There has been a lot of hand-wringing about the direction of the Occupy movement, its message, its leaderless nature, its outside-of-the-beltway tactics and the everyone-is-invited attitude of the Occupiers. There has been much consternation about Occupy foregoing the two party system debate and instead focusing on direct action, and other ways to influence our rusted out old political system without having to argue about democrats or republicans. While concerns about the movement should be addressed, and problems solved in a timely manner, these specific criticisms have gotten as stale as week old bread.
Occupy exists outside of our current two party system. It is not a vehicle to elect national Democrats or Republicans. This fact, despite the concerns about electing Democrats to office, is a good thing. We need a movement that exists outside of the party's top-down hierarchical structure, that isn't accountable to any one Democrat, that isn't responsible for going out and soliciting donations. We need this movement to hold all members of our political system accountable, so it cannot be beholden to one party or another. Occupy "declaring" for one party or another goes against the entire concept of the movement.
Their message isn't cohesive, because all walks of life are invited to join, but one message has been abundantly clear throughout the duration, if you have listened: the rich guy gets richer because he can buy power and representation in our Government, the little guy gets screwed because all of the gains he has made has been eaten up by said rich guy. And we are not having it any more. That is about as clear as it gets and that is as clear as "the message" needs to be. The goals of the movement sprout from the message: to have a fairer society. Not to have a society where the rich can't have their riches, but to have a society where everyone has the opportunity to live their lives without having to work two jobs (one for health insurance, one for pay), without going bankrupt because of cancer, without losing their homes to shady mortgaging practices, without working 19 hour days, without going hungry, without going homeless. Those goals aren't ill-defined, that is what the movement has been saying all along! Were you listening?
Occupy is an ever evolving movement. It isn't perfect, it makes mistakes. But just because mistakes are made, doesn't mean the movement is a complete failure. It doesn't mean that the American public will turn on them. It doesn't mean that they are all doomed to failure and we must now just completely wash our hands of this entire thing. Remember: this is the movement we have been waiting for. It is worth the time and effort to help OWS evolve, not knock it while its down. Now is the time for all of us to get involved with local occupations everywhere, so all of our voices can be heard, so you can voice your grievances if you have them.
Most of the people in Occupy aren't advertising or marketing geniuses. Occupy isn't a managed brand, where gallup polls and how someone looks on camera matters. Sometimes the movement will get off message, and talk about police brutality, or keeping the tents, or boycotting this or that public official because they ordered attacks on their encampment. These aren't bad things, they are just different things that you are not used to. Most of us are used to having our messages packaged in neat little 30 second sound bites, most of us are used to having to worry about how our message is going to play out in Peoria. Most of us are used to worrying about what the "silent majority" thinks. This movement, simply put, just isn't. Its a revolutionary new way of thinking in our slick, fast paced, mile-a-minute "ad campaign" culture. They don't have to worry about what the mainstream media thinks, because they are building their own media -- from the ground up. They don't have to rely on NBC Nightly News to get the spin just right, they have the biggest microphone available at their fingertips 24/7 -- the internet.
Rest assured -- Occupy is winning. Occupy is a success. When you see Republicans backing down from class war, that is winning, friends. The Occupy movement did something we had all been screaming at Democrats to do in Congress for the longest time (ever since I have been posting at dailykos, at least): stand up. Get some spine. Stop bending over backwards to accommodate crazy, bat-shit insane ideas coming out of the right. And they are winning because of their "crazy" leaderless, everyone is welcome to join, don't care about the traditional media stances, not despite them. We shouldn't be concerned when their poll numbers slip a little bit, because being popular isn't the point, getting people talking is the point. We shouldn't be concerned when talking head or another comes out against OWS, because getting the MSM's attention isn't the point, building a new media structure is the point. That is why we shouldn't be concerned when the right wing slimes the movement, because pleasing the right wing isn't the point, getting people to WAKE UP is the point. Remember, if the old way of thinking actually, ya know, worked, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in today. It is going to take a radical new way of thinking and doing things to get things to change, so don't be concerned if it all looks a little weird to you. That is a feature, not a bug.
Now can we all stop complaining about this?