Well, it seems the Wall Street Protests are finally getting some traction and there is going to be a march and “occupation” here in Houston (http://occupyhouston.org/). It’s an interesting amorphous grass roots movement that’s inspired by the Arab Spring demonstrations with a worthwhile target.
For some reason the movement does get portrayed as liberal - that may have to do with the youth culture of the right vs the left and how they see themselves and how they are seen in the media – but I think corporate corruption isn’t a liberal agenda. Remember McCain-Feingold? John McCain back in 2000 (before he became a weirdo robot) was very aggressive with campaign finance reform. Look no further than the bail outs and the stimulus. The partisan left bitched about Bush’s bail-outs and the partisan Right bitched about Obama’s stimulus, and the rest of us just wanted some accountability. And the whole thing just comes across as crony capitalism when you read sentences like, “One of Obama’s top economic advisers confided in a 2009 e-mail that the government did a “crappy” job as a venture capitalist, picking which companies should receive financial support.”(1) But regardless of the broad message and the local organizers writing that their “political and social beliefs will remain neutral for this cause” and that “the only thing [they] will promote openly is peaceful demonstrations,” I suspect it will be mostly folks on the left or left leaning who will show up to the Houston protest.
But outside what’s behind the protest and who will be attending, I think one of the more interesting aspects is how broad and leaderless it is. That can be a double edged sword. One the one hand the lack of a cohesive message and specific proposed solutions can just come off as an aimless bitch session. On the other hand, as a message to lawmakers to address the issue, it’s quite open and democratic in its approach.
Another double edged sword is the lack of an proper and cohesive organization that can make for a clouded and muddled message. A reporter can go to one person and get a statement then go to another and get something else. But that also has an advantage in that it addresses the largest problem I saw in the local peace movement – egotistical self-righteous assholes.
I will tell you right now, I’m no fan of some of the local big wigs in the political left who seem to be more about self-aggrandizement than what is best for their cause so it’s nice to see them passed over simply becasue of the manner in which this was organized. No doubt those guys will try to get their paws into this so they can speak loudly and pound their chest but, for the moment, the movement it’s pretty safe from their bullshit. As far as I can tell, it’s basically a big ass picnic down a city hall and that’s cool because nobody wants to hear the Communist Party guys yammer on for an hour at a rally or cringe while someone starts-in with “those Jews.” I’ve seen both and trust me, that kind of shit will suck the life out of any rally which is why I loved it when, at a march I once attended, the Anarchist kids responded with their own chant “Workers of the world…RELAX!” Brilliant!
How will it go? Who knows. It looks to be a peaceful sit-in and march with good intentions. Sure it has its flaws but those flaws also help in avoiding some of the pitfalls that other local movements have been burdened by. So, while I can’t make the rally, I’m gonna give it a proper shake and give it up to the kids organizing this. Good luck.