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Beau Friedlander

Beau Friedlander is a freelance writer and media consultant

October 30th, 2011 6:30 PM

What Part Of Occupy Wall Street Don’t You Get?

We have all heard the easy diss that the Occupy Movement lacks a message, or that it needs leaders. The captains of industry who tipped punk to fuse by their greedy power grabs say they don’t get it, the media interviews telegenically-challenged participants, and the beats goes on.

Well, in the parlance of parents around the world: They’re gonna get it.

Here’s the deal: It’s a disingenuous position to say Occupy Wall Street does not have any direction. I hear it most from friends who have a lot to lose. The fact of the matter is that they don’t want to get it. They cannot get it, and continue with business as usual. The emperor has no clothes. I can tell you what’s going on down there at Zuccotti. The body politic is rejecting the status quo.

So what’s the first thing to go? Leaders. As they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely. As Lord Acton went on to say: “Great men are almost always bad men.” So how do you solve that little conundrum? First, you shine a light on the bad guys (what Occupy Wall Street’s been doing) and then you do everything by committee, or what the Occupy movement calls a “General Assembly” which is a format that allows anyone who is present to participate and which values process more highly than ass-over-tea-kettle can-doism. Now for those of you red-baiting fools out there, let me circle back on this “committee” thing and say, no it’s not some commie love-in. It’s the same thing as a town hall meeting.

The idea that there is no focus highlights one of the big-P Problems that the Occupy Movement is trying to address. I believe what we’re seeing is a tipping point. The message to the people at the helm of our society whether they work in the government, the media or down on Wall Street is essentially: “Your rules suck and we’re not playing by them.” But there is an underlying challenge to the dominant paradigms that inform how we go about our daily lives. One of the reasons that the power elite see “no point” in the Occupy Movement is that there is nothing “in it” for them. But there is. There will be less cash and prizes, true. That said, a functional, solvent 99%-class that can participate in the economy and the system of government benefits everybody.

The paradigm shift has to do with what we as a society value. It’s as if this historical moment has accosted a huge swath of society and demanded: “Your money or your life.” The reason some elites are having a hard time understanding Occupy Wall Street is the way power is decentralized and redefined by the movement. We choose life over money. If the Occupy Movement became the way we all operate, there would be no more gold coast/tent city disparity in this country, and that is unthinkable to the folks who live on the gold coasts of America.

So pundits say Occupy Wall Street lacks cohesion. The response from Zuccotti Park boils down to this: Compared to what?

Surely there is no lack of cohesion in Washington. Surely there is no lack of cohesion regarding how to address climate change, or unemployment, or the unequal standard of living in America and the rest of the world. We tried your way. Now it’s time for something entirely different.

Here’s what you (no matter who you are) need to know about Occupy Wall Street: You can be a part of the process or you can be an irrelevant part of the discussion. It’s just a matter of time before the effect of this movement is felt in society, and all are welcome. Even Warren Buffett.

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