Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hippies Are Doing It For Themselves

I'm beginning to think there's a reason to believe the "Occupy Wall Street" movement has legs that can carry it into 2012, and smart politicians will start affiliating themselves with it.

As “Occupy Wall Street” spreads around the world – now in more than 185 locales, and counting – everyone from politicians to media pundits is scrambling to identify the protest movement’s leadership.

ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” put protester and blogger Jesse LaGreca in its roundtable spotlight Sunday even as he prefaced his answers with the words, “I’m only speaking for myself.”

On NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” former CBS anchor Dan Rather – now with HDnet – tagged Priscilla Grim – a woman who launched a Tumblr page online – as “the real moving force behind this,” only to have the website mediate.com tartly observe that “Dan Rather probably has no idea what Tumblr is.”

Indeed. This movement may be light years ahead of the media. It's certainly out ahead of the curve. And therein lies its strength, I think.

The Teabagger movement was pretty easily explainable, and this is why it was obvious that it was not a grassroots movement. It had two messages: lower taxes, smaller government.

But the rank and file conservatives have many more issues than those: gay marriage, abortion, undocumented workers, Islamophobia and religion in general, education...a whole raft of unresolved anger. And yet, those were rarely if ever addressed at any of the "rallies."

With OWS, well, this is what democracy looks like. It's messy. It's filled with points and counterpoints, sometimes in conflict with each other (altho that happens only rarely.)

Yes. There's a basic message that economic insecurity is occuring and only the richest will survive because only the richest are being taken care of by the American government and that's just wrong.

But look at any media coverage of the demonstrations. There are anti-war signs, pro-labor signs....hell, I'm betting there's a whole flotilla of "Sasquatch Isreal" signs!

How does this turn into a strength? Well, just take the DC protests this weekend. OK, it was not the OWS protest, it was the "October 2011" protest, which is independent of OWS but supportive. A right-wing provocateur, a blogger at American Spectator, boasted about how he led a melee inside the Smithsonian Institute that led to en masse pepper-spraying...mostly of him and his co-conspirators, but I digress.

Even American Spectator realized how stoopid this idiot was and washed his story, but you can read the original here, if you must.

They're scared. They're bloody scared. I mean, wasn't it just the same people who were terrified that left-wingers were infiltrating Teabagger protests? I don't recall anyone getting pepper-sprayed, so I guess either we did it the right way, or we weren't vicious enough.

By the way, police had such sympathy for the liberal protestors of October 2011 and contempt for the conservative asshats who attempted to foment a riot, that they extended a four month permit to use the park the group currently occupies.
How committed to independence are the OWS folks? A sister protest, Occupy Atlanta, actually dissed civil rights icon and sitting Congressman John Lewis, forbidding him to speak to them.
Conservatives mock this, of course, but I think it's very smart strategy on the part of the demonstrators. There's no point in aligning yourself with any politician. Let them align themselves with you through word and deed. Make them acknowledge your strength. And for heaven's sake, do not endorse anyone without their prior performance to your agenda.
That basically means Bernie Sanders. And perhaps Al Franken. And no one else at this point.