Sunday, October 2, 2011

We're too occupied to occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street?

Right now I occupy this desk chair in a friend’s office in Kansas City, Kansas (Missouri's state line in one block east). I just came in from the deck outside. It’s a beautiful day. I haven’t turned on the Chief’s pre-game show yet. Right now, on the other side of this screen, I am “live-streaming” the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City here.

I’m not sure what to make of it all, really. Realizing that this blog is a corporate platform, I’m hesitant to write the thoughts that swirl about in my mind. Advertisers advertise here, and the content of my writing, as well as the content of your comments, serve to justify the sale of goods and services. In the meantime, we enjoy the freedom to write and share within the boundaries of a usage agreement.

The Occupy Wall Street:

“…is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.”...From their website

They mention “The revolutionary Arab Spring tactic” but do not describe the techniques or methods of the tactic or approach.

One could look at the number of protesters and ignore the event. The fact that the people there have no leader or manifesto has many dismissing the relevance of their occupation. Just now, as of 1206 Central, the group’s mobile hotspots appear malfunctioning, so there is one camera only at the movement’s park table. The site notes that over 8,000 people are watching their makeshift broadcast.

I’m not certain whether this leaderless, manifesto-less movement will spread throughout America. I have my doubts. But this model of protest, whereby there is authentic occupation, real people, a real place with the virtual “social media” tools appearing well crafted, looks to be worth your awareness. It’s interesting how, these days, American university students are not involved in any significant ways. Perhaps the high cost of higher education has transformed college campuses into corporate office parks, with compliant attendees, employees-in-training.

Writers here will have advice, over the coming days, for this movement. A good example of such an editorial is this one by Nicholas Kristof in today’s New York Times.

You’ll read a few pieces like this soon after local journalists read their Sunday New York Times. Kristof has furthered the protesters cause with his thoughtful PowerPoint-like presentation after an on-site visit.

Unless we choose to visit New York City soon, unless there’s an ongoing real movement here, this “American Autumn” in the Big Apple will fade with the first snow. Protests entail commitment, time, sacrifice, and the very real choice to occupy a place. America appears to be comfortable with virtual occupation, fantasy football, television, and our flat screen of choice. As you’ll see if you watch the protest online, the reality of protest, despite the protester’s chant that they are the 99%, protesting looks to be really…uncomfortable…sleeping on the ground?...being outdoors?...questionable and limited beverage choices?

Americans do not possess the resiliency, commitment, or robustness to protest in any way close to what we “virtually” saw, and continue to see, in the “Arab Spring”. We are husbanding our shrinking resources, paying bills tomorrow, and submitting resumes. Besides, it’s football season, and the baseball playoffs just started, and sports will receive countless gallons of ink, much more attention, than this occupation on Wall Street.

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