The Occupied Manifesto

27 Oct 2011

Dahlia Lithwick, for Slate, provides us with an Occupy Manifesto:

What the movement clearly doesn’t want is to have to explain itself through corporate television. To which I answer, Hallelujah. You can’t talk down to a movement that won’t talk back to you.

Do you know who else wants an explanation from Occupy Wall Street? The 98% who aren’t there, but whom OWS claims to represent. Take a wild swing at how that explanation is going to get to us. I’ll even give you two more guesses after you say, “our website” and “our blog”.

If OWS and Dahlia want to decry the mainstream media and pretend that it is effective to shout into a crowd of tents and picket signs, so be it, but that is no more a political action than masturbation is sex.1

It is not about coming up with “simple solutions”; it is about governing. It is about making the decision to become political actors and take part in the process of change, instead of simply declaring that change is necessary. You want accountability and to have your jobs back? Great, tell me how. You want to feed your children? Come up with a solution for doing it.

But the problem is not that OWS has no ideas or goals. It is, at the core, a democratic movement and so it suffers the same fate as all other democracies: fragmentation. Occupy Wall Street is a rallying cry for every marginalized group and minority opinion. Everything is represented, from legalizing marijuana to repealing the death penalty to electoral reform.

Those interested in politics will recognize this as the reason that liberals consistently lose elections. Conservatives, for the most part, are content with the status quo and would much prefer for as little change to happen as possible. Liberals view the present as flawed and desire to change it, but are unable to agree on how to best do so and end up attacking their allies in an attempt to become the dominant opinion. This is, obviously, a simplification of the problem, but the point is clear: liberals are their own worst enemy. This is equally true of the Occupy movement–whether they call themselves liberal or not is irrelevant, because this is the nature of democracy (which has little to do with capital “D” Democrats).

Oh, and one last thing. On the topic of blowing off the mainstream media, protesters should take a page out of Orson Scott Card’s Xenocide:

It’s no sin to speak to the unbelievers in the language of their unbelief.

  1. No, it’s not.