Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Occupy movement is not going anywhere

I've certainly heard members of the Occupy movement claim that they "are not going away", but I was amused to read today when one of them (Molly Knefel) tweeted that "This movement is not going anywhere", since that is ambiguous; she obviously meant the same as "not going away", but "not going anywhere" is also a possible Freudian slip suggesting the onset of frustration with the fact that the movement is not gaining traction, "not getting anywhere", and not achieving any significant results.
AFAICT, to date, not a single change to any government or business structure or policy has occurred since the advent of the Occupy movement here in the United States (or maybe even anywhere else in the world.) In other words, no concrete results. This from a movement that claims that it "empowers real people to create real change from the bottom up." Sure, local cells of the "movement" have their smallish "general assemblies" and "working groups", but there is still not a single instance of any "real change" that positively affects anybody outside the inner circles of the activists themselves. Yes, they have garnered a lot of "sympathy", but they have given little of concrete value in return for that "support." Maybe more than a few of them have gained "hope", but hope is hardly "real change."
More than just to occupy this or that or to obstruct this or that or to interfere with this or that, the movement desperately needs to figure out how to do something that is a positive for society and that is appreciated by the vast majority of everyday Americans.
And the movement is even doing a truly crappy job on the one front where it has some potential strictly at the mental level: education. Mindlessly chanting "We are the 99%!" or blaming "the 1%" for all manner of social ills, or oddly claiming "This is a peaceful protest!" (while engaging in very aggressive, angry, non-peaceful protesting), or equally-oddly claiming that one of their unruly, un-permitted protest marches "is what democracy looks like!", are all very poor uses of time that could be much more focused on practical education about whatever economic, social, and political issues they wish to address. Right now, they seem more focused on "protesting just for the thrill of protesting" rather than actually trying to reach out and connect with average real Americans, many of whom actually do have jobs and families and communities and even governments that they wish to keep (albeit with incremental improvements over time) rather than to throw away in the name of idealistic pursuit of "the dissolution of the American Empire" or similar grandiose "visions" that various promoters of the movement have proposed.
Who knows, maybe someday the movement will in fact begin to gain traction and finally actually produce some of the supposed "real change" that it claims that it is committed to, but there is absolutely zero hard evidence that such a day is coming anytime soon.
For now, Molly has it absolutely right, This movement is not going anywhere.
Two or three weeks from now, I can't wait to read and hear about the movement's New Year's resolutions, although Adbusters (Culture Jammers HQ up in Vancouver, BC) has already promised that the movement will be much more "militant", in a "nonviolent" manner, supposedly.


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