Ayesha Kazmi

At its Core, Occupy Wall Street Will Always Remain a Product of its Time and Place

In The Political on 04/10/2011 at 00:34

Criticisms about the various occupy movements now spreading throughout the United States were expected from the outset.

Generally speaking, and for various reasons, there will be underlying elements that will seek to undermine popular movements. Often this is accomplished by questioning the purpose, usefulness, motives, tactics, or by constructing moral judgments to rally around, and even by slandering individuals within the movement or the movement as a whole.

Yesterday, the undermining critique came from a most unfortunate source. Presstorm published the following piece calling attention to the political underpinning of the General Assembly of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City. An obvious feature to point out about this latest Presstorm piece is that it is not linked to the Presstorm site. That is because shortly after this article was published, the site appeared to have been hit by a DDoS.

This rather ironic twist of fate might be the “just deserts” Presstorm had coming as a result of this latest piece. I myself couldn’t help chuckling at this most paradoxical of situations. As a Presstorm journalist, however, you may be wondering, what on earth would make me crack a smile?

It is not enough to defend freedom of speech and to express the critical need for publications to simultaneously articulate multiple viewpoints in order to bring truth to the fore, especially in the field of journalism. I firmly believe that these freedoms come with a certain level of responsibility. These responsibilities were breached by Presstorm’s latest publication entitled “Investigative Analysis: Occupy Wall Street General Assembly – Direct Attack on the American Constitution”. While I may not agree with the perspectives of the author, the perspectives alone are not what make me uncomfortable.

The article in question used “Presstorm” as a banner to make blanket analyses that inevitably brought all those affiliated with Presstorm underneath. This was a serious oversight by the article’s author.

Presstorm is not a unified monolithic think bloc. I frequently disagree with my colleagues on various matters: political and social. To have this article, which now appears on Philip Brennan’s website, angled in a manner that implies my accord with it, is entirely negligent and irresponsible.

Furthermore, the repeated discussions of Alexa O’Brien of the US Day of Rage (USDOR), by Presstorm, has developed into a deplorable and offensive slander and, at this rate, is tantamount to bullying.

Our contemporary political and social milieu condones the act of criminalising people purely on the basis of their political, social, economic, and in many instances, religious thinking – this is something as a Pakistani Muslim who has lived both in the United States and the United Kingdom, I am all too familiar with. It is most unfortunate to see this type of conduct carried out in this setting. At the end of the day, unfortunate or not, we are all products of our contemporary environments.

Most, if not all, social movements are comprised by bodies of political thought and historical interpretation – ranging from the “moderate” to the “radical”. Nevertheless, these various elements comprise the larger collective body that moves together, and it is these variations, whether they be the socialist lites, the communists, the anarchists, even the seemingly “radical ideologues” like Alexa O’Brien, that critically shape movements and lie at the core of social movements making them wholly and entirely democratic.

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  1. Ayesha, @LebalDrocer here,

    I appreciate your dedication to the #occupy movements. I talked to Noam Chomsky last night and he told me that in his opinion the protests are “a very important action” “with a big and growing impact around the country.”

    I asked if he thought it is enough to turn the tides of change. His response: “Enough? One never knows.”

    By doing what you do, Kazmi, you help cement the resentment of Americans everywhere toward multinational corporations that bought and sold Democracy out from under us before we ever had a chance to even build it. Maybe we can have our country back. Let’s see.

  2. Many thanks to those of us at Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Together sites across the country and the globe. It is comforting to know that Presstorm as a whole remains objective and reliable as a source.

    From our point of view (regarding the article you linked which caused the stir), the article in question was no more than a lashing out at a system the author does not understand, in an effort to maintain the status quo that has destroyed much of America. She is entitled to her opinion, but our complaint stems from her attempt to frame it as a researched and objective news piece rather than a personal column, editorial or blog post. I have requested that the author get in touch so that her concerns may be made in a more appropriate (read: less offensive to the movement in general) format and addressed appropriately, and to perhaps enlighten her a bit with regard to our movement. The ball, as they say, is now in her court.

    Cheers from NYC,
    One of Many

  3. [...] Presstorm came under repeated DDoS attacks after Ms. Brinkman posted a story which was critical of Occupy Wall Street. Former Presstorm supporters and writers did not offer her any support, instead laughing at her folly[6]. [...]

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