Joyce L. Arnold: Liberal, lesbian, Independent, equality activist, writer.
Occupy Wall Street, having reached the point where the MSM could no longer ignore and/or disdainfully dismiss it, now has the challenge of keeping the interest of a society notorious for a short attention span.
All of this seems as much about the rest of us as it is about media and Electeds, who are basically looking the other way. Except for Bloomberg, and he doesn’t have a choice. One question now being asked is how long NYC will allow the Occupation to remain.
But right now I’m wondering about how long some fraction of the “99%” who are not among the Upper Echelons of Elitism will pay attention. One lesson that can be learned from earlier actions by GetEqual; by those in Wisconsin; those in DC, around Keystone; and now from the Occupy actions … one lesson is that there really are individuals who will “take to the streets,” and there are those who will recognize and support them. That, to me, is hopeful.
We’re a nation with a short attention span, though. I wonder if that isn’t at least a factor in why we’re still in Iraq and Afghanistan – so many people quit paying attention after a few months, if not weeks, or in some cases, even days.
And then there’s the push-back against those who do engage in activism, especially of the street variety. When ignoring the Occupy group didn’t make them go away, you know the “dirty hippies” type dismissals and labels are coming, surely with some vintage “real Americans don’t do that kind of thing” declarations. I’ve actually read the “dirty hippies” phrase, but so far, I’ve not heard “America, love it or leave it.” At least not in those words.
But there are always those who have the patience and who will put forth the effort to keep on pushing for equality and fairness, whether in the face of being dismissed or defamed.
Excerpts follow from a few posts about Occupy. Mostly, I just wanted to say: keep paying attention.
bmaz at Emptywheel:
The people still have the power, the people still have the vote; but they must have the information, and they must have the desire to exercise their power.
Danny Schechter at BuzzFlash:
The longer this lasts, and is allowed to last, the more it is likely to grow. (Schechter quotes ‘veteran activist Carl Davidson’):
‘Young rebels often manifest a moral clarity that awakens and prods the rest of us. Through their direct actions, they become a critical force, holding up a mirror for an entire society to take a look at itself, what it has come to, and what choices lay before it. The historic example is the four young African American students that sat at a lunch counter and ordered a cup of coffee in Greensboro, North Carolina back in 1960.’
Lisa Romero at Common Dreams:
America needs the media now more than ever. To find it absent, while the entire world is watching this unfolding and increasingly important story (and they are) is a travesty and a statement about how far we have fallen as a nation built on freedom of speech and thought.
Michelle Chen at AlterNet:
As ITT’s Akito Yoshikane reported, the lifeblood of the protests has been the young and the frustrated. But the occupation also represents swelling resentment across all sectors of society – covering expressly the 99 percent of us who are getting screwed and shafted by corporate moguls and, more tragically, our own elected representatives.
Labor’s new sparks of resistance are proof positive that the defiant spirit of the battle in Wisconsin last winter wasn’t a flash in the pan, but a sign that growing numbers of working people are rediscovering their capacity to struggle. After decades of a one-sided class war, the fightback has begun.
… you won’t find many as eloquent and as prescient as Van Jones in describing what’s going on around OccupyWallStreet. … :
‘Wall Street has long been the home of the biggest threat to American Democracy. Now it has become home to what may be our best hope for rescuing it.’
Chris Hedges at TruthDig via AlterNet:
There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. …
Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you. They are terrified this will spread.