Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two more days until the big Occupy May 1 General Strike

I am actually looking forward to the big May 1 General Strike that is being promoted by the Occupy movement. Not because I support them, but as a test to see how much support they can gain from average American workers. I know they can rally the diehard Occupiers, some unions, and plenty of high school and college kids, but can they finally manage to broaden there base beyond those core constituencies?
Question #1 is whether they can finally manage to marshal a crowd of 100,000 or more in NYC. That would prove that they are making inroads. Well, let me back off. A crowd of 100,000 in NYC would prove that they are not dead yet, but it would take a crowd of 250,000 or more on multiple days to prove that they are making inroads. A one-time crowd of 100,00 would not prove very much.
A crowd of 50,000 would not prove very much either, except that they aren't as representative of the 99% as they claim.
I can see them getting 15,000 people as they did in the fall at one joint rally. Who knows, maybe with all the promotion and this basically being a "do or die" moment for the movement, they could get 25,000, tops. But even 25,000 or even 35,000 would still be a mediocre turnout for a group that claims to represent 99% of Americans.
A turnout of 10,000 would be about inline with my expectations. Or maybe only 5,000.
OTOH, given that a lot of sane people might be worried that the anarchists within the movement will seek to force confrontation and conflict with the police and even revel in a riot, the turnout could be much more limited. Given current economic anxieties, a good percentage of students and union members might seek to stay away from a fracas which could do more harm than good to their near-term economic prospects. So, in that case, maybe only 1,000 to 2,500 may show up.
My best estimate is between 2,500 to 25,000.
It is likely to be "decent" as protests go, but far below what such an ambitious movement seeks to achieve. I mean, they should have been able to marshal 100,000 back in the fall, and never came close.
Their number one obstacle is not the police or even apathy, but the simple fact that the economy continues to incrementally improve and unemployment continues to incrementally decline, both of which continue to drain potential supporters from the movement.
All of that is for the protest rally portion of the so-called general strike. The real question is how many workers will walk off their jobs in sympathy with the protesters. I suspect not many. Too many people really are dependent on their jobs and unwilling to risk them for a rally of dubious real economic value.


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