Occupy Wall Street

I can’t get behind Occupy.

I’d like to.  I support most of what they stand for.

1% of the population in developed countries controls most of the wealth.  Occupy says this is bad.

The structure is such that as time progresses more of the wealth is consolidated in fewer and fewer people.  The gap between the richest and the poorest grows.  Occupy says this is bad.

The nature of wealth and power in western countries is such that the consolidation of wealth also equates to a consolidation of power.  Occupy says this is bad.

The result is that we’ve moved away from a democracy to a meritocracy of the wealthy.  Occupy says this is bad.

Finally, this meritocracy also controls the media – left or right.  The voice of the 99% is not reflected in entertainment.  In news.  Occupy says this is bad.

I can quibble with the logic in a few of those statements, but except for the final one I agree with Occupy.

The answer to this, says Occupy is a revolution.  The answer is to return democracy to the masses and wrest control from the wealthy.  They can follow the example started this spring and summer in the middle east.  Equal voices can be heard on the Internet.  Social Media can be used to organized.  It can be used to achieve consensus.

It starts small.  It starts online and then moves into peaceful protest.  People of like mind can express themselves and gather.  The movement can grow.

Here is my problem.  Protest and growth is in itself not a goal.  It is just a vacuum waiting for a leader and a cause.  I also don’t trust the Internet to bring about democracy.  It would be nice if it would.  But instead I see the Internet providing an easy forum to find people that agree with you and ignore those who don’t.  Instead of consensus you find opinion from the one who talks the most and talks the longest.  A dissenting voice in a like minded forum is drowned out, called a troll and forced out.

My mother told me long ago that you don’t complain until you can propose a solution.  Occupy is waiting for someone to come with that solution.  Until that shows up, until I can evaluate the solution, I can’t support a revolution.

Maybe I just don’t get it.  I might be to old and out of touch with the newest generation.  Seeing them engaged and active is certainly exciting to me.  I like that.  Maybe consensus and democracy can be achieved using the power of social media.  Talk is powerful.  Peaceful protest is powerful.  Maybe I’m too close to being part of the problem to be part of the solution.

I’ve seen the people like me pointing out the follies of Occupy.  They don’t speak with a cohesive voice.  There are no demands.  My own issues with it are similar, but that misses the point.  Democracy doesn’t have a cohesive voice.  It speaks as a multitude.  It speaks of hope and that if it grows big enough and loud enough a clear voice will emerge that isn’t one, but is composed of the best of all.  The optimism in that is inpiring.

People say that folks taking part in the protest are themselves part of the problem.  Actors and writers and politicians that speak in support of Occupy are themselves part of the 1% that is being protested against.  That the protesters themselves live on the benefits of the very society and wealth and power they are protesting.  Of course that is true.  But it isn’t hypocrisy.  Why can’t the 1% see the problem as clearly as the 99%?  Many of the 1% grew out of the 99%, they earned their own success and money, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t experience the injustices of disparity as they did so.  We are in a developed country.  We can’t help but be part of the system and be a member of society.  We could check out of society, but then there is no opportunity to effect change on it.

Maybe it is my own cynicism that prevents me from getting behind Occupy.  Essentially I’m asking them to prove themselves successful before I will support them.  A little bit cowardly… I’ll watch them with hope though.  If a voice with a plan emerges.  If that plan has merit.

That would be awesome.


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