The mainstream media have been rather quiet about the Occupy movement lately. Ohio has 25 Occupy General Assemblies (more or less). Their web presence varies depending on the size and technical literacy of the group. In some smaller cities, such as Akron, Alliance, Ashtabula, and Lima, it exists only as a Meetup group. A few others have sophisticated websites.
In activity, some are mostly commenting on news in their Facebook pages. Others are actively engaged with local issues, as others concentrate more on economic injustice and war/peace issues.
My observation is that Occupy is a diverse movement. While some are very leftist in their orientation (the logo on Akron’s is definitely influenced by the socialist movement), others are quite (small l) libertarian and are simply seeking justice.
Here is a potpourri of news from Occupy organizations around the state:
Occupy Miami University Ohio joined several other Southwestern Ohio groups at the Hamilton County Courthouse May 12 to protest a ruling that closed the Anna Louise Inn, which provides otherwise homeless women with affordable housing. Organizers of the rally believe that the suit was launched because of the Inn’s proximity to a prominent insurance company’s headquarters. The suit forces the Inn to repeat a bureaucratic process for approving renovations that it had already successfully completed.
Occupy Wright State, located in a university and city that that takes pride in its aviation and military history, interestingly is protesting the use of drone missiles. However, the comment made May 15 is right on target:
The use of drones to assassinate people violates US and international law in multiple ways. US military and civilian employees, who plan, target and execute people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia are violating the law and, ultimately, risk prosecution. As the technology for drone attacks spreads, protests by the US that drone attacks by others are illegal will sound quite hollow. Continuation of flagrantly illegal drone attacks by the US also risks justifying the exact same actions, taken by others, against us.
Occupy groups throughout the state, including those Medina and Mansfield, are protesting fracking for oil and natural gas. While I am not unalterably opposed to the practice, it does raise serious environmental and public policy questions that have not been extensively discussed in the public space.
Finally, Occupy Toledo’s Facebook page May 16 raises a philosophical question that goes to the root of the entire Occupy movement. Occupy is based on the assumption that one can have a leaderless movement run by a general assembly that meets at mutually-agreed-upon times that votes on recommendations at their meetings. However, the question is, don’t you need leadership to sustain the movement between meetings?
Brian E. Cassidy
Ok I like the occupy movement idea–but the next logical question is how do you make the economy better for the people? The OWS movement needs to elect leaders, vote on a platform and then act to make that platform a reality otherwise we’re just making noise
I don’t find those things necessary. It seems it would do more to shoehorn the movement into something it isn’t, and a format that has been tried over and over again to little avail.
For lovers of freedom, it should be encouraging that, at least in Ohio, Occupy is raising the level of citizen involvement in our social and political system. Not everyone will agree with civil disobedience, and sometimes their tactics will be annoying; but collectively, we have all been so quiet for so long that those who would rule us with a rod of iron have taken that quiet for granted. When the process has failed, as it clearly appeared to* with the Anna Louise Inn story, more assertive tactics become necessary.
* “Appeared to,” because I have not read the case documents, so there may be important details that I have missed.