One of the primary features of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement that made it so successful (or according to some commentators, ineffective) is its decentralized and leaderless nature. This is apparent in the different focuses of the many occupations that dot the country.
In Occupy Des Moines, the focus is on the imperial presidency, with activists setting up camp in front of Obama’s reelection offices:
Occupy Des Moines activists on Saturday vowed to shut down President Barack Obama’s campaign offices and set up a camp outside they plan to maintain around the clock.
“We have every intention to keep this place closed down until we are satisfied,” said Frank Cordaro, an activist and founder of the Catholic Worker group in Des Moines.
A handful of activists went to Obama’s nondescript office in a downtown strip mall after larger rallies to mark the three-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. They had hoped to read a statement demanding Obama cut military spending by half and “dismantle our U.S. military empire … so we can create jobs, balance the budget, meet our peoples’ needs here and help the human community to heal our dying planet.”
That these activists are realizing that President Barack Obama is part of that offensive 1 percent is brilliant.
What happened to the tea party movement ought to serve as a warning to the OWS movement of the inherent dangers of co-option. It is safe to safe at this point, with establishment figureheads like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney aligning themselves with the tea party movement, that the tea party movement is dead. It is my hope that this tragedy does not happen with OWS.
The co-option of the OWS by partisan forces is a danger that befalls the movement if occupiers are not vigilant. I have warned several times on this blog (and on television on RT International) that co-option is an ever-present danger. Significant progress cannot be made by a protest movement if it is rendered ineffectual by becoming a mere arm of the establishment: an arm subject to its control and whims.