Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Occupy Wall Streets needs to convert anger into political action

It’s time for the occupiers to pack up their tents and go home, the point’s been made.

Protest movements give those in the shallow end of the political power pool a sense of empowerment and solidarity and that they’re throwing off the yoke of oppression and standing up for their rights.

But unless the anger fueling the protest is turned into political power, the protest merely becomes protesting for protesting’s sake.

In other words, pointless.

A collection of metaphorical Howard Beale’s camping in public parks is good symbolism and worthy of play in mainstream media for a few days. They’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

OK. We get it. Now what?

Will they camp there all winter? Until the 2012 elections? Until all the corporations have dissolved and the world returned to a barter economy? When will the occupiers believe they’ve made their point?

Last month the main group that started all of this, Occupy Wall Street, released a manifesto of sorts that tells the country what they’re angry about. Other Occupy Wherever movements, including Occupy Tucson, followed suit with their own bills of particulars. But trying to tell the country what they want has been elusive for the disparate group of protestors.

Some proposed demands make sense, such as re-regulation of the banking system. Others are pure liberal fantasy, such as dismantling the “military industrial complex” and living in a world of peace.

It’s a step forward from protest to political movement and could serve as a foundation for a new ultra liberal party to counter the Tea Party’s ultra conservative political movement.

But as city mayors across the country the past week began defending the rights of other citizens not to have squalid encampments in the middle of their downtowns, the occupy leaders have foolishly transformed their movement from one decrying the influence of corporate wealth on the federal government to anger at mayors for supposedly violating their free speech rights.

Occupy Wall Street was started by a small group of leftist anarchists railing against corporatism. But their dystopian view of the world was soon co-opted by more traditional liberals wanting to express their anger at the inequities of the topsy-turvy tax system and the influence of megacorporations on American public policy.

Spontaneous occupy protests erupted in more than 600 American cities. Clearly, there’s a lot of anger out there.

But where the protest may have created a lot of nodding heads from other Americans simpatico with the movement but unwilling to give up their jobs to camp in public parks, its foolish fights over the right to camp out downtown is turning those nodding heads into eye rolls.

Living in tents in public parks, toting signs with clever sayings and yelling at passersby is going to have little effect on curtailing government corruption or reducing the avarice of the government’s corporate overlords.

America is self-correcting. We are not helpless. The power to change the system is in our hands. Turn the anger into action.

It’s time to pack up the tents and start occupying voting booths.

Search site | Terms of service