How to make a “better” Occupy: Part 4-7

This is parts 4-7 of “What Occupy and Anonymous are really about but what they don’t want to admit to,” where we take all the parts before and put them through the lens of possibly the worst crank ever, Machiavelli.

This bastard is written of accurately by Legions of armchair scholars on Wikipedia:

To retain power, the hereditary prince must carefully maintain the socio-political institutions to which the people are accustomed; whereas a new prince has the more difficult task in ruling, since he must first stabilize his new-found power in order to build an enduring political structure. He believed that social benefits of stability and security could be achieved in the face of moral corruption. Aside from that, Machiavelli believed that public and private morality had to be separate in order to rule. To do this required that the prince be concerned not only with reputation but that he be also willing to act immorally. As a political scientist, Machiavelli emphasizes the occasional need for the methodical exercise of brute force, deceit, and so on.
Scholars often note that Machiavelli glorifies instrumentality in statebuilding – an approach embodied by the saying that “the ends justify the means.” Violence may be necessary for the successful transfer of power and introduction of new legal institutions. Force may be used to eliminate political rivals, to coerce resistant populations, and to purge previous rulers who will inevitably attempt to regain their power. Machiavelli has become infamous for this political advice, ensuring that he would be remembered in history as an adjective, “Machiavellian.”

Machiavelli’s instrumentalist approach to power is similar to Sorel’s “ethical myth,” in that the ends are so important that the means should be forgotten. In the throes of Baudrillard’s death sprial, the power which is most able to assert itself is that which presents the most hyperreal (Disneyland) image. That is, the Tea Party’s simulated “protest” was so appealing despite its hollow and meaningless beginnings, but that very meaninglessness was by design necessary for its success. In this world, it would never do to try to expose “truth,” unless such “truth” is so watered down with Sorelian “ethical myths” and built, by design, as a patently hollow symbol. The kicker, of course, is that Occupy seems to have purposefully opposed all these pitfalls and actually emulated them through projection of the self, as Hofstadter concludes. The only winning move to avoid oppositional emulation seems to be opposing everything from behind the thin veil of irony. “Genuine” opposition will often break this barrier silently and without warning; this is how 4chan trolls become “heroes.”

So, taking all this in the light of Machiavelli’s instrumentalism, I will boldy project myself onto Machiavelli as I did with Sorel in “part 1,” and come up with a strategy that consciously looks at all of these imaginary mechanisms in a purely fictional post-structural metaphor. Trust me, the ends justify the means.

The bastards from the General Assembly hired a film crew that was used to shooting documentary footage in the African Savannah. They brought in their own “protesters,” hired actresses, the whole lot of them impossibly cute hippie chicks. The group decked themselves out in standard Occupy garb, but it was somehow cleaner, like they weren’t the type of people who would ever do drugs. A dreadlocked pair of “Lesbians” seemed to be the most restrained in their style, but also the most eye-catching.

The film crew had paid for a permit and rented Zucotti Park for the day. Of course, it had to be Zucotti Park, and they had to have complete control. Beaming, the actresses raised a flag in a moment that was choreographed to resemble the iconic scene at Iwo-Jima, and the film crew captured it expertly, purposefully inserting “realistic” camera jostling to complete the illusion. The director stood up on a park bench, nodding with satisfaction at the scene.

A team of set-dressers then converged on the park, tents were carelessly set up, a quaint “library” materialized, and some nonthreatening homeless were corralled to a “kitchen” where a buxom “protester” served up carry-out from a cold pot set on a camp stove that was not operating. The weary old men, forgotten by society, were then given a wad of cash by the director and left the “camp,” their false tears now transformed into tears of real joy at the liquor they had just scored.

The group of beautiful faux protesters gathered in a drum circle, which they had heavily rehearsed, and former “real” Occupy protesters were given books from the “library” and told to “read” them in the background, so the park would look more “Occupied.” It probably wouldn’t be possible to tell what books were being “read” on film, but I saw one copy of Twilight and a few Star Trek spinoff novels used as props. The scene was impossibly serene, a halcyon moment of pure utopian bliss. The “Lesbians” with dreadlocks stage kissed like any soap opera couple.

The cameras were turned off as a black-clad group that authorities could never prove were in any way affiliated with the film crew converged on Zucotti Park. As quickly as they had shown up, they melted away, and the camp was in post-apocalyptic ruins. A trash can burned, the flag was torn down, and all the actresses were individually giving testimonies to the camera in front of this tightly controlled backdrop. Oh, they gnashed their teeth about the vicious, unfair attack from the police and the heroic defense put up by the Black Bloc. God Bless Them, holy defenders of Liberty Park’s Sovereignty. The trained voices strained in fear of the next assault, which would surely be the final end to the dreams of Liberty Park.

At this point, the real-life members of the General Assembly went through their usual human microphone rage, but this scene was framed later in editing from the point of view of the small group of women that had dramatically raised the flag. They joked viciously, called it cultish mind-control, and remained completely aloof during the whole Assembly. This ironic scene later played well with audiences, providing a well-needed comic break.

Soon after, real riot police showed up in response to the vandalism, visibly confused about the presence of the film crew. In the highly edited final footage, none of these confused moments were allowed to destroy the illusion. All that folks at home saw were a group of sterilized hippies bravely sitting on the shore as a tide of Black Stormtroopers crashed on them with zip-ties, pepper spray, and nightsticks. The crew got amazing boom shots, impeccable audio, beautiful composition, and everything top-tier Hollywood production demands. They got away with their work, too, unscathed by the beasts of the city.

Later, the filmmakers would interview “police” in their homes, so as not to make this “documentary” too one-sided. The police generally would let out a sigh, and say that they were just doing their jobs. The police, most of all, hoped that somehow these kids would find a solution using new technology and the Internet.


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