Listen to the podcast of a Coffee Party Radio show that took place on the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. Many of our callers were either current or former participants.
by ERIC BYLER
As Michael, one of our callers, who is running for the LA County Board of Supervisors said: Occupy is about symbolism. Once they changed the narrative, it was up to the rest of us to go beyond symbolism and win tangible victories for the People.
Yes, Occupy was about symbolism, and, the pivotal question of WHO gets to generate those symbols — those iconic images that shape our narratives, shape our political context, and shape our history. During the past 30 years leading up to Occupy, those iconic images were generated by the profiteering class, they were illusions on TV.
Moving picture frames on television are (1) expensive to generate, (2) expensive to disseminate, and (3) easy to manipulate. Our profiteering class has enough money to take care of 1 and 2, which leaves them free to (3) build an "Empire of Illusion," as Chris Hedges would say.
TV frames can tell any story they are made to tell. For 30 years it was only those who could afford to purchase a "news" network who decided what images and what information made it into the frames we saw.
Occupy changed that forever. Or, rather, they revealed to the nation that it had already changed. They organized on the web — they live-streamed their actions from cell phones to the homes of millions, they created their own newspapers and media teams. They risked the elements, they risked their bodies, they risked suffering violence from their local governments. They did this — not for profit, as the news empires do, and not in the name of fear or hatred — as consumers of news empire products have done in recent years. They did it out of love of country, and by that, I mean love of the PEOPLE in this country, not the PROFIT that it enables.
Occupy was a success because it changed the conversation. Let's not forget, in 2011, the Wall Street crash of 2008 was being blamed on President Obama, poor people, children, police officers, fire fighters, and teachers. Everyone knew it wasn't the bankers; it was those darn unionized workers who crashed our economy, so let's make them pay for it. The discussion in Washington was "How much should we damage our economy in order to avoid defaulting on our debt, a lot or a little?"
Occupy changed the conversation. In 2012, we know who crashed the markets in 2008, and trickle-down economics has the reputation it has earned. Others were saying it before Occupy, including me, but Occupy was the one that pushed the truth into to the corrupt but powerful frame of One Percent Media.
Those pundits who are paid to say Occupy is over, they don't yet recognize or they don't want to admit, Occupy's narrative is the framework on which political arguments are now based. Occupy offered We the People an alternative narrative, and, most of us have chosen the one that is in our best interest (whether we acknowledge our debt to Occupy or not).