Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Is the Occupy Movement Up To?

Here is what I got from this article, as well as my reaction and personal opinion on each.

1. Fight BAC! Occupy Takes on Bank of America
The cause here is great, but I am never sure what tactics are to be used or what meaningful results, if any, might be achieved.  The article said that the day of protest was to be March 15, but it apparently was pretty much a non-event.  I heard only about a demonstration against B of A in St. Louis, where more than a dozen people were arrested, but these took place after the B of A protest at an assembly in a public park.  Again, a good cause, but no tangible, positive results.  Not a "great action" in my opinion.
2. May Day General Strike: A Day Without the 99 Percent
The idea is catchy, but I am very pessimistic regarding its possible results and its overall impact.  Asking the 99%, who are the downtrodden (whom the Occupy movement claims to represent) to lose a day's pay in bad economic times is not going to be all that well received by the 99%.  If they were to get even 10% of the 99% to comply (which I am sure they won't), that would mean 89% were unwilling (or unable) to go along with the strike.  We'll just have to wait and see how that goes.
3. The Student Movement
The article acknowledges that this is a distinctly separate movement from the Occupy movement itself.  The students' actions have been taken on their own (although Occupy members have frequently participated in solidarity with the students)..  This items references a link to the Occupy Student Debt Campaign site to sign a petition, and makes a nebulous reference to "look out for actions on April 25, the day that student debt is going to surpass $1 trillion."  
4. Occupy Our Homes
This item references past actions: eviction defenses,occupying foreclosed homes, and shutting down foreclosure auctions."  It provides a link to a site that describes some of these recent actions, foremost of which was an action that referenced another group called ForeclosureFighters.  Another item described a home of a deceased woman in Atlanta that is occupied by "members of the Atlanta community," but there was no mention of the Occupy movement itself. The Occupy Our Homes site also provided the following: "Find out more about what Occupy Our Homes has planned here" but this link was right back to the page where it is posted.
5. Re-Occupations: Citywide Assembly and Pop-Up Occupations
The only specific plan mentioned here is for an April 14 Citywide Assembly at some yet-to-be-identified location in New York.  Other than that, there was a general reference to "lots of pop-up occupations around New York City."  These events are described as being fun and giving Occupy a chance to do outreach as well as meeting together in a park for an afternoon.  I don't see this as a "great action."

6. ____________________
Ummm...  There doesn't seem to be a number six.
All in all, this still sounds to me like a movement without much movement and one that is tremendously short on accomplishments, other than raising people's awareness on critical issues.  I they want to be a viable force for reform, they are going to have to do something beyond what they are doing and planning to do.

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