I have been watching the shift in the public perception of the Occupy related movements throughout the media closely, and found some interesting commonplaces in the mainstream media that are very detached from the reality of the movement.
While some outlets are antithetic and others sympathetic to the occupy movement, they all share a common disbelief in its ability to craft change, generally quoting the lack of concrete political demands and the lack of hierarchical structures, implying that a horizontal structure would take forever to debate things and not come up with any achievements in the end. This is funny, because there is ample proof that the movement has, indeed, been extremely successful, not in spite, but because of the above mentioned features.
For starters, let’s remember that just after the very first tents were set up in just some of the western capitals, the inequality topic entered the global political debate as a top public priority. That theme seemed dead for good, in spite of whatever effort the institutional left put into it’s ressurection while acting within the standard political proceedings. Occupy came, and the inequality debate was hot within days, showing that the idea had not vanished from the political landscape at all, but that it had been kept artificially inefficient by a corrupted representative democracy. As soon it got input from the streets (where it belongs historically, after all), it was alive and kicking.
The philosophers re- entered the scene too, a species that would have to have been considered endangered just a few years ago, was suddenly a must have for every talkshow. Nobody wanted to listen to a CEO making suggestions on how the next crisis could be solved, and so, suddenly we saw people like Stéphane Hessel and Slavoj Žižek on TV, and yes, Assange on every available outlet, unthinkable just a few months ago. Two new philosophical monthly magazines were launched in the second half of 2011 in Germany, and it appears they are selling. I should have skipped the “new” in that sentence: I’m not aware we had even one before, at least not broadly available in all shops.
And then, let’s have a look at the infra- structure OWS built: a global broadcasting channel transmitting news 24 hours a day for the relevant period of time from numerous cities, newspapers, online news outlets… from scratch. Again, they were available within just a few weeks – does that sound like a proof of inefficiency of horizontal structures? Fundraising, the handling of donations, the development of technical solutions for the immediate problems at hand – last thing I saw was the drone they built – not exactly indicators that discussions don’t take you anywhere. The swarm principle is indeed working, and that’s what’s scaring the hell out of both the established political class and corporate media.
Gabriele Müller is a world citizen, interested in promoting civil rights, transparency and justice. She may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. And at FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001412545539