Micah Philbrook, 33, who said he had been camping outside the bank for more than a week, cited the Wall Street protests, which began Sept. 17, as his motivation. “It spoke to me so much I had to do something,” Mr. Philbrook said. He acknowledged, however, that “it’s all blurring together.” Each evening at 7 p.m., he said, the number of protesters swells as people come from school or work and the group marches to Michigan Avenue.Central website "Occupy Together"
As is true with the protests in New York and elsewhere, the participants are demonstrating for a variety of reasons. “We all have different ideas about what this means, stopping corporate greed,” said Paul Bucklaw, 45. “For me, it’s about the banks.” Sean Richards.... said he had dropped out of college on Friday and had taken a train to Chicago to demonstrate against oil companies. Mr. Richards said he did not plan to go back to school and would continue sleeping on the street for “as long as it takes.” “We’re sending corporations a powerful message that we know what they’re doing,” he said. “For people, we’re sending the message that we have to unite as one front.”
While I am excited about evidence (Elizabeth Warren, Wall Street protests, wall street protests) that people are fed up with the historic polarization of wealth in this country. I worry, however, that this energy will not be harnessed into a sustained movement. A march or protest is not a movement, not even several protests or marches make a movement.
- What are the specific demands being made to specific people who can grant those demands?
- Is the point of any of the actions to get arrested? Because? Then what?
- Are there a variety of roles for bystanders to play who develop sympathy for the cause and want to do something besides camping out or getting arrested?
- What are the concrete issues around which one can sustain this energy and passion over time? What is the larger strategy?
- Has research been down to anticipate the police reactions to the tactics?
- What is the infrastructure that will support the organizers? (Adbusters and Anonymous and? )
- Who are the local leaders? Are they having long arguments and strategy sessions about how to escalate this momentum? Are they consulting with experienced activists who have been successful in the past? Are they connecting with the Ella Bakers, Jim Lawsons, Bayard Rustins, and Myles Hortons of today (are there people like this today?)
- Are coalitions being created around specific strategies?
- Are the protesters being trained (or have beeing trained) in the discipline of nonviolent direct action?