Occupy Wall Street's weakness may be its strength
Non-stop organizing at Zuccotti Park. Photo by Paul Hodara
There is no identifiable leadership. There is are no stated goals. Detractors remind us of this constantly. Facts that prove the Occupy Wall Street movement is doomed to failure. That the lack of focus is its greatest weakness.
Perhaps so. But today, after spending hours here at Zuccotti Park, Ground Zero of the movement, I'm left with the impression that this weakness is the movement's strength.
No leaders means no personalities and no clashes for power.
No stated goals means that none of those participating feel left out - for fear that their goals will be deemed unimportant.
Another point. This is not a mob. This is not an unruly bunch. There are sections set up in the park where different "departments" are headquartered to keep things orderly. For example, there's a Sanitation Department, where one can get a trash bag to keep one's claimed space clean.
Many points of view are being expressed here. All are welcome - save attacks on others.
Which brings us to the issue of antisemitism. First, there are many people identifiably Jewish participating. It's highly unlikely they would if there were an undercurrent of antisemitism. Secondly, a Jewish woman who has been down here nearly everyday says that yesterday, a guy holding an anti-Jewish sign was surrounded by a large group chanting, "He's not with us!" He didn't stick around long after that. she said.
Finally, some critics have suggested that the people here ought to get jobs and do something useful with their lives. Yes, there are a lot of unemployed people here. That's the point, they argue. They're out of work and want jobs. But the economy isn't working for them. The economy that's controlled, they say, on nearby Wall Street.
But not everyone here is young, or unemployed. Some come after work or even on their lunch breaks. Others are retired, and have the time to contribute to the cause.
Heck, I even met a retired banker who runs a whistleblower site for those in the game who want to report financial impropriety and SEC violations - which - she says from first hand experience - is common in the banking industry.
This is the one-month anniversary of the start of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Some who have been here from the start aren't as frustrated as critics who keep pointing out it's unfocused. It'll find its own equilibrium, they predict. Naturally.
For now, they are just looking forward to what month two may bring.