The ho-hum May Day protests: Is the Occupy movement dead?
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
On Tuesday, Occupy Wall Street observed May Day, otherwise known as International Workers Day, with protests against income inequality and corporate greed in cities across America. Thousands of 99 percenters took to the streets, in what amounted to the group's greatest public showing since last fall, when police cleared the encampment at New York City's Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the clamorous anti-bank movement. However, the May Day protests failed to attract the interest and media frenzy that accompanied Occupy's original demonstrations, leading some to conclude that the movement has fizzled out. Is America over Occupy?
Occupy has largely failed: There's a "world of difference between putting something on the front pages of the newspapers for a few weeks and achieving changes in laws," says Amitai Etzioni at CNN. And with its "fuzzy messages and vague goals," Occupy is destined to fade away without leaving a true mark on American society, another protest movement "that vented feelings but engendered precious little real social change." The Tea Party, by contrast, has shown how a "sharply edged message" can be used to elect legislators and shape public policy.
"Why Occupy May Day fizzled"
Actually, Occupy is quietly expanding its reach: When the movement disappeared from the headlines last fall, Occupiers took on the less eye-catching work of "meeting with members of community groups and other pillars of the traditional Left," says Saki Knafo at The Huffington Post. The May Day rallies showed 99 percenters protesting alongside unions and immigrant-rights groups, a sign that a sea change is afoot in the Occupy movement. The May Day rallies were the "first real blossoming of the collaboration."
"May Day protests show Occupy Wall Street, liberal establishment bonds"
Time will tell: The main question is "what Occupy will do with whatever momentum it picked up" from the May Day rallies, says Matthew DeLuca at The Daily Beast. The movement has proven that it can still attract thousands of supporters. But to truly achieve the change it seeks, Occupy might be better served by sticking to "one or two key demands" and developing a less decentralized organizational structure.
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