"There are combustibles in every state which a spark might set fire to."
George Washington's letter to General Henry Knox concerning Shay's Rebellion, 1786
One month ago, a group of some 1000 demonstrators gathered in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park to protest the pillaging of the nation's economy by powerful corporations and international houses of high finance. While these young activists were entirely peaceful, they also made it clear that this would be no hippie-dippy flower-twirling love-in, sit-in, teach-in, or even a camp-in; this was an occupation. The demonstrators announced that they intended to Occupy Wall Street 24/7, stayinguntil hell freezes over if need be.
The New York City police welcomed them warmly with pepper spray and more than a few violent smack-downs, even going so far as to arrest some 700 protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge who were lured into a position where they could be charged with blocking traffic.
After video of these outrages went viral on the Internet, a wave of righteous indignation swept the land. Hastily-formed Occupy groups proclaiming themselves in solidarity with the NYC protesters began to spring up in big cities and small towns across America. At first it was just a handful: 20-30 groups in the first week, growing to a few hundred in the second week, then rapidly mushrooming to today's current total of 1,947 cities around the globe.
The most common critique leveled against the Occupy demonstrators is that they don't seem to have a plan. “Disorganized,” “unfocused,” and “aimless” are buzzwords the movement's detractors --both liberal and right-wing -- like to toss around. Last week former President Bush's key political adviser Karl Rove cynically opined in the Wall Street Journal that Democrats should distance themselves from the Occupy Wall Street movement to avoid alienating potential voters in 2012.
And it's true that even those Americans who are in fact part of the 99% and generally support OWS's principles are themselves unclear as to what the protesters ultimately want and how exactly they are going to accomplish it. What are their demands? How long are they going to keep this up? Have they proposed any concrete solutions? But that's an awful lot of pressure to put upon a spontaneous social movement that is only little over a month old.
Certainly these are valid questions. In defense of the revolutionaries, though, remember that the last time we had a revolution in this country , it took 20 years to start it, eight years to fight it, and still another six years to fully secure and implement a new government...
For the rest of this article by LORI SPENCER in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new award-winning independent alternative online newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.
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