Theophillis Goodyear: The Tragedy of OWS – Failure to Act on Electoral Reform

Theophillis Goodyear

If the OWS movement had only gotten behind the Electoral Reform Act of 2102, it could have worked to their advantage in a way they may not have considered. If they could have gotten Washington to take action and get behind the act, it would have been a foot in the door for the OWS movement that would have enhanced their prestige and increased their power. In other words, once the act was in the works it would have allowed the OWS movement to coast a little without looking like it was running out of steam. Because how can a movement be running out of steam when Washington insiders are working to meet the demands of the movement? And if OWS had succeeded in getting Washington to pass the act, if would have turned the OWS movement into a force to be reckoned with. A lot of it would be based on illusions of perception. But illusions of perception can be very powerful.

The failure of the OWS movement would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad. While they were wasting time having encounter groups and “playing house”—-creating makeshift libraries and giving “teach ins” about consensus building techniques, etc.—-time was passing them by. Opportunity got tired of knocking on their door and walked away to find some other door to knock on. There’s nothing wrong with teaching consensus building techniques. But there’s a time and a place for everything. And the learning curve was so slow that the OWS movement wasn’t able to stay ahead of unfolding events and capitalize on their momentum. It was a breakdown of efficiency; it’s as simple as that. Indecision, inaction, lack of clear objectives, lack of resolve, all led to squandering the moment. If the OWS movement still hasn’t learned this lesson, they’re living in fantasyland.

The Electoral Reform Act of 2102 had a real chance of working. Why? Because virtually every voter would like to see electoral reform and because the act is based on common sense. And because it was based on common sense, politicians would’ve had a very hard time fighting it once it became part of mainstream awareness. Being against electoral reform would be like being against God, mother, country, and apple pie. What politician could have resisted it without looking like an ass?

In the end, I’m not sure the OWS movement proved anything except that trying to get anarchists to agree on anything is like trying to herd cats. OWS had politicians right where they wanted them, and they decided to take a nap. And when they woke up the politicians were gone. They knew the heat was off and they got back to business as usual. Or maybe the OWS movement is still napping. It’s hard to tell. Anyway, the politicians have moved on.

Is it too late to make an issue of the Electoral Reform Act of 2012? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone can say. But if the OWS movement ever regains momentum, I wish they would consider making it one of their demands. It may work to their advantage in ways they can’t predict. It may get the public back on their side, and it may serve notice to the politicians that the OWS movement still has a few tricks up their collective sleeve and aren’t quite ready to be tossed on the trash heap of history. Here’s hoping.

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