A Convergence of Anger: 7 things I admire about Occupy Wall Street

(This post is a part of Absolute Write’s September Blog Chain.  Check out the others at the bottom–good reads!)

S17: International Convergence of the 99% on Wall Street
International Convergence of the 99% on Wall Street, 9/17

This Saturday is the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.  I am not directly involved with them,  I live in a small Midwestern town down a long empty road, but I think the movement means something to me and to most Americans.  I invite y’all to share your own perceptions on Occupy as well.

First off, I admire Occupy’s unbreakable moxie.  As a former activist, sometimes still pulled out of my closet by an urgent cause, I can testify to just how emotionally draining activism can be.  No matter how hard you work, no matter how successful you are at it,  it’s never enough–not ever.  There’s always someone more to help, always a flaw in what you did accomplish, but Occupy’s collective attitude seems to be, “Hey, we’ll get to it.  There’s room for every voice.”

Second, I love their spontaneity.  Nobody expected for average Americans to just show up and camp out on Wall Street.  And that was because they really weren’t very organized about it. Just sort of showed up and did their best.  They got heard, not because they had been coached on how to get a message out, not because they had a huge budget, but because they just stood there until people listened.  In this day & age, we talk about issues for a few seconds, maybe minutes.  Staying on topic, literally standing in one place was sort of like reverse-political crank.

Third, when they first started I adored their pure innocence.  Yes, I know most people wouldn’t call them innocent anymore, but when they first started, they were so very effective because of their beautiful ignorance of the established political playing field.  Many years ago, I started out armed with that same ignorance and believe it’s any activist’s strongest weapon.  Once you let yourself fall into your specified “place” in the debate, you’ve lost your edge.  My advice is to nurture your ignorance of the political game.  Practice innocence.Photo: The most violent element in our society is ignorance #ows

Fourth, I respect their flaws.  The political far-left LOVES to point out any movement’s  flaws–the far right too.  When you first appear on the scene, you get a week of ‘Hey so glad you’re doing this,’ after that it’s mostly critique.  ‘You know, I hear you had 500 demonstrators.  How come you can’t break 1000?’ That comment usually comes from someone who claims to be part of your movement, but didn’t show up to the event.   Or another person might say, ‘In London they did this huge, amazing event, why can’t y’all do that in Houston?’  For starters, London is the capitol of a nation with a huge politically active contingent.  Houston is a politically sleepy oiltown. Everything to scale folks. But my biggest beef with the naysayers is the food police.: “I’m glad that y’all decided to feed the participants, but you should have served organic, raw, vegan food grown within 20 miles of here.”  The difference between an activist and an intellectual is that the intellectual knows what needs to be done, but when he thinks about how to do it perfectly, he can’t achieve it–so he never does anything.  The activist figures out what he can do–then does his best.  While some political activists eat really carefully themselves, I’ve never met an effective one who tries to force his food views on other people.  Sorry, but you can’t open minds while denying someone their french fries.

Occupy Wall St.Fifth, I’m awed by their art.  I’ve sprinkled a few examples through this post, but visit their website for more.  If inspiration is 99%, the 99% have a hell-bent advantage at it.

Sixth, I’m impressed by their growth.  I don’t mean their numbers, but their improved wisdom and their accumulation of skills. Their use of the internet and social media is superb.  My fave paper is the “Occupied New York Times.”  I hope they continue to balance that wisdom with practiced ignorance.

And finally, I gotta love their anger:a mid-air Molotov Cocktail of divergent outrage–so many converging ideas.  It seems to have reached its apex of flight and is careening toward the target.

May it hit the mark.

This post is part of the Absolute Write Water Cooler’s September Blog Chain.  Our theme: the number 7.  There have been some awesome posts, check them out:

Participants and posts:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
bmadsen – http://hospitaloflife.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
writingismypassion – http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
areteus – http://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
randi.lee – http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
BBBurke – http://www.awritersprogression.com/ (link to this month’s post)
BigWords – http://bigwords88.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
meowzbark – http://erlessard.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
SuzanneSeese – http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
AFord – http://writeword.blog.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Kricket – http://kricketwrites.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)

9 thoughts on “A Convergence of Anger: 7 things I admire about Occupy Wall Street

  1. Very interesting and informative piece on a movement I did not know (reassuring what you just said of their lack of strength in different aspects such as organization and such). Hopefully, this movement will continue to grow and become more powerful, all the while, not losing their unique personality as a group.

  2. I appreciate the ideal, but the problem with the protests is the people didn’t have a well-organized message or an established leadership. This made the efforts a bit amateurish and not worth 99% of most people’s lives.

    Sadly, the activists want to sacrifice for 99% of people they believe are behind them, yet the 99% don’t bother to show up for the protests. In reality, what I believe is happening is 1% of people, homeless, jobless, and/or not taking advantage of government assistance are pissed at the rich, yet not realizing that part of their 99% are struggling and don’t have the TIME to protest as such.

    I think people might understand, but are not as passionate to give up their struggle to survive in this economy to join the 1% off the 99%.

    Great post! I love it when I read something that makes me think and ponder. 🙂

  3. Interesting post. I have my doubts about the effectiveness of this movement, although I believe in the concept. We have a right to speak up; we have a right to protest things we don’t agree with. But I think this movement has left a bunch of people just rolling their eyes. Just my two cents.

  4. The concept makes sense, but it is too disorganized, no real point other than to protest those that the ones doing it see as unjustly having more than they do. Protests work when there is a viable goal in sight, and there is an alternative to what they are protesting. Not just protesting something they don’t like.

  5. B.M., Charity, and Shawn, you have great points. I hope somebody from Occupy will see this. It seems like the response is fairly unanimous: to an outsider, they seem disorganized and unfocused. The message might need clarity. Seems like fighting apartheid was a lot easier, just one point.

  6. Like/admire the thought you put into the prompt. Activism is a good thing. Hat tip to anyone who cares enough to advocate for others, and promotes fairness and justice.

  7. Haha, political controversy! My old friend! We don’t see you around the blog chain as often as we used to. How ya been?

    I would correct “innocence” to “naiveté,” personally. I’m no fan of OWS, and that’s one of the reasons. That sense of naive entitlement which says “I’m going to riot, or at least ape the great activists of ages past (or Egypts past), if I don’t get what’s coming to me.”

    Whoops, got a little controversial myself there 🙂 Great post though. Like the real OWS, it’s thought-provoking if nothing else!

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