Occupy Madrid From different-kitchen.com
The current historical trend of occupying public space to address social issues began in the Middle East and Spain. When Occupy Wall Street started a U.S. occupy movement, encouraged by an advertisement in the Canadian magazine Adbusters, on September 17, 2011, the mainstream media and public officials were caught off guard.
Now that the Occupy Movement is in its third month in the U.S., my friends and colleges not active in the movement are offering advice. “You have to have a unified message”, “You have to get more media attention”, “You have to move out of the camps and do something new.” And they are full of accusing questions such as “What do you stand for?”, “Who are your leaders?”, “How long will it last?”, “What’s next.?”
So, not only have we faced media skepticism about the movement just being a fad (as well as the lies and misinformation about the movement), then attacks from the police and public officials once they realized our movement wasn’t going away, we now have potential allies telling us what to do. In a world of instant trends and fads and Republican presidential candidates that sit on top of polls for two weeks and fade away, people’s impatience for change and miracles has come to Occupy. Didn’t President Obama at least get 6 months to change things before the criticism began?
Why are we, a movement facing more obstacles and barriers to change than the President, a group without the bully pulpit and instant media attention of an elected official, a group that started basically from the ground up with the social and political capital of our members, face with such an unreasonable set of expectations? No social movement is successful overnight, and it is unreasonable to expect the Occupy Movement to meet the kind of success those outside the movement want. And let’s be truthful here; these criticisms are from those that have never set foot in an Occupy encampment, gone to a march or protest, or read much about the movement.
However, the fact that they are talking about the movement, and now talking about economic equality issues and not the manufactured debt crisis, is a sign of our success.
Republicans are scared of Occupy Wall Street
Another sign of our success is that Republicans have taken notice. Even Republican strategist Frank Luntz admits that the Occupy Movement has had an impact. And this is why we can’t and shouldn’t stop our actions, encampment or not. Luntz is afraid that the Occupy Movement’s message of economic inequality is getting through and painting the Republicans for what they are, defenders of the 1%. It’s not a message that the Republicans can successfully run on, so they must work to diminish it’s impact. Let’s keep sending out our message and not allow the Republicans and Democrats minimize its impact. On a side note, I have yet to hear Luntz or anyone else say they afraid of Obama and his message except to trump up some nonsense that he’s a secret Muslim.
The attacks on the Occupy Movement will only increase as our message makes its way from the encampments to the Internet, radio, television, and beyond. The terms Occupy and 99% have already made it into America’s consciousness. Now the challenge is to bring this successful framing to our public officials and get them to address the economic system to make it more equitable, where capital no longer crushes the 99% to make profit, a system where people’s needs are put before capital, and profit occurs only from serving the people, not at our expense. It’s not capitalism most of us object to, it’s the rigged system we want to abolish.
While it is true that the dominance the 1% holds over our politics and economics continues and there is much work to be done to change this, we have been a successful movement by getting the terms of the debate changed from having to address the “debt crisis”, to helping the 99% with life, liberty and the pursuit happiness.
Tex “Liberate Tucson” Shelters