In politics and this other the first thing is to continue to exist. --Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell TollsOne oft-repeated criticism of the #occupywallstreet movement is that it has no identifiable leaders and no specific demands. Those in sympathy with the movement bemoan these lacks as weaknesses. Those opposed hold them as proof that the movement is simply the plaintive crying of an idle rabble.
I disagree. I think the lack of a clearly-articulated message and the leadership void are strengths.
Here's my reasoning.
Since there are no explicit demands, the movement stands as a broad indictment of all the injustices and inequities of the current system. It's not just a political system corrupted by money and corporate lobbyists; It's not just a tax system that absolves the über-wealthy of any responsibility toward the common good. It's not just a financial system that allows swindlers to fleece the common people with impunity. It's not just the economic conscription of the working class into wars fought for corporate profit. It is all of these things. And more.
I think the lack of leaders and specific demands is what frightens the movement's opponents most. If there are no leaders nor specific policy demands, there is no one and nothing for right-wing demagogues and political charlatans to attack.
The robber barons and Wall Street fleecers already know all the different ways in which they are screwing the lower classes. None know better.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, just by existing, serves as a public indictment of the entire corrupted system. Were the movement to single-out one particular aspect of the Great Screwing, the plutocrats could send out their double-talkers and snake-oil salesmen to confuse the issue and sow dissension. As it is, they can only make disparaging remarks and keep their fingers crossed.
I hope the movement will continue to grow. As it gains steam, the bankers, corporate executives, and political shills (of both parties) will be forced into acknowledging those egregious abuses that they would rather not discuss.
They know how to fix things; they know how to placate the just demands of the people. They're just hoping they won't have to do it.
Hell with them! Occupy!