Occupy – Too Little, Too Late
As the Occupy movement fizzles out after violent and coordinated crackdowns by police departments and the federal government across the country, inquests will begin on what led to its demise. Was it the lack of specific demands? Or the absence of a leadership team? Perhaps the opponents are too powerful and stacked with too much wealth.
Ultimately, the movement failed because it was too little, too late. The most frequent complaint–the lack of concrete demands–was only a symptom of the absence of consensus about the problem facing this country and possible solutions. It may be difficult to remember, but three years ago, there was such a consensus.
In hindsight, Occupy should have launched three years ago, as the collapse of Lehman Brothers drove the nail in the coffin of neoconservative economics – or so it seemed. Reagan-Bush policies, based on money transfers to the rich, had been abandoned by Democrats and most independents, and even some Republicans.
Unfortunately, those people chose to put their faith in politicians led by Barack Obama, who rode anti-Wall Street sentiments to the White House. Then they waited, and waited. When the AIG scandal broke (executives were discovered pocketing huge bonuses for fixing the mess), Congress was about to pass a law to claw back the taxpayer money. That was when Obama and his Wall Street team struck back. Led by Lawrence Summers and Tim Geithner, the administration killed the budding effort. They argued that contracts are sacrosanct (of course, that doesn’t apply to the likes of auto workers), as Fox News launched a full-fledged campaign called Tea Party.
History may still remember the economic collapse as Bush-era events, but most Americans now link Obama to the malaise. Government is now again seen as the main problem, not the financial robber barons. The average Joe, therefore, did not join OWS and raised hardly a voice as the movement was violent ejected from parks and minds.