What Do You Make of the Occupy Wall Street Movement?

I’ve been quite curious about the Occupy Wall Street Movement.  In some ways, it reminds me of the prairie populist movement of the 1890s.  That is, it might be paving the way for some real changes down the road.  I’m curious what you think about it?  Especially in regards to these questions:

Do you think it has much chance lasting through the winter?

Will it bring about any real changes?  If so, what kind of changes can be we expect?

Will it have an impact on the policies or politics of the two major political parties?  If so, what kind of impact?

13 thoughts on “What Do You Make of the Occupy Wall Street Movement?

  1. Very good questions indeed and difficult to answer.

    With the spread to warmer cities, the movement may last through the winter, waxing and waning in areas. Then again, OWS may just stick it out to spite the siezure of their heat sources.

    Change is coming no matter what. I see this as more of symptom of change than a catalyst. How will it affect the direction of the change is a question that I haven’t figured out yet.

    Probably not. The campaign rhetoric will change of course but the policies will continue and bald lies ignored, exposed, or explained away.

    • Change is coming no matter what.

      I very much agree. I’m just not sure what kind of change — whether for the better or worse. But the system as it is today doesn’t seem like something that can endure.

      Thanks for the the thoughtful comments.

      • I must agree with the second to last sentence of this reply. This system cannot endure. People must be put to work, by any means necessary. If we have swarms of unemployed peoples hampering the production of this country, we will continue to fall farther behind our competitors in the world market. We must lower our labor costs so that job creators can create employment opportunities for these miscreants assailing upon our cities.

  2. I think it has a very good chance of lasting through the winter, although winter will weed out the majority that aren’t quite serious or understand what it is OWS is all about.

    I do think it will cause some changes, although maybe not the changes OWS was looking for. I personally don’t think OWS has enough people, structure, or political weight behind it to illicit a direct reform in policy like it wants. However, the movement has gone viral, and the more publicity it gets the more people start looking into what all the fuss is about and looking to what the government will do about it. I don’t think we’re going to see a return of a populist party, but the security of bipartisanship is starting to falter a bit as dissatisfaction is notably high for both parties.

    As more people start to pay attention to politics, I think what it’s REALLY going to change is politicians’ idea of what they can get away with. Politicians have proven how stubborn they can be when it comes to compromising their stances, but they are beginning to realize that as the population is starting to be more vocal about it’s disapproval, they might have to reign in their stances as they campaign.

  3. I think it depends on what branch of the movement you’re talking about. The New York and Oakland branches have certainly made an impact and gotten attention, but other gatherings vary. I think if these protests can lead to constructive policy changes, they will have achieves a grand goal, but the fact that they’ve brought economic injustice front and center into the public conversation is a success too.

  4. The Occupy Wall Street Movement is an awakening of a world-wide sea-change and empowerment of the voices of regular people over the moneyed. It may wax and wane with the weather, but it ain’t going away. I suspect that after a winter lull, there will be an enormous push to focus more directly on gigantic demonstrations in Washington.

  5. There is definitely a line of thought which says this needs to turn into a political party to have clout, which it may morph into. However, this may be something new; a party without a party. These could be a new kind of “values voters” which maintain organization over social media. If so, and if they demonstrate that power next year, the Dems will probably be a suitor for them just as Reps try to please the religious values voters.

  6. I love OWS! It’s about time it happened.
    And, I think their strat — to keep everyone guessing about their strat — is outstanding!

  7. Up north in a small country called Denmark,we are hearing a lot of the OWS.We even had a big demonstration in our capitol(Copenhagen) to support the OWS. Remember what Gandhi said: First the ignore us,then they ridicule us,then they fight us,and finally they accept us.(Paraphrased)

  8. I’m convinced that the OWS will be infiltrated by hooligans, hired by the Koch brothers cover groups, who will incite violence and the cops into attacking. We need only look at the strategies of the monopolies of the past, like the railroads, the mills, and the coal mines, to see where this is going today. I predict that this movement will get crushed physically and discredited emotionally, and any intellectual arguments will not get any attention or understanding at all.

  9. In answer to the questions:

    – It will last through the winter. It probably will not look like what it does now, but then I think that would be true in any case. It’s a lot more like an evolutionary process than a grand design.

    – Does the hammer drive the nail, or the hand wielding it? I don’t think the Occupy movements will make change happen in and of themselves. They will probably serve as a focus and a catalyst for change. That’s particularly true if they continue to grow and spread. OTOH, there sure wasn’t much happening in a positive direction before the Occupy movements. That kind of change is going to require something new in the way of progressive activism. If it’s not Occupy, it will have to be something else.

    – It should have an impact. Part of the philosophy of the movements is that they are determined to not be part of either major party. It looks like many don’t want to be part of any party, third or otherwise. That means they are free to apply pressure to one party, all parties, or whatever they want. This is something that progressive organizations should have done a long time ago, instead of pledging allegiance to the Democratic Party, then watching as the party screwed them each in turn.

    I take issue with what Unique_Descriptor writes, BTW. The Occupy movements are just that, plural, and there is no central organization or strategy. That makes it very difficult to “infiltrate”, since by definition there’s no outside to infiltrate in. Whether they can deal with groups like the Black Bloc (used to be anarchists, but they have a proper name now) remains to be seen, but on the basic question of whether they’ll be subverted like more hierarchical organizations, I just don’t see that happening.

    Oh, and you don’t do a demonstration to deliver a PhD thesis. It’s not about intellectualism, it’s about telling those in power to get it done. Others can, and should, deliver the intellectual content, although those “others” could very well be people who are in the movements, but only speaking for themselves.

    BTW, I’ve written a few articles related to the Occupy movements. Just check out the Occupy keyword at my blog.

  10. Many of us in countries like ours – mine is India – are desperately hoping that something constructive will come out of it. If only because what happens to the US still matters a very great deal to the rest of the world, and a lot has been going badly in the US ever since the Reagan days. A bit of my take here, if you’re interested: http://bit.ly/s99vGf

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