Occupy's next move?

Monday, October 24, 2011

At Chicago Boyz Sgt Mom has a post So – Whither Occupy What Street? where she wonders what sort of end game the Occupiers have for their protests. Specifically, she discusses how Tea Party folk moved from their early demonstrations to the trenches of local politics and wonders if the Occupy crowd has it in them to do the same:
I do have to hand it to the Occupy Whatever Street – the major national news media are already giving the various protest events the warm sloppy tongue-bath, even to the point of serving your public relations functions. It took the SATP a good six months of outreach and conferences with various local TV news directors and newspaper editors to get any respect at all. But, as a sort-of PR professional, I have to say that this good-will towards the OWS probably will not last, and may already be shriveling. A long-established protest site in the heart of a big city can only be made to seem cool, subversive, and glamorous for so long, in the face of ongoing noise and vandalism, reported harassment of local residents and law-enforcement personnel, and just the general rat’s nest appearance of the average OWS protest camp. This will not go over well in the long run with ordinary, hard-working, peace-loving citizens, even those in general sympathy with some of the stated goals. There are a fair number of new reports indicating that your immediate neighbors in your various venues are growing sick and tired of your presence. This is something that you should pay attention to; bad optics, from a public affairs point of view. Which brings me to my next point –

A street protest is just a starting point for a truly broad-based and ground-up political movement. Getting together in a public space all those who are moved enough to be unhappy about things as they are  . . .   that is only the first step. The next one is to go home after a decent interval, to fully understand the issues and the various options that would perhaps alleviate those of most concern, and to continue the outreach, the consultations, the epic convention calls, the even-more-epic meetings among the most dedicated and skilled – the formulation of email lists, the cultivation of donors  . . .  all of that. It’s much more of a job and not as attention-catching as a simple temporary event. It’s work, and it’s hard and dedicated work. It is not fun – hardly a romp in the park, if I may be so kind as to draw that analogy. It’s work. Hard work and it will almost always take a lot more temporal and psychic energy than you might think at first. Been there – done that, ever since working to resettle Vietnamese refugees in 1975-75.

My own guess is no. I would guess that their immediate hope is that city authorities get fed up with their camps and close them down. That way they'll be able to go home, escape the bums pestering them, swap tales of police brutality and claim a moral victory of sorts. The alternative is the arrival of cold weather and the whole thing fizzling out and ending like a Cindy Sheehan book signing.

At any rate, with their Progressive Stack of Speakers, People Microphones and unending concensus building they have a different style. I think if you asked them they would consider local and state politics part of the problem, and would go off on a rant about needed to entirely rebuild the structure of politics -- which is to say they'll do a lot of vague talking, but their actions will be protests in bank lobbies, at businesses leaders homes and other such protest theater pranks.

I would expect to see something more along the lines of the Madison protests, which started out with an occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol Building and edged towards odder and more confrontational tactics as the protest's energy spun down.