OWS: Prove That You Truly Represent the 99%
Did the OWS movement ever truly represent the 99%. It’s looking doubtful. Most of the 99% aren’t anarchists. They don’t want to abolish government; they want to reform it. But the OWS movement was started by anarchists and has been run, to a large extent, on anarchic principles. And many participants in the movement seem to feel that it’s hypocritical to make demands for governmental change when their real goal is to completely abolish the government. But this exposes a deep hypocrisy within OWS. And I think this hypocrisy is responsible for the ultimate failure of the movement.
For all their claims of representing the 99%, OWS participants probably don’t even represent 1% of the actual 99%, numerically speaking. Yet they have the audacity to claim that they represent us politically. But that claim, in true anarchic fashion, is little more than a clever shell game. They may express the frustration of the 99%, but they’ve demonstrated that they don’t care about the political wishes of the 99%.
I think it’s safe to say that the true 99% would like to see electoral reform. If the OWS movement truly represented the 99%, they would make the Electoral Reform Act of 2012 one of their demands. Why not try to reform the government on the road to eliminating it? That way some progress will have been made along the way. But reform isn’t enough to satisfy anarchists, so they ignore the fact that most of the 99% want reform.
This means that a handful of anarchists are putting their anarchic political agenda first and dictating policy to the remaining 99%. All their pretense of consensus-building ignores the fact that the actual 99% are cut out of the process. The actual 99% don’t have a voice within the OWS movement. The hypocrisy of the movement lies in the fact that this silence is interpreted as consent. Talk about manufacturing consent!
At one point in the fall of 2012, politicians were truly scared of the OWS movement, and they were bracing themselves for OWS demands. But when no demands were forthcoming and the news cycle moved ahead—-as news cycles tend to do—-politicians realized that the pressure was off. Nobody is more aware of the implications of the short attention span of the general public than a politician is, so they heaved a collective sigh of relief. The OWS movement had politicians where they wanted them, but they didn’t capitalize on the situation. They squandered the moment, plain and simple.
I seriously doubt the OWS movement will ever regain their original momentum. As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Opportunities that are squandered sometimes never come again. But if the OWS movement can regain momentum—-which I seriously doubt—-I hope they will take the opportunity to prove that they truly represent the 99% by demanding the passage of the Electoral Reform Act of 2012. Failing that, all their pretense of representing the 99% is nothing more than a rhetorical shell game—-a clever bit of propaganda that the 99% now knows full well is complete baloney!