While the Occupy movement may appear similar to protests favoring civil rights or opposing the Vietnam War, there are a few distinct differences. For one, it is an occupation, not a demonstration. Sure, people can come and go, but the movement is meant to stay. The other big difference is also its weakest point -- the Occupy movement has no clear path and no polished demands.
The greatest strength of the Occupy movement may be that it is pure democracy. With no leaders to pay off, it would be difficult for a corporate takeover, like what occurred with the Tea Party. However, the Occupy movement's lack of leaders may also be its greatest weakness. This type of pure democracy also makes it hard to organize ideas to really accomplish anything.
The ideology of the Occupy movement is great -- get money out of politics. It is definitely better than the Tea Party's idea of getting out of government. While the Republican right and their barely controllable Tea Party minions say that the Occupy movement should focus on D.C. rather than Wall Street, this only makes it clear that the right in America doesn't get it. The movement, like a good reporter, is just following the money.
Jimmy Williams, an MSNBC contributor, says money and politics is "the root of all political evil." Sure, Washington passes the laws, but it is Wall Street that is taking all the wealth. It is Wall Street that is making record breaking profits thanks to the laws and trade deals Washington is passing. But, most importantly, it is Wall Street that is shelling out the cash keeping these politicians in office.
Like it or not, America is run by money. As the rich keep more of that money to themselves, the middle class has nothing to give to politicians but votes. The voters have limited candidates to vote for, and since it takes so much money to run a campaign, officials are usually re-elected. This has caused the type of oligarchy the Constitution was created to prevent.
". . . the farmer will see his government supported, his children educated, and the face of his country made a paradise by the contributions of the rich alone -- without his being called on to spend a cent from his earnings." -- Thomas Jefferson to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1811.
The country Thomas Jefferson described is not the country we find ourselves in today. The right is fighting to keep taxes on the top 1 percent of earners as low as possible. The police are given orders to stop the occupiers' Constitutional right to assemble. But occupiers need to do more than assemble in parks.
America is waking up to the fact that their cheap products are costing more than the money saved could ever give them. It is costing American jobs -- just look at where the things Americans buy are made, not in the U.S.A. Look at where the corporate money earned thanks to foreign slave labor, is going -- into the hands of the oligarchy to silence the voices of the many. It is time that the Occupy movement starts occupying the one thing that no police force can break up, the hearts and minds of every American citizen.
The question the Occupy movement needs to start asking now is, what will the next step be to take our government back from Wall Street? Every voting citizen should realize that the occupiers are not just gathering for themselves, they are there for every citizen. Until they do, the movement will be little more than people standing in the cold, waiting for something to happen. As the nation has seen thus far, that something has just been beatings and pepper spray in the face of change.