Occupy Wall Street – Civic Activism
The recent ‘Occupy Wall Street’ demonstrations are the latest manifestation of public protest demanding the redress of grievances. Tea parties and their opposites, public sector union protests of government budget cuts and contract concessions, are the immediate predecessors of OWS in magnitude and intensity. Whether or not they are spontaneous, the progeny of pressure group organizing, or grass-roots activism that shadow players are trying to co-opt, is unknown. If this writer had to guess, he’d opt for the latter explanation, which, incidentally, is what the nascent Tea Parties of 2009 experienced when Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich attempted to steer them for their own purposes. The signage used by the protesters is a mixture of anger directed against crony capitalists (or, more properly, corporate syndicalists) and trendy social issue advocacy that is the hallmark of the American Left.
This writer took the photos below last April at the union-organized protest rally in Lansing, at Michigan’s Capitol Building. They rival in size the Tea Party protests of 2009, heretofore the largest this writer had seen in over a dozen years of working near Michigan’s Capitol. With the size and intensity of protests on the rise, a repeat of the 1960s era of political activism may be upon us. Peaceful protest being one of the hallmarks of a free people, one can only hope that they continue, that their message, insofar as it is a legitimate expression of lawful intentions, is heard, and that the government responds effectively to those whom it serves.