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'Understanding Occupy Seattle': The Podcast

Four panelists, including an Occupy Seattle Media Working Group member, took part in Crosscut's forum, now available as a podcast.

A 2011 crowd for Occupy Seattle at Westlake

A 2011 crowd for Occupy Seattle at Westlake f8stop/Crosscut Flickr User Group

City Councilmember Mike O'Brien introduces Crosscut's Occupy Wall Street.

City Councilmember Mike O'Brien introduces Crosscut's Occupy Wall Street. Brett Horvath

Four panelists mixed inside knowledge of Occupy Seattle with outside observation to explore the movement's local and national implications Thursday night at a Crosscut forum. Some 75 people attended "Understanding Occupy Seattle," held at the Bertha Knight Landes Room at Seattle City Hall, under the sponsorship of City Councilmember Mike O'Brien.

The panelists included independent journalist and Occupy Seattle Media Working Group member Mark Taylor-Canfield; Yes! Magazine Executive Editor Sarah van Gelder; Hanson Hosein, director of the UW Master of Communication in Digital Media program; and Crosscut contributing writer Jordan Royer. Crosscut Associate Editor Berit Anderson served as moderator.

Click on the audio player above or here to listen.

Watch the Seattle Channel's coverage of the panel.


Post-production by Feliks Banel.


Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.


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Comments:

Posted Fri, Oct 28, 10:55 p.m. Inappropriate

The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street appear to have one other thing in common. Both are white bread movements. In Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, one of the founders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, was snubbed by the Occupy general assembly. True, the assembly later saw the error of its ways, apologized and invited Rep. Lewis to speak (no word on whether he has accepted the invitation). Still it does seem that the movement has not so far resonated with or incorporated the non-white parts of our country, despite the fact that by the next census the "minorities" collectively will outnumber the majority (white) population.

arizonan

Posted Fri, Oct 28, 11:24 p.m. Inappropriate

I listened to the entire podcast and heard many things that made a great deal of sense. However, after coming to the podcast as a firm supporter of the Occupy movement (despite some reservations about the whiteness of the movement), I ended up considerably cooler toward "Occupy." Early on, the panelists professed not to speak for the other members of the movement, not to have a political agenda, and not to have particular policies to promote, etc. The final minutes of the program, however, shed an entirely different light when it degenerated into a "rubbish Obama" session. I am a strong supporter of President Obama and have every intention of doing whatever I can to defeat the big money, big corporations, big pharma and big oil interests that are determined to deny him a second term. If indeed the Occupy movement is about how to ensure Obama is a one-term president, then I am most assuredly not with you. The podcast changed the pronoun from "us" to "you" as regards my attitude toward the movement.

arizonan

Posted Mon, Oct 31, 11:40 a.m. Inappropriate

Last night's panel discussion I found to be different than what I had hoped for - and how it was billed: "Understanding Occupy Seattle". While there was some discussion of the greater issues that are underpinning the movement, the larger context and implications were not covered newly as clearly and concisely in the this clip of a Charlie Rose interview with Amy Goodman and Chris Hedges: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11961

To help one "understand" the #occupy Wall Street phenomenon and its underlying consensus process, this video gives a feel for how the representation of the movement as a bunch of unemployed kids (or dirty hippies) doing nothing is wrong:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=&v;=AyFlaGVwhe8

To me what is striking about #occupy is what we have in the assemblies are the basis to formulate a new foundation on which our problems can be addressed. As the people become educated and recognize failings in our contemporary social and economic systems, and we will begin to seek fundamental alternatives. And thus we are moving into revolutionary times. And this type of framing (let alone action) becomes dangerous to the powers that be. All the more reason to ridicule or divert attention away.

This for example is where the simplification of the 1%-99% soundbite/framing is problematic for me. The issue isn't just that "1%" is benefiting more than others. The larger issues of these systems as a whole, and how WE as the 99% enable those systems is being exposed and called into question. So maybe "1%" is the hook, but we can not stop there.

Where this particular "Understanding Occupy Seattle" discussion fell flat for me was how it failed to assert that we locally can take the larger ideas of OWS and make action here at home possible by addressing imbalances in our own city (e.g. downtown versus neighborhoods, transit access, our racial and ethnic imbalances, etc). How can we make that revolution - or at least some marked changes - here at home.

Nonetheless, here we are observing what are seeds of a revolution - global in scope no doubt. While a having movement participant, a media academic or other contemporary observers of our time give us a "gee-whiz-this-is-sure-interesting-stuff-to-see-happening" presentation, we are given no sense of truly how momentous what is happening is.

Crosscut can perhaps enable a better understanding of all this, but at least that night, the revolution was not televised...

Posted Mon, Oct 31, 12:47 p.m. Inappropriate

Good analysis - south_downtown. I was disappointed in a way that is hard to pinpoint. My issues - the environment, the social safety net - especially health care, immigration, the lack of opportunity for young people, the development of a permanent underclass - did not figure prominently, if at all, in the discussion. The profiteers at the top benefit from what amounts to the indentured servitude of people who have few options available to them. Young people join the military or they turn to drugs and often end up in prison, especially if they are hispanic or black. A young person should be able to come of age and take his or her place in the economy without facing the prospect of permanent poverty. "Occupy" is good in that it is forcing us to face the fact that things have gone badly awry. It isn't just one problem (our financial institutions are corrupt, big money controls our government, our planet is in danger - even our very existence as a species is threatened, our safety net is in tatters, our prisons are bulging and profiteers are moving in with privatization, etc. etc.) It's that we are no longer able to come together, recognize core values, and find solutions to our problems. If "Occupy" can throw a blazing light on just how precarious our situation is and force the ordinary, common sense people of this country to demand change, then there's hope. Unfortunately, I got the feeling from the podcast that common sense is not the common denominator.

arizonan

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