Monday, October 3, 2011

A Perspective on #OccupyWallStreet - Not What You Think!

@wheeliesmom on Twitter sent me a link to a really interesting blog post from someone who's been wandering through the massive crowds at the Occupy Wall Street... what shall I call it? A protest? A flashmob? A be-in? A happening? An event? See, I don't even know what to call it.

 It's more than a flashmob (flashmobs are more organized, and the choreography is immeasurably better!) and less than a protest (there's aren't dense clouds of tear gas obscuring the view, no truncheon wielding cops beating back wave after wave of molotov cocktail throwing youth in bandana masks with burning overturned cop cars in the background... ahhh, the good old days... but I digress).  Let's let Marty Weinstein (aka @luckymw) tell the story.
Much has been made about the lack of media coverage of Occupy Wall Street (OWS), but the people involved in the protest don’t really care. What the rest of the country has been seeing in 2 dimensions on television or reading about from an extremely snarky print media can’t possibly transmit the level of intelligence, energy, commitment and humanity being produced by this assembly. This is an amazingly diverse crowd, I had a long talk with an economist from Bakersfield California, a blogger from Philadelphia, a teacher from Albany, as well as a collection of old school radicals who’ve been waiting almost 40 years for something like this to reappear.

I spoke about [the apparent lack of focus and organization] to everyone I engaged with, and that’s where I learned what can only be gleaned by direct by direct conversation with any of these folks. What we’re seeing here is almost totally unique, a magnetic sense of unity amongst disparate people from many different places and eras, finally feeling like they got permission to give voice to the burning frustration of living in a country that has lost its moral compass and given itself over to commerce, profit, and convenience. These people have had it. And they’ve finally gone active.
So much of what is happening seems remarkably similar to the events in Spain this past summer where huge groups of the unemployed, mostly young people, gathered in the squares of Madrid and Barcelona to protest the government's ongoing austerity measures. As the Spanish protesters expressed in May,
On the statue of King Carlos III, somebody had pinned a sign that read: "We are anti-idiots, not anti-politicians." Other placards read: "We aren't against the system, we want to change it", "Democracy, a daily fight", and "Take your money out of the bank!"
The ongoing struggles against the forces of global consumptive capitalism and for the rights of men and women to be free seem to know no boundaries, nor should they. As the "Occupy" movement spreads like wildfire across the major cities of America, we may bear witness to a once-in-a-generation tectonic political shift in American government.  And unlike the astroturf Tea Party movement, driven by the very corporate greed mongers who are the source of the problems we face, the Occupy movement is an authentic grassroots uprising.

And I can say, without reservation, that the #WIUnion protests of February to today are a major inspiration for this global uprising against forces so dark, they'd label Darth Vader a liberal hippie communist.  I'll let Marty close us out here, with the most prescient line in his posting, a line that we on the left need to take to heart going into 2012 but more importantly, into 2016:
ANY president becomes part of the machinery
And that, dear friends, is the real problem.

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