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.