I’m not entirely sure why I decided a blog about the Occupy movement was something I wanted to tackle, but here goes.
Almost all coverage of the movement has been one-sided and myopic as it tried to paint their actions into a fitting narrative. Unfortunately, the entire idea of Occupy is emotional, a reaction to the varied perceived injustices of its protestors. Some people took to the streets to speak out against Wall Street, almost as if the message was irrelevant to the movement. The outrage is real. I think if someone had started with Occupy Dairy Queen, it still would have taken off (and wouldn’t everyone be more comfortable occupying a Butterfinger Blizzard?)
But let’s rewind for a moment, to a passage of the Constitution I find relevant, but probably in a slightly different light.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
This obviously goes on to explain that Free Speech is one such “unalienable” right. Without debating the difference in word choice of “unalienable” versus “inalienable,” I see a far more difficult problem. Your rights do not grant you the freedom to trample on other peoples rights. By choosing the phrase “Occupy,” and choosing to occupy parks and public spaces, you have chosen to launch an “occupation.”
Occupations are historically something predicated on removing freedoms.
That’s not to say I believe that is an objective of the movement is attempting to disrupt anyone’s rights as an American, but I do see it as an unfortunate choice of words and a depressing side effect. Which, when coupled with no clear list of demands or actions to be taken, leads to a combative atmosphere that will eventually boil over into what we see here. (Side note: the numerous and well-documented showings of Police brutality should be prosecuted to the full extend of the law on a case-by-case basis. Aggression is a foreseeable side effect to an occupation. Rise above it.)
Here’s where it gets entirely hazy. The movement brought the eyes of the world upon them, and when people started asking what they wanted to happen, everything fell apart. This is understandable, given how the movement came together in the first place, but given that they’re fighting for American freedoms, perhaps the use of a stronger democratic process can supply a concrete list of demands.
So, start with Wall Street.
Demand: All bank leadership that can be proven to have misled the American people with subprime mortgages to pay their own bonuses. That’s stealing. Jail.
Demand: All bank management that purposely misused the bank bailout to pay out multi-million dollar bonuses to themselves and their friends. Still stealing. Jail.
Demand: All congressional members and Executive branch staff that brought about the bank bailout, this part is important, that supplied a piece of legislation that did not supply accountability for how that money would be divided TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. Fire every last one of them. Get their name out, scream it on every hastily purchased Walgreens poster board you have. They stole from you. Make them pay for it.
Solidify the message.
The Civil Rights movement was successful because their message was clear as day, and eventually everyone had to pay attention. It could be boiled down to: “Hey stop being dicks and give use the freedoms granted to us by the Constitution.”
The Occupy movement is more difficult for the average American, someone who might only catch glimpses of coverage a few times, to regurgitate to someone else. “Hey stop being dicks, because, uh—hey! Just stop being dicks, okay?”
I cherish Wheaton’s Law as much as the next guy, but they need to focus in a core list of needs, inarguable injustices that everyone will get behind.
They stole from us and got away with it.
Go get ‘em.