The enigma of Occupy Wall Street
The Occupiers are those people clustered in the streets of New York and elsewhere claiming to represent the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. And although they’ve been there for a number of weeks, I’m still not sure what they want or how they expect to get it. When I said as much over on the Huffington Post the other day, I was roundly criticized for not listening, not reading, and failing to inform myself. It seems they think the onus is on me to figure out what they want, rather than on them to explain themselves.
Here, one individual noted, is their website: Occupy Wall Street, inferring, “Now go read and stop bothering us with your silly questions.” There is also a very rough-hewn list of demands for Congress. If only demands from street rabble were enough.
On page one of the OWS website, in the sidebar, is an explanatory paragraph:
Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.
Well, now, that explains everything, doesn’t it? They are everyone, and no one in particular, and they are mad as hell at the 1% of Americans who presumably hold all the wealth and are therefore, ipso facto, responsible for all the greed and corruption in the country. They don’t present a clear list of demands or offer a list of objectives, but they’re going to get them anyway by using the tactics of foreign revolutionaries — in a nonviolent manner.
Oh, and being leaderless, they of course have no designated spokesperson(s) who can enlighten us. Leaderlessness is a novel tactic that I’m having trouble understanding … but there’s no leader to explain it. Perhaps this is one of those “if you have to ask, you’d never understand” situations.
The demonstrations remind me for all the world of the protest marches in the ’60s. The people even look the same. Signs and posters of every flavor, outlandish costumes, camping and sleeping in parks and along the streets, etc. I haven’t seen any flowers being stuck in rifle barrels yet, but then, I haven’t seen any rifles. Yet. Lots of batons, mace, and handcuffs, however.
Understand, I’m not without sympathy. I, too, am angry about the corruption of our government and electoral system by the unfettered infusion of big money from personal, corporate, and foreign interests. But I just don’t see how the OWS tactics are going to accomplish anything. The ballot box is the only real weapon we have, and OWS should get serious, get out of the streets, and start organizing voters for next year’s elections.