As many of you know I've been covering the Occupy Movement since Day 1. I've been to eight Occupy camps in two countries: One raid. One near-arrest. One march on the U.S. Consulate. A couple of barricaded streets. I was at the largest GA the movement has had thus far (Cal Berkeley) and at the first ever national one (in DC). I'm on various text message alert lists with all the news...many of it at 2am. In short: I've been following this movement closely. And for a handful of publications.
Today I wrote a piece for Alternet about how the movement is on the brink of being marginalized:
The Occupy Movement, “the 99 percent,” has, ironically, been hijacked by a small minority within its ranks. I speak of a small percentage of Occupiers who are okay with property destruction. As we saw in Oakland over the weekend: They’re okay with breaking windows, trashing city buildings and throwing bottles at the police. In short: They are not nonviolent. They are willing to commit petty criminal acts masked as a political statement.
These are Black Bloc tactics and they're historically ineffective at spurring change. The now Gingrich-vilified Saul Alinsky in 1970 said the Weather Underground (the terrorist wing of the anti-war movement) should be on the Establishment’s payroll. “Because they are strengthening the Establishment,” said the “professional radical” Alinsky. Nothing kneecapped the call for the war to end quicker than buildings being bombed in solidarity with pacifist sentiments.
Here’s the key point: Occupy is not an armed conflict – it’s a PR war. Nonviolent struggle is a PR war. Gandhi had embedded journalists on his Salt March. He wasn’t a saint. That was a consciously cultivated media image. He used the press and its power to gain sympathy for his cause. What he didn’t do is say he was nonviolent “unless the cops are d*cks,” a sentiment voiced at Occupy. Nonviolent struggle has nothing to do with how the cops react. In actual nonviolent movements they welcome police overreaction because it helps the cause they’re fighting for.
The whole piece is here.