Believe it or not I am fond of reading newspapers—the print editions and I especially like the Austin-American Statesman because I live in Austin (the little blue dot in a red state) and I strive to Keep Austin Weird!
Statesman reporters Tony Plohetski and Eric Dexheimer wrote an in-depth article on how the Austin Police Department (including the Chief of Police Art Acevedo) allowed undercover officers to keep tabs on the Occupy Austin folks who protested on the steps of the Capitol in downtown Austin—infiltrate these horrid folks only undercover. Some of what these undercover officers actually did is in question of late such as helping to purchase PVC pipe and lock boxes to help those “occupying” have a better chance to bond together as a human chain. Is this entrapment or is this law enforcement misconduct?
I’m not sure how this one will turn out because the investigation continues but I really started to wonder why Americans fail at occupying anything nor are they great protestors. Where are the 60s and 70s folks when you need them? Now they were experts albeit they employed “happy cigarettes” to focus on the protest at hand.
We Are Lazy
All in all Americans are a lazy group of folks. We didn’t used to be but we are now. If you’re a Baby Boomer your parents were Traditionalists and dedicated to their work ethics, beliefs and values. Not so much anymore. We are hanger-oners. We enjoy participating in a cause if it means free food and water and a honk or two from cars passing by. Our parents also voted—all of them—the number of voters turning out at the polls these days is simply unacceptable.
Today’s American doesn’t really hang in there for the long-haul. They give up. And, many feel threatened by law enforcement so they eventually give up and that’s not fair.
I wrote about this before but those countries where citizens started protests on Facebook and took to the streets never gave up until those in charge were disgraced, left political positions or simply faded away to find refuge in another county. We don’t do that here—not for any cause. We can’t be bothered. We are too busy indulging in what we love the best—ourselves.
We may try sure, but our sticking power is pretty bad—shameful really.
Poor Organization Skills
From what I can find out on the Internet, I guess those in New York City are still protesting—well sort of—determine your own opinion here. Other forums on the Web say the movement is dead and mostly full of the unemployed and the “I really don’t want work for $8 an hour folks.” Shame on the last group!
For Austin, however, there is no more Occupy Austin and in fact, many of those who were arrested are now facing some serious lawsuits and have hired attorneys to fight the good fight. Now that local law enforcement may have overstepped their bounds on spying, these cases hopefully will be dismissed. No municipality or town should prevent quiet protesting—that’s part of our constitution—it’s what we were told by our founding fathers that we are allowed to do. Yet cities and towns across America have found ways to shut these folks down; get them out of the way or infiltrate their organizations so their ideas and message go nowhere.
In my opinion, Occupy “Any” Street really had no organization from the beginning. I was never quite clear on the message or purpose. There never seemed to be one or two leaders across our great nation who offered guidance, were well-known, recognized and listened to and thought of as authoritative leaders. As I said before, a bunch of lazy Americans.
Protest With a Goal
In order for protests of the super debt, unemployment and the housing crisis to work, these people need to protest with a sure-fire plan and an end-goal. Think of the protest or movement as a project and then manage it correctly. Perhaps a Project Management Office (PMO) is needed where those who want to get involved can find the resources they need and complete the “project” in an orderly fashion and be able to accomplish defined goals.
I must warn those who are steadfast in their belief that Occupy Wall Street is still growing strong and it’s gaining more and more supporters every day. If you attempt what I feel is a successful “project” and go viral with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (and I don’t mean whining but real messages with real solutions), you will fail.
You will also fail if you attempt the rowdy because local, state and federal law enforcement won’t allow it. We are not a third-world country that can overturn a government—or are we?
I say if you really want to protest and make a difference, you need to organize and plan the project. Expect many to get arrested and sent to jail unfairly. You may even have some martyrs who lose their lives for the cause—but that’s what really forces change—not a bunch of people sitting on steps or marching with signs while those with while-collar jobs laugh from the comfort of their office windows.
Now, I have a question for you! If our government cheered on those protests in other countries that resulted in injuries, deaths and arrests until the bad guys went away, why is it that they don’t support the same in this country? Are they afraid of their citizens that much or are we all just a group of lazy folks headed for the Soylent Green factory? You tell me.
Plohetski/Dexheimer – Austin-American Statesman “Police Spied on Occupy Austin” September 1, 2012 (Sec. A1; P1.)