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Do Occupy Protesters Stand a Chance?

posted Feb 24, 2012, 12:36 PM by Golden Knight   [ updated May 4, 2012, 2:26 PM ]

By Andrew Evans 


Each generation is given a historical choice: to unite in opposition to social injustices; or to abandon all attempts of rectifying the present in the midst of greed and disillusionment. We are all familiar with the civil rights movement made famous by its successes in the 1950’s and 60’s. This movement, led so effectively by men such as Martin Luther King, has been a much cited example in cases of social justice. In addition, we are familiar with the series of stand in protests that have come to be known as the “Occupy movement”. While the former has been examined a countless number of times, the latter appears to be a conundrum. Let us compare both movements and see whether the latter has the proper objectives, the vital leadership and the correct plan of action to bring about change.

The civil rights movement had success in attaining its goals due to the precise (and sometimes unyielding) manner in which it demanded them. Beginning with the desegregation of city buses; the movement worked from demand to demand until formerly unimaginable successes, such as the desegregation of schools and equal representation in voting, were achieved. Those who diverged from the current objective were reprimanded or ignored. Even Dr. King was criticized by his peers for speaking out against America’s involvement in Vietnam. In this way, each successive goal was never lost amidst a labyrinth of complaints. The occupy movement fails in this respect. While initially presenting universal calls for financial reform, over time smaller sects became just influential enough to mitigate those fundamental outcries. This movement, in seeking to represent the 99% in the most literal sense, adopted a litany of complaints that lack a clear solution. Whether it will recover from its inability to express a set dogma for its followers, time will tell. For now, no one knows what exactly the movement is asking for. Perhaps the campaign can be resuscitated if it possesses proper leadership and peaceful civil disobedience.

No demonstration can succeed without a charismatic and resourceful leader. The civil rights movement always maintained a strong connection with the great intellectual minds of the day. It was imbued with academic and religious inspiration, and it inspired its members to resist and withstand frightening opposition. I must pose this to you: can you name any leaders of the occupy movement? There is no modern Dr. King, Phillip Randolph, or Roy Wilkins to be found among the protesters. Such men were capable of giving their fellow human beings the determination to weather fire hoses, police dogs, and threats of death- and to emerge victorious. Without leadership, people will be prone to flee, to surrender, or to violence when faced with adversity. The occupy movement lacks direction of a good leader that speaks for its collective will.

With good leadership and an established cause, the civil rights movement began with sit-ins and boycotts- hurting its opponents economically until they yielded. Eventually, the movement gained such strength as to march on Washington, and peacefully demand the basic justices it sought. The occupy movement has yet to evolve beyond the peaceful sit-in phase! Do we boycott corporations like Walmart, Shell, and Fox? Have the protesters urged us to do so, or have they taken pragmatic action as the civil rights movement did in its infancy with the Montgomery Bus Boycotts? The occupy protesters will literally stagnate in the streets, waiting for reforms to be given when nothing has been done to save the inconveniencing of their fellow citizens. A collective purpose is needed if this movement will survive the will of Wallstreet.

The occupy movement has been shown to be lacking in the key ingredients that compose successful social awakenings. Without leaders to rally around, without defined goals to pursue, and without policies devoted to peaceful protest, the occupy movement seems doomed to failure. Unless its members can learn from their more successful predecessors, all of their actions will be at risk of having been done in vain.