Withdrawing From Occupation

Posted: November 8, 2011 in Current Events

Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Bay Street (Toronto) have enjoyed tremendous success.  A majority of the public are still, according to the latest polls, in support of the movement.  In Toronto, it has drawn attention to the gap between rich and poor and has drawn out support from the left side of the spectrum, acting to somewhat galvanize them.  It has clearly succeeded in raising awareness around specific problems and issues.  In the U.S. it has pointed a finger at corrupt and dubious financial practices, and an elite culture that has lost touch with society as a whole.

The outcome has been successful and has enjoyed the respect of those that matter.  The conduct of the participants have been exemplary and will help to suggest novel and hopeful initiatives and innovation in interactions between people.

But it may have accomplished all that it can hope to.  I’m not sure what remaining will succeed in proving.  They are not going to witness the capitulation of the financial system.  They are not going to see reform legislation in the immediate future.  If anything, their campaign will help to insure that things don’t get any worse.  The powerful may display a little more reluctance and discretion in their future actions.  In spite of all of its success, carrying on may not serve any useful purpose, and may actually harm the process.  What would be useful would be a “next step”.  If these people have been productive in their meetings, I would hope that they have considered what action may be appropriate after the occupation.  There needs to be something to keep the Left in the spotlight which the Right has hogged for too long.  It needs to evolve into a force or movement that will sustain and bring forward the awareness that has been won.  I’m not sure I know what that is.

It could be a movie, or an Internet campaign, or an initiative like Adbusters’ “Buy Nothing Friday”, or a demand for legislation to regulate financial institutions with the return of the protections stripped away by Regan, or the prosecution of the criminals who profited from the collapse of 2008…  Tlhere needs to be a shift and transcendance to something that will take the great energy that’s been produced here and move it to something more concrete, directed and productive.

The orderly withdrawal needs to be staged in a way that projects an image of maturity and responsibility.  That would be a great PR move.  That would add a measure of additional credibility to the protest.

I only know that if the “Occupy…” protesters stay entrenched in their parks because they don’t know what the next step is, things will end up going badly and souring.


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