I’ve been making contacts with some people I know who are involved, as Christians and followers of Jesus, with Occupy. On Saturday I was made aware of a Christian Century article posted by Carol Howard Merritt (see it at http://www.christiancentury.org/blogs/archive/2013-09/where-occupy#.UisjD5CPmug.twitter )
It was an excellent recollection/where we are kind of piece that I consider important for all those who have been deeply hopeful about where the Occupy Movement might lead, and perhaps feeling a bit less hopeful or even disappointed at this point. Many of us feel that this is a “media induced” discouragement, based on the TV mantra that something needs “brodcastable, ratings grabbing headliner stuff like pepper spray and camp mismantlings, arrests, and “big events” to deem a movement “alive”. This is an illusion sold to us by our “action-packed” oriented media and culture.
Truth is, most movements are like the grass growing. Not too easy to get compelling video from that process, but the seeds bear fruit. Carol’s artcile draws some of those lessons from the Civil Rights movement that was identified as beginning from the Montgomery Bus boycott (but was happening for decades, even a century before that) and continued after, building a momentum and changing the way people reacted to issues of race. Even as MLK was in the midst of perhaps his biggest campaign and movement event yet (The Poor People’s March) , he was shot down in the process of continuing to mount the political pressure via a people’s movement. MLK had already “ventured out” in non-racial directions to a broader economic vision that was entirely about “the people” and not about just “a people”, and many in the black community didn’t think that was a good idea, and the powers at be were especially intimidated by that idea.
So let’s grab hold of some perspective on the process of change. Many of our biggest challenges have been a century long (or longer, and often are). This story that Occupy has brought to the national conversation of economic inequality and the 1% vs the 99% is itself an ancient story in world history. Let’s keep that in mind.