Long-time leftie Marc Cooper on Occupy.
Letting this movement descend into a prolonged cat and mouse battle over physical space, tents and parks would be tragic. The fight for physical space is not only unsustainable, it is also politically insufficient and ineffective.
OWS must look outward. It must build real coalitions.
The coalitions need to be across political boundaries. Some of the Tea Parties and many libertarians are plenty angry at the corruption in the country. They can reach people lefties can’t. This leads into another point. Occupy needs a short, easily understandable set of demands. This should focus on our corrupted political and financial systems and be deliberately phrased to appeal to tens of millions.
Beware of those who want jack Occupy for petty partisan political gain and who don’t want major change. As I mentioned in a earlier post, The Montana Liberty Movement delineates precisely how supposed liberals demonize and attack anti-government groups thus implicitly backing the status quo. Their attacks can be against the left as well as the right. Besides, this is about populism, with left vs right becoming increasingly irrelevant. It’s the 99% vs. the 1%.
OWS is going to have to make itself more accessible to folks who are NOT full-time activists. The tribal aspect of OWS, the concentration on camp kitchens, libraries, etc. are quaint but wholly irrelevant. They are ingrown and exclusionary.
I have no prescriptions or paint-by-numbers scheme for OWS. I can’t tell you exactly what it should do next. I only know what it shouldn’t do. It must not close in on itself and make itself the issue. The parks don’t matter.
As Cooper points out, the battle of Seattle was a landmark event. But tactics and strategy at the street level never evolved beyond that. Instead kept trying to replicate its initial success, with declining results, as law enforcement simply made convention areas off-limits. But campaigns that emerged from it did have an effect against odious ‘free trade’ agreement.
We do need people in the streets. Hopefully lots more will join. Let’s make room for them and adapt strategy to the ever-changing circumstances.