When I first started following the Occupy movements around the country, I thought they had a noble goal even though they wouldn’t admit to having one.
I thought that causing a scene and making mainstream media, businessmen and politicians start talking about the underlying problems of America’s dire economic situation was a nice change of pace.
I thought not allowing the network talking heads to drive the conversation on what was important for our country was noble.
But now that message is slowly fading into the recesses of a movement that had the potential to steamroll what has become the conventional American political narrative.
Recently, police forces around the country have begun to physically take control of the various demonstrations and tent towns that are propping up nationwide. And protestors, rightfully so, have been resisting and getting arrested because of it.
Changing the conversation has been the goal of those most affected by these movements from the beginning. With all these arrests and beatings and early morning attacks, the conversation has taken a turn from how big business is crushing the mom and pop store and how the richest 1 percent of the country control a vastly incomparable amount of the wealth compared to the rest of the country to a conversation about police brutality and the right to peaceful protest.
These causes are just and ought to be defended, but that can’t be what this movement becomes, because that’s just what “the 1 percent” wants.
It seems now that protestors have focused more on how to get arrested rather than how to spread their message. What’s sad is that they think that getting arrested helps to send their message and makes it stronger.
During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, black protestors would sit-in at white-only lunch counters and refuse to be removed until the police came and carried them away in handcuffs. Their message was intensified by getting arrested because the cops were arresting them on the basis of the very injustice they were fighting against.
Occupy protestors didn’t first set up their tents in Zuccotti Park to speak out against the injustices of the government stifling peaceful protest, they set out to show the injustice of American economic disparity.
In the video below, students at CUNY Baruch are attempting to gain access to some building for some reason…the details aren’t clear and I haven’t read anything about it. But the point is if you look, about 10 percent of the people there are actually actively involved in protest, carrying signs and chanting.
The rest of the crowd is simply there to capture the moment so they can tweet it out and post it to Facebook for their friends to see.
“The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching.”
That is the most prevalent chant in the video and that is the rotten core of these protests. They want the world to watch, but not to spread a message – they want to get more hits on their YouTube page.
A popular phrase has been “the revolution will be televised.” Well if anything is going to get done, the revolutionaries ought to leave the filming part to the professionals and just worry about carrying on their message.
For this movement to be successful, and it already has been wildly so, the occupiers need a little less Terminator and a little more John Galt. A bit more subtlety before leading up to the big bang.
If the revolution is going to be televised, it has to be because you earned it, not because it’s easy for a news camera to capture a cop cracking a student across the ribs.
So Occupiers, I get what you’re doing, but you can’t lose sight of it for yourselves. Don’t let the government change the narrative of your movement. Turn the conversation back to where it started and act like the