A History of Failure

Traditional Peace Movements need two things in order to survive: pessimism and optimism. Optimism is needed in order to instill hope into a large group of people loosely aimed at the same goal. Without optimism, individuals or small groups will eventually go home if their demands are not met. Pessimism is required because without it, the Peace Movements would have no reason to exist. According to Dr. Clotfelter from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro in the 1980’s while writing about the Peace Movement back then,

“If the present peace movement follows the pattern of past peace movements, this one will affect some policies and will move some people, but it will ultimately fail to avert war or to build a broad peace.”

Today’s Occupy Wall Street demonstration is no different. Right now, we see the movement “inspiring” a few thousand people, but it is the silent majority who have not stepped from their homes, from their jobs, and from their families to support this cause. There are a few different reasons for their not stepping out of their lives to support these protests – and the reasons are founded upon logic and experience.

Most of the silent majority can be found in the middle of the United States – The Midwest. These people are the farmers in the fields, the retired, the manufacturers, and other groups of working class citizens. Although after a hard days work, these individuals look upon their televisions and computers to see the latest news happening in our nation, many are not moved and many are not inspired simply because they see – from an outside perspective – many younger individuals protesting against them. They realize that the corporations were spoon fed by the very people that currently rail against those services and products. They realize that these corporations are under the gun and that corruption and fraud have occurred, however, it is the people pounding their chests in the streets that are creating a larger problem: taking economic instability to the next level.

Looking once again at Dr. Clotfelter’s piece from the 1980’s, she defines some of the issues revolving around a group of protesters asking a nation to take action on an international issue:

“Some problems facing national, peace movements, I would argue, are unavoidable and thus not worth much attention. One is their inability to reconcile the fact that they are asking a nation for action with the fact that the action has international dimensions. There is no way around this problem, but it confronts proponents of military solutions as well. A second inevitable weakness of peace movements is their factionalism. I see no cure for this ill; it must be endured where it is troublesome, and exploited where it is helpful. Third, it is claimed that the peace movement is all heart and no head, that it is weak on realistic analysis. Peace activists should avoid the purely sentimental and the wildly hyperbolic. Regardless of their efforts at rigor, however, peace activists will ultimately call on people to make decisions with their hearts as well as their heads.”

The very fact that there have been several left-leaning ideologies being put forth by not only the New York General Assembly as well as demands that are impossible to meet with regard to the consequences of engaging in such demands in the long term shows a constant “sentimental” value rather than a logical value being placed on the intent and motivation of this current “movement” by Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. Although it sounds really nice to say that they want “social equality,” many of them would ultimately in the end not be willing to sacrifice their wealth to others in order to create that claimed “social equality.”

Out of the three things Dr. Clotfelter described as being catalysts for failure regarding the Peace movements of the past, the one that is most relevant to our current Occupy Wall Street Protests and Occupations is the failure to remedy the intermediate future rather than the short term future contrasted to the past and current dealings among corporate and government policy. The demands being put forth from the New York General Assembly parallel the Socialist ideology while engaging the democratic process for a small scale group of protests instead of an entire nation. Not only do the two come into conflict with one another, they direct oppose each other as well.

Many of the items noted in the grievances list (this is not a declaration) are and have been deliberated in democratic process via a court of law, many of which were open to the general public. This group has undermined democracy and as a result have based their justifications for occupying various spaces with a ruse of being peaceful – even though they have disturbed and abused the rights of other people to work and live in those same areas as well as direct contradicting themselves by engaging in the same activities as that of their grievances.

Because of the nature of the hypocrisy involved with this “movement,” it must be understood that nothing will be done about these grievances until such time that this group exercises their rights under the banner of the current statutes, laws, and policies that the people of this country have voted upon and have put in place. Failure is to be expected until reasonable action is taken on behalf of these individuals “occupying” our public space.

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