GOP 'dark wizard' and Occupy 'anti-leader' to speak in SF on the same day

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Anarchist author David Graeber and GOP lobbyist Grover Norquist to travel to S.F., from different planets

This coming Thursday, a central intellectual figure of the Occupy Wall Street movement will give a talk on “Austerity and its Discontents.” And across the city, at the very same time, powerful anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist will mix it up with an elite group of San Francisco Republicans (yes, they really do exist).

Graeber, an American anthropologist and anarchist who teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London, was dubbed “the anti-leader of Occupy Wall Street” in a Bloomberg BusinessWeek Magazine article published shortly after a determined band of committed activists staked a claim on Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, kicking off the global Occupy movement. Graeber’s tome on wealth inequality, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, recounts the ages of human history through the lens of the indebted, vis-à-vis their creditors. The book helped give rise to Occupy activists’ famous chant: “We are the 99 Percent!”

Norquist hails from the polar opposite end of the political spectrum. An influential lobbyist who leads Americans for Tax Reform, he was once described as “the dark wizard of the Right’s anti-tax cult,” in the words of Arianna Huffington. The fiery conservative is most well known for his role as keeper of “the Pledge,” which essentially asks Republican lawmakers to swear that they will never, ever vote to raise taxes for any reason. 

The Thursday meet-and-greet, billed as “Cocktails with Grover Norquist,” is being hosted by the San Francisco Republican Party – a political body that barely registers as a blip as far as local elections are concerned, but apparently has enough clout to make it worthwhile for a famed operative like Norquist, whose group is based in D.C., to dip into San Francisco for a visit. The cocktail hour will be held at The City Club, a financial district venue. It costs $100.

Just as San Francisco Republicans sip cocktails and discreetly await the chance to engage Norquist in a few moments of powerful face-time, an audience of lefties will gather to hear Graeber’s studious analysis of global austerity measures and anarchist organizing tactics. Billed as a forum that’s free and open to the public, Graeber's talk is being hosted by the Anthropology and Social Change Department of the California Institute for Integral Studies, located at 1453 Mission Street.

In a recent interview about the round of national budget cuts known as the sequester, Norquist told The Daily Beast: “I’m for the spending cuts. Just let them take effect. ... The only thing worse than the sequester would be not reducing spending.”

And here’s Graeber’s take on the underlying economic climate that gave rise to the Occupy movement: “It's becoming increasingly obvious that the real priority of those running the world for the last few decades has not been creating a viable form of capitalism, but rather, convincing us all that the current form of capitalism is the only conceivable economic system, so its flaws are irrelevant. … The economic crisis of the 1970s never really went away. It was fobbed off by cheap credit at home and massive plunder abroad – the latter, in the name of the ‘third world debt crisis.’ But the global south fought back. … The debt crisis has come home to Europe and North America, replete with the exact same approach: declare a financial crisis, appoint supposedly neutral technocrats to manage it, and then engage in an orgy of plunder in the name of ‘austerity.’”

Comments

I have never heard of Graber but let's assume he is the architect of Occupy. That movement arrived like a lion and went out like a lamb. OK, maybe it was more than 15 minutes of fame, but not much more. And in fact even the SFBG, who relentlessly talked it up at the time, haven't mentioned it for a few months.

Occupy is as dead as a dod. Possibly deader since i know Occupy is dead and there may yet be a dodo somewhere.

Norquist no doubt arrived on the scene more quietly but has become a pivotal figure for the many voters who are sick and tired of ever bigger government, more taxes and deteriorating fiscal deficits. He has a real inpact on Congressional votes and Califronia budgets.

So other than them both being in SF on the same day, I see no connection at all. Noquist has been highly influential and Graber launched an ephemeral whinefest that vanished with the first rains of last winter.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

You sir, or madam, are a dick.

Posted by anadromy on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

Assuming that you support Occupy, I think readers can now see a good part of why that movement was so ineffective and temporary.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 5:52 am

is "fuck you." The Guest had nothing intelligent to say. He clearly just wanted to be the first poster to write something trashing Occupy. So the other person responded in kind, and much more succinctly.

Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 7:30 am

If you cannot refute someone, then silence is appropriate.

If a comment doesn't interest you, then ignore it.

The rules of civil discourse are not waived just because you support Occupy. Unless that's a requirement of membership, of course.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:42 am

You obviously have one set of rules for the rightwing, anti-SFBG, anti-left crowd here and another for those that gives them a bit of their own medicine - and by doing so, you made it clear you're a member of that RW, anti-SFBG, anti-left crowd here.

Because if you were really being fair and objective, you'd realize that the RW, anti-SFBG crowd here just luuuuuves to be insulting and abusive - and especially to the SFBG writers (and the paper itself). And if you didn't realize that - it was only because you were cheering the abusive insults on each time you read them and only wanted more.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

I usually find that I get abused here merely for expressing views that are moderate and centrist. In such a case, the blame has to lie with those extremists who cannot tolerate any contrary opinion.

And of course cannot refute my arguments.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 6:58 am

Then, perhaps, refute we must...

By "dead as a dod" did you mean Senator Chris Dodd of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act (still alive and kicking) or DoD aka the Department of Defense which will outlive us all at its current rate of funding?? Oh, that's right, you neander-cons often type faster than you think, hence the adherence to attacking the "sick and tired" simplistic yet fallacious themes of "big government", "more taxes" and seasonally convenient "fiscal deficits". (Wasn't it the Bush administration that turned a 6-trillion dollar surplus into the equivalent in national debt over eight years?)

David Graeber contributed the "We are the 99 percent" theme to the Occupy Wall Street movement, a reaction to the socialization of risk and privatization of rewards endemic of the greed that caused this financial crisis. The Occupy movement will stand in clear contrast to Grover Norquist's role in the Newt Gingrich "Contract with America" which drove a wedge into the already imbalanced political spectrum, ultimately resulting in the current state of party schism.

Your post was clearly not to refute any connection between the two, but rather to belittle the importance of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Dick!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 21, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

Then, perhaps, refute we must...

By "dead as a dod" did you mean Senator Chris Dodd of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act (still alive and kicking) or DoD aka the Department of Defense which will outlive us all at its current rate of funding?? Oh, that's right, you neander-cons often type faster than you think, hence the adherence to attacking the "sick and tired" simplistic yet fallacious themes of "big government", "more taxes" and seasonally convenient "fiscal deficits". (Wasn't it the Bush administration that turned a 6-trillion dollar surplus into the equivalent in national debt over eight years?)

David Graeber contributed the "We are the 99 percent" theme to the Occupy Wall Street movement, a reaction to the socialization of risk and privatization of rewards endemic of the greed that caused this financial crisis. The Occupy movement will stand in clear contrast to Grover Norquist's role in the Newt Gingrich "Contract with America" which drove a wedge into the already imbalanced political spectrum, ultimately resulting in the current state of party schism.

Your post was clearly not to refute any connection between the two, but rather to belittle the importance of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Dick!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 21, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

Thank you - I agree 100%. You didn't use many words but you said a lot and said it beautifully.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

arguments or the one who was abusive?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

I spent the first 3 weeks at OWS and much more time listening to police scanners and relaying the information to liberty square, and this comment is absolutely true. Occupy is dead. I am sad to say it, but it truly is. At this point, if you were to start a camp somewhere, it would end up a bunch of hippies with no idea how the initial camp started or was organised. The beauty of OWS was that it was dedicated radicals coming together. The horror of it was that it then attracted a disproportionate amount of white, middle class males. The framework of Occupy would not have allowed a truly diverse voice if it had accomplished much more than a show of class force and solidarity.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:46 am

No one has a gun to your head forcing you to go see Graeber or Norquist. Rebecca Bowe (the author of the piece) did a service to visitors of the SFBG website by informing them of both Norquist and Graeber's appearances here.

So just because you apparently have no interest in seeing Graeber does not mean others here do not. I happen to have such an interest and I thank RB for this piece because without it I wouldn't have known about it. His book on debt sounds very interesting based on the interview I heard with him on the radio - that's right, his book got some notice and he was featured in various interviews though you probably would never hear them because he wouldn't have been on Faux News, your source for propaganda.

Apparently you are so full of yourself that you live in this fantasy world that if you not are interested in a particular person - a person in this case who in many respects in very much in line with the editorial philosophy of this newspaper and its readers and thus is not surprising it would be here - then this newspaper, who you apparently have no philosophical connection with them at all and are just here to be a pain-in-the-ass to the SFBG writers and SFBG readers who share that philosophy, should veto any mention of people you don't like.

Maybe one day you'll join the real world.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 5:57 pm

couple of meetings. It was clearly a partisan hit piece on a successful tax refomer, and a mindless eulogy to someone who preaches criminal behavior to further his aims.

I'm in the real world - you're the one who claims to not like it.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

What you want is censorship of any person or topic that you don't like. As for your fantasy that "it was clearly a partisan hit piece." Puhleeze - proof of the incredible fantasy world you're living in.

In fact it was about as nonpartisan as one could be - that could have been written on an NPR website - that's how screwed up your head is. If she really wanted to be partisan, would she have even mentioned Guber Norquist - including giving details of the event so that he might even make money off her post???

And then you say "it was a mindless eulogy to someone" blah blah blah. First off, Graeber didn't die or else he wouldn't be appearing at that event so it can't be his eulogy - what the hell you talking about anyway.

Second, the only thing that is mindless here is your imaginary reading of her piece and your effort to think that she should have censored mention of Graeber just because you don't like him or OWS.

Of course you're gonna say you aint living in a fantasy world - further proof that you are. Your only hope is to get treatment where you're kept away from all rightwing propaganda for some period of time - probably take at least a month or two if not longer because you have a particularly bad case of the disease of rightwing propaganda.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 7:10 pm

epithet "dick" to a poster who made a material contribution.

And if you cannot see the intrinsic bias in the original piece, then there is probably no hope for you. Read it again.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 7:00 am

Okay then copy and paste the excerpts from her piece that show the intrinsic anti-Guber Norquist bias that I don't see. I did just reread it and she treated Guber Norquist about as fair as one that actually liked the guy would - not saying she likes him or doesn't - but all this anti-GN bias that you are seeing escapes me.

Just copy and paste it so I can know what you're talking about - either put up or shut up.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

the same left-wing bias that the author does.

That was my entire point!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

I said in the previous post to put up or shut up. You couldn't put up so you oughtta shut up. The fact that you couldn't point out the bias while screaming about how bad it was shows you are - in effect - living in a fantasy world.

It's a fantasy world where an innocent, nonjudgemental post pointing out the appearance in SF of two persons on the opposite side of political opinion is this "obviously biased, anti-Grover Norquist piece" or however you phrased it. If it's not a fantasy world, what is the proper name for it?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

Only a biased person could fail to find the article to be not biased.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 6:05 am

Then post the bias. Whoops I already asked that and you couldn't. Fact is you got nothing. Your hand got called and you turned over your cards and had nothing - not even a pair.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

Just look at the final paragraph, where a fairly detailed and sympathetic account is given of Graber's "philosophy".

While Norquist's policy ideas are dismissed in a single sentence, along with deft insertions of words like "dark" and "wizard".

Do I really have to spell this out for you so you can keep up?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

Grover Norquist: googles up About 2,240,000 results
David Graeber, About 550,000 results

We all know Norquist, have had to hear him for decades now, there is no news here.

I had no idea who David Graeber was until this piece.

That's the bias.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 7:42 pm
Yet

He didn't say "fuck you," and there's nothing terribly rational or informed about calling someone a dick. Thinking is hard! But keep trying!

Posted by Chromefields on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:01 am

You say that as though you'd already presented some evidence of success with it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:18 am

material substance and relevance.

The rest is just petty tit-for-tat exchanges.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:43 am

wise guest.

Posted by Chromefields on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:57 am

Police attacks on Occupy resulting in near-fatal injuries and the forcible clearing-out of encampments is what made the movement "go out like a lamb."

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:59 am

where one Occupier murdered another Occupier. There were of course many other crimes conducted on those camps, of which that was only the most serious.

Indeed, the occupations themselves were illegal, making it necessary for the police to intervene although, in many cities, the cops just stood by and waited, knowing the Occupiers would leave once winter arrived.

But it's good to know you have no respect for the law, the next time you call for some law that suits you to be upheld and enforced.

Posted by anon on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 9:32 am

right there.

No murdered occured in any Occupy camp. A casual Occupy participant did get murdered on a nearby Oakland street by thugs with no connection to Occupy.

Who knows what other mendacious troll scat the anon creature has tried to spread? I haven't read it.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/10/aerial-footage-shows-tear-gas-can...

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:20 am

And that, had that camp not been there, the murder would not have happened?

And that there were various robberies, drug offenses and other crimes of varying degrees of seriousness at Occupy camps?

And that the encampments themselves were illegal?

And that there were related marches and protests where vandalism and criminal damage occured?

And that the camps invariably smelled like stale piss and represented a public health hazard?

Good thing the camps vanished as soon as winter arrived, huh?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:35 am
Posted by anon on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:44 am

And I'll bet you didn't see the irony of doing your part to keep the "petty tit-for-tat" exchanges going while also not providing any material substance or relevance all while bitching about it.

Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

Well it's not the thinking that's hard, that's gonna happen if one is awake and alive (with a functioning brain).

The real trick is to post something that makes sense logically and that is supported by the facts. Maybe one day one of your posts will be like that. Probably not, but one should never say never.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

Can we have a civil war already! I'm sick of hearing trash talking.
Lets start this revolution and leave capitalism stabbed in an ally.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 9:18 am

to mom as soon as the rains start, and it begins to get cold.

Posted by anon on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 9:33 am

No doubt you meant "alley" - a location I feel sure you are familiar with.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 9:41 am

Let's kill the poor first!

Posted by Chromefields on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:42 am

Most revolutions hurt the poor far more than the rich.

Posted by anon on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:53 am

The irony of an anarchist decrying reductions in government ("austerity") is lost on the sfbg crowd?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 8:12 am

What makes u think he's an anarchist? Maybe he is or maybe he isn't - I don't know enough about him to see though the article didn't say he was - but the fact that he was protesting Wall St controlling the govt and the economy certaintly doesn't in and of itself make him an anarchist.

By that definition, anyone protesting against something government is doing is an anarchist which would be an absurd definition of the word.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

assume that there is absolutely no correlation between, say, the people who protest these kinds of things and, well, let's just say "supporters of alternative power structures".

Since I support Wall St., I am not likely to go on a protest and, almost by definition therefore, I am not an anarchist.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

Of all the many voices and slogans heard during the Occupy movement last year, listening to a David Graeber interview and reading a few of his writings made lasting impressions. His background in history and anthropology is a powerful combination. Are there highlights from last night's discussion someone can share? Will any follow-up be happening locally that builds on topics discussed?

Economic issues tend to be one of the tougher topics to organize around and build any consensus since we all bring different perspectives and priorities, but if ever the world and US could use a countervailing voice against the corporate, aristocratic and government status quo, this is as good a time as any in history to push back against the highly skewed economic wealth and crippling government and private debt.

Posted by guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 4:12 pm

It would be more instructive to understand why there was no will to continue than to argue abstract ideologies that come to nothing anyway.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

Then, perhaps, refute we must...

By "dead as a dod" did you mean Senator Chris Dodd of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act (still alive and kicking) or DoD aka the Department of Defense which will outlive us all at its current rate of funding?? Oh, that's right, you neander-cons often type faster than you think, hence the adherence to attacking the "sick and tired" simplistic yet fallacious themes of "big government", "more taxes" and seasonally convenient "fiscal deficits". (Wasn't it the Bush administration that turned a 6-trillion dollar surplus into the equivalent in national debt over eight years?)

David Graeber contributed the "We are the 99 percent" theme to the Occupy Wall Street movement, a reaction to the socialization of risk and privatization of rewards endemic of the greed that caused this financial crisis. The Occupy movement will stand in clear contrast to Grover Norquist's role in the Newt Gingrich "Contract with America" which drove a wedge into the already imbalanced political spectrum, ultimately resulting in the current state of party schism.

Your post was clearly not to refute any connection between the two, but rather to belittle the importance of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Dick!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 21, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

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