Although I have commented elsewhere on the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, I haven’t yet waded in or opined on the subject at my own blog. Well, it’s time, I think.
Yesterday (Nov. 15) saw the removal of protesters from Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, the putative epicenter of the OWS movement. This follows conflicting reports of the so-called People’s Library being seized and destroyed but then maybe only stored in a garage for later retrieval. Information flows have been unreliable at best, as MSM stories appear often as not disingenuous and no clearinghouse of fully trustworthy information has yet emerged. Criticisms of smear campaigns, subterfuge by city governments, and attempts to coopt the movement have been published, but control over the narrative has not yet been established. Whether history can be reported and summarized with fidelity as it is made is an interesting question, answerable only in hindsight I suspect. Video documentation helps in that respect, but the written/spoken word has proven itself capable of spinning reality to such a degree that the overall picture eventually imparts dizziness. Such is the nature of psychotic knowledge in an information environment now thoroughly destabilized and delegitimized.
Enter the armchair strategist, who recommends potential narratives and principles for OWS in answer to critics’ demands the movement must make its demands manifest (so they can be killed off) in what I’ve heard called the Cult of the Solution. Interestingly, the OWS movement itself has remained essentially leaderless and without demands, which means it can’t easily be bought off, dismissed, or subsumed into business as usual. (A few self-appointed self-promoters have attempted to commandeer the mic and the message, though with only limited success.) Observers and bystanders are therefore free to adopt the
propaganda offerings of MSM, or mayoral PR flacks, or indeed to impose upon OWS their own interpretations and agendas. I’m no exception.
So without being too prescriptive, let me observe that folks in the U.S. have finally gotten fed up enough to take to the streets in protest. Good for them; in fact, I may join them any day now. However, unlike our brethren participating in the Arab Spring and European Indignant movements, who are burning and looting and participating in other relatively minor mischief (since that’s all that’s available to them) to discomfit established holders of power and wealth, sometimes even driving them from power, OWSers are content (thus far) to demonstrate peaceably and compliantly for the main purpose (thus far) of shaming the vultures in their aeries cum board rooms and corporate offices. The vultures have nearly picked clean the bones of the middle class by now and may finally be starting to feel some shame or regret at the carcass left to rot in the streets outside and below their perches. That may be why it was time to clear away the debris of democracy in action — such a messy affair, ya know — and to eject protesters under the ruse of concerns over public health and safety. As with the homeless, shove them out of sight and problem goes away, right? Maybe not quite so this time. Setbacks are to be expected when speaking truth to power, but the underlying resentment at the world created by our forebears and now being inherited in shambles by today’s youth will not something easily dispelled.