Showing posts with label Occupy movement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Occupy movement. Show all posts

Monday, February 20, 2012

Occupy Movement must dump camps for mission and strategy

If you look at the latest stamina of President Obama’s rhetoric on issues you would have to agree that it is far more forceful than a year ago.  And it was just a little more than a year ago that the Occupy Movement started; Occupy Wall Street held its first demonstration on September 17, 2011.  At that time the Tea Party was going full blast and deciding much of what was going on in Congress. 

TPers still have their influence but it is waning, evidenced by recent GOP conciliations on the payroll tax cut.

Arlen Grossman, writing in OpEdNews, talks of how the President was willing to make all kinds of deals with the GOP on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the taxing of the rich back in early to mid-2011.  And then the Occupy Movement began to do their number in September and the American public suddenly realized there were several inequities in the system that needed to be fixed. 

It all centered around the 1% that controlled all the wealth, leaving the other 99% to fend for itself in an arena that was clearly weighted toward the 1%.

“Issues of class and economic fairness that had been swept under the rug for years suddenly became issues for discussion. Middle class Americans began to understand that corporations and the wealthy were paying a lower tax rate than they were,” says Grossman.  And Barack Obama became “bolder,” more resolute in where he stood on the issues he had had to appease Republicans on just a year ago.

Grossman adds: “I can't help but think that the Occupy movement has played a major role in reversing the focus of politics from last fall until now. If Occupy disappeared right now, they could get credit for accomplishing quite a bit in a short time.”

The New York Times says that although the Occupy camps are dismantling, it is “far from dissipating.”  They are only regrouping for the next thrust which will include larger marches and strikes coming up in the spring, designed to rebuild momentum, returning to the issues of inequality and corporate greed.  New York City is still the center of the movement but expansion nationwide, even worldwide, has proved the dedication of those involved.

William A. Galston, a senior fellow and an expert on political strategy at the Brookings Institution in Washington said, “They’ve gotten the people’s attention, and now they have to say something more specific.  Average Americans want solutions, not demonstrations, and their patience for the latter won’t last indefinitely.”  Demonstrators have been hearing this for months, but like any new movement, they had to wear through the emotionalism first.

An editorial from USA Today says the Occupy Movement is “…fading out in a whimper.”  The paper also says the movement hit a rich vein of dissent with Wall Street, “But after successfully tapping into this vein, the Occupiers chose a course best described as doing nothing.”  They may have a point that the demonstrators put too much stock in their physical presence in an encampment, but others might counter that they were simply taking time to reorganize.

Pew Research Report

One thing is very clear.  “Occupy must include minorities.” is an article from the Pasadena Sun that comments on the economic regression of the middle-class in America.  It goes on to say, “According to a 2011 Pew Center report, the median wealth of Hispanic households dropped by 66% between 2005 and 2009. That is a larger drop than experienced by black households, 53%, and far worse than the 16% experienced by whites.” 

In other words, who is more likely to be affected by the Occupy Movement that blacks and Hispanics?

The piece made another excellent point that in good times the U.S. favors immigration because of the work force available to do a number of jobs.  But in bad times immigrants are “scapegoats,” evidenced by the anti-immigration law SB-1070 enacted by Arizona.  With the surge in the Latino population, and in particular their recent enterprise toward activism, this should be one of Occupy’s top priorities.

The unemployment rate for black Americans is at 15 percent, compared to around 8 percent for whites.  But the majority of the movement is white as reported by A Fast Company survey recently that found that African Americans, who are 12.6 percent of the U.S. population, make up only 1.6 percent of
Occupy Wall Street
.  The Washington Post also said, “We can’t expect our civil rights organizations and political leaders to help blacks rage against the corporate machine when they are part of it.”

There is no other group of Americans more entrenched in activism for their rights than blacks and it will be a tragedy if they are not encouraged to fight for them alongside the Occupy Movement.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

If blacks don’t back Occupy Movement will they back Democrats in November?

We can thank the Tea Party for repeated accusations of racism that once again reminded us of Southern bigotry and the Ku Klux Klan.  The media accused it of being “racially exclusionary, if not…racist,” according to The Washington Examiner.  Well-known African American congresswoman Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, said tea partiers can “go straight to hell.”  While perhaps not quite so contentious, progressives would like to see them just gone.

Tea Party parade

The Tea Party is predominantly white but 6 percent of its supporters are black compared to only 1.6 percent for Occupy Wall Street and a total in the U.S. population of 12.6 percent.  Further, blacks represent 25 percent of New York residents.  So where were they on the first Occupy Wall Street demonstration on September 17, and thereafter across the country?  One opinion was that blacks did not participate because they have been through this before and think it’s hopeless.

I did a post back in December, “Immigrants want a part of the Occupy Movement,” including the agreement that no one is more likely to be in the Occupy “99%” than Hispanics.  Of course, wouldn’t blacks fit the same criteria?  Currently 60.7 percent of black incomes are under $50,000, compared to 40.3 for whites.  Median income for whites is $63,404 compared to that of blacks which is $38,835.  U.S. median income is $58,924.

Although 3 years old, the video below is an good example of black voting history:

The Washington Post also wonders about black inactivity in the Occupy Movement, commenting that some well known blacks like Cornel West,
Russell Simmons, Kanye West and Rep. John Lewis, (D-GA) have participated but nothing like Latino moves to join in as a group.  There was an “Occupy the Hood” faction that attempted to get more people involved that has apparently made some inroads but nothing significant.

Based on a 2011 Washington Post survey, the conclusion was made, that, in spite of their economic standing, blacks feel more optimistic than whites.  This is hard to understand when black unemployment is at 16 percent, teenagers 50 percent, compared to 8.6 percent for whites.  The survey concluded that 24 percent of blacks were “very” or “somewhat satisfied” with the economy compared to only 12 percent of whites.  Go figure.  

And here we go again.  In a recent NBC poll a huge 73 percent of Americans considered the country to be on the wrong track compared to 19 percent who thought it was.  49 percent of blacks thought the U. S. was on the right track compared to 38 percent who didn’t.  Some say there is the Obama factor.  The figures show that 86 percent of blacks approve of the President compared to 57 percent overall.

Still unanswered is why blacks have not joined the Occupy Movement with more enthusiasm.  Larry Elder, author of The Washington Examiner article thinks that if they support Occupy it might appear that blacks don’t think Obama has done his job in Washington.  But since the substance of the Occupy Movement is inequality, along with the fact that blacks have been fighting this for years with limited results, I find their detachment confusing, even alarming.

In the end, Elder says it really isn’t why so few blacks are participating in the Occupy Movement; rather, “why so many blacks still belong to the Democratic party.”  I personally believe they still understand that the Dems., no matter how many mistakes they have made and will make re. minorities, that the least they do will be gargantuan over what the GOP would offer.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bruce Springsteen’s latest studio album captures meaning of Occupy Movement

Apparently the Boss is angry again and his new album will vent some of this anger which closely parallels the emotions of the Occupy Movement.  Starting with Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, the crusade has literally moved all over the world.  But Springsteen remains grounded in his concern for the blue-collar group and liberal causes.  Although most of the album was written and recorded before the Occupy Movement started, it still reflects the sentiments of the fight for equality.

In an article where Princeton professor Cornel West describes the Occupy Movement as an “idea whose time has come,” Tea Party crackpot Michael Prell compares Occupy with the Berkeley Free Speech movement that took place in 1964-1965, “right down to the babbling incoherence of the participants.”  Now this takes the cake considering this man, who is a strategist for the TP Patriots, represents a bunch of blithering blockheads with double-digit IQs.

So what was wrong with the Berkeley demonstrations that resulted in the University backing off and allowing academic freedom with open political activity on the campus, with the Sproul Hall sit-ins eventually creating a place of open discussion?  Liberal, yes, and perhaps contrary to a conservative approach that hides its ideology behind the dogmas of religion and worship of big business.  Berkeley has gone on to represent a progressive attitude that has become a solid foundation of the left.

Sidney Tarrow, a visiting professor at Cornell Law School, believes the Occupy Movement will emerge as a “more potent national force” after cities get past the “encampment” issue.  And this may be the real connection between the Berkeley Sproul Hall sit-ins where you have to take a physical position to make your point.  Tarrow calls it the creation of a “communal basis for future social movement.”  So where do the “Occupiers” go and how do they make their voice heard without the bivouac?  Tarrow says they should “Move on” and “march to Washington.”

Bryan Boydston in The Humanist wants to know, “What Exactly Does the Occupy Movement Want?” when he refers to the Lennon/McCartney song, “Revolution.”  He also refers to the ideology “rebel without a cause” when commenting on the disorganization of the movement so far.  Boydston quotes Naomi Wolf in the Guardian asking the same question, receiving numerous responses she capsuled into the following three:

1.    Reverse the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court further allowing the influence of money in U.S. elections.
2.    The movement wants fraud and manipulation taken out of the U.S financial system.
3.    Prevent politicians from using their positions in Congress to benefit corporations they have invested in.

In addition to Wolf’s three Boydston has three of his own which he thinks may be more directly focused on what occupiers want:

  1. Reversing Citizens United is good but he thinks the Movement is more about the total economic inequality that exists in the U.S.
  2. He questions regulation as the “fix-all” for the financial community and thinks more of it would not have prevented the recession.
  3. With little evidence of insider trading by Congress and because they are already prohibited from passing laws that impact companies in which they hold any significant interest, this problem is probably already covered.

So one might assume from all this exposition that you can boil down what the Occupy Movement wants into one simple phrase: Balance the inequity of the economic system so that a more equitable arrangement exists for all.

I’ll leave you with Boydston’s quote from the Lennon/McCartney song, “Revolution,” which is actually appropriate for the Occupy Movement.
You say you want a revolution?
Well, you know, we all want to change the world.
…You say you got a real solution?
Well, you know, we’d all love to see the plan.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Immigrants want a part of the Occupy Movement

Several have commented that no group is more apt to be part of the 99 percent the Occupy Movement is fighting for than immigrants.  Two occupy activists, Phil Arnone, and Emma McCumber, established the Immigrant Worker Justice Working Group to help bring together these folks in a cohesive way.  IWJWG is focused on two main points: First is wage theft, wages stolen from low-paid workers; Second is protesting the private prison industry that takes advantage of poor immigrants kept in questionable detention for months or even years.

The organizers are starting with education centered on the connection between corporategreed and the private prison industry that encourages more immigration round-ups to fill their prisons.  This coincides perfectly with an investigation done recently by National Public Radio on whether the crackdowns on immigration have gone too far.  NPR commented that only a year ago, the country was ripe for more immigration control legislation.  Today it seems somewhat clear that it has already gone too far.

Alabama immigrants protest
Arizona, the flagship of immigration laws, followed by Alabama, are both seeing their legislation challenged in court, by local businesses and a part of the population as well.  In Alabama, where agriculture depends significantly on immigrant workers, it is estimated the economy would shrink $40 million without 10,000 workers affected.  Other states with similar legislation, or at least have it in the works, are Pennsylvania, Georgia, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Both Occupy Movement organizers and immigration activists see great potential in bringing immigrants into the cause.  The former, to increase their numbers with a credible group of people who are deserving; the latter to educate their following and by virtue of the organization, line up those who are eligible to vote and get them registered.  The question is whether they will be able to overcome the fear immigrants have of law enforcement after going underground as a result of the anti-immigration legislation.

John Michael Torres, an activist from McAllen, Texas, worries about the ability to communicate with those who don’t have a TV or the Internet.  That is the reason for the meetings like the ones in New York where those who have experienced a connection with the movement can tell their story.  Maurio Munoz, who is a part of the Spanish assembly for Occupy Wall Streetsays they are offering classes with legal experts, including lawyers, to answer peoples’ questions.

Teresa Puente wrote in In These Times that “the convergence between the immigrant rights struggle and Occupy is growing increasingly profound.”  She adds, concern has been voiced “because the white activists seen as leading the Occupy movement haven’t been vocal about immigration reform.”  So activists have decided that the best way to win the attention they want is to get involved, bringing as many immigrants into the fold as possible.

International Migrants Day was December 18, and Occupy activists marched in the Immigrants Occupy! Rally in Manhattan at Foley Squareled by the Immigrant Workers Justice Working Group.  Here is their statement:

“We recognize globalized capital–in the form of financial institutions, multinational corporations, and neoliberal state economic policies–as the impetus for economic migration to the United States, and deplore the fact that banks and corporations, supported by the government, continue to profit from immigrant detention and deportation. The leadership and participation of immigrant workers is necessary for any discussion of social, economic, and environmental justice.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2-months into the new revolution – Part 2

Write your own text
In yesterday’s post, we defined revolution and its relationship to a social movement, both of which involve beginnings that emphasize what is wrong, rather than dwelling on the solution.  As Robert Reich said: “Every social movement in the last half-century or more, it started with moral outrage…and the actual lessons, the specific demands for specific changes, came later.”  It seems to me that we first have to spend time determining what is not right, finally placing what we have found in priorities, that then becomes the basis for demands.

John Hirschhorn says, “…the Occupy movement in the US offers the possibility of being seen, eventually, as the seed of a successful Second American Revolution…”  Since he is convinced this is needed to fix a “…corrupt, dysfunctional and unfair government, political and economic system,” the question remains just what happens next.  Although the bulk of the Occupy Movement may not know it, they have essentially followed the correct parameters to induce social change.    

History reveals that violence against the uprising almost always becomes necessary for the overthrown of a “Hated” political system.  Then comes the time period involved in cleaning up the mess and making the necessary changes.  All of the factors discussed so far have been integral parts of the Occupy Movement, including the violence displayed by police against protesters in Oakland and elsewhere.  Although there is no measure to determine the success of the movement, the fact that one-third of the country is destitute due to an avaricious Wall Street and an inept Congress, is enough to keep things going.

Pew research has asked the question of Americans, “although our people are not perfect, but is our culture superior to others?”  Only 49 percent agreed recently compared to 60 percent in 2002, the first time this question was asked.  This flies in the face of conservatives who regularly wave the flag over U.S. “exceptionalism.”  And the young ages 18 to 29, were lower in their opinion of our country compared to young citizens in Germany, Spain and Great Britain.

Poll after poll finds that Americans are convinced their country has declined in its place in world powers and an NBC News/Wall Street Survey recently discovered the public no longer thinks the U.S. is a world leader with the pessimistic view that neither the President nor Congress can do anything about it.  But many analysts see the Occupy Movement as a means to change.  James B. Stewart’s article, “An Uprising With Plenty of Potential,” is a good example. 

Stewart ends his article with a statement from Cornel West, a Princeton professor who has emerged as a prominent voice of the movement.  It said that he didn’t know where the movement was going, but “you can’t evict an idea whose time has come.”  In Hirschhorn’s article, he wonders if the Occupy Movement is truly the seed capable of producing a Second American Revolution.  As the saying goes, only time will tell.

Read more here, here and here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2-months into the new revolution

Occupy Movement demonstrations went all-out on Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the two-month anniversary of the start of the “new” revolution.  At the same time, cities have become more aggressive in cracking down on protesters, issuing ultimatums to disperse in some instances…or else.  As an example, 20 people were arrested in Los Angeles, in Chicago, they made historic Grant Park off-limits for encampments, and 17 people were arrested in Dallas.  But Oakland was relatively quiet.

A Berkeley student tried to explain why the occupiers continue to do what they do in the face of opposition that says the movement doesn’t know what it wants.  He quoted Robert Reich’s recent speech from Sproul Plaza: “Every social movement in the last half-century or more, it started with moral outrage…and the actual lessons, the specific demands for specific changes, came later.”  Kevin Gorman, a student writing in The Berkeley Daily Planet, says Occupy, with its explosive growth and no top-down direction, which he thinks is proper for the time being, needs no explicit goals now.

Business & Government greed
The question arises, is this “social movement,” as described by Reich, actually a social revolution of sorts that could change the business and political makeup of this country?  For the better.  Balance the economic inequity on the backs of big business CEOs and an incompetent government.  Wikipedia defines revolution as a “fundamental change in power or organizational structure that takes place in a relatively short period of time.”  Aristotle gives us two types:

·       1. Complete change from one constitution to another
·       2. Modification of an existing constitution

I don’t think anyone wants a new constitution, just some tweaks in the current one, reserving the major changes for the greedy ones who are presently running the corporate world and Washington.  Joel Hirshhorn says, “…the Occupy movement in the US offers the possibility of being seen, eventually, as the seed of a successful Second American Revolution…”  He goes on to indicate that many “…believe {it} is desperately needed to fix our corrupt, dysfunctional and unfair government, political and economic system.   

Hirschhorn is the author of Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government.  His op-eds have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Baltimore Sun, and Chicago Tribune, and he writes for several progressive websites such as The Progress Report.  The main point of his article emphasizes the fact that in the beginning of a “movement,” it is almost completely about what the demonstrators are against.  Fighting a tyranny that has been advanced against the common folk.

Part 2 next.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What the Occupy Movement is all about

Fifty percent of American workers earned under $26,364 in 2010.  Those making $1 million-plus skyrocketed more than 18 percent from 2009.  These are figures from the Social Security Administration, and the reason why people have taken to the streets to protest this economic inequity.  The Occupy Movement focuses on the individual, as compared to the Tea Party, which, although individually inspired, makes its case for less government, thus less regulation, thus more corporate greed.

Some of those TPers on TV don’t look like fat-cats to me so you might wonder if they are following a cause, or just have a radical conservative ring in their nose.  I vote for the latter.  When a movement openly admits it would rather shut down the government than give any ground in negotiation, that’s clearly a bunch of nutcase renegades that are out of control and anti-American.  Do these twits know that compensation for the CEOs of the country’s largest corporations is up 28 percent in 2011, while those at the bottom still struggle desperately?

The Economist says that the rage of the populists against government surpasses that toward Wall Street.  With the infrastructure of American business and government crumbling like it is, it almost mirrors the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.  In studying the Occupy Movement, the magazine says: “Populist anger, especially if it has no coherent agenda, can go anywhere in times of want.”  It mentions the 1930s as one example, but most recently, the Tea Party.

The number of Americans with jobs fell again last year with 5.2 million less jobs than in 2007 when the deep recession began.  According to the Census Bureau, 5 percent of national income has moved from the middle class to the most-wealthy households.  Who can blame the Occupiers if all they want is to balance the act by simply getting a job, having something to eat, and providing a roof over their heads.  This isn’t anarchy, this is survival. 

Forbes magazine says the Occupy protesters are at the wrong place.  Instead of Wall Street, where not one “bankster” is in the top ten paid CEOs, they should be camped outside companies like health-care systems provider McKesson or others sure to benefit from health reform like ExpressScripts and United Health Group.  Their CEOs are expected to earn $131 million, $51.5 million and $48.8 million respectively.


Then there’s Ralph Lauren of Polo at $66.7 million, Michael Fascitelli from Vornado Realty at $64.4 million and Bob Iger of Walt Disney raking in $53.3 million.  One you might have expected to be in the highest ranks of paid executives in the world actually came in at basement bargain rates.  That’s Big Oil chief Rex Tillerson who heads ExxonMobile who makes a paltry $13.9 million.  So what we find here is more economic inequity, even within the ranks of the millionaires.  Poor baby.

In European countries like Britain and France the Social Democrats have found bashing the banker and the wealthy too good to resist, according to The Economist.  They’re looking at tariffs and a supertax on the rich the magazine questions as possibly making things worse.  President Obama’s current situation is given as an example.

And if austerity always goes along with protest as TE states, are we in for yet more tightening of government purse strings and economic inequity?  Or is this all simply a part of the far-right conservatives’ plan to eliminate government control completely and set up an autocratic system?  Should that happen, will all the Occupy demonstrators simply go home or are we in for something much worse?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Movement is about the rights of all Americans

It is the right to have an equal share of the American pie and enjoy the benefits of a lifestyle that is affordable because we earned it and continue to work for it.  When this right is threatened by big business and the wealthy, whose greed have so far denied a sharing of the wealth, people rise up in revolution.  And that is what the Occupy Movement is all about.  There is no need to dissect this struggle by the mainstream media for a central meaning.  

The Huff Post exclaims that a “confused” media is calling for the protesters to narrow everything down to “one specific demand.”  It’s the “rights” stupid.  That covers just about every faction of Occupy from an end to corporate greed to the needs of gays and lesbians.  But the HP goes on to appease the mainstream media with a listing of why the demonstrators are criticizing the system.  

Herbert Hoover
The GOP wants fewer restrictions on big corporations, yet wants to repeal Roe v. Wade that would restrict a woman’s reproductive rights.  We witnessed the insistence by a group of racial bigots for President Obama to produce his long-form birth certificate, but wouldn’t do the same of a Republican like Rick Perry.  We saw the banks get bailed out with our tax dollars, then reward their CEOs with multimillion dollar bonuses.  We observe where the police are more likely to arrest Occupy protesters than a Baptist Church group that pickets soldiers funerals.

And finally, we live in a nation where our government makes more opportunities available to big business than to the individual American. 

HP makes two points that demonstrate both the strength of the Occupy Movement and its substance.  First, the demonstrators make no demands of the institutions in control because they are rallying to diminish and modify the power held by those institutions.  Second, even though all the protests revolve around rights, there are still a number of complaints of everyday citizens that make up the whole.

Here's a video of Keith Olbermann expressing the distress of the occupy movement:
In another Huff Post article, they cite the fact that Occupy protesters are hitting the mark with millions in this country who are upset over such a “One-sided economic recovery.”  It sounds to me like they are echoing Howard Beale’s famous line from the 1976 movie Network: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”  As Rev. Al Sharpton said of the movement earlier, it’s all about economic inequity.

It was Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who, trying to avert the disaster of another Republican, Herbert Hoover, used millions of borrowed dollars to bail out the banking system.  Hoover’s administration’s policies led to another financial calamity that had to be rescued by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt.  But when Bernanke failed to attach any restrictions to those loans, the banks simply sat on the money and the economy continued to spiral down.   Yes, that’s what the Occupy Movement is angry about.

I urge you to read the above two Huff Post articles, as well as two of my previous posts here and here 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One progressive’s take on the “Occupy” movement

Tea Party Protest

There is one thing that is clear to me after looking at videos and still shots from both the Occupy movement and the Tea Party.  There is no comparison between the participants, with Occupy standing head and shoulders above the pathetic TPers.  I was prompted to look into this after reading an article exclaiming Occupy Wall Street could be the left’s Tea Party.  I am sure the Occupy movement wants to distance itself as far as possible away from the Tea Party.

Now, when it comes to developing a cause that would oppose the Tea Party, that is where comparisons are meaningful.  There is talk of how the Occupy protests will affect the way democracy is consummated in the future, not just in the U.S., but all over the world.  Most of what the Tea Party stands for is cutting taxes, drastically limiting government, and getting rid of President Obama.  It is simply a new conservative twist, although more radical, of the George W. Bush policies that didn’t work and put us in the current economic situation.

Robert Borosage, Co-founder of Campaign for America's Future, said, “I think this {Occupy} is a classic progressive, independent grassroots movement that will both build its own independent force, its own agenda and moral voice. And then you'll see that try to find expression and accrue champions of that in the electoral arena.”  The key to Occupy is getting out the vote in 2012, both the protesters and those apathetic progressives that have been sitting out elections.

Comments heard on the (Wall) street: Shane Stoops… Q. “How long will you stay here?”  A. “I’m definitely committed until we are either arrested or beaten to death.”  Sade Adona…Q. “What would be mission accomplished?”  A. “The acknowledgement is good enough for me…” 

Jon Reiner…Q. “What do you hope this movement becomes?” A. “My hope would be that, like all great social movements, that it gets so large in number and influence that it fundamentally changes the priorities of our elected officials so that they believe then that it’s their obligation to serve individuals and not corporations."

Violent Arnold, who heads Company Works, a multicultural leadership development firm in St. Paul, Minn. Says, “…the group likely has more leadership than meets the eyes.”  She adds that every group that comes together has some form of leadership, “But the current leadership of top-bottom is not working, and that’s why they’re protesting.”  Actually the leaders are there, you just won’t be able to identify them.

Dr. Alan Manevitz, New York clinical psychiatrist, says, “Psychologically speaking, these protests are mentally healthy -- whether they accomplish anything or not.”  They have already accomplished a great deal.  The Occupy movement has gotten the attention of President Obama, and he would do well to pay more attention and provide more support.  The GOP is furious over the fact that Occupy has gained more media attention in a month than the Tea Party has since its inception.  And the Democrats, well, they are just standing around and praying the whole thing will last through 2012.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Is “Occupy Wall Street” making its point?

The Occupy Wall Street movement has moved out of New York and has reportedly spread to as many as 1,500 cities worldwide that have either already started demonstrations or are in the planning stages.  In the U.S. they have now reached Denver, Seattle, San Diego, Washington, Orlando, Atlanta, Detroit and Phoenix, as well as others.  What is not encouraging is the fact that several people have been arrested in the process.  I also just watched a video from New York showing possible police brutality. 

When the company owning the property on which the protests are being held decided to “clean up the park,” they were flooded with threats from NY city officials who wanted them to wait.  In the process, announcements were made of the plan to remove the crowd.  This led to chaos.  Mayor Bloomberg is investigating the situation.  From pictures of the demonstrations I have seen so far, the group seems to be neat, which is an endorsement of their organization.

Some have compared the “Occupy” movement with the Tea Party, which I abhor.  One TP wacko commented that “Occupy is no Tea Party,” primarily referring to the size of crowds.  Of course there are less people at this stage.  With the TPers’ mentality, many at a double-digit level, all Glenn Beck has to say is follow me to Washington, and he is immediately connected to the hook in their noses.  The Occupy folks are able to think for themselves, naturally putting more thought into their participation.

But seasoned activists say there is a “difference between an emotional outcry and a movement.”  Andrew Young who worked with Martin Luther King commented that the difference is organization and articulation.  I can see why Young would see the departure from articulation due to the number of demands being made by the protesters with no apparent central theme like integration.  But you have to be at least somewhat organized to achieve coverage of at least some 1,500 cities in a movement barely over a month old.

Others adding their input were Rev. Al Sharpton who thinks the Occupy group does have a central theme and it is economic inequity.  The Rev. Jessie Jackson said, “…the protest was a growing success,” adding the, “…protest could become a powerful movement if it remains disciplined, focused and nonviolent — and turns some of their pain into voting power." 

Turning out the vote will be a key measure of the accomplishments of Occupy.  That applies to both the former young non-voters and the apathetic progressives.

U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is the third-highest ranking Democrat in the House and he firmly believes the movement will produce political change.  He also disagrees there is no meaningful theme and likened the Occupy protests with the civil rights era where he commented, "They all knew something was wrong."  It’s hard to put into words your frustrations, Clyburn remarked, which seems to have been mirrored by the look on many faces seen in pictures of the Occupy demonstrations.  But most feel that time will galvanize this into the progressive revolt that is necessary to rid Washington of an incompetent Congress and clean up the corporate world.

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