An Inquiry Into the Occupy Movement

It’s been about two weeks since, Catherine and I went to join in on Occupy SF.  We were excited to join in on the movement that was shining the spotlight on the fundamental flaws in our monetary system and the people and institutions that exploit the people by using the system as a lever.

We were greeted by a charming girl who handed us an informational flyer and told us to “join in on the love”.  We liked that, smiled and began to observer.

As humans we naturally (based on conditioning) processed an analyzed the crowd around us.  Most seemed to poses the “anti-establishment” personas…raw, rough, conscious and uniquely fashionable.  These people represented the flint of the movement…the people that give light and spark to ideas.  However, we also observed that there was very little kindling.  The middle class, the cube jockey’s or however you want to label the bigger chunk of the 99% was no where to be found.

We grabbed some poster boards… signaled for cars to honk in front of the Federal Bank in San Francisco … conversed with a few people about why they were there…then went home.

We left Occupy that day feeling inspired and refreshed to know that there is a movement hovering above the distractions of our daily life…a movement that was focused on educating the blind.  However, we saw that even within a community built on positive change and love; that there was a distance between those who were the spark…and those that were needed to bring this to critical mass.

The movement since then has grown and I have thought more about its dynamics, purpose and effectiveness.  In New York they have reached a significant tipping point with all types of 99%ers participating.  In SF they have been growing relentlessly.

A Skype call with a friend that I made in Brazil (also the innovative ED of PCI Media Impact) Sean Southey made me think the Occupy Movement from a higher level.  I have begun to ask even more questions, thinking about the anatomy of the movement, the soul, and the calls to action.  Here are some of those questions that are arising:

Can a leaderless movement sustain and create real change?

The concept behind a decentralization of leadership is strong especially when it comes to social change movements.  No one person or group amasses enough power to displace the integrity of the movement.  However, integrity, vision and change is built by powerful leadership.  Leadership in the world of politics, business and other related institutions is represented by power and often move into the space of corruption and manipulation.

Does the susceptibility to that type of courpotion exisit in a movement for the people and by the people?  Does the movement need a central group or leader they can look to for direction or answers?

Can these issues be solved by the political system?

Does new financial policy create sustainable change…or better yet transform the system itself?  Or is our political system at the very core of the problem?

Is Anger Good?

Occupy is a resistance movement against a flawed system that doesn’t work for 99% of the people it’s imposed on.  Needless to say…this makes people angry…the stratification and disconnection between rich and poor make people question things.  The movement is built off resistance.  People are fed up…and now the masses are gathering to do something about it.

However, people know that hate begets hate (however not many people abide by that principal).  Can an us vs. them approach fix anything or will it just build up resentment to a point of no return.  Maybe that’s good…or maybe it will make the movement succumb to the very same forces it’s fighting against.

How can the middle class truly FEEL the impact?

We are inundated by distractions every day validating that our lives are fine the way they are.  The security of a salary and the comfort of television disconnected us from the injustices that exist.  We have been taught to maintain our lives and that thinking of others is secondary.  This type of thinking makes us loose site of the big picture.  It’s easy not to feel the impact of being in the 99% if you are on the upper end of it.

Beyond that, we confide in our own social circles.  The unknown outside our circles scare us.  Can this movement create a true collective movement of people from all background synchronizing for a worthy cause?…It seems to be happening…

What’s Next?

With the movement gaining worldwide recognition, organically developing scores of localized movements, and receiving hundreds of thousands in the form of donations coming in, it’s natural to ask what’s next.

Can this movement measure its impact?  I don’t think blog posts and newspaper articles are a good metric anymore.  Can this movement ignite true change, beyond awareness?

Will all people truly feel the impact the 1% has on them?

Will they draw on that feeling during every day of their lives?

Will new systems be built and old futile ones dismantled?

Occupy has heart, passion, and consciousness there is no doubt.  With time, will Occupy grow without compromising the integrity of the movement?  With time, will this transform from movement to a complete paradigm shift?

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2 Responses

10.27.11

Funny, John and I were over at Occupy SF two weeks ago, too. Probably on the same day. But we were with friends at the Occupy Families area on the grass with parents and kids an a little puppet show. It was a different vibe but they have a voice in this, too. Did you see that grassy area? The Occupy Families are meeting in SF every Sunday afternoon at Justin Herman Plaza. I hope more photos of the families and kids get into the media so that folks can see the true diversity of the faces of the Occupy movement.

10.27.11

I haven’t seen much of that…sounds fantastic though.

It’s a cop out to label this movement as leftist, hippy or whatever else you would like to slap it with…it’s shining the light on a major system flaw…therefore it effects billions of people.

It’s great to hear families and the upper middle class is getting involved…very promising.

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