"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction." Woody Allen
Before members of the Occupy Wall Street movement took over a park in New York City, the headlines day after day were about how much congress and President Obama were going to cut from the federal budget. Remember the "debt ceiling limit" dramas that went on day after day? Congress and the president were spending almost all their time setting up one confrontation after another to see who could cut the most and get the most political mileage out of it. The news media raptly followed this circus and did its part to make sure the public took it seriously, and were willingly participating with Democrats and Republicans as they peddled the big lie that Medicare and Social Security had something to do with the federal deficit.
All of that has disappeared from the headlines, which are now about Foreign Affairs -- Syria, Iran, Pakistan -- and the Republican primaries to decide who will oppose President Obama in November.
Notice what the Republican candidates have not been talking about. Not the deficit. Not government spending.
Notice, besides the meaningless blabber about who's the most like Ronald Reagan, what they are talking about. The Midde Class. Restoring the "American Dream." Vulture Capitalism. Even inequality.
The difference is that the consciousness of the American public has been altered, or raised, by the Occupy Wall Street movement, and that is remarkable. Capitalists, and the political class they own, and the media they own, spent years getting the public into a state of mind, a consciousness, in which they sat watching the budget cutting circus and accepted that whatever happened was going to happen. That was undone almost overnight.
For the terms of the national debate to have changed so quickly would be an activist's dream. Things can't change until the people change them, and they won't change them until they believe they can, until they visualize an alternative to the status quo. People ask, 'What does Occupy want?' What more could it want? People wonder why it doesn't set goals. It did. Mission accomplished.
Today's editorial at the Socialist Worker goes into a little more detail about the significance of Occupy's lack of goals, what it's up to now, and where it might go from here. It should give you a clear understanding of the movement.
Also, check out Facebook, where all the individual Occupy groups have pages, where vibrant discussion about all these things is taking place, every day. You can go to my Facebook page and scroll down my "friends" list in the left hand column. Most of them are individual Occupy groups. Click on one and read along with the discussion.
You can also create your own Facebook page, then go to any of the group's pages and request to be a "friend." They will approve your request, then all of their posts, i.e., "the discussion," will be automatically be posted on your page.
The Socialist Worker editorial talks about the violence being committed by some Occupy members. Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer prize winning former New York Times reporter who now writes for Leftist media, has an article at Truthdig going into more detail about this fringe, which, he says, dreams of overthrowing capitalism through violence, sees the Occupy movement as an impediment to their goal, and wants to destroy it. They see Occupy as simply "reformist."
Any reformist movement will only derail the revolution and leave Capitalism in place, according to revolutionary ideology. This is true. But the tactics being used by the revolutionaries at the fringes of the Occupy are only giving ammunition to government, politicians, and the police who would love to snuff out the Occupy movement completely, or, as some democrats want to do, co-opt its energy. The revolutions that have occurred happened when critical masses of people experienced radical consciousness raising. Sometimes that happened after careful and prolonged efforts to educate the masses. Sometimes it occurred spontaneously when peoples' suffering reached a certain point. Those committing violence in Occupy's name aren't doing anything beneficial in either regard.
Finally, what the Socialist Worker doesn't mention, but which should also be kept in mind, is that any time there is violence at a demonstration by any group from the Left, or at any demonstration by Environmentalists, there's a good possibility that it's been committed by agents provocateurs, i.e., undercover cops or federal agents. Police have already been caught posing as Occupy members, as shown in this video posted at the Daily Kos. Law enforcement has a long and ugly history of infiltrating groups on the Left and trying to discredit them by posing as agents provocateurs and committing acts of violence, up to and including lethal bombings.
Almost without exception this kind of law enforcement is targeted at the Left. Tea baggers, and people who line up outside abortion clinics and scream at and try to humiliate women trying to legal health care, and groups that follow Randall Terry type leaders who openly advocate the murder of abortion providers, are left alone by law enforcement.