Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
In the past week, Occupy camps around the country have been broken up and forced to regroup, rethink, and reiterate their case for being.In our view, this doesn’t have to be a negative thing for the movement.
Weeks ago we wrote a piece about how Occupy Wall Street had progressed 6 weeks after it started. In it, we said that the park had lost some of its innocence, and that the message of the occupation was getting lost in Zuccotti Park’s appearance, and in news about the protesters’ struggle to reign in some of their more unruly cohabitants.
We’ve heard that some of you agree. You recognise that you have not created spaces that appeal to all. And that’s dangerous because the moment those spaces become so unappealing they’re impossible to ignore, your message gets lost. Moreover, things will only get harder in the cold.
For our part, at least, this is a tactical, not an ideological analyses.
Adbusters, the magazine that started all of this, happens to have come to the same conclusion about what the occupiers should do this winter. In an open Tactical Briefing to all occupations, they wrote the following:
STRATEGY #2: We declare “victory” and throw a party … a grand gesture to celebrate…how far we’ve come, the comrades we’ve made, the glorious days ahead. Imagine, on a Saturday yet to be announced, perhaps our movement’s three month anniversary on December 17, in every #OCCUPY in the world, we reclaim the streets for a weekend of triumphant hilarity and joyous revelry….
Then we clean up, scale back and most of us go indoors while the die-hards hold the camps. We use the winter to brainstorm, network, build momentum so that we may emerge rejuvenated with fresh tactics, philosophies, and a myriad projects ready to rumble next Spring.
You see, it isn’t just your message isn’t just the occupation’s message that gets lost when the park becomes harder to control either. This is also about energy. Expending it controlling what goes on inside the park detracts from the Occupation’s ability to act on what’s going on outside. No one could have predicted the way things progressed in Zuccotti, but now that you’ve proven you can build a community, it’s time to consider going somewhere where you can harness it’s power.
Indeed Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Quan both made statements with a similar sentiment. Bloomberg said that he had seen little qualm with the protesters’ behaviour in the streets of Manhattan, but it was the state of Zuccotti Park that became unacceptable. Quan said that she was afraid the antics of a few was destroying the message of many.
This isn’t going to happen at Business Insider every day, but in this case we’re with Adbusters— even more so now that the park has been cleared out. We stand by this position because we believe that when there have been few distractions, the Occupation’s message about the wealth gap has been getting through.
Income inequality has become the debate of the day. That, and not the right to Occupation, is what you want the world to be debating. It really does change things… it changes things so much that your opponents are getting scared. Take Congressman Peter King for example. He had this to say to say about it on Laura Ingram’s radio show last month:
“It’s really important for us not to give any legitimacy to these people in the streets,” said King on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Friday evening. “I remember what happened in the 1960s when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy. We can’t allow that to happen.”
But it could happen. If you keep your argument focused, and the attention on the right debate, more journalists than we have argued that you could win, because income inequality really does hurt societies.
Naturally, however, the decision is up to you.