State of the Occupy Movement

Admittedly I looked after midnight Eastern time on Wednesday/Thursday, but I didn’t find much national coverage of Tuesday’s May Day protests and even less of the protests in Seattle. Nonetheless, I presume there was enough for Michelle Malkin to use the #seamayday hashtag.

Judging by that tweet and the local coverage, the headline, at least in Seattle, would appear to be the outbreak of violence and vandalism of downtown storefronts, which jibes with some of the reasons Occupy has lost some popularity and momentum since the heady early days. Now, the Occupy movement can say things like how the violent protestors don’t represent them, or how the corporate media is overemphasizing the violence (the Seattle Times is locally-owned but tends to be further to the right than its former competitor the P-I), but there is still one thing that is undeniable.

At least when Martin Luther King was running it, the civil rights movement never (or almost never) turned violent.

One of Occupy’s greatest strengths at this point has been its lack of an overarching leader, its status as a spontaneous movement of the people. Right now, however, if it sees itself as a movement on par with the civil rights movement, perhaps it could use one to keep the movement disciplined and its message clear. Perhaps outbreaks of violence show how desperate people are, perhaps Occupy’s concerns are more frivolous than those of the civil rights movement, but whatever the case the movement seems to be stalled in more ways than one. It’s an election season; maybe it’s time for some of the same tactics as the Tea Party.

More on this (hopefully) next week, in a series I’ve been trying to get off the ground for over a month.

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