Turning Points? The Occupy Movement Keeps Spreading Amid Rapid Change

The Occupy Wall Street movement is alive and growing rapidly. It continues to expand and spread despite early cries of an early death. Even in the face of ridicule and dismissal the movement continues to defy predictions. The mainstream mass media and the punitive pundits among the 99% who’ve sided with the 1% continue to scoff at the protesters as “stinky hippies and punk rockers,” or “communists, socialists, anarchists,” even “racists.”

These lackeys for the 1% ignore the masses of families with children, middle-aged professionals, blue- collar workers, and just regular folks supporting OWS at their peril. This mass welling up of dissent and “I’m not gonna take it anymore!” protests has reached a tipping point where anything can happen.

People are pissed off! More and more people are getting pissed off! Yet they’re not retaliation in the form of mass violence and rioting. And the dismissive chattering harpies of the mainstream media reveal their own ignorance.

Several recent events are worth looking at as harbingers of change. These points of note are:

  • Many on the streets and on social media are already calling it a “revolution.” It was unexpected and spontaneous, although one can point back to the Arab Spring, the mass protests in Wisconsin, and the riots in the European Union as inspirations.
  • There is the beginning of convergence where some police, military personnel, and war veterans have joined in the rallies and marches with the Occupy demonstrators.
  • On Saturday, October 15 the Occupy movement is nationwide and goes worldwide. I saw photos from places as unusual as the Alaskan tundra and Antarctica with protests signs. Violence breaks out in Rome, Italy between anarchists and police.
  • Veteran U.S. Marine Sgt. Shamar Thomas (retired) challenged the New York City Police Department in Times Square on October 17, challenging the cops on why they’re really there and shouting “There’s no Honor in harming unarmed civilians.”
  • On Tuesday, October 25, former Marine Lance Corporal Scott Olsen (retired), veteran of two combat tours in Iraq, was wounded by police officers clashing with Occupy Wall Street protesters in Oakland, California. He suffered a fracture skull and required brain surgery from a projectile fired by police. Many other protesters were wounded by rubber bullets, tear gas, and flashbang grenades used by the police. These two incidents galvanized military support for Occupy Wall Street, especially by veterans disenchanted, even appalled by the Global War on Terror.
  • Escalation of Police violence is increasing with intimidation of protesters, selective enforcement to harass protesters, mass arrests, the use of SWAT teams, the use of agent provocateurs to infiltrate Occupy groups and incite or fake violence between demonstrators and police to provoke excuses for police retaliation, and in the case of New York City, the CIA working with the NYPD in an unconstitutional arrangement.
  • Baby Boomers are in the process of passing the baton to Generation X. Even though many people of all ages are involved in the Occupy movement, large numbers of those actually camping in “occupied” areas tend to be Gen X and younger.
  • Aside from primarily police attacks, the Occupy movement is a peaceful one. The majorities I’ve read about and spoke with personally have no desire to engage in fights and battles with cops. They simply don’t want to get injured is part of it, and while they’re willing to be arrested they don’t want to be caught in a war. Efforts are made to urge fellow demonstrators to stay peaceful. Much is said the quickest way to lose the support of the Middle Class and Main Street is to engage in battles with the police and riots that destroy homes and small businesses. Novel terms are used such as bloodless revolution and nonviolent guerrilla warfare.
  • More and more are seeing a convergence of common themes between the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Both share many of the same complaints and agree on the problems but different solutions.
    • The Tea Party began as a Libertarian upwelling with Representative Ron Paul of Texas as the central figure, yet it was quickly coopted by the Republican Party and financed by billionaire far right conservatives such as the Koch Brothers, allied with Fox Media, and pumped up by celebrities such as Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Bachmann, leaving Ron Paul and his Libertarian crowd cut out and ostracized.
    • The Democratic Party, however, tried to claim the Occupy movement and was rejected. Many in the Occupy crowd had voted for Barak Obama, felt betrayed by him, felt he sold out to the Big Banks and the corporations, and thus scorned him. The Occupy movement claimed to represent the 99% and declared that included the Tea Party, too (to the horror and indignation of many Tea Partiers) and warned the Democratic Party to back off.
    • Exceptions were made for people such as Jesse Ventura, Independent and former governor of Minnesota, and Representative Dennis Kucinich, progressive Democrat from Ohio. Even so, the Occupiers refuse to embrace any politician and have held the feet of many to the fire. Things are rapidly mixing and gelling at the same time.
  • The lack of overarching, centralized leadership, once viewed as a weakness, is now being reframed as strength. With social media technologies mobile bands of protesters network with a blend of spontaneity and intention around the globe.

Clichés abound. This is amazing. Awesome! Outrageous! Inspiring! And it continues do morph and change even as Winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere. Will our world tip over? Lean into it.

 

William Dudley Bass
29 October 2011
23 November 2011
Seattle, Washington

NOTE: Originally published on 29 October 2011 in At the Brink at <http://atthebrinkwithwilliamdudleybass.blogspot.com/2011/10/turning-points-occupy-movement-keeps.html>. Then revised and reprinted here this November 2011. Thank you.

 

Copyright © 2011, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you 

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