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OWS Creator Kalle Lasn Calls for Tactical Retreat, Admits the Right is Owning the Narrative

John on November 15, 2011 at 2:14 am

Kalle Lasn, the Adbusters writer who called for an Occupation of Wall Street, has now called for a tactical retreat. This is in part a reaction to the onset of winter, but it’s clear Lasn’s real concern is that the occupations are out of control. Even more striking, Lasn admits conservative media now owns the narrative about OWS:

Kalle Lasn, the editor-in-chief of Adbusters, said it was considering declaring victory in an attempt to regain the initiative after a series of negative headlines about the encampment.

“We are talking about it with all our people,” said Lasn. “The other side is owning the narrative right now. People are talking about drugs and criminals at OWS.

The admission above was published last Friday. Over the weekend it bloomed into a “tactical briefing” released yesterday by Adbusters (ellipsis in original):

as winter approaches an ominous mood could set in … hope thwarted is in danger of turning sour, patience exhausted becoming anger, militant nonviolence losing its allure. It isn’t just the mainstream media that says things could get ugly.

He’s too cagey to say it outright, but don’t miss the message: Lasn is afraid of his own monster. He doesn’t believe the camps will get better, he thinks they could very well turn “ugly” or perhaps uglier.

Let that sink in for a moment. How bad do things have to be for the creator of the idea to suggest a hiatus?

Given that OWS is often compared to the Tea Party, imagine the equivalent move on the other side of the aisle. Rick Santelli, a few months after his memorable rant on television, suddenly announces that the Tea Party is in danger of careening out of control and should probably be shut down for a few months. Do you think that would have been national news?

Since this is Adbusters, Lasn has a ready made plan to help OWS save face. Declare victory:

STRATEGY #2: We declare “victory” and throw a party … a festival … a potlatch … a jubilee … a grand gesture to celebrate, commemorate, rejoice in how far we’ve come, the comrades we’ve made, the glorious days ahead. Imagine, on a Saturday yet to be announced, perhaps our movement’s three month anniversary on December 17, in every #OCCUPY in the world, we reclaim the streets for a weekend of triumphant hilarity and joyous revelry.

We dance like we’ve never danced before and invite the world to join us.

Then we clean up, scale back and most of us go indoors while the die-hards hold the camps.

It looks like the NYPD has already taken care of sending people indoors, the Oakland PD too. As for declaring victory, I think that’s completely belied by the fact that he’s calling for a retreat before things deteriorate even further. No one retreats when they are winning.

Here’s a strategy option Lasn should consider, call it options #3. Shut the camps down permanently. Don’t do it because you’re worried about bad press from bloggers. Do it because keeping them open means more vandalism, theft, illness, assault, drug dealing, death by overdose, rape and murder. That’s the record of OWS camps. It’s not victory and it’s certainly nothing to dance about.

Somebody at Culture Jammers HQ needs to admit the experiment is a failure. Then again, maybe they just did.

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