Those Who Say Occupy Wall Street Movement Should Go To Washington Don’t Get It

 By Rob Kall (about the author)  October 10, 2011 at 08:43:02

Cain suggests that the problem is with the White House. Geist doesn’t say it, but suggests that the solutions lie with Congress and the White House. 

They could not be more wrong. The Occupy movement is not about doing things the old top-down way, like going to the White House, which doesn’t work.

I covered two White House protests in the past two days. Those White House gates do not have ears. (the bushes on the roof of the White House have eyes, probably ears and probably snipers.) And Obama gives no indication that he’s listening. 

Renowned global artist John Quigley,  working with Code Pink, orchestrated approximately 1,000 OccupyWashingtonDC protestors at Freedom Plaza into a human sculpture in the form of:  99%

Discussion at Occupy DC at McPherson Square
(photo by  Cheryl Biren)

The other day, the Occupy group in Atlanta Georgia turned away local congressman John Lewis. This was a good thing, with no-one intending disrespect for congressman Lewis. 

Occupy Atlanta people decide NOT to hear congressman John Lewis
(image is screen grab from youtube video)

The mainstream media don’t seem to get what the Occupy Wallstreet movement is all about. Frankly, each person who shows up has his or her own idea of what it’s about. That’s part of the beauty and also a major challenge for the movement.

I spent four days covering the Occupy Washington DC phenomenon at Freedom Plaza and Occupy DC at McPherson Square. One goal was to support them, by showing up and by doing media coverage. Another goal was to get a feel for the zeitgeist and energy of the “phenomenon.” I’ve used the word “action” to describe the Occupy groups. I’ve used the word movement.  

Part of the challenge of getting the Occupy Wall Street movement, action, phenomenon is that it is a movement or phenomenon that is just being born and, as such, has the characteristics of something new that is just being born– characteristics, policies, ways of communicating, of deciding are emerging. Emergent process is a good phrase for describing what’s going on at urban parks and squares where Occupy communities are forming.

“Communities– that’s clearly a key part of what’s emerging– a new kind of community that in each of the 1200 plus towns and cities where Occupy Wall Street phenomena are manifesting is starting from scratch defining who they are, how they make decisions, how leaders are or are not determined– usually going without leaders. 

Cain and Geist don’t get the Occupy Wall Street movement because it is anything but about Washington. One thing that’s become clear to me, being on site at two Occupy communities (I’m visiting Philly and NYC today and tomorrow) is that people no longer have faith in elected officials. Get corporations out of government, get corporate money out of elections are very common signs and chants.

The members of the Occupy communities see the Occupy movement as an alternative, as an extra-legislative approach to making change happen. Members of congress, overall, are failing to respond to the interests and needs of their constituents, instead, taking care of the corporations who pay their campaign TV advertising budgets. 

Yes, there are Occupy communities in Washington DC. Yes, they’re near the center of political power, but it seems to me that the true power of the Occupy movement is not at the Wall Street Location, not at the Washington DC Freedom Plaza or McPherson Square locations. They are important, but the real power of the Occupy movement is in the burgeoning explosion of Occupy communities that are happening locally– not just in Madison Wisconsin, not in the big cities where protests usually happen. 

This is a truly bottom up uprising, an awakening among the 99% of Americans who are being mistreated and exploited by big multinational corporations, with the help of a congress and White House that have sold the middle class out. 

There has been a class war going on, against the middle class, for at least a decade, probably more like 20 or 30 years. It’s a bi-partisan war that many Democrats are also enabling, as well as Republicans. Bill Clinton sold out the middle class and became a major ally of the corporations when he signed the US for the World Trade Organization and NAFTA. 

When people like Eric Cantor suggest that Obama or Occupy Wall Street people are engaging in class warfare, he’s right. To suggest that they started it is totally dishonest. They are fighting back against the forces Cantor represents– corporatist forces. 

Bottom line, Cain doesn’t get why his admonition for Occupy Wall Street should go to the White House is the exact opposite of what the Occupy Movement is all about. 

There’s a lot of work yet to be done by the Occupy movement. Like a fresh tapped oil well, the energy is gushing and not yet fully harnessed. But it will be soon and when it is, look out. Changes are going to happen, in spite of the powers at the top. This is a truly bottom up movement. Those who don’t get that better learn fast or they will be left behind.

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By Published On: October 10th, 20112 Comments


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  2. ME October 10, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    I don’t see why any Black person would support a movement that turns away a civil rights hero using the same majority rule to do so that so many fought to end. As long as this mob has no provisions for a minority voice to be heard they are are just an bigotted mob. I don’t expect to see the congressional black caucus call them on this bigotry since the group is a bunch of leftists just like them. When they don’t, it will only serve to highlight how much they are in Washington for their political gains not for the people.

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