I have watched the Occupy movement as an interested observer since its inception. It was a movement I didn’t understand completely but which I appreciated as far as the ideas behind it. The movement seemed to grow organically and it spread like wildfire, building into something America hasn’t seen in decades – a youth driven protest movement. After the ‘Arab Spring’ it seemed as if the fires of revolution were spreading to America. What began as a strong, controversial movement though has slowly become commonplace and little more than a nuisance. It has been heartbreaking to watch as this movement that began with such passion, such fire that it brought the ideals of the young and the low income onto the front page again and gave a face to an issue that isn’t sexy for the news to report. As the days lead to weeks and then into months the movement has failed to take an official stand throughout the entire movement and the lack of clear vision and clear goals has lead to confusion over what the movement was even about. The Occupy movement, once so vivid, once so impassioned has become old news and the message is being lost. It breaks my heart to see how so much passion has begun to slip away. The protests have faded, the anger has faded, and now the protesters have seemingly become little more than squatters and they are being treated as little more than that.
The time has come for an Exit Strategy.
Time is running short on the Occupy movement. What once was a vital movement that was a lightning rod for the confusion, anger, and frustration at a ‘system’ and its servants that many believe has forgotten the masses in order to serve the few. There was a time when the movement had taken such a toll on the occupied cities and its servants that the police were doing things that only incited more anger and created more sympathy but instead of moving forward, instead of taking a stand, instead of focusing that rage on something that could be influenced the occupiers protested, they marched, but they didn’t change. They didn’t evolve. A movement like Occupy ‘X’ has to have a strategy, there has to be a goal, and there has to be an End Game and the time for that End Game is now.
The thing about this movement is that it has lacked an overall focus and unifying goal. It isn’t enough to rage against the ‘System’. It is not enough to be angry at the power players. I understand that something like the Occupy movement that can begin on the grassroots level doesn’t necessarily start with lofty goals but as soon as you gain the headlines, the notoriety, and have that many people on your side then you have to evolve your vision and have to have a plan. It isn’t enough to occupy, you have to work for change. That is what has been frustrating as an observer – to see so much possibility be squandered. And I admit my cowardice to join the movement but also admit that I never believed that this was the way to change the world. One last thing I can admit…I was wrong. You can change the world this way, with this movement, but the time to do that is slipping away. The occupied cities have lost patience, the country has lost interest, and the movement has lost its focus and with many of the cities beginning to evict the occupiers we are at the end of this Occupy movement. This doesn’t have to be the end. This can be an evolution. It can be the next step. What needs to happen is that the movement needs to choose to leave the tent cities themselves. They need to make that decision, and soon, and need to choose a date and leave. I would leave on January 1, 2012. Occupy Wall Street needs to take the forefront here, they began this movement and they need to end it. They need to evolve it. They need to make a plan and broadcast it and make it clear that on 1.1.12 the movement will take the next step, and that is to occupy through other means, through service, through charity, through political action, any number of ways and atop that they can also begin working on dates where they can target a place to occupy where the separate movements can gather and share stories of what they are doing and show that they are still there, still working.
Now is the time for definitive action from this movement. Now is the time for the next step. Now is the time for an Exit Strategy and time is running out. The Occupy movement has been something that America has needed for a long time and that is a quantifiable involvement of the nation’s youth. Politics aside, and this is an issue of politics, it is important for this country’s youth to be involved and invested in the nation again. It is important for movement. So much can be done to change this country, this world, and it’s time we started looking at how we can do that and not how we can change it for ourselves. I hope that this movement makes a move, because I hate to think that it will be another ten, twenty, thirty years until there is another chance like this.