Occupy was, most agree, the most successful populist progressive movement of the past Century. (In fact, it was probably the only populist progressive movement of the past Century."
At the time, Frank Luntz, the conservative manipulator of words, confessed to a group of Republican legisaltors: "I am scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. They're having an impact on what people think of capitalism!"
Here's the secret sauce of capitalism. Are you ready for it? Most people are really good at adjusting downwards. The most horrific examples of this are tragedies like the Holocaust, where people adapt to living in inhuman, unsustainable conditions. That's an extreme case, but if you look at any historic period of belt-tightening, people have gotten by. But these periods don't last, do they?
And now for capitalism's deepest failing. There are those within society who aren't good at adjusting down. In fact, they feel entitled to everything they have and more, and don't mind taking it away from others if necessary. The internal justification for this generally evokes that benevolent third party, market forces; it's okay to be tough, because that's how the system is supposed to work. Everything works out in the wash, so no need to plan ahead.
These tightly-controlled regimes don't seem to stick around unchanging, either.
Lastly, here's capitalism's solution. There are a host of folk out there who are driven by this little social convention called empathy - whatever their circumstances, they have a hard time watching others forced to live with less resources, less agency and less engagement than they feel everyone equitably deserves.
What these people have is motivation not for themselves, but for all of us.
They aren't the 1%, the 99%, the middle class or the elites. In fact, we're a little bit of everywhere.
Open Government. Corporate Social Responsibility. Crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding and train-the-trainer models. The movement, too, is everywhere.
Occupy didn't die off; it served it's function and planted the seed of possibility.
It was a fallacy to think that capitalism would be the final iteration of society's economic paradigm. By thinking otherwise, the Frank Luntzes of the world have been like knights of King Arthur's Court arguing with a Connecticut Yankee.
But they need't panic. In fact, as the movement grows, they may just find out they like committing a bit of sociology. There are gains to be had through the peaceable revolution.
And then we all win.
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