The leaderless, agenda-less, amorphous blob that camped out in New York and Washington and various other cities before disappearing without a trace had become a symbol of how not to achieve political change. Until it won.
It was a movement born out of frustration and idealism and eventually wore out and was swept out of its soggy civic encampments by the municipal broom. There it was, and then there it wasn’t.
It was criticized for its lack of agenda items, and if you visited it while it was around, it was all a little vague as to what was going on. It was essentially there as a witness, to an idea. The idea was that economic and social inequality were getting out of hand, and that financial and corporate power were running away with the game.
They did achieve one thing in their not-all-that-brief moment in the sun and not-so-sunny, and that was to put the idea of the 99% into the public discussion.
And now, with Hillary’s latest speech where she followed Bernie Sanders into Occupy turf, we have the Occupy worldview dead center in a presidential election campaign. Not a bad day’s work for hippies.
The secret to having your idea gain traction is to get the idea right. That’s what Occupy did. They didn’t know what to do about it because the game was fixed at every level. No agenda items they proposed stood a chance until more people got clued in to how the political terrain had frozen. So they stood there in the rain and cold, and the idea got into the back of everyone’s head that maybe they had a point. Some further reflection was all it took.
Now it’s all anyone is talking about.