From:   Richard S. <>
Sent time:   Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:14:47 PM
To:   september17 <>
Subject:   [september17discuss] Re: Hypocrisy

Every time I think that I really should not be participating in this

list because I am not as active in this movement as most of you at

this point, I happen upon some very interesting debate that I can't

help contributing to. :) In this particular debate, there are certain

messages that caught my attention. This time around Harrison

Schultz's was one of them, so I am doing this as "reply" to

Harrison's. (I answer on digest, and I am not always sure how the

message will appear on e-mail, because I am somewhat technologically

backward, but I hope it all works out. :) )


Responding to some of Harrison's comments (which should appear below),

and some others that I have seen here...


It is true that many people have to work in the service of

corporations that also bear some responsibility for the evils of the

system that they otherwise wish to oppose. However, I think a line

must be drawn in everyone's mind regarding how active a participant

you are willing to be in terms of helping to create and perpetuate

those evils.


I've mentioned on this list as well as at some of the discussions in

the early GAs that I've worked as a legal proofreader at some of the

law firms that worked in the service of financial companies and that

are located in the neighborhood where we are now protesting. (I

actually worked a few times at a firm at One Liberty Plaza. And I

worked extensively at one in the World Financial Center.) But as a

proofreader, my job has essentially been a low-level position on the

workers' assembly line. I fix typos, add and delete commas, align

numbers, and, if the firm wants to give me a lot of creative freedom,

maybe I'll correct the overall grammar and syntax here and there (or

at least add queries suggesting some corrections). But I have never

helped in actively designing the legal plans of these corporations

(or, in some cases, the legal lies) and I have never benefited

directly from their profit-taking. (Bloomberg says we're protesting

the people in the Wall Street area who make $40K to $50K... Well,

there are many people who've worked for these firms who've earned a

lot less than that. I'm one of the. :) )


However, I could never put my energies into trying to take a more

active role in this business, and I could never stomach the idea of

doing something such as working in an advertising firm at a job in

which I would actually help to create all the lies that these firms

generate. In fact, I couldn't really stomach even proofreading in

advertising, because the copy was not in technical language that

obscured what the firm was doing; the psychological manipulations in

advertising seemed to be right in my face.


I think when you talk about "repressing beliefs," you get into very

tricky territory. (There is a lot of good philosophical material out

there that deals with that idea. I can't remember a specific work to

cite, but I'm sure some of you can.) And you also get into very

tricky territory when you talk about people who work higher up,

becoming more direct beneficiaries of the profits these companies

make, and who maybe are even able to increase those profits actively

and creatively. I know that there are radicals who work for a lot of

businesses that they essentially oppose (I've met a few anarchists in

proofreading, and worked a lot with a couple of Maoists who spent

their spare time working at Revolution Books). However, when someone

is at a lower level, that contradiction is not so significant and

might actually be a positive thing. (Think of workers on the assembly

line who worked for horrible auto companies that were supporting

Nazis... But these same workers also organized to oppose those

corporations in class struggle.) Once someone is at a more active/

creative level, especially if it's a situation in which that person

helps to make the decisions that increase the company's profits that

he or she then directly benefits from...that person's position as a

possible "revolutionary" becomes very questionable.


I would agree with the idea that "the traditional battle lines between

labor and capital no longer apply," but only in the sense that the

composition of the proletariat is no longer exactly the same. This is

why I have been sympathetic to the autonomist Marxist project of

trying to update ideas about class composition. These days, often,

people who are considered "white collar" workers are more proletarian,

at least in the sense of how much they must depend on the sale of

their labor for immediate survival and how precarious their positions

are, than are a lot of people who better fit the old stereotype of the

blue collar industrial worker. However, I also think the battle lines

in general between labor and capital apply these days as much as they

ever did.


People who have to work to survive, or who have to live more

marginally and depend on government payments in order to survive, or

who end up not surviving or living in dire poverty because they can't

sell their labor are very different from people who happen to own

enough wealth that those real concerns about survival don't affect

them. And people who actively participate in creation of and

perpetuation of profit making that has consequences on the rest of

society have a very different role from people who work at a lower

level and don't participate in any of the company's decisions and

don't help to design the company's "product" or plans.


So, the lines might not always be clear, and may be a little more

complicated than they once were, but the lines are definitely there.


I have more thoughts regarding the issue of technology, but I think

I've taken enough time and space in the present e-mail, so I'll stop

for now. :)





On Oct 18, 10:36 am, Harrison Schultz <> wrote:


> I agree with the sentiments about using the tools of the system against the

> system and this is in fact what I've been attempting to do since before day

> one of this movement, as this leak and deliberate misinterpretation of a

> personal email I sent Micah White will verify...


> I would point out as someone who works in the marketing/advertising industry

> while supporting this movement that many of the most scathing and damning

> critiques of the system come from individuals who actually work within the

> system.  I've met several radicals specifically within the advertising

> industry who repress their beliefs just enough in order to work and support

> their families.  I've met plenty of business leaders, although not

> necessarily anyone from the 1%, who support what we are doing such as my

> current boss and mentor as well as my former mentor who has actually taken

> the time to visit me at camp several times now.


> The traditional battle lines between labor and capital no longer apply.  If

> we are serious about facilitating an actual revolution which I know we all

> are then I would argue that it is vital to seize the most cutting edge means

> of production especially if they happen to have been developed in some cases

> by truly amoral corporations.  I think it's also important not to alienate,

> but to ally ourselves with our supporters from the business world.  I

> further believe along those same lines that it's important for those of us

> who are able to do so to actually earn and "occupy" key positions and exert

> our influence precisely within those companies we would most like to see

> transformed if not obliterated because I believe that it's naive and wishful

> to assume that they'll change themselves as a direct result of any of our

> resentful rantings.


> Hypocrisy is only a problem for puritans not for revolutionaries.


> In solidarity,


> Harrison








> On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 9:37 AM, Jon Good <> wrote:

> > Sparkles to that, Lauren. It's another insidious thing corporations

> > do, having a fictional entity take credit for the work of actual

> > people.


> > On Oct 18, 2011, at 8:18 AM, Lauren <> wrote:


> > > I'll also note that cellular and wireless communications are pretty

> > > damn essential to areas with limited physical infrastructure.