When I heard that 400 Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on Saturday evening in Oakland my first reaction was good, and that was before I even knew what they did to justify those arrests.
What happened on Saturday night in Oakland only fuels my belief that the Occupy movement is dead and the only people who are actively trying to keep the “movement” alive are anarchists, some of which are literally calling for a new American Revolution.
There aren’t going to be any more converts to the OWS movement when activists are breaking into city halls, destroying public property and burning American flags. Not only will doing that make the people who disagree with them even angrier, but it also turns people off to the cause who might share their views.
Lets be honest though, the people who still associate themselves with the OWS movement do not care about drawing new people into the movement, they are too busy ransacking public property, arguing amongst themselves about what they stand for and who can consider themselves one of them and marring condemned buildings in Seattle.
Since September, one issue that has been raised through the multiple protests going on throughout the country has been the increased militarization of local police forces and the use of less-than lethal force. Side note: in the military we were told to use the term “non-lethal force” because it implied the weapons and tactics used could not kill someone, when in fact they very well could be lethal if used improperly.
What happened on Saturday in Oakland though, it seemed as if those activists were actively trying to provoke the police into using force against them. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy then, after protesters started throwing rocks and bottles at the police, and destroying property, the police responded in a way that would have stopped the aggression with the least amount of force possible.
Some local activists here at Stevens Point have even equated to what is going on in our country to the time period before the American Revolution, and have thus called for a new revolution. Their argument is that we are no longer receiving adequate representation despite continued taxation.
The problem is we are represented in congress and government. We do vote, our votes matter. They may not feel like the interests of citizens are being represented in government, but who do you think makes up government? It is us, we are government.
There is still work to be done in trying to limit the amount of money that is used to lobby government officials, but destroying the city hall in Oakland and burning an American flag does not help get closer to that goal.
The OWS movement last fall squandered a perfect opportunity to list a series of solutions and changes to both the economic and political system, they had the media attention of not only the nation but the world, and all they could muster was a pathetic “Wall Street is evil.”
They were too busy holding their illustrious general assemblies to come out with a coherent message or proposal that could be implemented. To this day I still haven’t seen any actionable piece of legislation or proposal from the OWS movement.
The one thing that OWS can take credit for is bringing the issue of income inequality to the forefront of our political discourse but they had no plan on how to deal with it, and the conversation quickly devolved into accusations of class warfare between activists and the right.
So while OWS may continue to live on in name, and continue to operate on small local issues, the national force we saw it become last fall, with all the potential to really drive the political discourse, is dead.