Friday, November 18, 2011

Is Occupy Wall Street now on life support?

The multiple Occupy Wall Street protest events yesterday were a mixed bag. The "Shut Down Wall Street" protest in the morning did attract some attention, but was on the small side and really didn't "shut down" the stock market, banks, or other financial markets in any way. Maybe that's all they really wanted: a little attention. I've seen absolutely zip in terms of any coverage of the "Occupy the Subways" phase in the afternoon. The only real success of the day was when students and union members joined in moderate-sized marches from Union Square and Cooper Union down to Foley Square. The march down Fifth Avenue was probably the most successful since the police were focused on the march down Broadway and so preoccupied with keeping the Broadway marchers on the sidewalk that the Fifth Avenue marchers were able to walk out in the street between the cars and trucks and vans disrupting rush-hour traffic (a little compared to the normal disruption of rush-hour traffic itself.) That said, I'm not sure that disruptive and chaotic "march" delivered much of a coherent "message" to anybody. After Foley Square the marchers walked across the Brooklyn bridge, uneventfully. Later, livestream showed only a few dozen diehard "occupiers" hanging out at Zuccotti Park, actually being "peaceful."
Without all those students and union members, who can't be counted on 24x7, the Occupy Wall Street movement is barely hanging in there.
One amusing anecdote... Late Thursday evening a young woman stopped by the livestream in Zuccotti Park for just a couple of minutes, saying how she missed out on all the action because she "had to work" and she had to go home to get some sleep so she could "work tomorrow." Another guy from Utica, NY lamented that their camp shut down because all but two of them had jobs to go to and needed to get some sleep at home. The press has been filled with examples of people who left jobs to come down to protest.
So much for the idea that a lack of jobs is "fueling the movement."
This really is a movement of the elite. Sure, there are probably plenty of unemployed characters sucked into the frenzy as well, but it really does seem to be more of a social/political movement than an economics-based movement.
People in the movement seem to want "change" not to help create sustainable jobs for real people, but in support of their social/political ideology and agenda.
The whole 1%/99% angle seems less about achieving the results of more and better jobs than picking an ideological fight. It sure smacks of "class warfare" to me.
Occupy Wall Street seems quiet today. Nothing but reruns on the main livestreams.
There have been no new instructions from The Mother Ship, the puppet masters at Adbusters, Culture Jammers HQ in Vancouver, BC (Canada) today. In fact, none since Wednesday.
Maybe the main accomplishment of the day was probably a quote from one of the kids hanging out at Zuccotti late in the evening who had a great retort to an interloper who referred to them by their own moniker of being "a leaderless movement" – he said "No, we're not a leaderless movement, we're a movement of leaders."
I'll probably stop by Zuccotti on my usual Saturday walk around all of Lower Manhattan, not that I expect to see much that I haven't already seen on livestreams. Before Occupy Wall Street there was always a modest crowd of vendors, tourists, and the homeless and skateboard crowds hanging out there.
Other than that, I think I can safely put Occupy Wall Street on my "ignore" list for the rest of the year, but I'll keep an eye open for any major new developments, other than random noise such as the kind of protests we saw yesterday.


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