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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A few thoughts on the Occupiers

I would like to point out before I write anything that I have not personally attended any of the Occupy protests.  I have simply been following the issue through the news, interviews of protesters, and through friends that know more about the subject than myself.

I have one main criticism of the movement itself, the lack of CLEAR goal(s).  The excuse for not having set goals is that it would splinter the movement and decrease the numbers.  I think a smaller group with clear goals is MUCH better than a bigger one with no goals at all.  The protesters are currently ruining their image and coming off as pot-smoking pissed off people that don't even know what they want.  The public will lose more and more respect for them in the long run and the movement will turn into an annoying whimper.

Don't get me wrong, I have respect for an individual who is angry about something AND is willing to ACT on his feelings in some way such as protesting.  Most individuals just complain and fail to do anything about it.  Individually, each protester at the Occupy protests has a specific issue they are protesting for and I can respect them for this.  But, once you pull all the protesters together, all the voices get merged together into an incomprehensible and jumbled mess.  In this case, I don't believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Furthermore, I don't actually believe setting clear goals will greatly damage the movement.  For instance, given the types of people attracted to these protests, would a large number of them be against a goal such as "Create more stringent laws to limit the amount of money corporations can donate to campaigns"? Or what about "Create greater transparency measures in Congress"?  These examples are still rather generic and they can be modified and made more specific. However, these goals are a start and they could start a discussion among the protesters to see how many of them would actually support goals such as these.  

Ultimately, the protesters  are wasting their potential and destroying their public image.  Part of the reason why protests in Egypt were successful was that the protesters had a clear and central goal that the majority of the supporters could get behind.  Who they were protesting against also CLEARLY understood what the protesters wanted.  Such clarity, which seems to be so essential for effectiveness, is missing in the OWS movement.  If you ask people what they think the OWS is about, they will either shrug at you or give you an answer that is some variant of "they are a bunch of angry people that can't decide on what they actually want."

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