The Occupy Wall Street movement has moved out of New York and has reportedly spread to as many as 1,500 cities worldwide that have either already started demonstrations or are in the planning stages. In the U.S. they have now reached Denver, Seattle, San Diego, Washington, Orlando, Atlanta, Detroit and Phoenix, as well as others. What is not encouraging is the fact that several people have been arrested in the process. I also just watched a video from New York showing possible police brutality.
When the company owning the property on which the protests are being held decided to “clean up the park,” they were flooded with threats from NY city officials who wanted them to wait. In the process, announcements were made of the plan to remove the crowd. This led to chaos. Mayor Bloomberg is investigating the situation. From pictures of the demonstrations I have seen so far, the group seems to be neat, which is an endorsement of their organization.
Some have compared the “Occupy” movement with the Tea Party, which I abhor. One TP wacko commented that “Occupy is no Tea Party,” primarily referring to the size of crowds. Of course there are less people at this stage. With the TPers’ mentality, many at a double-digit level, all Glenn Beck has to say is follow me to Washington, and he is immediately connected to the hook in their noses. The Occupy folks are able to think for themselves, naturally putting more thought into their participation.
But seasoned activists say there is a “difference between an emotional outcry and a movement.” Andrew Young who worked with Martin Luther King commented that the difference is organization and articulation. I can see why Young would see the departure from articulation due to the number of demands being made by the protesters with no apparent central theme like integration. But you have to be at least somewhat organized to achieve coverage of at least some 1,500 cities in a movement barely over a month old.
Others adding their input were Rev. Al Sharpton who thinks the Occupy group does have a central theme and it is economic inequity. The Rev. Jessie Jackson said, “…the protest was a growing success,” adding the, “…protest could become a powerful movement if it remains disciplined, focused and nonviolent — and turns some of their pain into voting power.”
Turning out the vote will be a key measure of the accomplishments of Occupy. That applies to both the former young non-voters and the apathetic progressives.
U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is the third-highest ranking Democrat in the House and he firmly believes the movement will produce political change. He also disagrees there is no meaningful theme and likened the Occupy protests with the civil rights era where he commented, “They all knew something was wrong.” It’s hard to put into words your frustrations, Clyburn remarked, which seems to have been mirrored by the look on many faces seen in pictures of the Occupy demonstrations. But most feel that time will galvanize this into the progressive revolt that is necessary to rid Washington of an incompetent Congress and clean up the corporate world.