Well, it has been almost a year. After laying low for the winter, the Occupy movement is back. The protests have been going on anew for some time. For those outside of this, with a modicum of political savvy, watching this happen, there have been a number of questions on their mind.
The first is – what happens now? They’ve been out protesting. This has made a lot of waves. The financial industry still doesn’t take them seriously. Believe it or not, there is an actually good reason, but we’ll get to that in a few. These protests are well and good, but even those like this columnist, who is as far left as it gets are wondering – where does it go?
The reason that the big political movements of the 60’s and 70’s went nowhere is because it never got beyond people protesting and people talking. People were in the street, and a lot of social upheaval was happening. But the question came up there as well – what happens now? Unfortunately for them, nothing did. There was a chance for real major change across America. The movement had a lot of people with a lot of ideas. They just didn’t go with it. My British Literature professor said that his generation screwed this one. I have to agree with that.
So, one movement went nowhere, because they didn’t mobilize beyond being in the streets and making noise. It is a year in to the Occupy movement, and there are still protests. There is another one planned for July 22nd at Prospect Park. These movements still get people’s attention, but that’s it. This is why Wall Street doesn’t see them as a threat. They get people’s attention while they happen. The police brutally assault them because the cops are owned by the corporate masters who own this country. That gets media coverage. But once all is said and done, we are still there, still asking that same question.
What happens now?
The next thing is that we are wondering what can be done. Wondering what will happen is one thing, but another important question is – what does this organization have the ability to do? To answer both, the same thing needs to happen.
This group needs to mobilize. The benefit of Occupy is that they are a group with a national presence. What started as a bunch of people on Wall Street has now become a national force. This helps answer the second question. When you have something that is cross-country, you know that you have a lot going for you. That is no small feat. Some could argue that they actually have a global presence, since Occupy protests have been scheduled all over the globe. They even go by that name. But that may be being a little hopeful. However, one cannot argue that they have a national presence.
To answer the first question, the first part is that they need to mobilize. But to do what? Another good question. If you ask me, what they need to do is to mobilize and instead of focusing on getting politicians into office, which is a waste of time since all the politicians in the Congress are bought and paid for by Wall Street, they need to focus on something smaller.
They need to start a grass-roots movement. They need to mobilize the public at large. Get a public campaign going. Get out to meet people. Instead of having these giant rallies, have community events. Reassure the public of who you are and what you are trying to do. Answer any questions or critical thoughts that they might have.
One of the biggest problems, that I have seen, is that the public at large doesn’t know how to feel about these people. On the one hand, they represent a point of view a LOT of people have. They are tired of being treated like Wall Street’s dog. They are tired of being the ones who pay for Corporate America’s mistakes. They don’t want to have to live life constantly worrying about their medical bills, their mortgages, their college loans. This is a group who represents a huge part of the population. But the population at large doesn’t know that. They aren’t aware. They feel that these are just people screaming.
Occupy has to mobilize public support, and through that, they can put real pressure onto political America. If they have enough of the public in their corner, and can make the politicians understand that if they don’t play ball, they don’t get elected, there is a chance for some real change for the better.
But if they don’t do something soon, they are just going to either fade away, or get consumed by the corporate structure of America, the same way that the Tea Party did. Once upon a time, they did have a lot of pretty good ideas. Now, they are the butt of a bad joke which starts with – An Alaskan, a Minnesotan and a Texan walk into a bar.
But that’s just my point of view.