My Buddy sent me this tepid criticism of Occupy Wallstreet.
The gist is that the occupiers who are so eager to be cut a fair deal are selfishly occupying parcels of land in various cities and preventing the rest of us from enjoying the properties ourselves.
As Readers of this blog may recall I dropped off some baked goods to our local Occupy Duluth encampment a month ago.
Other even longer time readers may recall my passing out Let Duluth Vote flyers to our local Tea Party a couple years ago. Here’s a post I entered just before deciding to visit one of their protests at the DECC. Appropos the previous post I see that I was complaining about the Congress’s elimination of Glass-Steagal.
I’ve had forty years to watch mass protest movements. They are easy to criticize because they attract all sorts of moths like a fire. Any critic can unfairly find some loathsome moth to point to as representative of the whole protest.
For instance in my first stab at a protest march I sat in the middle of the most important intersection in Mankato,Minnesota. It wasn’t my idea to pick that terribly inconvenient spot but that’s where organizers took us and I was all for their protest against the Vietnam War. When an angry motorcyclist drove over a protester I found myself not entirely unsympathetic with the driver. The following year I purposely avoided an even more inconvenient march to block Highway 169 because I figured it would be counterproductive and turn others against us. When I saw news reports of the incident later I saw the little jerk who tried to kick me in the testicles when I’d gotten in a fight years before. Later that day I saw my little tormentor, no idealist him, walking herky jerky down the street strung out on drugs booze or both. Did his participation invalidate the reasons for the protest? Hardly. Could participation by dimwits like him have been expected when the blockage of the highway was planned? After the motorcycle incident you’re damn right they could have been.
I felt so strongly about the counter productive consequences of such marches that the following year when a small group of college students marched to the office of the College President to occupy it in the name of protesting the war I found out where their march would go and laid down on the side walk to make them step over me. One of the peace marchers even gave me a little kick as he did so. (a very little kick to be fair)
Among the Tea Partiers at the DECC were some folks with pretty ugly signs about President Obama although much worse such signs were at other Tea Party Protests. When I got involved in the Ross Perot campaign in 1992 I was amazed that all sorts had come out of the woodwork to support him.
At every one of the Arab Spring protests there has been an angry element that threatened to tarnish the larger group by rioting.
I’ve been impressed with Occupy Wallstreet for its restraint. Even the self righteousness I’ve seen in previous protests is muted. As a group without spokesmen and strategists its been remarkably cohesive and pacifistic. And God knows its got serious grievances although they vary depending on who in the crowd you talk to. Some folks are criticizing it for this just as quickly as they would criticize it if the group was monolithic and cultic. As for me I prefer the former liability to the later.
I’ve seen all the cultic multi-monomania I want in the current Republican Party which has taken political correctness and fossilized it into impossible nostrums by which to manage America. No taxes. No limit on Defense Spending. No foreign policy other than the opposite of whatever Barrack Obama is doing. No regulation of banks. Its a sort of an illogical mashup of anarchism and laissez faire capitalism with constitutional rights for fetuses thrown in and unlimited production and distribution of semi-automatic rifles and, of course, the unleashing of hidden political contributions and the fettering of unions.
Compared to that untidy mess I’d side with unemployed kids with $20,000 student loans to pay off anytime.
Oh, and I’m glad the Occupy Duluth crowd does seem to be willing to vacate the public square – at least for the time being. Its getting cold out there.