Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Occupy Wall Street took to the streets on September 17. In one month, the movement (and more and more people are using that term) has national and international connections and recognition. There are any number of ways to talk about how and why it’s growing. Here’s one: warnings about being co-opted.
It isn’t that Occupy wasn’t aware of this danger, nor as if they didn’t say so, in multiple ways, like “We’re not Democrats. We’re not Republicans.” But as more warnings are voiced … that’s a message in itself. Even when they’re saying it as if it was something new. Barack Obama has made it as clear – with the help, of course, of Republican and Democratic DC Electeds in general –as any Elected ever has of the dangers of putting your hopes and dreams in the U.S. Two Party political system.
Two relevant tweets:
Observation: Occupy has had more success in ‘shifting the narrative’ than either (i) Obama or (ii) the ‘Professional Left’.
AngryVotersJohn H Kennedy
Obama Ignores Us-Call for an Obama PRIMARY Challenger now-Force Democratic Party to listen to us #OWS #OccupyColorado #OccupyAspen …
From OWS today, check out “Occupy Wall Street Marks One Month”:
One month ago today about 2,000 people rallied in Lower Manhattan and marched up Broadway. Stopping at Zuccotti Park an estimated 150 stayed the night and began an encampment. Renaming the space ‘Liberty Square,’ we kicked off a protest against bank bailouts, corporate greed, and the unchecked power of Wall Street in Washington. In the last month, the message of ‘We are the 99%’ has won the hearts and minds of over half of Americans (according to a recent Time survey) and is gaining ground globally, with 1500 protests in 82 countries this past Saturday (October 15).
The piece includes identifying a few ways Occupy has made a difference: “Gained Support in the Heartland. … Changed the Conversation. … Gone Global.”
One “heartland” example, via TheUpTake:
Hundreds of Minnesotans marched Friday afternoon from Peavey Plaza on the Nicolet Mall in downtown Minneapolis to tell Wells Fargo and the big banks, ‘Don’t Foreclose on the American Dream.’
A good regular stop for insight into Occupy is at FDL’s, “‘We Are the 99 Percent’ Photo and Story of the Day.”
Out today, Greenwald writes “What are those OWS people so angry about?”:
One of the most revealing aspects of the rapidly growing OccupyWallStreet protest movement has been the bewilderment and befuddlement expressed by so many media stars as to what the ‘message’ is of these protests and what these protesters are so angry about. Perhaps this juxtaposition can clarify things, from The New York Times today …
Greenwald points to two stories, headlined, “Citigroup Earnings Rise 74% to $3.8 Billion” and “Millions of homes lurk on bank inventories, casting doubts of rebound.”
At The Hill, Jonathan Easley writes:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) doubled-down on his anti-Wall Street rhetoric over the weekend, encouraging protesters to withdraw money from the major banks and calling the financial industry ‘the most powerful, dangerous and secretive’ institution in the United States.
Alternet’s Michael Cohen “One Month In, Occupy Wall Street Protesters Appear Poised to Change US Politics”.
At TruthOut, Zaid Jilani writes“The Other Occupation: How Wall Street Occupies Washington”.
David Rohde, Reuters, has “Wall Street’s long occupation of the middle class”.
Bruce Dixon at Black Agenda Report writes “From Occupying the Financial Districts to Occupying the Goods in Our Hoods”.
At WaPo, Ezra Klein continues speculation on the relationship between OWS and Obama with “Will Obama occupy Wall Street?”.
Looking at the same sort of possibility, Glen Ford, at Black Agenda, writes, “OPERATION COOPTATION: THE DEMS TRY TO SEDUCE THE OCCUPATION MOVEMENT”.
One I found particularly thoughtful is by Terrance Health, at Bilerico, “Occupy Wall Street: Demanding Justice”, in which he offers an excellent critique of David Brook’s “The Limits of Empathy.” I know that’s been widely discussed, but it’s still relevant, and I think Health does a particularly good analysis.
Finally, from Mumia Abu Jamal, by way of Black Agenda, “Occupation is People’s Power”:
The world’s best-known political prisoner says, ‘You can count the number of politicians that truly oppose Wall Street on one hand – and still have some fingers left.’
Occupy is one month old, and growing. That excites and encourages some of us, and dismays and frightens others. Which makes me think of another way to consider how OWS is developing, those negative judgments by pundits and followers (my paraphrasing):
What protest? I don’t see a protest.
It’s not much of a protest. They don’t even have a message!
It’s a very unorganized. Nobody’s in charge.
Everybody is really laughing at this whole Occupy thing.
Those silly OWS people actually believe Wall Street cares what they think?!
Blaming Wall Street is very unfair. And wrong. And un-American.
Damn Occupiers are just stirring up trouble, attacking the very people who create jobs.
It’s anarchy! It’s socialism!
Be very afraid!
Damn. They’re still there.
(Photo via Che Pasa)