Where Have All the Occupiers Gone?

A good question is asked in this article: “Did the Occupy Wall Street movement waste its moment in the sun?”

I attended Occupy Austin for a short spell, and wrote my thoughts here and here. If you read both you can sense a sourness from the first to the second, which sums up my brief time at City Hall, watching people discuss morality, couched under various and vague grievances, but never strategy in any meaningful way (while insisting they had the right to abuse drugs and harass women, strangely).

To answer the first question, I don’t think Occupy wasted its moment, because that’s all it was: a moment. Yes, it got people talking about inequality and casino capitalism. It also brought us this and this. But it never had a chance to really gum the works in any substantive way because if anything, Occupy was a call to a return to “normalcy,” i.e. the seemingly stable and steadily rising economic conditions of 2006. Some occupiers did bring a broader and more in-depth critique of how the housing market bubble caused the whole ship to sink, and some even understood the worldwide solidarity movement, starting in La Plaza del Sol in Madrid.

But for the most part, people yearned not for a stretegic dismantling of the systems that have brought us (and all living beings and ecosystems) to the brink, but instead for a re-establishment of what they perceived to be the “good old days.” In this way, Occupy really did have a similarity with the Tea Party, in that both looked backwards (and both had originalist factions, specifically regarding the deification of the Founders). That people supposedly involved in a fight against the most powerful corporate entities on Earth were shouting for more jobs tells you that Occupy was going to be a fun moment, and possibly a cadre-building moment or otherwise useful interruption, but nothing more.

Occupy Austin

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