Occupy Wall Street, Year Two
Every Monday for the past six weeks, a crowd of activists has piled into a cramped office space on 23rd Street to plan the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.
All of the jokes about leftists and their meetings probably go double for Occupy, a collection of people defined only by the initial protest tactic they shared, a collection of people with political philosophies ranging from anarchism to Marxism to the most moderate shades of liberal reformism.
The arguments are frequent, and even when they’re absent, tensions and disagreements seethe just under the surface.
Some of the fights are about tactics: Can the logistically ambitious plans for a swirling “hurricane” of protesters pinwheeling from intersection to intersection through Lower Manhattan really be pulled off? Is a protest framework built around loosely coordinated but independent “affinity groups” a recipe for open-source creative dissent or a tepid vision that depends on a self-organized army of protesters that will never arrive for its success?
Other disagreements are ideological and as old as Occupy itself. Who does this movement belong to? Is it the anarchists who played a critical role in getting it off the ground, and whose philosophical and structural underpinnings were central to what it became? Or is there room for a broader spectrum of the rhetorical “99 percent,” for less radical perspectives that seek incremental reform?