Seattle has its own brand of the “Occupy” movement. I noticed it on my way to Chipotle, seeing several signs for Occupy Seattle plastered on lamp-posts and the other day my bus route home was briefly interrupted (a blessing in disguise since I chose to walk home on what turned out to be a nice day). The media doesn’t exactly say what their message is and unfortunately the movement itself isn’t too clear.
The “About Us” page for OccupyWallSt bills itself with:
Occupy Wall Street is a horizontally organized resistance movement employing the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to restore democracy in America. We use a tool known as a people’s assembly to facilitate open, participatory and horizontal organizing between members of the public…. Our nation, our species and our world are in crisis. The US has an important role to play in the solution, but we can no longer afford to let corporate greed and corrupt politics set the policies if our nation.
I understand the desire to associate your cause with something as contemporary and changing as “Arab Spring”. Unfortunately the parallels don’t work. Arab Spring is for a whole set of different problems and tyranny, in a very different part of the world. And it remains to be seen if Arab Spring will lead to beautiful freedoms for men and women or lead to a whole new set of theocratic and tyrannical practices. More to the point, violence continues to play a big part in Arab uprisings. As US Citizens, why not champion Martin Luther King, Jr?
The message also involves restoring democracy. As if democracy has gone on vacation for the last few years and forgot to leave a forwarding address. The rise of business tycoons, monopolies, corporations, and fat banks (in America) began in the late 1800s / early 1900s. The “gilded age” really defined the moment that Capitalism was here to stay. Twain, Sinclair, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, and others have written oodles of stories on the subject. I think what today’s protesters mean to say is that they want to inherently change America and redefine her politics. From what I gather, this isn’t about getting back to our good-ole brand of US democracy but to change it entirely. Corruption, greed, corporate politics, and the like are pretty much timeless. My complaint here is the lack of solutions and the massive amount of complaint. I’m as guilty as the next person, but my generation is a generation of complainers and solipsistic children. Blaming mom and dad only gets us so far.