Did revolutionaries in Northern Africa occupy city squares?
I have recently observed the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement and actions in New York City from a couple of perspectives. First, I wrote a piece about police brutality reaped upon members of the protesting crowd. Second, I noticed that neither of the big three cable networks broadcast segments about the organization nor did either give proper day-to-day on-air coverage. I heard nothing about the protest until the day before the first day of activities.
After, the article showing a NYC police official pepper spraying activist, I was drawn into a brief set of Facebook exchanges about the OWS. The range of sentiment among the comments were ‘use that energy on more relevant causes, they claim to be anarchist, and ‘it does not matter what they are they are doing something.’ My comments centered around my understanding of their wish to enact peaceful civil disobedience. I also also included not so positive remarks about Dr. Cornell West and Tavis Smiley.
The dialog peaked an interest.
One commenter’s use of the word anarchist concerned me. So……. I sought the OWS’s ‘self-description.”
Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.
“We are the 99%“. As the moniker was new to me, I searched around the site a bit. It did not take long to find an image that filled by inquisitivty.
This image is an irrefutable example of an article that I wrote a couple of weeks back. For some reason my interest in what I see as a developing socio-economic divide led to another article. About two months ago a middle aged friend asked me in a pubic forum, if I thought the nation would erupt in civil unrest. She had viewed my web site and was startled at data embedded throughout the site. My response was, “…. yes it will happen unfortunately, and it will be the young who will move to civil disobedience”.
What are we seeing in the Occupy Wall Street movement? Quite probably that very unrest that I mentioned above.
Now the why, when, and how?
Just as with the Tea Party (a non-grassroots organization that claims to be grassroots), just as with the Civil Rights protest/peaceful civil disobedience, and just as was the case with Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Peaceful protest and civil disobedience works. The behavioral communication tool (marches, protests, sit-ins) place people in action as they deliver messages. The OWS website uniquely labels their days of protest as Communiques (Literally brilliant). The OWS is into Communique #11 (Day 11).
Their messages of amassing people are always powerful. I ask that you factor-in brutality I(please do not watch the full six minutes), and this week’s brutality II (note the effort to restrict the freedom of that cameraman). Violence helps deliver the message. Were it not for that brutality in the 1960s, the nation would have taken decades longer to enact Civil Rights and Voting Rights Laws. Jim Crowe laws may have carried forth even further.
While I have no previous knowledge of the OWS, I have little doubt that they feel the time is now to send their message. The movement appears to be exceedingly well-organized as indicated by reviewing the linked website. Not only do they participate in sit-ins and what appears to be ‘speak-ins, they have daily (structured) agendas which include information workshops. When? I can only surmise that the ”leaderless” movement (I question the leaderless claim) feels the time is right to speaking-out against growing frustrations with Wall Street (the collective entity that started the nation’s financial collapse), the moneyed people of Wall Street and Government that supports what I feel is growing class-ism. When there are few jobs, when government does not seem to listen or work together to solve problems and when bi-partisanship leads to protectionist practices for upper income earners, the time, for some, might be now.
Again, I am no expert on OWS and certainly no spokesperson for the movement, but it is clear the ‘how‘ is to openly protest what they may feel is the growing divide mentioned earlier. The one definite of peace protest or civil disobedience is to draw attention to a central issue (cause). If the movement draws attention and moderate sympathy, we have the beginning of just what that person asked me a few months back: Civil unrest. If brutality erupts again, it will feed sympathy and that sympathy will not be confined to the far left or moderate left. Even the most avid of conservatives cannot stomach the sight of unrest as was reaped upon most 1960s civil rights protesters. New York Police have proven that to be the case.
Web site excerpt…
Before the police lined along the Broadway side of the plaza, they cried together, “We are daring to imagine a new socio-political and economic alternative that offers greater possibility of equality.” And more.
“Safety in numbers!” a sign by them says. “Join us.”
There is something sritkingly familiar to the Arab-Spring!
I intend to do much more reading and observation of the Occupy Wall Street movement. My curiosity centers on whether or not the movement is a flash to deliver a message (over a two week period) or will it develop into a broader even more organized movement.
An important observation is the lack of placards and signage developed to deliver vile messages or messages based in outright fear of change. Change is inevitable. The Tea Party, other conservatives and the GOP in general are fighting a losing battle against change. They cannot stop change!
My Facebook interaction included words like revolution and anarchy. I believe that I may have even observed the words, anti-government. A quick review of the one site did not yield satisfaction in answering those concerns. I saw the word ‘revolution’ as caption on a video, but I did not see signage (like that on the website).
The very fact that violence and brutality broke-out makes me wonder why? No such violence or brutality broke-out in Washington D.C. at Tea Party events, the biker events, nor the Glenn Beck religious revival. Was the violence incited by some who know the value of the visuals of brutality? Did New York City authorities find it unacceptable that the money center of the world would be infested with protesters? For the sake of peace, I actually hope someone did something to aggravate the police; but I think not. I feel that way because a quick review of the website pictures reveal a very diverse group of protesters relative to age, race and gender and certain socio-economic classes (of course no ‘uber’ wealthy and no one appear impoverished). Yet, violence ensued.
As this initial piece on QWS comes to closure, I reflect back on an infamous FOX NEWs on-air millionaire who placed a survey on his website. The basis for the survey was, what type of revoultion would you want?’ One possible answer was ‘armed revolution.’ While I know little about OWS, I have determined that they do not appear prone to violence and they have not mentioned ‘armed revolution.’
Republicans speak of class warfare because 75 per cent of voters want more balance in solving the nation’s financial woes. The rich could be required to pay an additional 4 per cent of their wealth in taxes and the GOP scream, ‘class warfare’.
If peaceful protest are squashed as was the ‘Day of brutality‘ in NYC, that is class warfare.