Monday, November 14, 2011
Changing the Face of the Occupy Movement
We're continuing to see reports of violence at many of the Occupy movement camps around the country. It's a disturbing trend that needs to stop. In Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Albany, violence resulting from police actions to evict demonstrators or from random shootings (3 dead so far) is undercutting the purpose and effectiveness of the Occupy movement, IMHO.
For starters, if your permit has elapsed, leave. You've got the nation's attention; in fact, you've got the world's attention. The law of diminishing returns is kicking in with every video or photograph of someone in a confrontation with the cops, or of a body bag exiting an Occupy camp. Remember what this was all about to begin with: Income inequality and the excesses of the oligarchs in government and the financial system.
Second, if anyone likes to demonstrate wearing a Guy Fawkes mask or bandanna covering his/ her face, let them demonstrate somewhere else other than with the Occupy movement. (We should apply the "7-11" standard here: if someone comes into a 7-11 store wearing a mask, you figure they're up to no good. Same probably holds true for someone marching in a crowd -- chances are they're more interested in breaking windows and beaning a cop than income inequality.) Leave the costumes to the tea baggers.
If this is truly a movement and not a moment, the Occupiers need to move into more practical political action: get out and register voters; or help people who may need ID to vote (thanks to Rethuglican voter suppression) get it; or hold seminars for local media to get them to cover the substance of the movement, not just the surface. In short, move from political theater to political action.
(Image: Not Guy Fawkes.)