WE are AWESOME, they are not

In Bill Wasik’s article, #Riot: Self-Organized, HyperNetworked Revolts—Coming to a City Near You, Clifford Stott, senior lecturer in social psychology at the University of Liverpool, was told by a “philosophical fellow Brit” at a particularly dicey moment that “If you are on your own you’re going to get fucked.” Harsh but fair. Teamwork is important, and it is this sort of mentality that seems to act as fuel for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

“You must act [against] the forces of exploitation and oppression who want nothing more than your silent and idle acceptance.” Occupy Wall Street’s mission statement is fraught with “We”s. It creates a very distinct sense of team, of Us vs. Them. Furthermore Stott mentions this idea of a crowds “unstoppability” so to speak. That a crowd’s numbers grant it both legitimacy and power.

“We have ourselves decided. We will no longer be complicit in this destruction…We will no longer conspire against ourselves…We will no longer conspire against humanity.”

This We must sure be a righteous bunch.  It is adorably obvious that the writers of this statement see themselves as an underdog Rebel Alliance up against the Empire. They’ve created sides, teams, battle cries, and an excellent example of the mentality of intergroup conflict.

 

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4 responses to “WE are AWESOME, they are not

  1. coffeeshoprhino

    Has any individual in the OWS movement been “fucked” by being alone?

  2. I would like to point out that the quality of the “WE” has a vital effect on the power of the movement. If the people of a movement stand strongly and passionately together for a specific goal, they absolutely have power and influence as a tight-knit group. However, if the people have varying and unrelated motives for taking part, the result will be less of a movement and more of a disjointed mass of people without a common goal.

    Take Vermont’s ephemeral Occupy campaign. The movement was mostly made up of homeless people who wanted a place to sleep for awhile. This was told to me by my sister, a resident of Burlington, VT, who traveled to New York to protest during Occupy Wall Street. Even to citizens of Vermont who support the movement, the local Occupy protest seemed like a joke, and that was specifically because of the “WE” that was represented there.

    Therefore, the “WE” is not just a numbers game. It is really defined by the strength and fervor of the group itself.

    -Iliana

  3. Your claim seems to say that more numbers is directly associated with more power. That makes sense, but this can be taken to a much more detailed and in depth evaluation, even for 100 words. In this same article, Wasik talks about two factors that account for a groups’ severity and actual “power”. The first is the amount of disrespect for authority. This has no mention is your response. Did they feel they were more powerful, or did they show any signs of disrespect for the forces trying to silence them? The second factor mentioned in this article has to do with the groups’ perception of power. Any group will be more powerful and have more real impact in society if they themselves believe and “know” they have great power in their hands to make the desired change. I think these points would have greatly added to your argument about what creates the power and influence of a group.

    I would also like to point out that your last paragraph is a little fuzzy. You have great adjectives but I’m not quite sure what “righteous bunch” is referring to. And at the very end you mention how the OWS is a great example of the “mentality of intergroup conflict”. I feel like this could be a great point, but has little to do with the rest of your response. It was exciting because that seemed like the most developed and complex part of your response, but it was the end! You clearly have a lot of great things to say, I can’t wait to hear it!

    Sarah

  4. First and foremost, nice quote. However I feel that some points on your post require further clarification. While you do a good job of outlining the “we” vs. “them” scenario, I wonder how strong the solidarity of the “we” alliance is. That is to say, what binds these people together? Is it solely the fact that they are being oppressed?
    I wonder if perhaps people in the OWS movement have different reasons for being together, and they are simply united under the banner of being “pissed off”.
    It would be interesting to investigate and see what the “major” motivations of the members of OWS are. Right now it seems to be like religion, there are some major reasons, but also a handful of smaller ones.
    I would agree with the quote that says you are going to be fucked if you are alone. I don’t think one common person has ever been able to change anything, if they had that sort of power, then they wouldn’t be common.
    It might also be prudent to take a look at some past revolutions, and see if the motivations for this movement are anything different, or if this is just history repeating itself.

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