The Occupy protests are pretty fascinating to me... first, they were dismissed because they were small; they grew. Then, they were dismissed because they didn't have a strong message; a message largely based around responsibility emerged. Now, they are dismissed because their demands, members and processes are seen as childish...
Violence is escalating against them, and the movement is starting to shrink as winter bites. The main lesson I think a lot of people are starting to realize from this is that if you let the establishment dismiss you, you will be dismissed.
Shutting down the stock exchange sounds like an interesting development and I look forward to seeing where that goes. But as this goes on and fails to achieve any tangible changes, I think the people who are actually interested in effecting change are going to realize that you can't just sit around and talk in order to do that. You need to have a real ability to threaten the status quo in some fashion.
It says a lot to me that politicians have responded much more openly and directly to the London Riots than they have to the Occupy London movement (mostly, that has consisted of people laughing at the ridiculous protesters blocking off the Church as though the Church of England is somehow relevant to the debate). The Riots provoked a debate about the underclass and what could drive people to it, although it was a short-lived one. Occupy London has largely provoked discussion about whether they should have the right to protest rather than the issues they are protesting about.
I've also heard a lot of Occupy protesters talking about how the system is 'ours' and they are there to remind the politicians of that. It kind of boggles my mind how they can come to that conclusion. After so long protesting, surely they should have taken a step backwards by now and realized that actually, the system is resolutely not 'ours' in any meaningful sense, as if it was, we'd be in a position to make it do what 'we' want, rather than being in the position where the vast majority of people agree that shit is broken, but have no idea how to even go about fixing it.
I think of the "OURS" part as being about integration. There is no system. There are numbers of people behaving in certain ways that may or may not actually conform to what they "should' be doing. The trouble with the "Who's streets? OUR streets" type slogans is that it implies "ours not yours" instead of "all of ours." The thing that I really DON'T like about Occupy and the 99% vs. 1% conception is that it implies that there's a real division among the classes. There isn't. There's a mismanagement crisis. We in America supposedly have something like an "Open Door" policy. The truth is that the folks "on the floor" distrust, and the folks "in the office" don't listen.
This state of affairs allows a communication gap that is inevitable to some degree and has been maintained and widened by those that are dishonest and have something to gain by it. People are not as stupid and ignorant, or craven, as some of the generalizations around here would seem to indicate. Some of them are, to be sure, but the majority really do have the ability to get their shit together and effect change. The "corruption at the top" vision is totally subjective propaganda intended to strip individuals of hope and make them feel small and powerless.
A human that is fully functional is rarely powerless. Even if you face inevitable death you have the power to meet it like a samurai or spend your last few moments despairing because you can't stop something inevitable.
There is only the totality of the people, not some numerical division by percentage. What needs doing is the exposure of corruption and elimination of apathy. This is not about economics, it's a "spiritual" process. The resistance by the Occupy people is still young and simple, but it represents the exercise of power by people that really want to do something. That's important. Even if it's still developing it represents an erosion of the apathetic sate that has allowed things to get as bad as they have. Even if the whole thing proves ineffectual, or even disastrous, at least it's something being tried.
Occupy is only the beginning, I think, either of the end of this current corruption or of a more effective means to shout out to the office that they need to stop stealing from the company and help fix the equipment before there's nothing left to steal.
Of course there's always resistance to change. Check this out! OWS got it bad.http://www.occupywallst.org/article/nypd-raiding-liberty-square/