Learning Lessons From Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

I dropped in on the Occupy Chicago demonstrators on Tuesday to check on their morale after spending mostof my Saturday with them last weekend. As the occupation of Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park begins to enter its third week, the small but spirited occupation of the corner of Jackson and LaSalle, mere feet in front of the doors to the federal reserve, enters its second.

Most of the people I found in front of the Fed were new, showing up in solidarity after hearing about the movement on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook or what little major media coverage has trickled out. The newer occupiers blended perfectly well with the ones who had been taking part since Friday morning, providing a much needed energy boost to a rain soaked and weary core in need of a good night’s sleep and a fully charged cell phone.

Despite five days of rain from Chicago’s skies, a few slightly tense situations with police on Monday, and a tepid, if not scolding, response from most media – the general spirits of those participating here in the occupy movement remain high.

One of the main criticisms of the occupy movement is that their list of demands is too nebulous, that the reason why autumn in America won’t gain momentum like the Arab spring is that, as Lauren Ellis of Mother Jones put it, “There’s something there for everyone, but no one clear message that can carry a movement forward.” But the demands of demonstrators everywhere – from New York to Chicago, Boston to San Fransisco carry a core commonality – American politics as usual are so entrenched with big business, the needs of its people have fallen by the wayside and merely stepping into a ballot box once every few years hasn’t affected much change. As the New York Times put it, the consensus that we’re living at the end of history, that “liberal economics combined with democratic institutions represented the only path forward…has been shaken if not broken by a seemingly endless succession of crises.”

The occupy movement is giving people something more to believe in than traditional politics or even traditional methods of social change. It’s giving people a belief in themselves. What I’ve seen on the streets of Chicago is a group of smart if frustrated, but definitely dedicated individuals yearning to find better solutions to an interconnected patchwork of problems so large they seem insurmountable. Simply signing petitions or getting out the vote is no longer enough, because those votes go to career politicians many of whom sit deep in the back pockets of corporate conglomerates that are literally drafting legislation. As Glenn Greenwald from Salon pointed out, “Does anyone really not know what the basic message is of this protest: that Wall Street is oozing corruption and criminality and its unrestrained political power — in the form of crony capitalism and ownership of political institutions — is destroying financial security for everyone else?”

Read the full post at Diatribe Media

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  • iPINCH

    give me control of the currency and I don’t care who makes the laws….

  • iPINCH

    give me control of the currency and I don’t care who makes the laws….

  • http://twitter.com/jasonpaulhayes jasonpaulhayes

    OUTLAW RELIGION, PRIVACY AND WEALTH … NO MORE SECRETS, NO MORE LIES !

    To move forward we must have Science, Logic, Reason, Transparency, Common Goals and we must destroy those Common Enemies of Free Humanity and Life Itself.

  • jasonpaulhayes

    OUTLAW RELIGION, PRIVACY AND WEALTH … NO MORE SECRETS, NO MORE LIES !

    To move forward we must have Science, Logic, Reason, Transparency, Common Goals and we must destroy those Common Enemies of Free Humanity and the Enemies of Life Itself.

  • Animallover

    love and respect for all beings on this wonderful planet.
    Free the animals from factory farms.
    Give equality for all!! Move beyond greed, upwards towards global unity unity unity.

  • Animallover

    love and respect for all beings on this wonderful planet.
    Free the animals from factory farms.
    Give equality for all!! Move beyond greed, upwards towards global unity unity unity.

  • Bales Jack

    I fully support Occupy Wall Street. When you get organized announce it on yahoo, I will join.

  • Bales Jack

    I fully support Occupy Wall Street. When you get organized announce it on yahoo, I will join.