A Look at the Occupy Movement
File photo of the Occupy Movement in Washington, D.C. from Oct. 2011; Photo credit Craig Pennington via Wikimedia
By Brandon Williams
Informer Media Group
Every intelligent person has a friend, who sounds a little like this, “Everyone in the government is the same, man. We need a revolution or something. Thomas Jefferson said a revolution every now and then wouldn’t be a bad thing.”
Yes, he did say that, and he probably wasn’t wrong, but let’s look at some “organic” uprisings in the U.S. in recent history. For now we will look at the “Occupy” movement.
Technically the Occupy movement isn’t even American. A Canadian anti-capitalist magazine, Adbusters, called for a large protest of 90,000 people in downtown Manhattan, New York likening it to a “Tahrir moment.” This eventually became the “Occupy” movement every one knows about centralized in Zuccatti Park. During the peak of the Occupy movement, when it was fresh and every liberal-minded person in America thought that this was the movement they’d been waiting for, a friend and I went to the Los Angeles Occupy. The headquarters was staged at the Los Angeles City Hall and a throng of tents, dreadlocks and marijuana leaves came into view. A pumpkin display with previous presidents and other sketchy U.S. leaders was on display as an ill-informed onlooker saw the omission of any African-Americans as a bad thing. It was then that I knew that the legitimacy of this movement wasn’t going to last as long as liberals hoped. I helped carry bags of food and supplies to the headquarters, I walked past an “economic adviser” of sorts poorly explaining the way macroeconomics works.
They essentially wanted what the Tea Party wanted(s) – less government control… except for legalization of marijuana, free healthcare and education. The only thing macro that the Occupy movement got correct is the broad goal to bring down the “hypocrites” in major power. Barack Obama isn’t as great as he seemed to them in 2008; they held a grudge against this.
In New York, the protesters were a little more authentic and articulate. Their talking points of “We aren’t about any one thing, just against the corruption, greed and lying to American Citizens” (paraphrasing) held strong into the winter months of 2011 (they might have lasted longer if it hadn’t started in September). However, less than a year later Occupy was fading away. The media had successfully either discounted it by way of the conservative wing of bloggers, reporters and writers, or ignored it for too long from the liberal wing (unfortunately for liberals, “All-In with Chris Hayes” was still nearly two years away from being a show, and Rachel Maddow, while in depth, can put the hardiest liberals to sleep with all her information). The failure of the Occupy movement was due to two main things: the media failure to cover what was actually important, and the lacking, poignant message that Occupy never had.
Occupy still exists on the twittersphere and blogosphere. Heck, what “Anonymous” can do to a credit card company in one night is amazing, but what does that really do? What do all the tweets saying “I am Bradley Manning” or “Free Assange” or “Edward Snowden is a hero” actually do? All three of these men exposed, and can expose more flaws in the United States’ government agencies. But the most legitimate or mind-blowing of these “leaks” is that of Snowden who exposed just how creepy and perverse the secret government is capable of being. Personally I am torn between praising Snowden and being disappointed and angry with him. It wasn’t his fault that the government apparently gives classified information to high-school dropouts, but it was his decision to run away before this all went down. Perhaps he would have created more of a “Tahrir moment” if he had stayed in the U.S. and publicly stood his ground and faced what came to him. We all know the punishment would be harsh, President Obama doesn’t like this kind of thing and would go full-on Roger Goodell on his a**. Hiding in a Moscow airport, pleading for asylum hardly makes me want to go to some protest site and hold a sign saying “I am Edward Snowden” because I’m not.
So to all of the liberal anarchist-type people out there that are desperate for a revolution and who call Snowden a hero, post every faux-uprising article they can find, post a meme from some philosopher who died 100 years ago and think it legitimately applies to the situation at hand, I have one question for you…
What are you going to do to create actual change in this country?
I’m a student, a golfer and a writer, but I’m still figuring out what order those should apply to me. I provide a unique prospective from my survival and escape as a liberal in the state of Kansas. You could call me a sports junkie, but only when it comes to the Jayhawks, Royals, Chiefs or Thunder. Overall I’m outspoken, but conservative with my letter bombs. I’m chasing the American dream… at least what it use to be.
The world has turned and left me here.