As Doug Marquardt has documented in his series, “OWS is Not Our Ally”, the Occupy movement believes:
“…the President has to give them a reason to vote, he’s no different than Romney, he’s a corporate puppet, etc. It’s as if, in their imaginary utopia, they think a President can actually please all Democrats.”
It started out as a swell of anger across a broad spectrum of Americans, that coincided with the frustrations of people across the world. OWS quickly became analogous to pawns in a chess match:
“They are the least powerful piece on the chess board, but have the potential to become equal to the most powerful.”
Unfortunately OWS, in attempting to be every political fix at once, has diluted both its message and its relevance.
In their “Declaration and Manifesto of the Occupy Wall Street Movement” published in September of last year, they listed 21 justified condemnations of Wall Street, and concluded with a paragraph containing this statement (emphasis mine):
“Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.”
Here we are in August 2012, three months from the Presidential election; and what is OWS’s “process for generating solutions”? According to their latest movement poster: disengagement.
That any presumably intelligent person would believe a viable recourse to economic inequality is disengaging from the political process is beyond explanation.
It is lazy, it is ignorant, and it makes a mockery of those who have truly worked for social change, such as Martin Luther King and the selfless participants of the Civil Rights Movement.
What is clear about the Occupy Movement is that they have lost their original focus: the belief that millions of Americans must be pried from under the thumb of behemoth financial institutions; whether it be their ridiculous interest rates, banking fees, or sub-prime mortgages, there must be reasonable recourse.
Instead, OWS has shifted, for the time being, to military spending. In the latest focus of the movement, called “Occupy the Military Industrial Complex”, they are attempting to reverse more than a century of defense spending with less than a year’s effort, and even less knowledge of the political process.
According to US News:
“…[protest organizer John] Penley says his demonstration, “Occupy the Military Industrial Complex,” will very much target President Barack Obama.”
“We’re targeting Obama’s out of control military spending… It’s the key to so many problems in the U.S. …”
I would argue that Mr. Penley should read something other than his movement propaganda every once in awhile. As the New York Times reported in February:
“President Obama’s final budget request of his term amounts to his agenda for a desired second term, with tax increases on the affluent and cuts in spending, especially from the military, both to reduce deficits and to pay for priorities like education, public works, research and clean energy.”
But, according to the Washington Post in May:
“While the Obama budget proposed reducing the core defense budget by $5.2 billion, or 1 percent below this year’s spending, the Republican majority on the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee put out a suggested bill that would add $1.1 billion to Pentagon spending.”
An immediate drastic reduction in defense spending would wreak havoc on an already struggling economy, by dumping hundreds of thousands of additional people into the ranks of the unemployed. At the same time, this Republican Congress refuses to allow the Pentagon to eliminate spending on lobbyists’ pet projects.
For the Occupy Movement to claim they might make their political stand by standing back is ignorant; then again, if they actually believe Obama and Romney are no different, they are too naive to effect change anyway.