The world saw the Occupy Wall Street protests up close and personal as rallies spanned four continents, sparking riots in Rome, where a crowd of 200,000 gathered, and arrests in London.
All that was on top of sporadic clashes between police and protestors (I refuse to characterize them beyond that, but let me just say that I have always believed cops need to develop a thicker skin in these instances.)
Hell, the movement has even spawned a Kiddie Koalition!
If you've been trying to work out the demands or the raison d'etre of the movement, well, it's really not hard. It's the same reason the Teabaggers were initially as popular as they were.
Melissa Harris-Perry of The Nation made a most excellent comparison on Saturday's UP With Chris Hayes on MSNBC: The Teabaggers were at the apex of their popularity when they were perceived as being a movement formed in opposition to the bailouts of the Bush administration (and later, Obama's.) When they careened into hate messages against President Obama, people walked away from them.
Similarly, the OWS movement is about populism, first and foremost. After all, my bank got a $25 billion bailout and all I got was this lousy debit card fee.
It's true: the Teabaggers once upon a time held approval of some 40+% of Americans. Now, they are the same jackwagon 20% or so who supported Bush in the final days of his administration.
And who now paint Dumbya as a liberal, but I digress...
OWS does not seem in any danger of following the Teabaggers in dipping into obscurity, mostly because it's not a fraudulent movement. There is no perception involved here, no FOX News humping the hell out of a made-up story funded by billionaire tycoon money and forged on the anvils of evil.
And you'll note yet another reason why this is presumably to be so: the anti-tax movement never really took root across the world the way the anti-corporatocracy movement has. This is a genuine movement of people who are frustrated and angry. The sneering and mocking of the right wing only serves to stiffen their resolve.
Now, you're probably wondering about the title of this article. You're probably wondering what the hell a broad overview of the OWS movement's origins and philosophies has to do with your mind.
You want to join the OWS, but it's hard. You don't live near a big city. You can't get to the rallies on the weekends, much less the week. You have a job and in this economy, you need to balance your work with your political beliefs or else you'll find yourself permanently attending these rallies.
There is still something you can do: you can occupy your mind. This is a time for honest Americans to stand up and be counted. You can comment here, if that's what makes you feel comfortable. You can call the Limbaugh or Hannity programs if you've got the nerve and can make your point in the face of a gale of derision and bullshit agendae.
You can write to your Congresscritter or Senator and ask him or her why we STILL don't have a jobs bill, nine full months into a Congress where Weaker Boener promised to help the workers of America get one.
You can ask your friends what they think and then, arming yourself with the facts you've read on this blog and thousands of others over the years, point them to the truths of it: there really is no America anymore, there's only Americans and the people who'd try to own us lock, stock and barrel.
You can skip Wal-Mart.com or HomeDepot.com or any number of myriad corporatist websites, and buy locally. Support Main Street by occupying it, too. Sit in the coffee shop. Speak your mind, respectfully of course, but firmly and with great resolve. And when you get laughed out, go back the next day and make the same points.
I'd advise against doing this in a bar because, you know, politics and alcohol don't really mix, but hey, if you can, do.
At Thanksgiving dinner, when Uncle Frank starts into his tirade about the President, you can ask him politely if he thinks the GOP might bear some responsibility for the mess we're in-- by then it will be ten months without a jobs bill, and five months since the debt ceiling standoff and credit downgrade. Break his concentration. End his focus. Start the dialogue.
Occupy your mind. Get informed. Get those around you informed. Do what you can.
And then try to do a little bit more.