Occupy: One Year Later

It was one year ago today that the Occupy Movement was born when it camped out in Zuccotti Park. The movement got a lot of attention. The Left boasted about how it was more popular than the Tea Party (for about ten seconds). Elizabeth Warren tried to claim credit for it. But the movement seems largely dead, their dreams dissolved into mindless violence and stupid stunts.

Contrast that against the Tea Party. The Tea Party remains an active political force, has affected elections, has affected the debate, has affected policy. For all the crank candidates they gave us (Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, etc.), the result of their activism was a Republican House and the first hints of budget control in over a decade. Without the Tea Party, it’s unlikely Paul Ryan would have been the VP choice. It’s even changed the Democrats to having to at least pretend to care about debt.

So why was Occupy a failure while the Tea Party wasn’t? There’s a lot of analysis out there. Doug Mataconis gets close, I think, in pointing out how incoherent they were and how they failed to crystallize around a specific agenda (other than the unworkable student loan forgiveness). They never did seem to cotton on to the idea that big government was the problem; that the Tea Party was the ally, not the enemy, of people who oppose entrenched power.

But I think it boils down to something simpler. As I said at the time, Occupy really was just the Protest of the Month. Some professional agitators and students looking to get laid marched in the streets because … well, because they like to march:

But the larger part of this is that you can get young people to turn out for jus about any protest. College students and graduates without jobs (of whom there are a lot right now) love to go to protests and march. They like to think it’s for a good cause, but they usually have no fucking clue what it’s about. Penn and Teller did a great schtick at an Earth Day Rally where they interviewed a slew of people who knew nothing about environmental issues. This included at least one of the organizers. In 1992, my campus common was flooded with students protesting the Rodney King verdict. And most of them were doing what college students to — hanging out, hitting on each other, playing frisbee. I talked to people who didn’t even know what the protest was about; they just knew it was on, man.

And as I predicted, their enthusiasm would fizzle when it came to actually doing something:

I suspect that when these guys run into the hard reality that not even Democrats will push their agenda, they’ll fade away. They’ll talk of a third party and how the Democrats aren’t really liberal. And they’ll vote for Obama anyway. I mean, if Barack Obama, with huge majorities in Congress, can’t get a public option done, what chances does a “living wage for the unemployed” have?

I’m not happy about this, actually, despite the smug tone of the post. I think OWS was concerned about very legitimate issues: the entrenchment of power, violations of civil liberties, corporate welfare, crony capitalism. I had hoped it would maybe get some of the ostensibly liberal to realize the danger of a centralized powerful government. But it didn’t. And in the end, that’s a loss for America.

Comments are closed.

  1. Seattle Outcast

    Way too wordy. The explanation is actually quite simple: The Occupy movement was nothing but a collection of whining losers that wanted yet another handout.

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  2. Mississippi Yankee

    Way too wordy. The explanation is actually quite simple: The Occupy movement was nothing but a collection of whining losers that wanted yet another handout.

    And Hal wants to raise your taxes and give it to them.

    (hope you don’t mind I fixed it for ya)

    The Utopian Creed

    I think OWS was concerned about very legitimate issues: the entrenchment of power, violations of civil liberties, corporate welfare, crony capitalism. I had hoped it would maybe get some of the ostensibly liberal to realize the danger of a centralized powerful government. But it didn’t. And in the end, that’s a loss for America.

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  3. CM

    ….a collection of whining losers that wanted yet another handout.

    As are 47% of Americans apparently.
    That might play well for Romney with people that are going to vote for him anyway, but what will undecideds think? Apparently it’s all part of focusing on them. Not sure how that logic works.

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  4. Mississippi Yankee

    HEY HARLEY!

    You up for some gun pr0n?

    Put aside your girly-man .458 Win Mag or your wimpy .50 cal and watch these guys shoot a real gun, the largest center fire rifle ever made, the .950 JDJ by SSK Industries. Only three were ever made. This was the lightest, the carbine version, weighing in at 50 lbs. It shoots a .95 caliber 2,400 grain bullet at 2,100 fps using 240 grains of powder, which generates 25,400 f/lbs of muzzle energy and 277 f/lbs of recoil energy. Each round costs $40.

    Considering the round, I’d say it’s good for about 100 yards.

    It looks like a 22 short on steroids. Still, near misses should cause temporary heart stoppage and severe diarrhea.
    At 2,400 grains that is just a bit above a three pound bullet.

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  5. HARLEY

    As are 47% of Americans apparently.

    Sad but true….another stunning indictment of how far we have gotten away from the core principals of the foundation of this nation.

    That might play well for Romney with people that are going to vote for him anyway, but what will undecideds think? Apparently it’s all part of focusing on them. Not sure how that logic works.

    Shamming them? maybe, or simply this election will go down to that 5-6 % of people that are somewhere in the middle.

    HEY HARLEY!

    You up for some gun pr0n?

    oh yeah.. that would really be some kick ass.
    last week i got my hands on a Widley .45 win mag, but i need the 1400$ to make it mine… wife was not amused…

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  6. Poosh

    I’m not happy about this, actually, despite the smug tone of the post. I think OWS was concerned about very legitimate issues: the entrenchment of power, violations of civil liberties, corporate welfare, crony capitalism.

    I think you’re wrong here (wrong mainly because of the hypocrisy of Occupy) but as perhaps an academic point, the list above are merely consequences of the key quality, the agenda behind the Occupy scum: resentment, jealousy, envy – all very bad. perhaps the worse qualities that the worst of humanity has to offer. That they happened to lead to some half baked conclusions that happened to match the Tea Party’s coherent ones was incidental.

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  7. Seattle Outcast

    And Hal wants to raise your taxes and give it to them.

    And I have a problem with giving away yet more money to losers that won’t step up and pay their “fair share”. I vote we hijack this thread into a “flat tax” debate…

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  8. richtaylor365

    What started out as a semi sympathetic movement involving real issues (although really, weren’t all those same issue talked about at TP rallies? yeah, don’t want to associate with “those” people, not ethnic enough) degenerated overnight into a recalcitrant mob (rioting, breaking and stealing stuff) because of the people involved, no mystery here. You have the anti-capitalist enablers preaching their nonsense along with the majority of OWSers who were spoiled whinny, needy brats, who expected something for nothing. They wanted other people’s wealth redistributed to them (without working for it), they wanted their student loans forgiven (more stuff they can get without paying for it), oh yeah, and they really wanted those nasty rich people to get gutted (how dare they achieve and make me look lazy and stupid in the process).

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  9. CM

    What really gets the OWS folks excited more than anything is ‘class warfare’. That’s really the main difference between them and the comments in this thread. Isn’t it? Oh, hang on…..

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  10. Poosh

    What really gets the OWS folks excited more than anything is ‘class warfare’. That’s really the main difference between them and the comments in this thread. Isn’t it? Oh, hang on…..

    DON’T START NOTHING

    WON’T BE NOTHING

    you turd

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  11. Thrill

    Our local Occupy group was ridiculous. The group consisted of about 50% young, unemployed college graduates and the other half were just street people. They had maybe 20-30 people at their height each night, tops.

    When they were hanging out in camp, the two groups split up and stayed on their respective sides and only came together for GA’s.

    Some of their highlights included:

    1. At one GA, the group voted to move the camp to a different park. At the next GA, they voted to overturn that GA’s vote and stay put. Then they voted again to stay. Pure democracy inaction!

    2. Their camp displaced homeless people who used the park to camp. One night, one of them showed up and caused a disturbance so the police came and arrested him while the college kids loudly thanked the police for their help. They pretty much lost the anarchists at that point, who were disgusted by the whole affair.

    3. They protested an empty bank branch (not a corporate office, a branch). On a Saturday. Two hours after it closed. That was pretty much their only direct move against a bank.

    4. Their webmaster embezzled a couple of thousand dollars and spent it on “weed”. They publicly admitted that this actually happened.

    5. When they didn’t have money to pay the city for a parade permit to march on the streets (since it was stolen for marijuana), they demanded that the city waive the fee. The city refused so the occupiers meekly marched on the sidewalks.

    That’s just the stuff I can remember without even looking at my documentation. It was pathetic but hilarious. To add insult to injury, the police department tore down their camp on its sixth month anniversary. There was not even a whimper.

    If the whole movement was like what I saw locally, it’s only a wonder it lasted as long as it did.

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  12. Hal_10000 *

    The lasting legacy of OWS for me was that I got a joke out of it for a talk.

    I was giving a lecture on globular clusters and described it as an “Occupy” situation because 1% of the stars emit 99% of the light. Biggest laugh I ever got.

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