I’ll start by noting that I’m about as liberal/progressive as they come. To be sure, the list of liberal/progressive causes I support is quite extensive including but in no way limited to: universal health care, universal college education, legalization of “drugs”, ending unnecessary wars, increasing foreign aide and support for the UN, and of course the obligatory increasing of taxes on the rich as well as corporations. So it clearly goes without saying that I support much of what the Occupy movement stands for and advocates. That said however, I just really can not see this movement accomplishing all that much. Here, allow me explain why.
First and foremost, I just don’t believe this movement has what it takes (at least in its current iteration) to reach a true critical mass to motivate real change. Yesterday I visited the Occupy encampment at my local state capitol where I found a dozen or so tents and a small collection of people milling about not doing much of anything really. If you’re sitting in a coffee shop a block away without a direct line of sight on the camp you wouldn’t know anything of significance was happening at all. There were no vocal protestors continuously marching up and down the city streets around the capitol building, there were no banners hanging off buildings directing people to the encampment or points of protest and there certainly weren’t any large gatherings of people listening to speakers with megaphones or sound systems.
Now this isn’t just any small town mind you, this is the state capitol we’re talking about, the place where our laws are made. The state capitols (and DC of course) should be one of the primary focal points for a movement like this and yet, there’s hardly anyone there let alone paying attention on the streets. Some might say “Well you just came on an off day when other things were going on or people were busy”. But you see that’s just the thing! I wasn’t there on an “off day” I was there on a weekend, Nov 5th to be precise, a day which was supposed to be a big anti-corporate bank day where everyone was closing their accounts and moving their money. And I’ll note again, it was a weekend, a time when you think more people would have the free time to make it to a protest. Unfortunately that didn’t seem to be the case and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to why Occupy probably won’t accomplish all that much.