As for who they are—an amorphous group made up of the unemployed, the unemployable, the truly inspired and trust fund kids, pissed off and wanting to put a stop to something but with no agenda and no clear leadership—well, I know what you’re thinking. They sound like republicans to me. No, it turns out they’re simply the unemployed, the unemployable, the truly inspired and trust fund kids. As for what they want, I’m guessing they either want to vent a spleen or get out of French Lit 101. They’ve got a tough row to hoe, it’s hard to rally around a cause with slogans like, “‘What do we want?’ ‘Whatever!’ When do we want it?’ ‘Now!’” Or, “Hey, hey, Barack HO, how many terrorists did you kill today?”
Which brings us to the chatter comparing this movement to the riots that shook the world in 1968. OK, let’s get this straight. The Occupy movements aren’t even riots, just a bunch of US citizens practicing their constitutional rights of free speech and assembly. Citizens who really need a porta potty deal. People in Syria, China, and Iran are rioting and dying for it, but I don’t see that happening here where we call the police if McDonald’s gets our fry order wrong. I’d hate to think I could die at the hands of my government for carrying a sign that read “Free the Google keyword algorithm!”
But if you think it can’t happen here, my friends, you would be wrong. Dead wrong. In fact, it already has and I don’t mean Kent State. Remember that in 1932 the US army was sent to disperse, but any means necessary, a similar occupation of the National Mall. And these people were WWI vets. The army attacked its own people. It may be worth noting that it happened because the democrats promised money that the country didn’t have and the republicans didn’t want to raise taxes to pay it, but that’s irrelevant to the Occupy movement. Surely. This is why the Tea Party movement and the Occupy movement should air kiss and wish each other well.
What’s so great about riots anyway? I mean, aren’t they just manufactured physical confrontations with little probability of getting hurt and a high probability of getting laid? Wait! OK, I just got it. Still, the ‘68 riots didn’t usher in the Age of Aquarius and Woodstock, they brought in the oil embargo and Nixon’s secret plan to end the war by diverting national attention with the Watergate scandal and simply leaving Saigon. Look it up. Like any movement, it had its martyrs. In this case, Bobby Kennedy, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. So you can impress your friends with your prophetic abilities by saying, “When you see Michael Moore stroke out, with a hoagie in one hand and a bullhorn in the other, the end is near.” You can also say that the quality of martyrs has noticeably diminished. Nearly forty-five years later, the ’68 protestors have now either become the establishment, or else have their limos stop by an Occupy camp to give a word of encouragement and pick up some street cred on their way to catch a flight for a little down time in Fiji.
So up and at ’em Occupiers. Just remember that nobody likes a drum circle unless they’re on ecstasy, and there’s just not enough of that to go around, my friends.
- Robert Creamer: Mayors Who Attempt to End Occupy Protests Are on the Wrong Side of History (huffingtonpost.com)
- Why Do Police Treat ‘Occupy-ers’ Like Terrorists, Not Tea Partyers? (usnews.com)
- What to Make of New Polling on Support for the Occupy Movement? (alternet.org)