Video of great #OWS debate now up

Video of the great Jacobin debate on #OWS politics & strategy now up. Below the link, some of moderator Seth Ackerman’s comments:

#OWS, a debate on left politics and strategy

Held on Friday Oct. 14, 2011 at Bluestockings bookshop on Allen St. in New York City.

From anarchism to demands, from the consensus process to “what next?” we covered the gamut of topics. When the discussion was over, Doug Henwood, who was on the panel, commented that it had been the most contentious left-wing gathering he’d ever participated in (and Doug’s participated in a lot). One audience member who spends a lot of time at Zuccotti Park made an insightful observation: he said that the mood of agitation was due to the fact that the issues discussed had lingered in the air so long without ever being fully aired.

From our point of view, that means this event was a success. And yet, in the process of airing disagreements that had previously been glossed over, we also felt the discussion revealed a disturbing lack of politicization and political sophistication within the movement. What that portends, and what should be done about it, are topics for future debate


Jodi Dean is a political and media theorist working in Geneva, NY. Her most recent books are “Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies” and “Blog Theory.” She is currently finishing the book, “The Communist Horizon,” forthcoming from Verso.

Doug Henwood is the editor of Left Business Observer, host of Behind The News, contributing editor at The Nation, and author of “Wall Street” and “After The New Economy.”

Malcolm Harris is the managing editor of The New Inquiry, a contributing editor at, and blogs for Jacobin. He edited the collection “Share or Die: Youth in Recession,” forthcoming from New Society Publishers in the spring. He has been active in OWS since the first planning meetings.

Natasha Lennard was formerly on staff at and Politico. She currently freelances for The New York Times. She has covered OWS since before Sept. 17.

Chris Maisano is a public librarian in Brooklyn, rank-and-file activist in DC37 Local 1482, and chair of the NYC local of Democratic Socialists of America. He is a contributing writer for Jacobin.

Moderator:  Seth Ackerman is an editor at large with Jacobin and a doctoral candidate in History at Cornell. He has written for Harper’sIn These Times, and other outlets

6 Comments on “Video of great #OWS debate now up

  1. re: your off hand comment on Bolshevism

    There was tremendous amount of debate in the Bolshevik party, which remains the only revolutionary working class party to take power in the West, you know, win.

    I don’t think the Left can get far if they continue to dismiss the Russian Revolution, the Constitution it produced – read it – because of what happened with Stalin.

    The Nation was an enthusiastic supporter of the Purges, again, read its print from that time – so one can not say the rise of Stalin was a ‘Bolshevik’ thing divorced from events around the world.

  2. Would love to read Jodi Dean; can you or any of yr readers recommend a good book to start with?

  3. Why is it not possible to find and watch the video? (from Germany)

  4. Wow, Henwood, Dean and three Jacobin staff, that must have been one vigorous debate, somehow I am guessing that Leninism pipped anarchism at the post. ‘From anarchis to doing the right thing…’

    This must have been just the kind of debate that flowed through the Bolsheviks, which makes it all the more baffling that a single individual could corrupt such an open and diverse organ of the workers (and middle-class professionals). That liberal Great Man historiography must be right.

  5. Pingback: Why I started this blog. « theliaisonreport

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