October 14, 2011



Occupying the revolution
by Bruce Rodgers


As of this writing, the Occupy Together website lists 1,524 cities with “occupy” actions. The list is likely to grow, included is Occupy Kansas City.


The mainstream media, initially dismissive of the Occupy Wall Street action, quickly reversed course when news editors recognized the visual power in what was happening and sent in the cameras and microphones. What most reporters brought back to the newsroom for edit reinforced the general commentary about jobless hippie types gathering together as if at a Grateful Dead concert or bandanna-wearing thugs ready to smash store windows.


But a few days into the protest the commentary shifted as cameras caught young families, middle class people and the retired joining the protest and chanting, “We are the 99 percent!” Journalists then began their search for clarification as to what was going on. The standard media practice was to find a “leader” who could explain it all, and later be criticized by other “leaders” not part of the protest, all of which passes for good TV news. But journalists had a hard time. When established liberal voices or members of organized labor sought to speak up and lend their support, many were denied the microphone or received boos when they spoke. Over and over again, the OWS message was that there were no leaders — We are the 99%.


Perplexed, many in the media decided the Occupy movement had no message, or if the local WDAF Fox News report is any guide, decided it was about ending the Federal Reserve, a popular opinion in many conservative and especially libertarian circles. This assumption may have helped deflect the notion that Occupy was a left wing driven action yet ironically many on both the left and right agree that the Federal Reserve is “a government within itself.”


An eye-opening Feb. 8, 2011 interview with Congressman Ron Paul and activist and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader on “Freedom Watch” on the Fox network confirms a mating of political differences on a number of issues, including the Fed. Paul, a hero to libertarians and Nader, a stalwart voice of the left, sit together and agree and praise one another in an atmosphere that destroys the longstanding media doctrine that a great divide exists in this country between the left and right. Nader and Paul even use the same word in describing who controls foreign policy and monetary policy in this country — “corporatists.”


And that is the essential Occupy message — 99 percent of Americans suffer under a political system controlled by corporations, entities that claim personhood, hold little allegiance to country much less to a community and buy influence through elected officials that, for the most part, aren’t accountable to the people.


Occupy supporters are right when they call the movement a “revolution.” It strikes at the heart of how this country is run — way beyond the health care law and birthing tantrums of the Tea Party. For OWS, Obama and politicians are almost irrelevant. The example is what happened and is still happening in the Middle East when it comes to responding to establishment demands or reacting to conciliatory gestures — “We are no longer afraid.”  


To date, it’s a message the mainstream media doesn’t want to hear and won’t report on or analyze because for the most part, corporations own the media. So what we hear is that the “occupiers” have no message, no policy demands or issues they want resolved. That conclusion is both specious and bullshit.


The message of why people are camped in parks across the country and marching was summed up by one young man in Kansas City in one of the many YouTube videos posted under Occupy Kansas City: “Regardless if you’re liberal or conservative, you’re going to get fucked.”


Whether that message alone can bring a political revolution to this country remains unanswered. But discussions are happening, teach-ins are being held, consensus being sought and the call is for October 15 to be a global day of action. Why? According to the OWS website because:


“Over the last 30 years, the 1% have created a global economic system — neoliberalism — that attacks our human rights and destroys our environment. Neoliberalism is worldwide — it is the reason you no longer have a job, it is the reason you cannot afford healthcare, education, food, your mortgage.

Neoliberalism is your future stolen. ”


Bruce Rodgers can be contacted at publisher_editeKC@kcactive.com.