There are many opinions and different ideas about what the Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS) stands for and really what it is in general. But what are the concrete things we can see the OWS changing for everyday Americans (or for the world) and how is it changing the cadre of other organizations?
As for the things that the OWS has changed in the daily lives of the average person. I can't see any. Most people I talk to on my bus commutes, at school etc only know what they have seen on the news. Most are indifferent or think it is silly to camp in the middle of town as a form of protest. One person who rides the bus with me often is a guy named Jamal and he said (paraphrasing) 'these protesters mainly look like hippies, the government is not afraid of them. How do they expect to force change when the government is not afraid of being forced to change?' (he asked rhetorically).
There have also been charges that some of the local occupy are corrupt. I was told "sometimes when a proposition was blocked by a large group, the people who put forth the proposition would wait til the people who blocked it left then they would bring it back up to be voted on so it could pass" This may possibly be an anomaly but it seems like this could be a major problem with this sort of democracy.
To be frank the OWS has not changed the everyday lives of the average proletariat. But I do see a change in the advanced of the working class and even a new energy in the advanced section of workers (proletarian revolutionaries).
I saw this weekend at a local event that the OWS has really influenced the people in my area. At the event people were doing hand signs as they do in the GA here locally. Though I found it annoying, people would respond when "mic check" was yelled. I really felt a more sense of unity among the different groups at this event also (not too much unity, it was still a leftist event). There was open talk of breaking laws and of revolutionary actions and even a class where we discussed what we would want out of a revolutionary nation. These were from some of the same people who attacked me in the past as a ultra leftist etc. Even the numbers of this event was larger than any normal crowd in my local area for any left event.
I think this new radicalization of the left in my area is very exciting. I hope even if the OWS goes away that the new feeling will stay. That more people will become radicalized and realize that reformist pacifism is not a plausible way to change anything. That when the government is faced with change it doesn't want or like that it will attack the people, rather they are peaceful or not.
I fear that the OWS in some places will tire out and be co-opted into the parliamentary road of trying to change things. This historically has been the death of many and most radical movements (and people) who walk this path. It tends to make groups and individuals content with the political and economic status quot because they are apart of it and can brush off revolutionary's with a simple 'we are doing what we can'. Working for small gains within the government also tends to relax the anger to the extent you lose some of or all the anger of the masses. Health care that was passed here in the states is a great example. We had independents and democrats pissed at the democratic party because we were not getting any real health care that would help the poor people, not to mention the democratic party hardly lifted a finger to try and pass a real health care bill. but since their members got a compromise and passed "something, anything" it quelled the anger and the people returned to the democrats. This will probably be the similar outcome if the OWS is absorbed into the parliamentary road.
Written by: Dustin Slagle