The Occupy Movement - could someone explain?

Could someone explain what the Occupy movement was/ is about? I’ve never been able to figure it out.
People are pissed about entrenched and growing inequity and are hoping to reform …something…ok. So what is the objective of camping out in parks and being obnoxious and annoying with no apparent objective other than some vague marxist type comic book version of reality, manifesting as counterproductive acts of vandalizing bank windows, trashing public parks, or being pissed off at anyone that has money, including people who actually create jobs and innovation.
I’m hoping someone that actually was involved in it could explain what its point or objectives were/ are?

Just so you know, it’s generally not considered good form around here to poison the well in the OP as you’ve done. I’m going to report this for a forum change, since you’re asking about information rather than proposing a debate (which is what the “Great Debates” forum is for).

Also, you might try searching this MB for previous threads-- there have been quite a few on this subject, as you can imagine. Most of them are from 1-2 years ago when that movement was more active.

In fairness to the OP, that was a positive review of occupy, you should see the negative ones.

The Occupy movement happened because you touch yourself at night. Is that the level of discourse you were hoping to start with your shit-eating critique?

Concur. But this thread is destroyed from the get-go, so I’d vote to close it. The OP is free to try again with a more open form of the question.

The Occupy movement started out as a protest against economic inequality. Big corporations raking in billions while the little people suffer. That sort of thing. The problem was, the movement was almost immediately hijacked by organized labor and pro-socialist types, who basically turned it into a generic liberal bitchfest with no clear goals. After that, the Occupy movement quickly lost legitimacy, and mainstream Americans stopped paying attention.

I think the idea was to start the protests based on generalized malaise, and then let the decision of what exactly was being protested, and (especially) what was to be done about it emerge organically. Which turned out as observed.

If you don’t know where you are going, it is hard to say how you are going to get there.

Maybe if the recession had turned into a real depression, the movement might have had legs, but I doubt it would even then. Nobody outside the humanities department at UC-Berkeley really believes in Marxism anymore, the fact that the unions were a major cause of the bankruptcy of GM meant that organized labor had no credibility (plus Scott Walker’s slapping around the WI teacher’s unions made that even more of a no-go), and the usual fringe of leftover hippies and purple-haired misfits couldn’t organize a movement if their unemployment checks depended on it.

So Occupy started off slowly, and then fizzled out altogether. There have been a few half-hearted attempts on the SDMB to classify anything the Occupiers do as a rousing success, but it is hard to read them with a straight face.


I think you’re trying to find a third party to blame when you need go no further than the occupiers themselves.

“Organized labor” didn’t do anything - they anti-organized themselves into oblivion. And every position to the left of what they were opposing is Socialist, Socialist, Socialist… so the WSJ told us. So if they let the audience decide they were “socialist,” they may as well have just spent the time bending each other over.

I don’t think I will ever cease being infuriated by Occupy - movement and participants. They had the golden moment and momentum in their hands… and utterly, completely pissed it away with their uber-passive approach that let everyone else define and categorize them.

I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that there were disaffected twenty-somethings in the country. I never knew. :rolleyes:

This is entirely out of line. If you can’t actually contribute to the debate, perhaps you just read.

Warning issued.

Despite the poisoned well in the OP, I think it actually is worth a revisit of the Occupy movement because, as far as I can tell, it’s completely fizzled now. I haven’t heard anything about it in a long time, and I haven’t seen their camps for months, in DC at least.

I will agree with the general sentiment, that it seems like a lot of people were upset about a lot of things, with a few main items like economic inequality, but the approach ended up just not working out. My personal impression was that it was sort of a revisionist history call-back to the counter-culture protests of the 60s, but it was that revisionism that fundamentally crippled the cause. That is, it seems like people believe that hippies were just about peace and freedom and all, and they were successful just by doing that stuff, as in, if we show the powers that be that enough people are unhappy they’ll change things. But, in reality, there was no ambiguity about the protests, and there were clear actions being taken.

This is where I think the comparison to the Tea Party is apt. They were able to focus the their protests on a small handful of key issues, had ideas about how to fix them, and got some money and politicians behind them. Whatever one may think of those ideas and as the results actually played out aside, at least the protest itself was successful. The only really successful idea I consistently got was the “We are the 99%” tagline, but it still lacked the focus on ideas or solutions.

So, frankly, even among supporters of the movement, I’m not sure you’ll be able to get very consistent ideas about what people were upset about or what they wanted people to do about it.

Even if it was decided to give the Occupy movement what they wanted, what do they want? They want a thousand different things, most of them flat-out insane - like wanting to make it illegal to tell people when you don’t pay your debts.

You’ve touched on the main point of my anger, because if Occupy was anything, it was a cargo-cult take on the demonstrations of the 1960s that completely omitted any of the parts that were effective and completely missed the whole point.

The efforts of the 1960s had leaders - Abbie, Jerry, Stokely, and the rest. They weren’t universally loved and the later it got the more some of them fought, but they each led some faction to some victories. Occupy: THEY have leaders so we won’t have any.

The efforts of the 1960s had goals that would fit comprehensibly on a matchbook cover and were incendiary in ten words or less. Occupy: goals are just a distraction.

The efforts of the 1960s represented an approach not seen for almost 100 years and were thus scary, threatening and newsworthy. By the early 1970s, such tactics had been co-opted and blunted and the media no longer played along. The endless “demonstrations” of the last 25 years have been tepid, brief affairs staged to make the participants feel good. (You could stand by the steps of the California State Capitol and smirk at the line of groups waiting their turn to go rah-rah-rah and hope a TV camera bothered to turn their way. It usually took a senior congresscritter saying a few words to get that; it had to be a slow news day or a particularly outrageous speech by the critter to get 10 seconds on the early evening news.) Occupy came along at a time and place when a really massive sit-in/demonstration might have had some galvanizing effect and given them the world’s attention. In their mob-based junior birdmen wisdom, they took that moment of possible power and threw it away to pretend they were proving something.

They ended up being nothing more than smug, self-congratulatory idiots, Great Prophet Zarquons who were too busy doing nothing to do anything useful at all with their potential - which was massive.

I wouldn’t say the Occupy movement was a waste. They got the country talking about economic inequality, which was pretty much a non-issue beforehand. They introduced the idea of the 99% vs. the 1% which has proved to be a really useful talking point.

In terms of producing actual change, yeah, they weren’t terribly effective. In terms of shifting how the debate about economic issues is framed, they were extremely effective.

But I do understand that it’s fun to bash the dirty hippies … .

Oh, horse poop. It has been front and center for as long as I can remember. What happened is a large crop of 20-somethings ran face-first into a particularly bad era of it and thought it was their personal white-kids’ burden.

Oh, my, yes. Can’t run a revolution without a really catchy slogan.

Wasn’t there a strongly anarchist bent to Occupy? Or at least a very strong emphasis on direct deliberative democracy? It’s almost as if they looked at how the military does things and said “We should do the opposite of every element of that”. Doesn’t work terribly well on anything but a very small scale.

Particularly when you remember that the most successful protesters - people like Gandhi and Dr. King - employed military levels of planning and discipline.

How do you justify these two statements?

I tend to agree with many of your points about the Occupy Movement being ineffectual and misguided and coopted. But I disagree that they didn’t at least start with a fairly clear statement of purpose. Remember, it was a movement to Occupy Wall Street.

Their matchbook cover claim is “The 1% wealthiest people get all the gains from capitalism and the 99% take all the losses”. That framing of the issue has been successful.

But then they got headed down the path of “we can’t have structure or hierarchy, because that’s what they do”, and the distractions of turning it into a mini-festival of free expression. People hoped that being inclusive and inviting in anyone with any kind of complaint would make them loud enough to be taken seriously, but it ended up making them disorganized enough to ignore.

They’re both correct. You’re misinterpreting my intent with the second one.

Among its other failings, Occupy (or OWS if you prefer) settled on a rather bland and simplified “slogan” or key point that expressed little and pointed nowhere. Yup, the 1 percent. Those bastards! Anyone make a lunch run yet? Let’s eat and then practice our meeting hand signals.

The idea that a very small number among us own lots and make more is only new as it’s rediscovered by each half-generation, and our situation today isn’t a patch - a jot - a tittlewinkie - on the situation in the industrial robber-baron era, much less some fairly recent feudal times. It’s not new, it’s a “problem” secondary to many, and it just doesn’t warrant its own movement, much less its own second-year economics class session.

At most, it gave a slick and almost meaningless handle on the notion of income inequality… without the slightest whiff of being a tool for understanding or change.

I compare that to… let’s say “Hell no, we won’t go!” and can only laugh. Or to a little, tired colored lady just saying, “No.” The slogan becomes as pale as all those fairly privileged white kids’ butts after they spent the summer huddling in tents because the world was just soooo unfair as to not hand them jobs when they graduated.

Sorry. I don’t regard sitting around whining to each other and coming up with a snarky-clever slogan as admirable. For one (more) thing, I think the 99/1% trope has done more to conceal the issue behind simplified, false comprehension as anything else.

It was made up of young people who realize their lives will be far more uphill than their parents on economic issues, and who see the US’s movement more and more into plutocracy.

However they really didn’t do anything about it except create the concept of the 1% vs the 99%. They did get their asses kicked by the police several times.

By and large, it didn’t do much. Public protest doesn’t work in the US it seems (vietnam went on for 17 years, the Iraq war went on for 9). If it does, then ‘this’ kind of public protest doesn’t work.

The tea party is an effective movement. The civil rights movement was effective. OWS was not.

Lots more opinions than debate, here.

Off to IMHO.