It's All About Theater -- and a New Play Just Opened
The Occupy Wall Street thing down in lower Manhattan might not quite be at a "movement" stage; but it could be darn near close. If it can get there, then the fun will really start -- and it's about goddam time.
The Greatest Nation on the Face of the Earth has been living in a Superman / Seinfeld'ian Bizarro World for the past two years, where the expected norms have been tossed to the wind and we're left with a landscape that just doesn't make the least bit of sense.
A collective near-death experience brought on primarily by the decades-running corporate corruption of government has as its populist and political fix something called the Tea Party movement (there's that word again) advocating the minimization and dismantling of said government, thereby supercharging the aforementioned offender with even more power and an even-larger stack of 'get out of jail' cards than it had before the shit hit the fan. Wait; what? Wake me up from this insanity, now please.
With the Right running hog wild, where's the Left been in all of this? You know, an expected counter-push? No matter where's one's opinion might fall in all of this mess, this should be a no-brainer of a question to be asking -- right? So, could Occupy Wall Street be it? The answer: we'll see.
Notice the corp-media's painting of this picture: "What the heck do these idiots want? They can't even list their demands!" As usual, they miss the big point. Or, they get the big point, but need to sell it as a joke to the masses.
But OWS makes perfect sense: all it is doing is attempting to change the frame of the debate and point the finger at what its participants feel is the true and actual source of the problem. In other words, it is calling bullshit on the Tea Party's platform by saying "hey dudes; it's not government that's the source of the problem here, it's these guys in the big buildings around the corner frm here. Now deal with it"
And that is important. Decentralized rage at this stage is just fine and the proper status point; coalescing around key policy points and key figureheads (individuals or organizations) comes next ... but first things first. One just needs to look at the Arab Spring examples for proof of this formula. Add in the social media mobilization, and we could have a winner here.
It's all about winning those hearts and minds, and that is best done through effective theater. Whereas the Tea Party takes their stage production to the bastion of its targeted enemy (halls of government), OWS is doing the same by shifting its stage to the belly of that beast called Wall Street.
So far so good. Just like Cairo or even Tiannemen Square, momentum is building from a dead start to something bigger as each day passes. The buzz is feeding on itself. I've seen many Facebook posts saying "I'm looking forward to get down there myself" or more subtle signs of support.
The most interesting of such is the F/B wall volleys I see from a barely know him acquaintance on my own dashboard. Since we befriended one another, I've been regularly tortured by his regular rants in support of Ron Paul or other right of center leanings. Now, this same fellow is rooting on the NYC guerrillas as if they were his high school football team and spreading the various viral buzz pieces in full support of this newly visible "big business is the problem" message. Sure, such a change in opinion might not make sense logically, but it's not about logic. It's all about theater! This guy gives it four stars!
We've been here before: the Seattle WTO riots looked like the counter move but they've since faded into the "it really didn't matter" part of the history books. Given the right's control of the mass media, OWS could soon find that same fate.
But we hope differently here in this corner. Bizarro World must end. The debate needs to be re-framed -- properly this time and in opposition to the puppetmasters currently setting the debate rules. Obama needs to be pulled back into what should be his natural constituency, for everyone's sake, including his own. The left needs to be re-charged and enter the squared ring with a dynamic that can actually influence the Great Middle, before the keys to the family Buick are handed to a private equity fund manager named Romney or a lunatic wingnut named Perry.
Occupy Wall Street is arriving just in time. The question is whether it is still around six months from now. If yes, then it means there's a whole new game going down.