February 15, 2012


Despite my advanced age I find that I can still be surprised. Just when I think I know everything about politics, human ingenuity surprises me. For example, I’ve been sitting around wondering where the Occupy Wall Streeters are intending to go with their movement. As of now, I haven’t a clue. What do they want and when do they want it puzzles me. Or is this movement nothing more than a season of discontent made glorious by a sea of pup tents?

(courtesy: dscc.org)

A recent article in the February edition of “Harpers” by Nathan Schneider suggests there is more method than madness in this cause which has fascinated the press as well as me. Despite disclaimers, there really are leaders of this leaderless mass and they have been at work for over a year to bring their revolution about, putting the lie to the notion that this is a bottom up structure rather than top down. (“Some Assembly Required” by Nathan Schneider, “Harper’s,” 1/2012) My remark is not meant as criticism; but it does confirm that there is little in nature that is formed by spontaneous combustion.

But to the organizers’ credit, they have managed some creative innovations. By pretending to be a leaderless mass, they keep their opposition stymied. With whom does one negotiate? How does one develop a counter strategy to a non-existent one? A person might just as well have a conversation with an amoeba.

Communication within the group is also novel. At work is what’s called the “people’s microphone.”  No electronic devices are required nor government permits, either. To convey a message, a person at the front shouts to those standing behind, who in turn shout to those further back in a never-ending wave that seems to have no epicenter.

How long the charade of a leaderless group can go on, I don’t know; but the fluid construct seems to have seeped its way past the traditional containment strategies of government and law enforcement. Perhaps there is something new under the sun, after all. A place where people speak and not money? Heavens, what an idea!