This morning, on the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, there were a number of news stories wondering why the movement lost popularity and support. Why, why, why did people stop protesting in the streets? Maybe this article from the Associated Press is a good example of the tone of coverage this morning. Occupy fizzled, it says, because of in-fighting, too many different goals, and too much bureaucracy. Yup. I agree. Those are problems. But I’d like to point out some other problems that have been surprisingly omitted.
Other obstacles that might have hindered Occupy’s effectiveness:
- Peacefully walking down the street could get you maced
- Peacefully sitting down could get you maced
- Peacefully stopping by an Occupy camp could get you maced
- Going to a rally could get you arrested
- Journalists covering Occupy could get arrested
- Police shot peaceful demonstrators with rubber bullets
- Police cleared public parks with nightsticks, tear gas, and flash grenades
- Police have prohibited and physically blocked protests ever since
So, yeah — suppression through the government’s overwhelming physical force. I think that was another major obstacle for Occupy.