What does the Occupy Wall Street movement really amount to? Is it simply a nationwide act of civil protest by mostly youthful, disaffected citizens against a predatory and criminal finance industry (as represented by such commercial melafactors as Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and the quasi private, state chartered Federal Reserve) or is there more going on? Who are the organizers of Occupy Wall Street? Is it, in fact, a leaderless, non hierarchical, self organizing entity that is not, in any meaningful way, controlled by some shadowy someone or something with an entirely different, perhaps even, sinister agenda-One World Government, for example- that is different from the one that the OWS movement ostensibly espouses.
I'm afraid I don't get out enough to have a firm first hand opinion of the precise nature of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but it is my sense that, in the main, OWS participants are a peaceful, if somewhat scruffy group, who, contrary to a host of MSM reports, are neither violent nor criminal. In any event, even were the movement peopled entirely by nothing but some aggregation of entitled, snot nosed layabouts and/or execrable street thugs, the group's collective shortcomings and transgressions would pale beside those of the banksters and their wayward political enablers occupying our nation's capital.
In that sense, we would do well to not traduce the messenger let alone slay him. And by way of answering my own question, we would also do well to recognize some of the salient characteristics of this movement and its brief history as we try to figure out what Occupy Wall Street amounts to?
Here are a few key observations that, to date, I believe to be true about the Occupy Wall Street movement.
1.) Whatever hierarchy may exist within OWS it is, in fact, a youth movement. Many of the protesters are approximately of college age, most are under thirty.
2.) Unlike the Vietnam and Civil Rights era protesters the OWS youth are undeniably economically less well situated than both their parents and grandparents. More importantly, they are keenly aware of their condition, if, perhaps, a bit confused about how events and trends have conspired to leave them on the wrong side of the tracks financially and economically.
3.) So far, nothing the protestors have experienced by way of a response from the so called Powers That Be could be thought of as encouraging them to hold onto whatever faith in the system they may still possess. And that's understating the matter.
The following points are conjecture:
1.) Demographically, their numbers are all but certain to grow in the years ahead.
2.) Increasingly, for purposes of self esteem and survival there will be very little to encourage Occupy Wall Street protesters to continue to practice a mode of protest that is peaceful since it has garnered so little for the movement. Put another way, as Gerald Celente would say, those who have nothing to lose, lose it. The authorities have shown their hand in this regard. And even as the government prepare for greater unrest they all but guarantee that there will be more strife.
3.) The other strain of protest, besides outright and open defiance, will emerge in a different form that will constitute a kind of middle ground between peaceful protest and the throwing of molotov cocktails. This form of protest might even become a kind of nation building movement though that may be a bit grandiose and ambitious for what will, at the outset, amount to nothing less than a campaign of dropping out. Communities, hard scrabble ones, will form out of necessity and the values and ways of being that define these communities will be at variance with the values that have defined U.S. society for generations.
4.) The government will attempt to disrupt this movement. They already are engaged in preempting it if one looks at the recent passage of laws pertaining to the growing of one's own food. The government will fail, though they will, as is their wont, create a lot of misery on their way to a well deserved defeat.
In conclusion, the Occupy Wall Street Movement, though it has achieved very little, if anything, towards reigning in or redressing the crimes of the banking and so called financial services industry-which, for all intents and purposes doesn't even exist anymore on Wall Street- has, perhaps, taken the first steps towards setting in motion something far more profound, a society (within our society) that operates along genuinely different principles than those that inform the functioning of institutions that are now under protest.