Transparency vs. Security: The Two-Headed Beast

By Adam Rothstein

Another terminological quandary that Occupy has found itself snared within recently is the issue of Transparency Culture versus Security Culture. Similar to other issues that we are slowly teasing out, explaining, and working through, the impasse with this issue is that viewing the argument in opposing terms has formed a poor understanding of the issues. In fact, transparency need not be opposed to security, or vice versa. By opening up what these concepts mean and looking into their history, hopefully we can heal this artificial rift, and move forward together.

by Illona Trogub

The basis of the conflict has been highlighted in numerous high-profile Occupy scenarios. There is the oft-repeated episode of Tim Pool vs. the Anarchists, reported in many high profile media sources. At Occupy Portland there was the recent case of a Movement Building session in which a number of people not usually associated with Occupy Portland meetings attended, and objected to being filmed by Livestream camera people. When this disagreement came to a head, and people felt that there was disingenuousness on the part of some parties, participants left the meeting rather than submit to being filmed. But the specifics of any one incident are not important to the overall issue. The conflict between similar sides of a similar debate have been voiced by many different people in many different situations at Occupy Portland since October 6th, 2011. Certain people do not want to be filmed, and other people holding cameras believe it is their right to film them anyway.

Rather than focus on specifics of he-said/she-said, I’d like to sum up both arguments in general terms. Not every person will fall completely into either generalization, but this will give a good overview of the field of debate.

Pro-Transparency

Transparency is a core value of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protest, and movements that have grown in solidarity with it. At the top of OWS’ “Principles of Solidarity” list, adopted by GA consensus in the early days of the movement, is the principle of “Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy.” Of course, several lines below this, “The sanctity of individual privacy,” is also listed as an important principle. So there is a distinction made: there ought to be a realm of transparent, participatory democracy, but outside of this space, allowances are made for personal privacy. These are roughly equivalent to the “public sphere” and the “private sphere” concepts that are inimical to modern democratic theory.

The difficulty, of course, is where to draw that line. Democratic theory is cursed with the problem of “the exception”, most fully theorized by Georgio Agamben. The problem, very briefly summarized, is that the rights granted by nation-states are most often defined in the terms by which they can be removed. In other words, the zone of personal privacy is drawn as a small island, surrounded on all sides by the encroaching “public good”. In practice, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution–which state that the enumeration of rights shall not be used to deny other rights, and that powers not delegated to the State are reserved by the people–are not followed. The State consistently limits and defines the narrow expression of our “rights” by its laws, and the approval of the Supreme Court. If Congress and the Courts decide that the threat of terrorism is an “exception” to the Constitution, then those privacy rights grow smaller and smaller, and the power of the state diminishes the power of the individual. The size of the public sphere is not controlled by the size of the private sphere, but the other way around; what is private is only the remainder, after “national security”, “public safety,” and any other “exceptions” to individual rights have been satisfied.

Naturally, exposure to the public sphere is not necessarily a totalitarian force. The freedom of the press is a right of the public sphere, to prevent both the extra-legal and juridical side of the state from gaining too much power. Public scrutiny and the power that such scrutiny can wield in the form of an educated, informed society are one of the few checks upon the power of the state–and certainly one of the more effective checks.

Those who work for the press–especially a non-corporate and free press–have an important role in providing this check. And this is the essence of the pro-transparency argument: in the conditions that we live in, when state and corporate power runs nearly unchecked, running a transparent social and political movement means building strong structures on the ground level that take the place of the failed Constitution. Transparency means access, and accountability for individuals’ decisions that affect others. The only way to defend privacy, is by having a strong and self-managed public sphere.

Pro-Transparency Argument Summary

  • Public Sphere & Private Sphere
  • Media as a counter to totalitarian power, defending the separation between public & private
  • Media as a replacement for a failed legal system, defending the separation between public & private
    • Guaranteeing privacy
    • Guaranteeing accountability
  • Media as access

 

photo by Lauriel

Pro-Security

Rather than assume that there is a Public and Private Sphere with definitions that ought to be upheld, pro-Security arguments take as their starting point a different philosophical argument: that information is power. Rather than in democracy theory, this argument finds its philosophical roots in the work of Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault, and other theorists with Marxist and Psychoanalytic backgrounds. While the philosophy is dense, the basic idea is simple: anything, from a commercial for breakfast cereal, to the colors of the national flag, can be used as a tie-in to a method of belief and control, that affects us even without us thinking about it. While it sounds paranoid, the power of information is not so direct or specific as brainwashing, but more akin to what we know well in modern consumer culture as “acculturation”, or “branding”. Everything around us seeks to form our worldview. Our range of rational decisions are easily directed and limited by the way that we live our life, and the choices that are presented to us via the society and culture that surrounds us. The music on the radio and the words in our children’s textbooks are powerful cultural weapons, and are not to be taken lightly.

The relationship between this power of information and security is that even something innocuous, such as a joke or a random snapshot of a person’s face, can become a powerful weapon in the hands of the right or wrong person. Occupy knows well the power a single image can have–when it is a photo of police brutality. But similarly, anyone who has ever faced a trial by jury knows that even a single statement that appears to shed doubt on a person’s character or their other statements can be the difference between believable testimony and that which is disregarded. A photo of two people together looking happy could be used to imply friendship, and a list of names could be used to imply collusion. Single utterances weigh heavily in the court of public opinion, a blurry photo or garbled recording can be held as gospel by millions in our super-saturated, conclusion-ready, hyper-media environment. The ease with which outright lies can be spun into narratives to discredit people should make the concerns of individuals about half-truths, fragments, and faces on photographs understandable.

These values are also visible in the OWS “Principles of Solidarity”. “Empowering one another against all forms of oppression,” notes how oppression comes in all forms, not only economic and political, but also linguistic and historical. Narratives are a major cultural battle ground, and each tidbit of information can serve as a shield or a bullet. And the item, “Recognizing individuals’ inherent privilege and the influence it has on all interactions,” among all other forms of privilege, would note that different people have a different ability and means to transmit and shape information. The privilege of history is that it is told by the dominant classes, who have control of the media, to tell their side of events. One important aspect of the Occupy movement is our ability to seize the narrative of our own history, and begin to tell it in a way that lessens the privilege that has dominated it, and empower those who have long been oppressed by the dominant paradigm.

What the dominant paradigm is–according to the pro-security argument–should be obvious. It’s the same as the target of the pro-transparency argument: the corporate and state forces that have control of our political and social structures. But it is not just about the fact that they control the narrative, it is that the state and corporation use the narrative to actively persecute those who attempt to question and break into those powers’ dominant positions of control. As such, information is something to be treated cautiously. Like a tool or a weapon, it can be used both for harm and for good. And the stakes have never been greater.

Pro-Security Argument Summary

  • Information as Power
  • Information can be helpful and harmful
    • Information creates oppression and privilege, but can also fight oppression and privilege
    • Information always is already in the hands of certain people, and that gives them privilege
  • Even small pieces of information can be dangerous
  • The stakes are high

Paranoid Egos and Pigheaded Egos

These arguments are quite similar, and both have very nuanced grasps of media’s role in society and politics. The trouble is that proponents of these two sides of the argument typically are not able to elucidate their ideas clearly, and fall upon flat conjectures in the heat of the moment. Tim Pool claiming that he’s going to film anyone he wants to whether they want him to or not doesn’t make him a guardian of free speech, it makes him pigheaded (my opinion). Anonymous Protester claiming that having their face on tape at a random meeting is going to send up flares at the NSA is needlessly paranoid, especially when police informants could easily be infiltrating the meeting if they so chose, or recording it with a hidden recorder, or tapping your phone, or watching the door, or using a hundred other surveillance scenarios (my opinion too). There is a dogmatism to the implementation of both sides that strains rationality. We would do well for both sides to put down these harsh, unsophisticated defenses of their unbridled egos, and to actually consider the nature of transparency and security, and then work together to achieve both.

Vulnerability vs. Secrecy

Both of these arguments view each other in terms of a pejorative, or a flat caricature in the negative. Pro-security views pro-transparency to be an argument for vulnerability; whereas pro-transparency views pro-security as being in favor of secrecy. Described in this terms, we see how each can conceive of the other as being contrary to its own goals. Secrecy, of course, is a hallmark of the oppression of corporate and state power. Vulnerability is a precarious state, in which oppressed groups are constantly held, so that those with privilege can continue to take advantage of them.

But security is not necessarily secrecy, any more than transparency is vulnerability. It is all about context. If we were to let the egos dictate how we deploy security and transparency, then yes–the former would be a world of masks, codes, secret passwords, and misinformation, while the latter would be the flippant publication of anything and everything, our home addresses, or families’ names, and their photos, and forwarding of every email to the corporations and police. Or what is worse–and much more likely–is that transparency and secrecy only would take antagonistic forms towards others; our egos would decide that we keep secrets from those we simply dislike or disagree with, and that we tell tales about those we dislike and disagree with.

This is the crux of the issue, and why pro-transparency and pro-security are, in their correct implementation, the same argument. The implementation of either approach, when done callously or in a self-interested manner, violate the arguments for both simultaneously. However, when deployed conscientiously, both approaches can be unanimously fulfilled.

Trust

Trust is the central, hidden issue of both arguments. It is a difficult aspect to account for, because unlike the logical elements of either argument, trust is entirely subjective. And therefore, trust is difficult to prove, and impossible to rely upon.

Trust is being able to rely on the fact that another person’s motives will be synonymous to, or at least not serve to sabotage yours. There is no way to have absolute trust, as even the most trustworthy individuals can violate that trust for any number of reasons. History is filled with examples of those who were trusted partners, until tragically, they were not.

So what can we say about trust? Positively, nothing. All it is, in this circumstance, is one person’s subjective sense that another is deploying a strategy of transparency or security in a useful manner. It is the sense that things are being taken care of, regardless of whether or not one frames one’s arguments in terms of security or transparency. If everything seems copacetic, then the green trust light flips on, and we can proceed. If not, then we must wait, and argue it out.

The “trust light” is not just a nicety, either. It would behoove us to make sure that we are trusted by those we are working with, insofar as we can be trusted. It is a check to make sure that we are guiding our actions with good strategy, rather than with our egos or circular arguments. In the same way that we take temperature checks to make sure that everyone is feeling similarly about an issue, we might take trust checks, to make sure that everyone is in agreement that we are implementing our media and information strategy appropriately.

The fact of trust is that it is simple, while transparency and security are anything but. Transparency is not achieved by filming everything you see and putting it on the internet. Security is not achieved by taking the batteries out of cell phones. Transparency is a time-consuming, complicated process of documenting, and publishing, in a navigable way, crucial information on decision-making processes and power/gate-keeping positions. Security is a time-consuming, complicated process of closing wide-open vulnerabilities, hardening walls and screens, while simultaneously making access as accessible as possible for those who use and need it. Trust is the sense that we are doing both of these correctly.

Transparency and Security

Right now, in many parts of the Occupy movement, trust is out of balance. We do not know enough about implementing security and we do not have enough successful systems of transparency to enable that trust. A comprehensive policy on either will not suit all situations. We must think tactically about both. And we must think hard. Both our transparency and security are being tested every day. The stakes are high, and the holes we leave will be exploited by those who oppose us.

  11 comments for “Transparency vs. Security: The Two-Headed Beast

  1. Randy Stevens
    March 13, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Nicely written. Trust is earned; mainly over time. Mainly one to one. Thanks for the article.

  2. Chris
    March 13, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    I think your analysis is way off. “Security”, in the sense in which Occupiers use it, is explicitly secrecy, and nothing else. The idea that you could have “security without secrecy” or that it could somehow coexist with transparency is naive.

    Occupy contains two mutually exclusive paradigms: Occupy as inclusive horizontally democratic populist movement, and Occupy as exclusive radical activist group with implicit hierarchy. The latter is winning.

    The populists want transparency because it informs and engages the public. Secrecy is counterproductive; after all, the police are paid to investigate Occupy, and there’s no way to involve the public without the police finding out what’s being planned – so why not tell everyone, loudly and often, drumming up as much support as possible? Tell the truth, even if its inconvenient; the misdeeds of individual occupiers will pale to insignificance next to the systems of oppression created and maintained by the 1%. If the police infiltrate the meetings, film them and put it on the internet. If the police show up to stop your action, film that and put it on the internet. Let the public see exactly what the agents of government are doing to stand in the way of the people, and let those agencies be tried in the court of public opinion. Furthermore, transparency creates accountability, which creates honesty, which inspires public trust. If someone tries to co-opt the movement or manipulate meetings, everyone will know. Radicalism will be tempered by the need for conviction and education, knowing that it will be judged in the court of public opinion.

    The underground activists want security – secrecy – because they wish to avoid accountability for their words and actions, not only to the police, but to the public. “Do as thou wilt” shall be the whole of their law, and if anyone doesn’t understand or doesn’t agree, fuck ’em. This may seem uncharitable, but what other explanation can there be when self-identified radicals justify wholly unproductive acts of destruction and vandalism against bourgeois institutions as necessary expressions of rage against the machine? And how can their disdain for the public be in doubt when they assume the right to decide who has access to information about Occupy, and which information it is proper for the public to know?

    I say this as though Occupy can still choose to be a populist movement, but I think that time has passed. Occupy is a failed revolution. It was never more effective than when it defied the law, reclaimed public space, and rewrote the political conversation in America; its suppression was brutal, but effective. The public is departing now, the conversation moving away from wealth inequality, political corruption, and corporate apotheosis, leaving only the wannabe state-smashers hiding in basements and behind masks and other people’s names. The change in demographic is plain to see in the growing enthusiasm for “security culture” and the desire to ensure that citizen journalists record only what “should” be recorded (police brutality, never anything that could incriminate or identify Occupiers) and broadcast only what “should” be heard (only official Occupy propaganda, never disagreements or infighting). Eventually what’s left of Occupy will quietly remove itself from the public sphere altogether, limiting its members to what will fit within its dwindling trust network, hushing its voice until no one can know that somewhere, a few punks are sitting around talking about how awesome it would be to blow up an office building – and, fortunately, doing nothing important.

    There will be other attempts at revolution – maybe in another fifty years, maybe sooner. I hope that those participating in that one will learn from Occupy. I don’t imagine that they’ll make less mistakes, but maybe they’ll make better ones.

    • rothstei
      March 14, 2012 at 1:36 PM

      This comment pretty much serves as the perfect example of the antagonistic, pro-transparency point of view I mentioned in the piece. Your dismissal of security turns a blind eye to state persecution of peaceful, totally law-abiding activists. Transparency can be achieved without helping the police attack law-abiding citizens. By dogmatically defending transparency in this way, you make transparency a harmful weapon against activists, rather than a tool to help them.

      But, you hardly display a nuanced view of anything, it seems. This comment, like others you have made before, seems largely an excuse to hurl invective at Occupy and belittle both its activists and its victories. Again, I question which side you are on, and why anyone within Occupy should listen to your opinion about transparency to begin with, when it seems primarily deployed as an argument to hurt Occupy, not help it.

      • Chris
        March 14, 2012 at 10:48 PM

        If you could tell us how one achieves security without secrecy, I might be convinced to take your point of view more seriously. But you can’t; it’s a meaningless oxymoron, like “fire without heat” or “light without illumination” or any other such absurdity that could be imagined.

        If the state is persecuting peaceful, law-abiding activists, the correct response isn’t to hide activists from the state, it’s to expose that persecution to the public. Have you forgotten that one of Occupy’s goals was to educate? Let the people see the corruption and dishonesty of the state as it attacks innocents, and perhaps they will move away from the blind authoritarianism that secures their continual consent.

        Security is the easiest thing in the world to achieve. Just stay home. Don’t speak. Don’t march. Don’t connect with your community. It’s the exact opposite of what Occupy was trying to do, though – once upon a time, before it forgot itself.

        Occupy’s victories ARE little. Show me the prosecuted banksters – there aren’t any. Show me the bailout for Main Street – it doesn’t exist, unless you count a few minor things like payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance extensions. Show me how corporations have had their ill-gotten Constitutional rights and access to political power taken away – oh that’s right, they haven’t. Occupy captured the public’s attention for a couple of months and got its initial message out, and now the world is forgetting them and moving on, like a stream resuming its familiar course after flowing around a fallen tree. Not a single one of Occupy’s major goals has been achieved, nor is about to be – not, at this rate, is ever likely to be in the foreseeable future. And insofar as its activists seem constitutionally incapable of accepting the truth about Occupy’s failure and continue to insist that they’re winning and growing despite all the evidence, somehow, why should I give them any credit?

        You question which side I’m on, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is whether or not what I’m saying is true – and if it is, that’s all the reason anybody should need to listen to my opinion about transparency or anything else.

        • rothstei
          March 15, 2012 at 2:13 PM

          Sure, I can tell you that. Verifying online communications is a perfect example. Signing emails doesn’t make them secret, but means they only come from the person it is supposed to be from. That is security. As well, having a meeting with notes, but no cameras, means that there is a transparent record of what happened, but no pictures of faces. You could even record audio, but not video. The idea is to publicize information, not identity. You wouldn’t fingerprint everyone who comes to a meeting for transparency sake. You wouldn’t check their immigration status. So why publish faces? It is this sort of quibbling, rather than focusing on the pertinent info, that typifies a dogmatic understanding of “transparency”.

          As far as the fact that you are an Occupy detractor, I would say it is relevant. You are entitled to your opinion about Occupy’s successes and failures, of course. But when it comes to taking advice on our organization from someone who has a vested interest in seeing us fail, I would have to be an idiot to listen to you. It’s the same reason I wouldn’t take transparency advice from the manager of a Bank of America. What interest does that manager have in seeing us succeed? None. What interest do I have in listening to that manager? None.

          You are here sowing seeds of discord. Your advice, therefore, is moot and irrelevant. I am interested in listening to pro-transparency arguments from people involved in Occupy, but your opinion, as an outsider and detractor, is worthless. It’s your right to have an opinion, and I’ll happily ignore you.

          • Chris
            March 15, 2012 at 5:34 PM

            You make assumptions about pertinence that I do not share. What if one of the people present at the meeting is a police infiltrator, or worse, an agent provocateur? What if he deliberately spreads misinformation, or advocates acts of violence or serious property destruction, all from behind the shield of anonymity – how can anyone identify him, or recognize him in the future? For that matter, how can anyone not present at a meeting be sure that the published notes represent the meeting’s agenda rather than the note taker’s, or that certain parts of the meeting not deemed appropriate for dissemination haven’t been stricken in furtherance of Occupy’s propaganda efforts? At least the sort of video recordings customarily made at Occupy meetings are difficult to fake or manipulate.

            No one is talking about recording fingerprints or immigration status in the service of transparency; when has Occupy EVER done that? I am only saying that everyone should be able to see and know the same things that those present at a meeting or event could see and know: faces, voices, the things that were actually said and done, and when, and how.

            When you take it upon yourself to decide what information is “safe” or “appropriate” for release to the public, you divide yourself from that public, raise yourself above that public, and thereby alienate that public. It is a policy that strongly favors a radical underground group and destroys a populist movement. What’s more, it has often been said that sunlight is the best disinfectant; one might well wonder what the pro-security folks are trying to hide, or if they are only recreational activists who want to play at social unrest without paying for it.

            As far as my agenda and credibility, I ask you this: Who am I? What is my agenda? How, if at all, do I profit from Occupy’s failure? Can you even BEGIN to guess? No, you have no idea.

            I realize, as you surely must, that human beings use trust and affiliation as information filters. Sometimes this saves time and energy and allows us to remain focused; information that I can safely ignore is information I don’t need to process. More often, it fuels the raging confirmation bias that all humans share; it’s what so frequently reduces online political discussions to polarized shouting matches, for instance. Yet we can choose to rise above our base instincts, and consider information from untrusted sources based on its own merit; to do so is recognized as an act of wisdom and maturity, while to refuse to do so is the hallmark of the zealot and the mob.

            So here you sit, accusing someone you know almost nothing about of having a vested interest in Occupy’s failure without a trace of doubt or reservation – or evidence. Is it because you lack the ability to judge the merit of my message, and need to fall back on affiliation to compensate? Is it because you are unwilling to rise above the mentality of an animal? Or is it because you hold Occupy’s success as an article of faith? I am unwilling to speculate, but I am fiendishly curious; will you elaborate for us, or leave our readership to draw its own conclusions?

            I am not here to sow the seeds of discord, but rather doubt and dissent. Occupy IS failing. Occupy HAS failed. As I said above, you cannot name Occupy’s great successes because it has had none, and with the way things are going, it never will have any. To the recreational activists that make up a greater and greater proportion of Occupy this is irrelevant; as long as they can march in the streets and have endless planning meetings, accomplishing real changes in policy and society are as unnecessary to them as building a permanent dwelling is to a weekend camping trip. But to those who actually cared about changing society and taking back power and control from the 1%, my criticism should serve as a wakeup call, a sign that they need to recognize that a real problem exists within Occupy as well as outside it, and to begin to apply problem-solving techniques to determine how this failed movement can be revived, reinvented, or just plain rebooted.

          • Anonymous
            March 15, 2012 at 6:15 PM

            Count me among the zealots and the mob. One of the key things that you seem to fail to understand is that resistance is largely a matter of material conditions. Not to promote economic determinism, but clearly those with privilege and comfort are less inclined to take risks or challenge the system in fundamental ways. And once Occupy lost it’s hipness, it’s unsurprising that middle class supporters have moved on. The poor and dispossessed will continue to struggle and resist in the best ways that they know how. Which means being as disruptive as possible with the limited numbers and resources we have, including marching in the streets and disrupting the routine of those who would like to enforce a social peace that doesn’t exist. Don’t blame the homeless and the anarchists for the lack of interest or involvement of the middle class. It’s to be expected that they have no real investment to begin with. The middle class has historically served as a buffer between the ruling class and the working class, siding with the powers that be in exchange for the aforementioned privilege and comfort bestowed upon them. For the increasingly large number of people excluded from that deal, resistance will continue, whether it falls under the Occupy banner or not.

          • Chris
            March 15, 2012 at 8:01 PM

            Anonymous, I understand that just fine, but what I fail to see is the point of the poor resistance. What I mean is this: clearly you’re not in a position to win; you have neither the resources nor the numbers to advance your goals. Your disruptions aren’t accomplishing anything except providing a handy justification for continued oppression.

            Occupy came at a point in history where the middle class had suffered such a serious blow that those who were not actually driven into poverty could see it opening below them like a gaping crevasse; meanwhile, the Democrat in whom so many moderates and liberals had placed their hope for real change had betrayed them by turning out to be nothing more than a corporatist centrist with a tendency to run to the right in the name of “compromise” and a callous disregard for the Constitution he was supposedly an expert on. In short, your claim that they had no investment in social change is false; they had more investment in 2008 and beyond than they’ve had in generations.

            But they also had more to lose – a fact that many Occupiers seemed indifferent to when they fantasized about police giving up career and status (and massive overtime and bonus pay) for some ideal of social justice, or when the anarchists and punks disrespected anyone who didn’t seem to be as dirty or angry or miserable as them. I was there in support the night before Lowndale and Chapman were evicted, and I listened as a camper got on the PA system set up in the middle and openly criticized everyone who hadn’t been camping. I was sorely tempted to grab the next spot in line and tell him that if he didn’t want me there, I was willing to go home and watch the cops beat him on Livestream. Would he have gotten the point, I wonder? Or would he have seen this reminder of our differing levels of privilege as a reason to keep alienating people who came out in support?

  3. Jess E. Hadden
    March 14, 2012 at 4:15 AM

    This is a thoughtful exploration of the issue, and timely, given that Livesteam’s role is once again on the agenda to be discussed at the next Movement Building Meeting.

  4. March 16, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    Gratitude for a delicately balanced observation of the issues that affect everyone within the Occupy Portland movement. I can tell you as a member of the OPDXLIVE.Org team, we take great care to be as respectful as possible when met with an individual who does not wish to be on camera. Honestly, in my six months filming I have only run into those situations a handful of times. None of those occasions have been confrontational in nature, on either end of the equation. Not sure why this has recently become such a contentious issue recently, especially considering GA & Spokes voted to allow us to be trusted with “Online Voting”. If we’re worthy of that level of trust with something as sensitive as voting, I feel like it should extend to all areas of our involvement within the movement. We’ve proven that we’re all on the same side, working hard for the same goals. Let’s not get distracted by “Squirrels”! Instead let us direct our collective energy towards proactive group efforts that will spawn positive change where it’s needed most within our Community! United in faith & trust in one another we’re an unstoppable force capable of changing the course of history forever! *GimpLovesAndSolidarityHugsToAll*

  5. PH
    March 24, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    The article is interesting and insightful. The comments likewise. Despite my appreciation for Adam’s article, I’m struck by his disdain for Chris’s analysis, and, for me, Adam’s comment deeply undermines his personal brand, if I may use the term.

    That said, I disagree with Chris on the topic of Occupy success. I certainly have some worry that it may not “rise again” as far as mass support and attention is concerned, but still I pour my energy and hopes into it, and I can and do point to societal shifts which Occupy has been part of. I can wish those shifts were bigger, but still they are a Good Thing.

    My prior activism, back to the late Vietnam time, was in Actions – the fun stuff 🙂 Now I am learning on the fly about organizing. It is rather different than my experience in megacorp management. To put it mildly.

    I have no particular opinion yet on the livestreaming topic, facial image security issues, etc. I arrived at this article because I see serious problems OSJ in regard to transparency and accountability, which clearly go right back to October. After browsing OWS I’ve started looking at what’s up in this topic at some other Occupies. And so I read this interesting material above.

    Here, in San Jose, I don’t see the struggle over transparency as being about the interesting issues you folks are discussing. I look at it as being about specific individuals who have or are in this Occupy, and their control issues, which I think are rooted in their fear that their unflattering statements and activities will be exposed not to the authorities, but to other activists, or even to maintream media. It appears to be personal reputation issues at stake down here. It is petty, it is sad, and it is rather hard to fix. It may prove to be intractable, but it is interesting.

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