After a slow sputtering, Occupy Wall Street is attempting a resurrection, or perhaps a mutation, taking advice from observers that maybe the government should be occupied instead of Wall Street, by launching “Occupy Congress” today.
Events got under way at 9:00am. The press release states:
Occupy Congress will convene for a day of action against a corrupt political institution. Actions include a multi-occupational General Assembly, teach-ins, an OCCUParty, a pink slip for every congressional “representative” and a march on all three branches of a puppet government that sold our rights and our futures to the 1%.
It is being billed as an effort including Americans from all “across the country and the world,” and no doubt they will be joining forces with Occupy D. C., which has entrenched itself amidst the dropping temperatures, as profiled by Death and Taxes contributor Carlton Purvis.
“This last legislative cycle was the least productive in recorded U.S. history; 90% of the country disapproves of these ‘elected’ officials,” states OWS, which of course is true. This Congress has been gridlocked throughout the entire cycle and the only productive movement seems to have been the bi-partisan attrition amongst U.S. legislators in response to anti-SOPA activism.
Yet, one is left wondering what effect if any Occupy Congress will have on the public consciousness, because the movement peaked in media attention over a month ago, becoming a footnote in the process. This, I believe, has its roots in the movement’s commitment to memes (1%, 99%), futile battles over park occupations, and—though I rejected it at the movement’s inception—dissatisfaction with several of “leaders” playing the role of romantic, self-important radicals and moving, or rather not moving Occupy according to their will.
Occupy constructed this exquisite, open-source feedback loop that built in resonance but became paralyzingly static about three months ago, to my mind. (Read “Occupy Wall Street: Could It Use Some Reinvention” for more on this diagnosis published on October 26th). It allowed slogans, memes and the state to frame its narrative. By the time I started seeing wheat-paste posters with high-impact “suggestions” (Occupy’s semantic variant of “demands”), it was already too late—no one was listening or at the very least not receiving the most useful, detailed information.
When I had to keep explaining to the uninvolved that the movement was not about a park, I knew something had gotten lost in transmission, but it wasn’t a problem with mainstream media because for the first time, after the persistent efforts of Occupy’s publicity team and independent media, the media and even politicians were listening.
For Occupy Congress to have impact, something dynamic, creative and stunning will have to occur, and it will have to be coordinated with an information campaign (not unlike the wheat-paste posters) that occurs simultaneously.
The movement can still be influential, but the necessity of reinvention is paramount.