicspaces.org, to Gary Null, provided he promote it according to my spec. (I'm not prepared to give it to anybody just to put it on a shelf.) I communicated through his friend and employee Bill Thompson. I didn't even get a "thanks, but no thanks" reply. Yet, Null will ask the "what is to be done" question to the likes of Gerald Celente (a frequent guest), who quite obviously had not an idea in his head, even though he's had decades to think of one.

Go figure. Because I can't. I will (happily) note, though, that economist Jack Rasmus has a show on Null's prn.fm, and he is clearly looking for more effective strategies. Also, Null recently had a show with subtitle "The need for a more aggressive strategy to defeat Monsanto and Big Ag over GMO labeling"

Null is a special case. In general, there's the two default explanations: a) not smart enough b) sold out.

I will say, though, that there's a 3rd possible explanation, and that is that there is no social conditioning for citizens to exert their power. (OK, we're taught of the wonders of democracy, but we're NOT taught about the systemic corruption that makes the naive picture we feed our children in school an invalid one.)

This point was brought home to me by, of all people, a talented psychic named Ingo Swann, who pointed out that there are no schools to teach people about gaining and using power. IIRC, he pointed out that that lack was quite deliberate, serving the Powers That Be.

metamars's picture
Submitted by metamars on

Sorry you feel that way, but I don't want to take the time to defend him, except to say that
a) he generally relies extensively on peer reviewed literature, plus his own extensive studies; you'd know that if you listened to his shows
b) his enemies have included paid agents
c) early in his career, he busted the "quack busters", including a jackass named Frederick Stare, by tracing their funding. It's not a pretty picture

Submitted by lambert on

I've had very bad luck with nutritionist sourcing in the past, as in bad data. And I'm warned on Null by an RN and a long-time reader. (Tactically, it's also nutty and even obfuscatory to focus on nutritional claims when Monsanto's real danger is outright ownership of the germ plasm.)

octal's picture
Submitted by octal on

I'm not familiar with either Gary Null or Stephen Barrett, but I am familiar with the dangers of fluoride and the mercury that leaches from amalgam fillings, both of which Barrett is OK with.

With only that to go on, I have to go with Null as being the most credible of the two.

octal's picture
Submitted by octal on

My use of the word credible was meant to show my relative opinion of Barrett, not Null.

I don't remember hearing about Null until now and I'd have to do research to form an opinion about him. Which is exactly what I will do, now that his name has come up :)

Neil in Chicago's picture
Submitted by Neil in Chicago on

"The left" does not display learning behavior.
As far as I can see, people run around doing the same stuff as 20 or 40 years ago. They don't even know what was done 60 or 80 or 100 years ago, which made some real progress against far more savage opposition.
I am increasingly frightened that the Republic is effectively over. For roughly a century, from the railroad strike of 1877 through the Viet Nam war, there was a continuous chain of transmission of active, innovative organizing and resistance. It's broken. I fear that Occupy's failure to connect with its elders is the end.
The median age in the U.S. is 35, so most people don't even remember the Reagan Presidency. The live memory of anything any different is dissipating.

metamars's picture
Submitted by metamars on

""The left" does not display learning behavior."

Man, you're not kidding (though I suppose the same could be said for center and right).

While Occupy was started by anarchists, lefties joined in. In Zinn's "People's History of America" you can read about how parents anticipated getting oppressed, and tried to send their children out of harm's way.

Occupy should have anticipated getting evicted from illegal encampments, and prepared, accordingly, by trying to make sleeping arrangements in sympathetic people's homes (or even back yards, in tents). Hardly anybody visits an encampment at 3am, anyway. Also, many encampments actually had empty tents at night, so clearly many "occupiers" already had sleeping alternatives.

Having a continual, public gathering was important. Illegally "taking space" was not.