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By T.J. English

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OWS: The Start of Something Big

Posted on Nov 18, 2011
Flickr / _PaulS_ (CC-BY-SA)

Get used to it: An Occupy Wall Street protester marches in New York on Sept. 26.

The Occupy Wall Street movement isn’t just some lefty rejoinder to the tea party, even though the two political phenomena have been subject to comparison over the last two months, but at least one prominent tea partyer joins a host of scholars and analysts in suggesting that OWS is about far more than showdowns over camping rights in various American city centers. In fact, begrudgingly or not, several culture watchers cited in this New York Times roundup predict that the movement is here to stay, regardless of whether or not the tents stay up.  —KA

The New York Times:

But critics and supporters alike suggest that the influence of the movement could last decades, and that it might even evolve into a more potent force. “A lot of people brush off Occupy Wall Street as incoherent and inconsequential,” Michael Prell told me. “I disagree.”

Mr. Prell is a strategist for the Tea Party Patriots, a grass-roots organization that advocates Tea Party goals of fiscal responsibility, free markets and constitutionally limited government.  He’s the author of “Underdogma,” a critique of left-wing anti-Americanism, which includes a chapter on the Berkeley Free Speech movement of the 1960s, which may be the closest historical parallel to the Occupy movement.

“They claim to stand up on behalf of the ‘little guy’ (the 99 percent), while raising a fist of protest against the big, rich, greedy and powerful 1 percent,” he said of the Occupy movement. “The parallels between Occupy Wall Street and the Berkeley Free Speech Movement are too clear to ignore — right down to the babbling incoherence of the participants. The lesson from Berkeley in the 1960s and the protest movement they spawned is: it doesn’t matter that they don’t make sense.  What matters is they are tapping into a gut-level instinct that is alive, or lying dormant, in almost every human being.  And, when they unleash the power of standing up for the powerless against the powerful — David vs. Goliath — the repercussions can ripple throughout our society for decades.”

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By Textynn, November 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You don’t need to be smart or articulate to know when one needs to pull a parasite off their back.  TPTB have made simple things like making a living and going to a doctor something only available to the rich. The rest of us are simply being consumed until dead by ransoming everything people need for more than most of us can get for our time no matter how well educated and hard working.  Homes, doctors, food, the wealthy OnePercent own it and control it.

ONe thing.  Right now we need to get on top of water rights.  The oil industry is all over controlling water and destroying water to make it more scarce..  Our kids will pay as much or more for water as oil and that’s what they want so when it runs out nothing changes for them. 

We need to start right now and make WATER a Human right and make sure all of it belongs to mankind not Goldman Sachs and Halliburton.

Watch this awesome Movie.  A must see.

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By gerard, November 19, 2011 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

As to London:  They’ve sort of got “other” serious problems bursting out all over.  But don’t give up on Occupy London and wherever else in Britain. The Occupy movement is world-wide and has a good chance of becoming very effective, some places more than others, naturally, due to local situations. Four essentials: Determination, awareness of main causes of gross inequitie, creative common sense solutions, and (probably most important) as-broad-as-possible public support from the 99%ers themselves—non-participants, the fearful, the lazy, the frightened (which includes most of us commenting here). Will we “get with it” or just carp from the sidelines?
  Considering it’s the very first time in world history that nonviolent methods have been tried on an international scale, under all kinds of different circumstances, it is a remarkable success in many ways, and still alive and kicking.  A truly great “public enterprise.”  Go, Occupiers!

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By Miko, November 19, 2011 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The key message of OWS is that the standard channels
of power—Big Business, Big Government, Big Media,
etc.—are irrelevant.  We are creating the world we
want to live in and totally ignoring them: while
governments everywhere are destroying their
libraries, we are creating our own; while governments
everywhere are shrugging their shoulders when the
homeless have nowhere to go and nothing to eat, we
are giving them shelter and good; etc.  The people
who call OWS incoherent are the people who can’t
understand that we can and will achieve change
without involving them.

And this is a good thing: if the government
understood what we were doing, they would stop us. 
Look at the recent police brutality at OWS—they
tolerated OWS just as long as they thought that it
was a left-wing Tea Party.  As soon as they realized
that OWS wasn’t making demands and wasn’t appealing
to the government or the corporations but was instead
making a new world where the existing power
relationships didn’t exist, they tried to destroy us. 
But it’s too late, because now we know that we don’t
need them.  Unlike previous left-wing movements that
have shot themselves in the foot by focusing entirely
on sucking up to those in power, those of us who have
seen what OWS can accomplish now know the truth: the
government and the corporations are two sides of the
same power relationship, neither of them is
interested in helping us, and we don’t need either of

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By Joseph Couture, November 19, 2011 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

There is a reason that the Occupy movement in London, Ontario was the first in the country to be evicted by the police.  That reason is largely because the Occupiers had little support from the public and their only consistent media strategy seemed to be to display their own indecision, fear of confrontation and internal bickering.

They faced difficult odds, for sure.  But ultimately they sank themselves.  Read how it all went wrong here:  “How To Blow A Revolution: The London Model”

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By do over, November 19, 2011 at 2:17 am Link to this comment

The Occupy Movement was an attempt at 21st Century decentralized change, a unifying effort because it was social not political and attracted people from all walks of life.  Now, the movement has been co-opted by the left.  It’s new diminished status as political, now makes it nothing more than the anti-tea party.  Occupy has returned to the divisive methods of the 20th Century. The 1% are celebrating.  What a waste.

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By galeww, November 18, 2011 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

To Ardee,
Lucky, lucky you—a childhood friend of Bob Savio’s.  He inspired a generation and his words are being echoed by a new generation.  It’s downright thrilling, isn’t it?  I’ve waited decades to see these beautiful children hit the streets!  AND, they were worth waiting for!  Absolutely magnificent—texting, tweeting, facebooking and even emailing us old codgers.  My heart is with them all the way!
Go OWS’ers GO!

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By Bray, November 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

Why the constant narrative that OWS is incoherent, the greed of the 1 percent affects all
things, that is why the dialogue cannot be constrained to convenient sound bites. In
addition why seek legitimacy by the new york times?

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By ardee, November 18, 2011 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Prell’s babbling incoherency:

There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you cannot take part, you cannot even passively take part.
And you’ve got to put your bodies on the gears, and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus. And you’ve got to make it stop.

Mario Robert Savio

Given a choice I will take the coherency of my good friend and High School valedictorian, Bob Savio, over the mean spirited emptiness of Tea Party rhetoric.

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