Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Something Has Started": Michael Moore on the Occupy Wall St. Protests That Could Spark a Movement

From Democracy Now:

AMY GOODMAN: Well we’ve put out to the world that you’re coming in today. Of course, the questions came in on Facebook. We tweeted this and people can tweet back right now. But, when we posted the question on Facebook, "What do you want to ask Michael Moore?", Tausif Khan wrote, "What do you think is the next step the protesters need to take to get Washington and Wall Street to listen and to make real change?"

MICHAEL MOORE: They don’t need to worry about a next step. It’s already happening. This is something that has, sort of, sprung up. There’s no group, organized group, no dues-paying, members only organization behind this. This is literally an uprising of people who have had it. And It has already started to spread across the country in other cities. It will continue to spread. It has to start somewhere. It started here with a few hundred. It will grow, and really already has grown here to a few thousand. And will be tens of thousands and then hundreds of thousands of people because, what I was in them other night, the great thing about what they are doing, and great in the sense that their work ahead is not as difficult as other movements in the past; when the Women’s Liberation Movement began, when people began protesting against the Vietnam War, civil-rights movement. At the beginning of those movements, the majority of the country was not with them, did not believe the basic principles of any of those philosophies. That’s not true right now. The majority of Americans are really upset at Wall Street. Millions of Americans have lost their homes or are facing foreclosure right now. Fifty Million do not have health insurance. Fourteen Million officially are unemployed, and it’s probably well up into the 20 million-plus people that are actually unemployed. So you’ve already got an army of Americans who are just waiting for somebody to do something, and the something has started.

Watch, read, or listen to the rest here.

Well, my feelings about the Occupy Wall Street movement are, shall we say, much more tentative than what Michael Moore is expressing in the excerpt above. I mean, I participated in anti-war demonstrations on the eve of the Iraq invasion, and then watched as the movement shrank to a small fraction of what it had been as soon as the bombs started dropping. And then I watched as it all but disappeared once Obama took office. That is, I've experienced that 60s feeling before, but it turned out to be a bust.

But Moore is absolutely right to note that this does appear to be different. It really does seem to resemble some of the "Arab Spring" uprisings in that there appear to be no top-down attempts at organizing. This is grass roots; it's from the bottom up. People just showing up at the world's center of power, which is no longer in Washington DC, and protesting.

And it's getting bigger. There's a facebook page for potential demonstrators here in NOLA. Indeed, I'm hearing that there are solidarity demonstrations springing up in major cities across the country. Like I said, I've seen this shit fizzle out before, but this looks like it's got a nice head of steam, one that's driven not by yuppie liberals on the East coast, but by pissed off rank-and-file Americans. We'll see where this goes, but for now I've got my fingers crossed. This could be big.

Here's some appropriate music. Actually, it's very appropriate if you listen to the lyrics: