15 November 2011

Thoughts on the Occupy Movement

The Occupy movement: A large drum circle combined with picket signs; followers and true believers wanting for a charismatic leader, for something to believe in. It was full of energy when it expressed the frustrations of the majority, but has since decayed, having no purpose and no constructive impetus -- and most importantly, no leader. It attempts to defy leadership, it attempts to champion egalitarianism. Mass movements, however, require leadership, humanity requires leadership -- it is in the mortal nature of humanity to seek a specific social structure. This isn't to say egalitarianism and democracy are impossible, but to say: for perfect equality all must achieve true psychological or philosophical autonomy. Even then, the nature of specialization necessitates the empowerment of certain specialists according to the needs of the greater whole. "We the people" are as soveriegn as ever, wherever we assume responsibility for ourselves, and accountability for the state of the nation, even in dire times.


Peter McCombs said...

I suppose you're probably right about the future of leaderless movements like OWS. Mass movements are usually associated with some prophet, warlord, or dictator. There is typically only one sort of true believer involved, all chanting the same creed; here we have a multitude.

I found this article quite interesting, however.

Dave said...

The article is interesting.

I don't agree, though, with the article. I think it's putting way more into it than there really is. The movement isn't intentionally vague, it's just weak.

Also, I think they are all chanting the same creed: fight the power. The multitude is just in how many different notions there are in why or how to do this, and I imagine most of the notions are nebulous.

It worked when it was a expression of frustration with the state of the nation, but since then it has failed to remain relevant. Having no clear purpose that can be spliced into a news article has only left the news to report on what can be said of it: the unsanitary conditions, the prominent drug use.

Peter McCombs said...

Many religions say "Jesus, Jesus" but fail to share the same creed. The OWS people all want to fight the power, but they have a million reasons why.

It's really tough to follow a leader when you mistrust power. In a way, though, the movement has as many leaders as it has members. The problem of no leadership and too many leaders is essentially the same.

Basically, I figure you're right. The movement is too vague and too weak. It will become a minor footnote in history books. It also suffers from a poor image. There is a sliver of the movement that I could completely go along with, but there are so many ugly elements that I wouldn't want to be associated with at all. So the 99% are those who just stay home and shrug. We don't know what to make of it.