"The movement is at a crossroads," the mayor said. "It is time for Occupy LA to move from holding a particular patch of park land to spreading the message of economic justice and signing more people up for the push to restore the balance to American society."
Mayor Villaraigosa is right. A patch of land is not the Occupation Movement although it turned out to be a practical lesson in how the message can be obfuscated by peripheral issues that were never intended to become part of the agenda or policy.
The Occupation Movement began and continues to focus on the business practices of Too Big To Fail financial institutions which have accrued so much political power that it supersedes the voting population. They system is rigged, both Reds and Blues are beholden to their benefactors.
This is not a revelation to most Americans nor is it particularly surprising when one considers the entire political system is designed to reward massive sums of money. Obviously, financial institutions, the same people who profited from the losses of depositors and investors, have the money. Your money.
The major banks have not only used other people's money to gain political power, they have used that power to the detriment of the same people who gave it to them in the first place.
For several decades we have watched major corporations become more influential in the political arena while traditional voting blocs have been effectively silenced. They have lost their voice because no one besides major contributors have a seat at the proverbial table. The Reds and the Blues have become almost indistinguishable as far as legislation, broken campaign promises littering the post-election landscape.
If one puts aside the recent conflict over park space, Mayor Villaraigosa makes a good point. The message of economic injustice is the Alpha and the Omega of the Occupation Movement. Whether or not signing up new voters is an effective means of doing so, the “push to restore the balance” is valid and well taken.
There have been many obstacles to this path, not the least of which are the overlapping interests of other organizations that were around long before the Occupation Movement became a prominent news story. So now we see these organizations pushing their way into the movement's policy apparatus for rather transparent reasons. .
"MoveOn's been working very hard," said Liam Fox, a protester from New Mexico who's been at Occupy DC in McPherson Square since early October. "They'd love to turn [the Occupy movement] into a pet until the election and then have it neutered. They don't have the momentum or public support we have."
The same goes for any of the many organizations that have seen the movement, and it's ongoing viability, as either a vehicle for their own agenda, or something that must be destroyed before it matures into an actual political entity. There is no doubt that labor and organizers have a stake in promoting the message of the Occupation Movement because it is consistent with their own. But Liam Fox is also right. All of the organizations that were in existence prior to September 17, 2011 had plenty of chances to recruit, organize and dominate news coverage on their own. It was only after the Occupation Movement got some traction and a lot of attention, that these organizations became interested in either participating with, or co-opting the movement.
So how does the Occupation Movement survive the winter and continue moving forward with a message of economic equality? It just does. If it doesn't there is ample evidence that it will be a victory for Republicans and the right-wing political apparatus that doesn't like the idea of equality in any form; racial, economic, taxation or political influence. Here's a take from Republican strategist Frank Luntz:
“I’m so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death,” said Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist and one of the nation’s foremost experts on crafting the perfect political message. “They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism”….
Frank Luntz may be very good at “crafting the perfect political message” for his people, but the messageof Occupy Wall Street has never been in doubt. This has been an organic movement since the beginning and continues to draw support from people that don't see a need for a “perfect” political message. We only see a need for achieving balance that is woefully out of alignment; a system that no longer represents the interests of the governed.
How difficult is this to understand? Is it not obvious that our freedoms, civil rights and economic security are threatened by the same political interests that provide massive sums of money to maintain the status quo, including owerful lobbying interests like the Central City Association?
For this reason “the message” does not need to be defined. There are too many issues, too many grievances to put into a single governing document or policy. The Occupation Movement stands for equality in any form it takes as far as social policy. This equality has become conspicuously absent in the current political environment that forces us to watch as our freedoms and liberties are systematically eliminated by those with self-serving motives to do so.
For instance, a resolution called H.R. 3162 was passed in October of 2001, the Patriot Act as it became known, which eliminated fundamental constitutional rights. In fact, it continues to prevail in direct opposition to the United States Constitution, contradicting the language carefully crafted by the Founders which has protected American's from abusive government and rogue law enforcement officials for more than 220 years.
And so we have become a “threat” to the powers that be. We have endured for two months in a hostile environment, then forced out to work on spreading the message of equality from coffee shops and safehouses. But to the consternation of those who have put so much effort into silencing us, the message will not be evicted or censored. It can't be. It is the same message that gave birth to this nation, beckoning to the dispossessed and disenfranchised around the world. People who spread the word in many languages that there was a place where equality was more than a catchphrase.
That nation, that bastion of equality, has been replaced by a political and economic infrastructure that cheats the poor and rewards failure. This is the problem we seek to correct. To restore balance. To spread the message of economic justice.
So maybe the Mayor will understand that those who occupied City Hall are not subversives or hooligans or criminals. They do not deserve to be incarcerated for their efforts. They do not deserve to be dragged through the justice system because the took the initiative, just like you said, to demand attention long enough to spread the message when their political leaders, the mainstream media, and organizations like the Central City Association saw this as a threat to their cozy, largely unscrutinized, methods of doing business.
Here's the extended version of Britten's video posted yesterday:
2:50 PM--Cheryl Aichele has posted a message that charges have been dropped against all but eight of those scheduled to be arraigned today.