Avaaz and the height of ridiculousness
October 6, 2011 § 1 Comment
I just got this message from Avaaz:
Thousands of Americans have taken over Wall Street — joining a global movement from Madrid to Jerusalem to take back democracy from corrupt interests. If millions of us stand with them, we’ll boost their spirits and show the media and leaders that this is no fringe movement. Click below to sign the petition – every signature will be counted on a giant live counter in the middle of the Wall St. occupation:
Thousands of Americans have non-violently occupied Wall St — an epicentre of global financial power and corruption. They are the latest ray of light in a new movement for social justice that is spreading like wildfire from Madrid to Jerusalem to 146 other cities and counting, but they need our help to succeed.
As working families pay the bill for a financial crisis caused by corrupt elites, the protesters are calling for real democracy, social justice and anti-corruption. But they are under severe pressure from authorities, and some media are dismissing them as fringe groups. If millions of us from across the world stand with them, we’ll boost their resolve and show the media and leaders that the protests are part of a massive mainstream movement for change.
This year could be our century’s 1968, but to succeed it must be a movement of all citizens, from every walk of life. Click to join the call for real democracy — a giant live counter of every one of us who signs the petition will be erected in the centre of the occupation in New York, and live webcasted on the petition page:
The worldwide wave of protest is the latest chapter in this year’s story of global people power. In Egypt, people took over Tahrir Square and toppled their dictator. In India, one man’s fast brought millions onto the streets and the government to its knees — winning real action to end corruption. For months, Greek citizens relentlessly protested unfair cuts to public spending. In Spain, thousands of “indignados” defied a ban on pre-election demonstrations and mounted a protest camp in Sol square to speak out against political corruption and the government’s handling of the economic crisis. And this summer across Israel, people have built “tent cities” to protest against the rising costs of housing and for social justice.
These national threads are connected by a global narrative of determination to end the collusion of corrupt elites and politicians — who have in many countries helped cause a damaging financial crisis and now want working families to pay the bill. The mass movement that is responding can not only ensure that the burden of recession doesn’t fall on the most vulnerable, it can also help right the balance of power between democracy and corruption. Click to stand with the movement:
In every uprising, from Cairo to New York, the call for an accountable government that serves the people is clear, and our global community has backed that people power across the world wherever it has broken out. The time of politicians in the pocket of the corrupt few is ending, and in its place we are building real democracies, of, by, and for people.
Emma, Maria Paz, Alice, Ricken, Morgan, Brianna, Shibayan and the rest of the Avaaz team
Unions, students join Wall Street protesters (Businessweek)
Spanish youth rally in Madrid echoes Egypt protests (BBC)
Anti-austerity protesters block Greek ministries (Reuters)
Occupy Wall St – online resources for the occupation
Occupy Wall St primer (Washington Post)
This strikes me as the height of ridiculousness. If the Avaaz team genuinely believed what they are saying here, then why are they asking people to sign a petition rather than asking them to organise locally to occupy the nearest financial district?
This makes me think of a critique of Avaaz by Tavia Nyong’o, titled “Queer Africa and the Fantasy of Virtual Participation” – which will be appearing in a forthcoming issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly (apologies if this is not the right reference…I’m hoping to get that soon…)