Congratulations to the fringe of the Occupy movements for completely switching the focus of the protest from the powerful economic justice issues to the thinly-supported demand for the Right to Camp Anywhere. The news reports and Tweets are no longer talking about executive salaries and Wall Street. Instead they are counting the number of plates thrown at cops and the number of tear gas canisters lobbed back.
The liberal-leaning city governments of Oakland, New York, and soon probably San Francisco are the new targets of the protests who are both outraged and outrageous in their hyperbole. The most vocal Occupy folks are now training their considerable protesting skills on their natural allies with whom, it seems to me, they have a moderate disagreement over how to police the cleanliness of select pieces of real estate.
Unless I’m missing something, the governments are making no attempt to remove the protestors from the glare of the media. They are only attempting to pick up trash on a regular basis. But, even if I am missing a fascist governmental plot, the fact remains that the original issue of economic injustice is off the front pages.
It’s damn disappointing to see a movement with a potential for needed social change to devolve into a purity cat fight among friends. The emotional appeal of a protest against the monetary valuation of a CEO at 400 times that of an average worker was explosive. The public empathy for crowds rioting for the right to camp overnight at City Hall is less than overwhelming.
The derailment of the Occupy protests is stunning in its swiftness and completeness. If I were a Koch brother or an Armey man, I could not have scripted a better march down the road of discredit and irrelevance.
Occupy folks, what you were doing was important. If you think so, too, then truly it’s time that you take a meeting with yourself, conduct a tribal council, hold a group grope, or whatever.
Figure out if you can live protesting only 18 hours a day at City Hall or in the plaza. If you can, then show up tomorrow, the next day, and the next day with your righteous anger and your moral power. However, if you cannot accept with any compromises with your friends, then I am sorrowed by your decision. Occupy will die as a social force and your new course will further dispirit the already dispirited.