Occupied (part one)

Sorry for the lack of new content on what is supposed to be a fairly consistent and timely blog… Also sorry for formatting errors and other such slop, updating from my iPad. Here goes.

If you’ve been watching the news at all the past few months, you’ve no doubt heard about the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the smaller clone movements nationwide. You’ve more than likely heard both the good and the bad, the stands against police brutality, and the violence perpetrated by the protesters themselves. Before we go any further, let me establish the following:

I am in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Alrighty, now that I’ve taken care of that, let’s move on.

When the Occupy movement started, the press was strangely silent. Seriously, for the entire first week, there was zero press coverage, aside from leftist blogs and more alternative media. The press seemed to hope that this was a minor occurrence, to fade to black and be swept under the rug without mention. Unfortunately enough for them, this wasn’t the case, as two months(ish) later they show no signs of slowing, despite cold weather starting to set in.

Some of the flaws of the movement, pointed out early and still heavily present today, is their lack of an agenda. They seem to lack a clear set of demands, as I’ve seen multiple lists, ranging from basic libertarian goals to a near carbon copy of The Communist Manifesto. Part of the problem seems to be similar to one of the greatest strengths and weaknesses of the hacker group Anonymous (more on that connection later), which is their ambiguity as a group. There’s no leaders, no hierarchy of any kind. On one hand this means that there’s no one person instrumental in their operation (and therefore targetable by the opposition) it also means that just about everyone can claim to be part of the 99% and make up their own demands, and no one can really refute it. There’s no central authority to go through, no seal of approval that marks the comment, post, or press release as officially from the protesters, or just from a couple of fringe protesters, or even an opponent trying to make them look bad. There’s no list of demands because it’s not one organization, it’s a cloud of people, each with their own desires and goals for the movement. I’ve always loved studying the mob mentality of Anonymous, and will admit I get a guilty pleasure out of watching OWS for the same reason– seeing people work together without a leadership structure is strange. Tribes, villages, towns, nations… Human society has always centered around having a leader or leaders to guide them, whether it be a CEO, president, or the Vatican. I find it fascinating to watch a group with no such support structure operate, and to find the strengths and failings therein. Interesting.

Moving on… As the press attention has increased, it seems as if the instances of criminal activity associated with the group has increased as well. From civil disobedience to assaulting officers on one side, and plenty of police brutality on the other. No fatalities yet, thank Yoda, but plenty of violence from both sides. These once innocuous protests are quickly becoming the “class war” that we’ve all been told to fear (although I’m not yet convinced that the poverty gap is so great that war is the only outcome). The protesters are sick of feeling downtrodden and ignored, and the corporates are sick of bad publicity. And I have a feeling things will get worse before they get better. And again, I admit to getting a guilty pleasure from watching it all unfold. This is history people.

One thing that has been brought into the light recently is that several companies targeted by the movement (JP Morgan and Bank of America, among others) are also regular donators to the New York Police Department. While this act isn’t necessarily aggressive by any means, it certainly calls into question the neutrality of the NYPD. Especially considering that the NYPD is a private nonprofit, and so doesn’t have to disclose where it’s donations come from. This means that, potentially at least, a metric asston of money is being poured into the NYPD and (again, speculating) that this could easily be swaying the NYPD to be more oppressive or violent than they otherwise would be, even subconsciously.

That’s it for part one, twos half done. Goodnight.

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About J. K. Gray

A romantic, a thinker, a lover, and a blogger.
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