Occupy will make your breath fresher and your skin softer! Occupy will give your hair that movie-star glow! I lost twenty pounds in two weeks with Occupy! Occupy will make you more appealing to the opposite (or same) sex! Occupy will make your estranged parents love and respect you! Occupy will will make your teenagers listen to you! Everyone will envy you when you've got Occupy! This product is officially endorsed by Occupy Wall Street. 99% Satisfaction Guaranteed. No substitutions or refunds.
We can only expect that the ravenous hydra known as the Public Relations industry (known as the Propaganda industry until after World War II) will begin spewing copy like this any day now. Some of it will be the result of an intentional ploy by elitist international gangsters (read: World Bank) to misdirect the energy behind the movement, and some of it will be a genuine attempt by desperate but cynical marketing departments nationwide to appear more "with it", "hip", or relevant to your life than their competitors are.
Why would they do this? Simple: people like Occupy Wall Street. People like the other occupations. For once, people are paying attention to something not propagated by the mass media. Many see the Occupy movements as bastions of hope in a Democracy gone wrong, as the front line of defense against a world-wide nation-eating bank cartel, as uplifting resistance to a largely unimpeded descent towards global fascism, as a hotbed and birthplace of direct-action affinity groups, or simply "the best thing to happen since the 1960's". People like us. We know it, the politicians know it, the bankers know it, and yes, the copywriters know it too. People like us and they don't even know why, just as they don't know why they like Facebook. When you repeatedly see your friends lined up underneath a banner or a logo, you are likely to feel a similar heart-warming affinity for the logo as you do for your friends. Psychologists call this "positive reinforcement", and it can make a dog drool at the sound of a bell. A similar phenomenon, "negative reinforcement", is the reason why the sacred Hindu cross known as the Swastika makes any well-educated non-psychopath want to vomit. This is how symbols are linked to greater meaning and have an emotional impact; it is all about associations and analogies.
Would this marketing campaign work? Probably. In a way, we're doing it to ourselves. "Occupy" has become a word that unites us all. It is a buzz-word that we carelessly assume refers to like-minded people, and like all buzz-words, it falls in danger of becoming meaningless when repeated endlessly and inappropriately. We have taken for granted the principles the brought us together in the first place: a sense of urgency to demand justice, a dream that a better world is possible, and a model for governing ourselves in an egalitarian fashion so that no voice goes unheard (through Consensus voting and direct democracy at the General Assemblies, which are sprouting all over the world). This has to become perfectly clear; otherwise, we will be forever plagued with "We Are the 99%. We want discount hot dogs." or "We are Occupy. We want the government to own everything and tax the snot out of everybody." or, more primitively, "Hi, I'm with Occupy LA and my car broke down and I need $30 to get on the bus... hey, want to buy a wallet?" It's too easy.
We have organized and perpetuated our movement using a code-name "Occupy", the meaning of which is similar to "Inhabit" but is usually reserved for military campaigns and Porta Potties. We needed a word like this to grab attention, to show we mean business, and to hijack the mainstream media. This is because the vast majority of us have, from a young age, been conditioned to act as consumers, not as enfranchised citizens, not as a People in charge of our own destiny. Our culture teaches us to identify ourselves with soundbites and logos, which we supplant and overturn with more soundbites and more logos. The path to satisfaction and success, we learn, is through branding, through the acquisition of branded goods, through alignment with branded movements and political parties. The foundation of any one of these brands is similar to the foundation of a cult or religion: symbolism, repetition, and mass hysteria. The idea that we, individually or in groups, can solve fundamental problems for ourselves without the help of these imaginary structures is considered radical, heretical, or meddlesome at best. Some call it idealistic. Some call it anarchistic. Still, we are all learning that to rely on branding is to give away our power to those who have not earned our trust or to anyone who can convincingly invoke the symbols.
Occupy Wall Street was a cleverly chosen name. It signifies that this is more than just a rally or a protest: it is a non-violent political occupation which will last indefinitely until the conflict is resolved. The conflict in which we take part is nothing less than a fight for freedom, an exodus from policy constructed by the ruling class that would have us as slaves. To "Protest" means to complain, but to "Occupy" means to utilize our power to maintain a position. "Occupy" is an accurate word; Our General Assemblies are occupation governments and, unlike most occupation governments in history, which are legitimized through force and other means of coercion, this one is legitimized by transparency, consensus, and by allowing everybody an equal voice. We don't need guns; we have cameras, we have witnesses, we have a world that is not only watching but acting in concert. In this way, "Occupy" was a great choice of words. Still, it is just a word, and it is the Achilles' Heel of the movement.
To avoid misappropriation, this movement must outgrow the word "Occupy". It must become so massive that any single word or symbol would buckle under its weight and totally collapse. It must become a new meta-narrative -- a new all-encompassing world view that each one of us is unique and powerful, that each voice is sacred, that every disagreement is an opportunity to learn. We will never get what we want by complaining to the "Powers that Be". We get what we want by creating it: by assembling, by forming relationships, and by acting. Those of us camping out at the occupations are the forerunners for this movement, but for this movement to succeed, it needs to spread to every neighborhood and every population center. The message is this: You can govern yourself. You can represent yourself. If someone wants to represent you, make sure you know them personally so that you can hold them accountable for their actions. Don't wait for "the government" to save you, because they won't. Don't wait for the rich to treat you fairly, because they won't. And don't wait for "Occupy" save you. Save yourself.
No matter what "Occupy" becomes, let it be known what we have already done and are still doing: we are demonstrating the true power of The People in exercising our inalienable right to assemble. Some see the responsibilities of the General Assembly to be nothing more than to determine what is officially declared by our "Occupy Movement", or who gets to say what with "Occupy ___" attached to it. without at all recognizing it as an possibility in and of itself; the possibility that the Occupations are here to support the General Assemblies, not the other way around. Our governing body is comprised by whomever shows up willing to govern. That means You. If you can't make it to an "Occupy" general assembly, that doesn't matter. Assemble in your neighborhood. Form committees. It's fun, its free. This is all "The Government" does, and they keep mucking it up thanks to swarms of special interest groups that drown out the voices of their constituency. You could do better.
We have fought for a voice and we have won victories. To keep our voice, we must use it. We can't fall into the same trap that we have before: "Occupy (or some other group) will save us all!" or "I don't like the way General Assemblies (or some other governing body) are going, so I'll just stop participating and complain until it gets better." Understand, reader: You are the one you've been waiting for, and you are not alone. You have friends and colleagues. Meet them. Rise up. Govern yourself. Create wealth. Don't wait for anybody to save you. If you give your power away, it is not likely you will get it back.
We support Occupy Wall Street. They have assembled at a seat of global power and they are not backing down. They have been drawing attention to a system that is corrupt through-and-through. They are the premier model for true democracy in the United States. They assembled and were met with violence and even torture. We all must be willing to do this if we maintain our dignity as human beings. Nobody can predict where this movement will go, but by being aware of what we are already doing and the effect we are already having by assembling in public, we can transcend the postmodern abyss and escape death by branding.