Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Yo-Yo In A Hurricane

I haven't blogged about the Occupy Portland Movement for quite a while. It's not that I haven't been watching it intently, I have two entire Tweetdeck columns devoted to movement related Tweets and I've been religiously following breaking news via Portland Mercury's Blogtown PDX. The problem is, my opinion keeps changing. The movement will make a gain, I'll feel good about their direction, then they'll do something bone headed, which will make it hard to justify backing them.

Occupiers staged a City Hall sit in to protest the eviction of a family, and I was excited to see the movement taking positive action on a solid issue. Next thing I knew, $3,000.00 of the movement's money was wasted on 500 ugly T-shirts, from an out of state manufacturer, and I found myself questioning their fiscal savvy.

Occupiers shut down the docks to stick it to the 1%, but in doing so they cost a day's pay to hard working members of the 99% just before Christmas. They also failed to make allowances for shipments of donated food on their way to feed the pour, which are the people the movement's theoretically fighting for.

I feel like a yo-yo. Only instead of merely moving up & down the opinion spectrum, the rapidity of events pummels me like a gale force wind, sending my opinion of the movement in every conceivable direction. I can't find a comfortable stance to take for any length of time. Well, that's not quite true.

I DO BELIEVE the core of the movement is made up of dedicated people who genuinely want to make the world a better place. That much is worthy of respect, and I'll rip the proverbial lips off anyone who classifies occupiers, as a whole, as a group of ignorant pot heads. I think a few such people have signed on board after the fact, but the movement's core have their hearts in the right place.

Their problems are a result of their extreme idealism. They want to keep the movement a leaderless organization while maintaining a policy of 100% inclusion. Yet, if anyone can join a group with no designated leader, or spokesperson, then anyone can speak/act on behalf of the group. Thus, you get: members trashing corporate America on the news, while holding Starbuck's coffee cups to stay warm; random members ordering shirts on behalf of the movement, nobody to make exceptions for charitable deliveries to barricaded docks, and nobody to deliver a consistent message to the media.

I understand the concept behind a total democracy and an all inclusive form of participatory decision making. I really do. But, unless the occupation forms some kind of clear and stable hierarchy, they'll continue to make mistakes and trip over themselves. Thus, their message, noble though it is, will be lost.

1 comment:

  1. visiting you after such a long time =)
    hope you are doing well...and have found a new place to hang after the unfortunate shut down of your book store.