Writing in the Washington Post, Paula Dvorak confesses to a sense of protest fatigue: protesters "never really leave the District. They're part of the package tour: here's the Washington Monument, the Capitol, the hotel-of-the-latest-scandal and a protest." Dvorak complains that Washington protests "have acquired a pretty standard vibe," and that "the pastiche of messages and causes is dizzying."
Perhaps. But we cannot ignore the power of a dizzying proliferation of messages in a dynamic, evolving democratic mobilization. Militant particularism deserves respect, even if there will come a time when movements are forced to make strategic and tactical choices. But three weeks into a movement? This is the time to welcome and celebrate the difference and divesity of dissent. This is, after all, what separates the grassroots from the astroturf.
Christopher Bueker, a young education professional from Cincinnati, is right to place the local mobilization in broader context: "We're definitely influenced by movements happening all over the world," Bueker told a Post reporter in front of his tent in Freedom Plaza outside the Ronald Reagan building; "This isn't just happening in D.C. This is happening globally." (quoted in Gowen, 2011). Let the movement continue, to reclaim the meanings and possibilities of Freedom Plaza. We need more than freedom for capital, for corporations and investors. Freedom's just another word ... for a Hobbesian world of rampant exploitation and inequality (Harvey, 2005).
Petula Dvorak (2011). "Anti-Wall Street Protesters Find Sympathy in DC." Washington Post, October 7, B1, B5.
Annie Gowen (2011). "'Occupy' Fervor Reaches Freedom Plaza." Washington Post, October 7, B1, B5.
Music: MC Cullah (2010), "The Power of Flight." Released under Creative Commons license to http://freemusicarchive.org/music/MC_Cullah/EMC_Cullah/ThePower_ofFlight
David Harvey (2005). A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.