Occupy Wall Street has found the right antagonist. I think that’s why so many people attach themself with the mantra, “We Are the 99%,” quite frankly. The reason the movement gained so much support, so quickly, is that the prodigious majority of the country have been wronged by some portion of the 1% in America; be it from health care issues, wages, taxes, or unresolved fraud. Regardless of these arguments, Occupy has yet to mature into a force that people will get behind without fear or other inhibitions. Does this mean that the idea’s Occupy are espousing are failed thought? Decisively, the answer is, no. The movement has the right focus; inequality in humanitarian & financial terms, a false sense of leadership, and the criminal pathology of our authority figures. All of these topics can be attributed to some major problems within society, for 99% of us. But, the math isn’t really adding up when you look at the on-the-ground support Occupy actually has.
I’m not saying the movement is small. Occupy is national now – some would argue global – nearly every city in the U.S. has an OWS identifying group or solidarity movement that will protest for the cause. The numbers aren’t miniscule, but they’re not really large enough to affect more than conversation, at this point. I know it’s been said before, and I understand that the stance of Occupy is to avoid engaging in the current political process; but they have to if they want to change anything more than our talking points. And if Occupy won’t, then another group is going to have to take on the core-flaw of the movement and develop a political agenda based on the core-principles of Occupy.
No doubt in the intentions of Occupy will be made by me. I think it’s a noble cause, personally. The idea that people rise up and give back our country to the citizens is honorable, in my eyes. But I feel that the movement itself has been co-opted by a new form of “leadership” that is unwilling to deviate from their own belief of morality and direction. And this is what has been hurting the group over the last year. People were eager in Oct 2011 for Occupy to succeed. The idea of protest gaining any momentum on the national stage is something many thought was just a lost chapter of American history. The movement, however, never coalesced; those who took control in the beginning had the right objective but went full-circle on the number one aspect that so many believe is causing our government to fail; ignoring the people.
When the movement first started gaining some momentum – after the kettling incidents and a few participants had been injured – people of the country wanted to act. There was an opportunity between October and December of 2011 to completely change how the world worked. But, the leadership of the movement decided they had the answers, and ignored what their supporters were telling them. The Tea Party was able to take the frustrations they had expressed in the early stages of their movement and develop into a political platform. Granted, they were taken over by the same corporate donors they claim to fight against; but still the idea grew organically, and then transformed into a contender for political power in Washington. No one needs to agree with their politics to agree that they were successful. Their success is seen every time a new senator or congressmen is elected under a Tea Party banner. Occupy never evolved, and it now seems that the movement will be categorized under a hippy banner rather than their own.
I’m sure there will be a lot of flak from OWS supporters about this entry. But finish reading before jumping to any conclusions. I support Occupy. I just want to see something more than Chris Hayes having a discussion about how the movement has changed the conversations we’re having. It is a great step in the right direction, no doubt, but it’s still only the first step. We can talk until we’re blue in the face but until we begin to see an attempt to fix the fundamental failures of our system, it’s just talk. Once again, the people continue to support these changes. But, Occupy continues to ignore what the people want.
The overwhelming consensus is that politicians and bankers are too incestuous, right; that they’re too corrupt to be left in positions of leadership. That this is our country; and because of the rights granted under the Constitution of the United States of America, we are allowed to participate and protest, and address our grievances, and bear arms, and receive a fair trial – we want all of these rights – so why are we fighting the very system that guarantees them for us. Doesn’t it make more sense to interact with the system and start making the fundamental changes that are going to be required to resolve our issues? We have a legal path to reach our goal, it’s called Democracy. And while I don’t pretend that it’s best structure for society, it’s what we live in – and it’s what we can use to institute the change we want.
Like it or not, our current government SYSTEM (read: not our government OFFICIALS) represents the best opportunity for addressing our grievances. It also happens to represent the route Americans are most likely to get on board with. If a political party emerged with the ideas of Occupy and with the organizing power of the Tea Party, all the changes we need could be made within 10 years. Those who are continually hoping for revolution are not thinking long term. People, in general, aren’t going to revolt until it’s the last best hope for them or their family. We’re still years if not decades from that point in society; so why not try the approach of growing the most support first – if the OccuParty were to be successful in organizing into political party we might be able to avoid any conflict and just use the system itself to finally beat it. Clearly, our system is setup for such a possibility; just take a look at the way our government is currently run.