Friday, November 25, 2011

Occupy vs voting

There are aspects of the Occupy movement I'm sympathetic to:  The initial focus on the actual Wall Street and the institutions that inhabited it was brilliant.  Just by being there, just by showing that citizens have as much right to Wall Street as Main Street they knocked it's mystique down a peg.  But then everyone decided to Occupy Wall Street, and many decided that New York was too far away and it was easier to occupy whatever was close at hand and would gain attention.  The movement when downhill from there...

That leads to today's post in the Oregonian. I'd read that protest camps tended to rely on caucuses and consensus rather then voting to make decisions, but I didn't know their contempt for voting ran so deep:
"We are demanding that we stop trying to solve problems in a "vote yes, vote no" format. We are making a statement that they cannot and will not be resolved simply by electing a different puppet into the same political structure..."
How do these people reconcile themselves with the history of struggle and sacrifice aimed at extending voting rights?  Do they think that was just a waste of time?  Gaining majority support is hard and uncertain, but without it there is no legitimacy.  Demagoguery is a poor substitute for democracy.

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