Now, if I really felt part of this thing, I'd sum up what I wrote yesterday by saying that if we want to reach many people in the 99 percent we claim to being concerned with, we need to address ourselves to their basic problems rather than to continually try to get them interested in our particular problems. That is, I wouldn't expect someone who fears being laid off, fears losing benefits, and is living in a society with a decline of social services and a decaying infrastructure etc. etc. to be galvanized to take political action or adjust political views when the issue seems to be militants getting pepper sprayed and having their illegal camps broken up. I don't see most people identifying with that.
Btw, I'm not assuming that either those who pushed forward at the Capitol or those who pitched tents at Civic Center Park were doing so at the behest of the Occupy Denver general assembly, though again I don't know. My guess is that they're neither endorsed nor repudiated but that they're respected as participants in Occupy Denver and that a good deal of Occupy Denver energy will go to supporting them in their difficulties, supplying bail and so forth.
Update: Talked to a friend today who thought that since homelessness is a relevant issue, the pitching of tents is a relevant act. Heard a fellow protester who thought that if we keep putting up tents the city govt. will eventually decide it's not worth the cost of again and again deploying police to confiscate them, hence would be worn down into accepting the tents, hence the strategy is good. I think this is fantasy.
Most of the talk I heard today at Civic Center Park was about reaffirming nonviolence. Everyone I spoke to who witnessed the events believed that the violence at Civic Center Park was entirely on the police side, though a couple of people suggested that in the future we could act in ways that would make the police less frightened hence less likely to overreact, e.g., not surround them.
The tents had been raised in the northeast quadrant of the park but, according to people I talked to, when the police came they swept in through the southeast, their path going through a whole bunch of demonstrators who had nothing to do with the tents. I don't understand why the police would do that if they didn't want a confrontation. Of course I've not heard the police version of events.
But my point is this: Whether the police should or should not have been deployed, whether they acted well or poorly, the police are not the story. The police did not explode the financial system, the police did not create collateralized debt obligations or talk people into taking out home loans they didn't understand at interest rates they couldn't pay, and the police are not the campaign donors who are in effect paying politicians to roll back attempts to regulate such behavior. And pitching tents, which is what triggered the police action, not only did not result in any discussion of investment banks and mortgage lenders and unemployment, it didn't result in any discussion of the homeless, either: the discussion, among the protesters and in the press, is about skirmishes between police and demonstrators. Police conduct/misconduct does bring some attention and energy to the movement — there were more protesters milling about today than I expected — but that hardly helps to get the message out. (A few protesters I overheard today were saying fundamentally the same thing I just said, by the way.)
- Their problems