|Occupy D.C., Freedom Plaza, October 2011|
Much of the criticism of Occupy Wall Street, and the movement it has borne, is a perceived lack of focus and clarity, both from opponents on the Right and proponents on the Left. I've read comments from my own blog ("I do think OWS needs to do a better job of selling its message and connecting to the general population") and other's ("It is hard to negotiate for change without such demands set forth...[a]s much as I admire the demonstrators courage and spunk I think the whole idea was half baked and doomed to fail from the beginning"). "It’s not poll-tested or focus-grouped, but it expresses perfectly the outrage that is the appropriate response to the maddening political situation we find ourselves in today. It succeeds as symbolic politics: taking back the square is just what we need to do", argues Betsy Reed with The Nation. Even mainstream medium bulwark CNN concedes:
"Anyone who says he has no idea what these folks are protesting is not being truthful. Whether we agree with them or not, we all know what they are upset about, and we all know that there are investment bankers working on Wall Street getting richer while things for most of the rest of us are getting tougher. What upsets banking's defenders and politicians alike is the refusal of this movement to state its terms or set its goals in the traditional language of campaigns...there are a wide array of complaints, demands, and goals from the Wall Street protesters: the collapsing environment, labor standards, housing policy, government corruption, World Bank lending practices, unemployment, increasing wealth disparity and so on...they believe they are symptoms of the same core problem. Are they ready to articulate exactly what that problem is and how to address it? No, not yet. But neither are Congress or the president..."
Nonviolent protest is very successful in initiating change, something Gene Sharp, author of From Dictatorship to Democracy, knows more than anyone concerning the subject. Translated into over thirty languages, his work has inspired and created countless regime changes around the world. Examples of key nonviolent steps intrinsic to liberation:
- Develop a strategy for winning freedom and a vision of the society you want
- Overcome fear by small acts of resistance
- Use colors and symbols to demonstrate unity of resistance
- Learn from historical examples of the successes of non-violent movements
- Use non-violent "weapons"
- Identify the dictatorship's pillars of support and develop a strategy for undermining each
- Use oppressive or brutal acts by the regime as a recruiting tool for your movement
- Isolate or remove from the movement people who use or advocate violence
Central to Dr. Sharp's treatise is the premise that "the power of dictatorships comes from the willing obedience of the people they govern - and that if the people can develop techniques of withholding their consent, a regime will crumble."
For now, the work is to build momentum through numbers. The work is to grow awareness. The work is to expose. It's their money versus our numbers, our awareness, our shedding light on their corruptness and lies. Demands will be formally articulated later.
Here's the latest from Anonymous (Message to Occupy the World 11-18-11):
Greetings citizens of the world. We are Anonymous. Since the occupation of Wall Street began we have been watching closely as countless people in cities around the world have taken to the streets in peaceful support of the movement. A show of support for a humanity free from the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Free from corruption in our political and financial institutions, and free from the injustices caused by corporate personhood and the oppression of others. This is not the Arab Spring, Egypt, Greece, Tunisia, nor The American Autumn.
This is mass global awakening.
The lies and corruptions that have attached themselves to our system like a parasite have been exposed.
A way to rid our world of this parasite uncovered.
The cure lies in all of us.
This is only the first wave of our brothers and sisters to awaken to the lies and corruptions taking place around them. You, my brothers and sisters bear the weight of carrying this message to the masses. You must continue to hold your ground and stand up to help educate others to these injustices. The practice of active non participation in the things we deem evil, peaceful protests, and large scale community education efforts are things each one of us can continue and teach others to help aid in the fight. This will assure us victory against tyranny in our world.
We have already seen signs of this process beginning to take hold. With the successful transfer of 4.5 billion dollars on Bank Transfer Day, and 690,000 new accounts created at credit unions in the U.S. alone, we have taken the first strike against the banks.
This will not be the last.
Occupy protests continue to grow despite the puppet media, who is bought and controlled by politicians and corporations continuing to lie about numbers involved in the protests. They have said there is no clear message and otherwise down played and belittled the protests as a whole. Yet our message has still gotten out.
Political and corporate backed entities continue to try to adopt and corrupt the movement.
Trying to turn it into a tool for their own purposes, yet they fail.
Worse yet, incidents of police brutality and the revocation of the rights of our citizens are growing more common place. Corrupt elements hidden within police forces around the world have begun to inflict terror and beat the otherwise peaceful protestors into submission. Mayors, and governing officials in cities around the world have begun to send in their dogs in an effort to stamp out the growth of revolution. They have taken notice of our actions and they are scared!
These crimes against our citizens do not go unnoticed, and must not be allowed to quell our efforts in seeking freedom. We must maintain peaceful despite these atrocities and not feed into their efforts to bring us down to their lowly level of existence.
The instigators of these actions are unaware that they are defeating themselves, for we are already at the third act of the famous quote; “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you. then you win.”
There has never been a more exciting time to be alive in all our lives.
It is important that we not be bored or let idle time pass, for the seeds of revolution against worldwide injustice have been sewn. Yet without enough nourishment they will not survive and grow to full fruition.
Citizens of the world, the power for change is in our hands. We must continue to expose the truth to the masses.
Know your own power; inform others of the immediate threat of corporations, banking institutions and the growing takeover of world governments. Maintain true to the foundations of the Occupy movement. Fight greed, corruption and corporate control of our democracy.
Continue to denounce the involvement of entities with political and financial affiliations in the movement. Express your free right to assemble via global, large scale peaceful protests.
Our efforts must not simply continue.
Our efforts must grow.
Corrupt governments, police, corporations, banking institutions and those who oppress others.
You cannot kill, or buy an idea.
You are the parasite, not our citizens who gather in peaceful protest against injustice in our world.
You are outnumbered, and surrounded.
The revolution has begun, and the end of your reign is near.
We will not stand for your atrocities and injustices any longer.
We are Bradley Manning, we are Scott Olsen. We are your brother, mother, and best friend.
We are people.
We are free.
We are one.
We are Anonymous.
We are legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
You should have expected us!