Ryeberg

Ryeberg Playlist: Why Occupy?

1) Why Is This What Democracy Looks Like?


n9productions, “Occupy Wall Street” (October 5, 2011)

Why are those people meditating together? What are they thinking about? Why does the grey-haired man in the pink collar shirt seem so sure of what he’s saying? Why does the grey-haired man in the blue collar shirt call that person a monkey? Why does the guy with the pencil behind his ear seem so sure of what he’s saying? Why doesnt he seem to be satisfied with the status quo, like those guys in the collar shirts? Why are thousands of people parading through the street chanting: We are the 99%? What does that mean? Why are so many of them carrying cameras? Why aren’t they smashing the window fronts at Starbucks? Why is the Hollywood star justifying his presence in the street? What does he mean by a place of love? Why is that crowd of people repeating everything that bald guy says? Why did the bald guy choose to get those tattoos on his arms? What’s he got in that tall coffee cup? Why are those people in the crowd shaking their hands in the air, looking like they’re doing a Kecak Monkey Chant?

2) Why Do So Many Have So Much To Say?


thedailycal, “Occupy Berkeley Movement” (October 13, 2011)

Why did the Occupy Wall Street protests of New York spread to California? Why did Occupy protests spread to Denver, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Rome, Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and hundreds of other cities? Why did Abraham Lincoln say that “to sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men?” Why do YouTube films about the Occupy Movement almost always make such heavy use of foreground-background focus effects?

3) Why Zombie News Rooms?


CBC, “Chris Hedges Interviewed by Amanda Lang & Kevin O’Leary” (Oct 6, 2011)

Why does Obama feel able to identify the grievances of the Occupiers? Why are those “folks” he mentions resisting efforts to regulate abusive trading and banking practices? Why does Obama make it seem that he’s helpless to influence them? Why does Kevin O’Leary feel no need to disguise his true feelings about the Occupy Movement on national television? Why is he so camp? Why does the Canadian Broadcasting Company think it’s a good idea for Kevin O’Leary to conduct interviews about a movement he so virulently rejects? Why is he so hostile to the Occupy Movement? What is a left-wing nut bar? How does Chris Hedges maintain his composure? Why has he embraced the Occupy Movement? Why does he paint such an apocalyptic portrait of the future?

4) Why So Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?


nationalBAMN, “UniCal Berkeley Protests” (November 10, 2011)

Why have those policemen surrounded the students and teachers? Why do those policemen violently pull that teacher wearing the colourful scarf by her hair when she’s already offered up her wrist? What are detainees being charged with? Where are the police taking them? Why are the protestors chanting Stop being students? Why was the order to disperse the students and teachers given? Who gave the order? Why did the police obey the order? Why didn’t the students and teachers unlink their arms and go home? Why are scenes of police violence so absorbing, so stimulating, so distracting?

5) Why Articulate Our Non-Freedom?


sbgskf, “Slavoj Žižek@OWS–Human Mic Removed” (October 16, 2011)

Why did Slovenian Philosopher, Slavoj Žižek, travel to New York to speak to this crowd of people? What does he want from them? What do they want from him? Why is the human microphone so much fun for people? Why did the uploader of this video remove most of the human microphone from the video? Why is it easier to remember something once you’ve said it aloud? What is written on Žižek’s t-shirt? Why does he say it’s practically impossible to imagine a capitalist system of production and consumption different from the one that exists? Why does he warn the occupiers not to fall in love with themselves? Why does he paint such a hopeful portrait of the future?

6) Why So Civil? Why So Disobedient?


Reuters, “UC Davis Protest & Aftermath” (Nov 21, 2011)

Why are those policemen pepper spraying a line of motionless students in such a deliberate and nonchalant manner, like they’re watering plants? Why do the students sit there and suffer the boiling pain in their eyes? Why did the university ask policemen to remove the students in the first place? Why does the University Chancellor, Linda Katehi, tearfully apologize to the students? Why do the students feel so passionately angry at her for the actions of police? Why does Sophia Kamran feel at ease with standing on an elevated platform and having her fellow students repeat aloud what she says? Why do those students wait outside for hours in order to watch the university chancellor walk to her car? Why do they sit in silence?

7) Why (Not) Panic?


steve13565, “Newt Gingrich Faces The People’s Mic” (Nov 18, 2011)

Why did this man’s parents call him Newton Leroy? Why did he receive enthusiastic applause for suggesting that Occupiers “go get a job right after you take a bath?” Why do these hecklers choose sarcasm to accuse him? Why do they think the human microphone, used ironically, is their strongest attack? Why does someone say, “Get back to your tent?”

8) Why Respect One Another?


insightoutnews, “Occupy LA Eviction: Protesters Removed From City Hall” (Dec 1, 2011)

Why do so many protestors disregard police warnings? Why do demonstrations often resemble carnivals? Why do newly-formed carnival communities soon manifest the same class hierarchies as any other community? Why is it not surprising to see one of the Occupiers playing with a hula hoop? Why does Shane say he has nothing against authority? Why is he not really the king? Why do some of the Occupiers think prayer is going to influence events? Why does Homeland Security appear on this scene? Why does Sam Rosenfeld, the Densus Group chairman, sound a little like an Australian? Why were Fox, NBC, and ABC affiliates the only TV media allowed to cover the eviction? Why is it necessary to have four large cops standing in front of the entrance of City Hall? Why did Benjamin Constant say that “with newspapers, there is sometimes disorder, but that without them there is always slavery?” Why can’t we get this kind of journalism from the mainstream media?

9) Why Occupy?


nationalinformation, “Occupy Plymouth, Devon, UK” (Dec 1, 2011)

Why does the filmmaker use dramatic video-game music to bookend his video? Why did he make this video? Why do these people from Devon think it worthwhile to protest the system? Why do those people in the street show them so much sympathy?

10) Why Does Righteousness Wither Away?


AlexRoss, “Philip Glass@Satyagraha Protest” (Lincoln Center, 2011)

Why have all those people chosen to occupy the Metropolitan Opera during a performance of Philip Glass‘ “Satyagraha?” Why are police ushering the opera-patrons away from the Occupiers? Why do a few of the opera-patrons choose to walk down the stairs and jump the barricades? Why, after making his bows on stage, does Philip Glass go outside and join the Occupiers too? Why does Philip Glass read these lines from the Baghavad-Gita? “When righteousness withers away and evil rules the land, we come into being, age after age, and take visible shape, and move, a man among men, for the protection of good, thrusting back evil and setting virtue on her seat again.” Why?

  • Mark

    “Why was the order to disperse the students and teachers given? Who gave the order?”

    Rumour is the dispersal orders came from the top, with the Feds coordinating the whole thing. Unlikely, but what is clear is that the quick, brutal police crackdown on demonstrations, whatever their stated aim, is motivated by the need for power elites to sustain and perpetuate at any cost the current global political economic order.

    There’s a Ministry of Defence report from 2007 warns of the dangers of an ever increasing global divide between a super-rich elite and the middle classes, as well as the rise of an urban underclass, in which case, the report says: “The world’s middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest.” Got this here:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/02/occupy-planet-earth/

  • Franklin

    Why did he receive enthusiastic applause for suggesting that Occupiers “go get a job right after you take a bath?”

    Because the encampments are filled with filthy people who literally have nothing better to do with their time, 911 truthers and barely dressed hippies who cou’dnt tell you what the Dodd-Frank Act is or the SEC and who try to pretend that anarchic disorganization is intentional nonhierarchical society which is the perfect way to justify their laziness and lack of imagination and avoid having to pick up their garbage and wash their hair.

  • http://ryeberg.com/author/mitu-sengupta/ Mitu Sengupta

    I absolutely love this! By far one of the best, most creative and original pieces I’ve read on Occupy. I want to add many, many questions, some intelligent, and then this very silly one: Why does Zizek keep tugging at his T-shirt?

  • Jill

    I’m tired of thinking of all of this so analytically… that’s not what the movement is about. I know Franklin, particularly, will love this one… this video, to me, is what it’s all about…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRtc-k6dhgs

    or if you prefer, an essay…

    http://charleseisenstein.net/essays/to-bear-witness-and-to-speak-the-truth/

    “Let us have the audacity to set our sights on a world of love, compassion, justice, and respect for all beings. Let this be our guiding principle, in strategy as well as in goals. And let us hold firm to it even when people in their cynicism or despair dismiss us as naïve and invite us to set our sights lower. Come on, folks. Are we really here to create anything less than the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible?”

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Ryeberg has been publishing essays about online video clips since 2009. It's part magazine of ideas, part video show-and-tell for writers, artists and critics. To know more about Ryeberg, go here.