Remember Occupy Wall St? It was a protest of all people from different stripes coming together to protest Wall St's big bad bankers for ruining our economy. The media loved it. Michael Lewis, who I respect and enjoy reading, said he expected it to be more successful than the Tea Party. Bold claim. It didn't have much in the way of a goal, then it demanded goals that read as if out of the Port Huron Statement. Later the normal lefty psychos rushed into the protests, rapes happened, some guys died, and then it fizzled out w/in 6 months. The Tea Party started in early '09 when Rick Santelli went beserk on TV about bailouts (when Obama stupidly doubled down on the Wall St/AIG bailouts + added in GM/Chrysler for good measure), and then proceeded to push an idea of fiscal responsibility before the US goes broke. While they were co-opted by the GOP (mistake by the Dems to denounce the TP) and painted as racist psychos by the press, they managed to fuel the GOP to a giant Congressional win in 2010. Afterwards in an unprecedented parliamentary move with only holding one house of congress they managed a sitting POTUS (a pansy but still) to tie reduced spending to a debt ceiling vote. Just this spring the TP has set two more US Senate candidates for wins in Nov over an incumbent and/or establishment GOP men. What was that about the Occupy movement being more successful than the Tea Party? Here's why Occupy failed and the Tea Party succeeded.
1. The Democratic party is bad soil for grassroots movements. The Dems are a patchwork coalition of victim groups with an uber rich and academic elite at the top. What do these wildly different groups have in common: single women, blacks, gays, Hispanics, Jews, the uber rich, unions, academia and Big Biz? They vote Democrat. Nothing else. This is why Obama won California in 2008 with 62% of the vote but prop 8 opponents only got 47% of the vote. Blacks and Hispanics dont care about gay rights. No ideology holds all groups together like GOP's 'lower taxes, lesser govt'. This is why the Tea Party had broad GOP and some independent support. Simple message of thought, which the Dems don't have as a glue. How could you get a message to stretch across the wildly different groups I listed above that vote Dem? You can't.
2. Campaign funding. Big Biz owns both the GOP and the Dems, but that's not the major source of campaign cash for the Dems. Jewish donors donate 60% of all Dem money and unions provide a lot of the rest. Big biz, Jewish money, union funds are resistant to changing the status quo, which is what OWS was all about. Because the GOP has that lower middle class to under $10 mil rich as a base for donations, TP had base of money outside of establishment that went to insurgent candidates. Overcoming a 30-1 spending ratio is nearly impossible, but overcoming 3-1 is doable when you have the fired up segment on your side. Because the GOP has that married middle class support, they can counter Big Biz money. Just look at the recent win by Cruz over Dewhurst in Texas for the open US Senate seat. A Hispanic Tea Party candidate beat the establishment white guy in Texas with Tea Party money and support. This would've been considered unheard of 5 years ago.
3. High Low strategy. Rich, lawyers and academia w/those that need handouts. It's an Eloi-Morlock strategy, where the centralized clique of a few control the levers of power to hand out gifts for the 'victims of society'. Cant have revolution if the high interests will have their heads on the chopping block. OWS should have realized this when Zucotti Park was split between the Apple product using educated protestors and the riff raff on the other side.
4. Media praised and coddled it rather than criticize OWS to sharpen its message. The media's liberal slant worked against it here. Had the media been tough on OWS, it would have refined their message and policed the protests better. The media smeared the Tea Party with accusations of being racist, anti-immigrant, anti-everything and extremist... yet all they wanted was an end to bailouts and limited spending to prevent currency collapse. A smart move would have been to give the OWS leaders face time but force them to sharpen their message rather than the devolution into a laundry list of change and anarchy. The OWS crowd got cocky with the idea people would always be giving them great PR, and then the Daily Show smacked it down. That was the turning point. No Dem politician supported it after, and the media acted as if it didn't exist or ever have their support. The rape count was also too high to hide anymore.
5. Libs want protests to feel like '68. Romanticizing the protest years, they antagonize cops to get beat for victimhood. Victimhood is the ultimate trump card on the Dem side, so they think everyone will cut them slack if beaten by cops. While I disagree with cops beating down innocent protestors, when a protestor whacks a cop, well then you better be prepared to be whacked back. This doesn't make anyone at home happy, and they will not sympathize when they know you egged the cops on and whacked cops first. This isnt the Vietnam war; you're unemployed + Wall St is looting the public treasury. Gandhi and MLK showed how non-violent protest works to a T.
6. No coherent message. TP was no more bailouts, fiscal responsibility. What was OWS? I think they went with the 'network' social web route too early and that allowed the message to be spread too wide and too thin. They claimed no leadership, but really, all movements need a leader. That leader will either be the martyr or the hero. OWS needed a spokesman.
7. When modern leftism doesnt work (mix of socialism, crony capitalism, cultural marxism), what are the alternatives? Either more conservative and freemarket ideas or further left socialism. many of the fixes they wanted were not aligned with the financial collapse at all. It went back to weird things that just read like the Port Huron statement. Seriously, the left just recycles the same old socialist claptrap.
8. Protesting the Wall St bankers needed to be snuffed out before citizens connected the dots that Obama and Dems currently in power have not convicted a single Wall St banker or mortgage fraudster 5 years after the financial shock. This was a problem as people started to say publicly 'yeah why arent the bankers and fraudsters in jail? where's my change?'. If a single Dem with no Wall St ties and lib bona fides had taken the OWS message to power, you could have had a primary challenger to Obama. Looking at some of his primary results, it migth have worked. I spent a couple of months hoping Howard Dean would do this.
9. Dems are very top down. Union leaders, black leaders, etc. send buses of people to places. It's sad when the Wisconsin recall showed how buses of SEIU goons were coming in on the recall election night with folks from Illinois. Nothing grassroots. Grassroots is when people connect like in the '60s on campuses or use the Internet as the TP did to rush GOP events. The Dem party is all about centralized power with few decision makers that order people places.
10. OWS couldnt be the underdog. TP could be underdog vs. whole system, not just stale GOP, and could be counterweight to Obama-Pelosi duo that was already wearing on America by the obsession with an even crappier entitlement program of health care reform rather going after Wall St and econ reform. OWS couldnt be underdog because they wouldnt go GOP, and there was no way in hell a sitting POTUS would allow people on his side to rush him. Not in an election year, and not with Obama's self centered behavior.
11. OWS was full of young people whereas the Tea Party was a more varied crowd with plenty of middle aged members. Young people do not sustain a campaign anymore. Young people are far less likely to still be around 6-9 months later when primary season rolls up. Young people are more likely to have ADD. The older crowd of the Tea Party was great for organization, administration and outreach. They also were better for a long term idea. This is why the Tea Party got rolling in spring of '09 and still had steam for the primaries of 2010 and Nov elections.
In a perfect world, OWS would have had a clearcut message such as "Break up the too big to fail banks that own 60% of US financial assets, and write down the debt". This is a twin mandate as once you break up the banks (and clear out the derivatives), the sold off pieces would be written down by the purchasing banks. It's normal banking bankruptcy practice. That message taken to Dems in Congress either would have to have been adopted or they would have been primaried this year. With a good face of that movement, say Howard Dean, he could have lent credibility to it and fostered the OWS primary candidates this spring.
I have a friend who was an organizer for OWS in NYC and some other cities. His website (subscription sorry) had updates, times, etc. and he solicited feedback. many of us reported on the events, and some even participated. The overwhelming response was "You need to filter out protestors and control the riff raff". The organizers response to that constructive criticism, "It's CIA operatives". He wouldn't listen to anyone, and he considered all of the publicity good. This was a lost moment on the left. It is over 3 years since the first Tea Party gatherings. The TP movement sent many candidates to Congress, pushed Scott Brown into the US Senate in Massachusetts, helped elect multiple governors in 2010, and even forced a Dem Gov (Cuomo) to immediately tackle the govt ee issue when he entered office. Their candidates recently defeated establishment names for seats to the US Senate (Indiana + Texas). Occupy Wall St started in the fall of 2011. What has it done? Are there any OWS candidates? Are they still selling t-shirts? It's 99% done.
***Thanks Steve Sailer for the link. Please cruise through new readers.