The aims of any protest are to air grievances and, if everything goes right, to gain redress for the wrongs done. With language or action, the protester seeks to broadcast to an indifferent or even hostile public that he has been wronged by a specific agent, be it person or institution, and that this agent must be held accountable. The message, then, is crucial to any protest. One can even say that without a clear message, there is no protest.
Going into its third week, the anti-Wall Street protest has often been accused of being vague with its demands, and this obvious weakness has been exploited and ridiculed by the mainstream media. This is ironic since Anonymous A99, an original organizer if not brainchild of this protest, is perfectly clear about what it wants. From a YouTube video of March 12, 2011:
We seek an end to the corrupted two-party system by ending the campaign finance and lobbying racket.
Above all, we aim to break up the global banking cartel centered at the Federal Reserve, International Monetary Fund, Bank of International Settlement and World Bank.
We demand that the primary dealers within the Federal Reserve banking system be broken up and held accountable for rigging markets and destroying the global economy, effective immediately.
As a first sign of good faith, we demand Ben Bernanke step down as Federal Reserve chairman.
It's baffling that these succinct demands, exactly what this protest needs, are not being shouted out now, but with a much larger cast of protesters, a consensus is no longer possible. With their strong egalitarian or anarchic instincts, the protesters eschew not just leaders, but even majority decisions. Some even believe that demands are not necessary, but if that's true, why subject yourselves to the ordeals of a sustained protest? If you don't know what you want, how do you know when to pack up and go home? In any case, our criminal overlords would like nothing more than a thousand protests without demands. Yes, work off all of your anger but don't demand anything from us!
Though most protests will fail in their primary objective of gaining redress, they can at least claim to have delivered a message, with many protesters choosing even death to make sure that their narrative is as stark as possible. Consider the hunger striker in prison. Voiceless and impotent, he has no other means to indict his oppressors, so his slow suicide is an allegory of his suffering and their crime. Look at what they are doing to me. They are killing me everyday! In turn, his jailors will try to disrupt this morality play by force-feeding him. Though torturers, they will pose as rescuing angels, and though they may kill him on another occasion, perhaps right after this failed hunger strike, they cannot allow this man to terminate his life now, on his own terms. Such is the importance of the message that they must hijack his story.
By sleeping in Liberty Park, even in rain and cold, the anti-Wall Street protesters are vividly illustrating to the world the dispossession afflicting nearly all Americans. We have lost jobs, homes, savings, Constitutional rights and, yes, even our country as a representative Democracy, but this powerful indictment would be wasted if it's not clear who are being charged or what should be done about them.
It is pointless to rail against "greedy bankers," for example, for greed is a sentiment that can flare up in anyone, even bums and hippies, and banker is just someone in the money lending business. You can't prosecute greed any more than you can punish lust, but one should certainly demand that criminals at Goldman Sachs, Citibank and JP Morgan Chase, among others, be held accountable for rigging markets and stealing money from American tax payers. The nexus of these criminal activities is the Federal Reserve itself, a private banking cartel with a monopoly, incredibly and outrageously enough, on the issuance of our money.
What you have, then, is an entrenched and well defended group of criminals who know exactly what they want, while their vulnerable and transient victims are still undecided about what they're demanding, if anything, or even who they're fighting. If these protesters are not willing to define themselves any better, others will continue to distort and caricature them. Many will show up to further dilute or pervert their cause with alien agendas. Watch for Obamabots and Democratic Party operatives to slither in, not to mention undercover pigs.
Despite your momentum, protesters, you don't have all the time in the world to help the public to understand what's what, and what needs to be done. Of course that's a heavy responsibility, but you have the stage now. I know the brilliant David DeGraw is among you, so why haven't we heard more from him so far? Since you have no spokesman, the topless Zuni Tikka has become your mascot, and though I have nothing against eye candies, it's doubtful that Tikka is even a minor annoyance to a guy like Lloyd Blankfein. In fact, I bet you he's smiling.
Martin Luther King was only 26 when he became a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. I don't know about you, but I find that very inspiring.