Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy .* is a meta-movement. The meta-revolution will be tweeted.

So, I haven't been really connected to the news for the past several weeks. I've been really engrossed in my own work, and quite honestly, trying to think of ways to make the next dollar. Since we're in full startup mode, when we hit the road we take terrible flights (5 hour delay on my flight home last night) and we stay with friends. My mom always told me that "company, like fish, stinks after three days" - sadly I haven't heeded my mom's advice; I've been staying for 4 and 5 days at a time. In addition to putting up with our excessively long visit, one of our friends is also a shrewd political/cultural observer. He's just the sort of guy who can explain a phenomenon like Occupy Wall Street. He summed it up thusly: the economic disparity in this country means OWS will just get bigger.

Staying in someone's home is a precious experience. You see them in the morning before they are glossed for the day. You eat breakfast and dinner together. And if you break the "company is like fish" rule, you get to see a few of the subplots in their lives develop. Thanks again to my friends and patient hosts if you are reading, I really do appreciate the chance to step into the middle of your homes and your lives for a few days. OWS was a minor subplot for my friend/host who put us up in Ann Arbor. He's a true Michigander, so explaining economic implosion and populist movements comes as naturally to him as grilling bratwurst. I asked him what OWS was demanding, and he said that OWS wasn't demanding anything. He hinted that demanding nothing was kind of the point. He got me thinking about OWS, and then I started reading a bit more. Here's what I think so far:


  1. The Michigander was right. The underlying economic disparity is real, and can only be perceived by "the 99%" unjust. Here is the article that I think is the best synopsis of the facts, selectively biased to represent OWS.
  2. Occupy Wall Street is a meta-movement. They aren't out to make demands, win concessions, or change you. They are out to change what we perceive as just and unjust. Up until now, based on the way wealth has been concentrated, we have all tacitly agreed that wealth concentration is just fine. OWS is slapping us in the face. That's it. I think the real impact will be the way other groups, organizations, and movements internalize the message. 


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