Thursday, October 20, 2011
Rothschild Blvd. vs Occupy Wall Str.
The differences between Israeli and American protest movements are becoming more defined.
The Israeli protesters designated a Committee of Experts formed by left wing academics to formulate their demands: there were left wing professors of urban planning in charge of formulating policies to reduce the price of apartments, professors of social work on how to improve the fate of the poor, etc. The Government designed a counter-Committee of Experts formed by not less notorious academics led by Prof. Trajtenberg. The dialogue was between this group of professors with the Government professors. The students did not melt into the general protest movement but negotiated through their organizations (pic: Itzik Schmooly, head of the National Student Union, and Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg). Netaniyahu promised to implement Trajtenberg Committee's final report. There were media events, Trajtenberg went to the Rothschild street encampment to talk to the protesters, etc. The food companies feared the boycott of their products and reduced prices, the corporations started to dismantle and reduce profile, and apartment prices started to stabilize as the Government promised to change the rules. The Israeli protest adopted from the very beginning a coherent goal-directed form, and designed a purely academic leadership.
On the other hand, the Occupy Wall Street movement emphasizes direct action and leaderless, consensus-based decision-making, most clearly embodied by its General Assembly, in which participants in the protest make group decisions both large and small, like adopting principles of solidarity and deciding how best to stay warm at night. They oppose the emergence of any form of formal leadership because "you cannot create freedom through a tight cadre of revolutionaries".
I never heard of a leaderless movement to achieve anything. Its fate is that of the Children's Cruzade.