The Future of the #Occupy Movement: Solidarity and Escalation
We are living at the vital juncture, cusp, of a brave new dawn in
human evolution, in every realm of life, certainly the social,
economic, political, as well as transpersonal realms. Mark Engler
covers some meaningful points germane to making the current movement
viable for a healthier society.
So much of and so many of our concerns are, in objective analysis,
all too often reactionary, thus perpetuating an “us and them”
bifurcation of society. This is due too often to only a partial
ideological continuity, our not going beyond the comfort zones of our
affinities to explore further, without any further calamities carrying
us toward more fulfilling solutions and principles which may harbinge a
Without responsible maturation, dogma, with all its barking
propensity, will be all that remains as the economy collapses,
resources become scarce, and moral retardation ensues, lest we mature
past selfishness and petty sectarian psycho-social cannibalism so
Can Spirituality, Social Justice, and Economic and Political Democracy
find synergy and synthesis in a fair and equitable manner?
Find out how!
Human society is at a vital new juncture:
the decrepit skeleton of things tried and
proven false is rapidly being rent asunder.
Today we are on the precipice of a glorious
new dawn in human evolution. Embrace this
crimson dawn of the glorious new day.
Posted: 29 Oct 2011 02:38 PM PDT
Mark Engler – October 21, 2011
A month after
it began with a few hundred people marching on Wall Street, the #Occupy
movement has grown to include tens of thousands of participants
throughout the country and has captured headlines around the world.
If it has not yet succeeded beyond its wildest dreams, that’s only
because its participants have dreamed big: imagining a sustained
popular uprising that could force fundamental changes in our political
and economic system—ones that could end corporate dominance and promote
can, in fact, propel significant changes. But #OccupyWallStreet and its
allied occupations still have a ways to go before realizing their
potential. The two issues most pressing as they chart their next steps:
solidarity and escalation.
“Co-optation” or Flattery?
success in capturing the public eye, the actual number of people camped
out at the various occupations around the country remains relatively
small. While there are several hundred people camping in hubs such as
New York City and Los Angeles, overnight participants in smaller cities
number in the dozens. What bolsters the power of these encampments is
that they are representative of a much wider discontent. Far greater
numbers of sympathizers turn out for mass meetings, marches, and online shows of support.
And, importantly, more established political bodies—unions, advocacy
organizations, and community groups representing large
constituencies—have offered endorsements of the growing #Occupy effort.
As more have
signed on, some activists have been wary of outside expressions of
support. Particularly as Democratic Party officials (including President Obama and Vice President Biden)
have said positive things about the movement, some have voiced concerns about “cooptation.” They have argued
that outside liberals, “while pretending to advance the goals of the
Occupy Movement,” could instead “undermine it from within.”
How big of a danger “cooptation” actually represents is a matter of dispute. In a recent interview, Chris Maisano
asked veteran social movement theorist Frances Fox Piven about this
issue. (Piven is author, among many other books, of the landmark Poor People’s Movements and has considered the
issue of cooptation at length in her work.) I believe she struck the right tone in her response:
[As] recent comments by even the president and vice-president have
showed, a lot of the more institutionalized forces on the left like the
unions and MoveOn and the Van Jones American Dream Movement are trying
to latch on to the protests and turn them into what some people have
called a liberal version of the Tea Party. How do you think their
involvement will effect the movement? How should the activists at the
core of the movement relate to them?
They should be friendly. They should ask them to do things; they should
give them assignments. And not adopt the insignia of these groups as
their own. In other words they should maintain considerable autonomy,
but nevertheless they should treat these groups as allies, as they
treated the unions as allies. But they shouldn’t ever let unions tell
them what to do, they shouldn’t let Van Jones tell them what to do.
Partly because they seem to know better, really.
So I don’t think that’s their biggest problem, how to deal with their erstwhile supporters.