Americans conduct their lives in a world of corporately managed consciousness. Billions of dollars are spent in an effort to convince us what to buy, who to vote for, who to like, who to friend, who to follow. The great abiding fear is that we might be friending somebody that everybody else is unfriending or wearing last year's accessories.
Along comes the Occupy Movement. Now let's face it. These people are not well accessorized and they are not living at a prestigious address. The media and various people who drink the Kool-Aid produced by the media are wringing their hands and getting their hair on fire about the image that is being projected to the American public. The recurring cry of anguish is that if the movement doesn't manage its image it will fail.
The notion of success or failure is based entirely on what it is that one sets out to accomplish. If you want to get rich, then it is determined by how much money you make. If you want to get elected, then it is determined by whether you won the election. So before we can talk about failure for the movement, we would need to know what the movement intends to accomplish.
One of the things that make this movement different is that so far it has declined to take formal positions on specific policies and to become aligned with traditional political organizations. There are of course recurring themes of opinion expressed by many of the people involved in the movement. A list of these would include income inequality, political corruption, and declining economic opportunities. These are concerns rather than specific policy positions. They would have to be taken to a level of more specific policy goals before outcomes could be evaluated.
Right now it seems to me that the fundamental objective and purpose of the movement is disruption. What seems to be driving the response that has spread all across the country and to other parts of the globe, from large cities to small towns is a pervasive sense that the system is broken and fixing it requires something much more basic than a change in the brand of politicians that are in power. This kind of basic change is not achieved in a polite and tasteful manner. It requires disruption.
There is an extensive amount of material available on brand management. There is the business specialty of marketing. Vast sums of money are spent on research and promotion. Along the road of my checkered career I acquired an MBA in the subject, so I'm fairly familiar with how it is supposed to work. Political campaign management uses many of the same techniques. One of the most fundamental precepts of this collection of practices is that you never directly challenge the values and views of popular culture. You conduct opinion polls and focus groups to determine how people feel and what they want and then attempt to present your product or candidate as being ideally suited to gratify those longings.
Americans are now deeply conditioned to being constantly bombarded with messages telling us that we can have it all and get it without inconvenience or disruption to the routines of our lives. While we have been lulled into mental torpor with The Message our economic lives and our political power have been slowly eroded.
My view is that any attempt by the Occupy Movement to make itself and its image palatable and easy to swallow like a sugar coated caplet for the American middle class is what would likely be doomed to failure. If the control of the financial oligarchy is allowed to continue then the American standard of living will continue its long term decline. The last message that the American public needs to hear is that everything is going to be all right and that they can just sit back on the couch and be comfortable.
The Occupy Movement is not intended to be a denture adhesive nor a hemorrhoid relief.