Commentary By Ron Beasley
John and BJ have covered the latest developments in the OWS movement. I'm going to give a slightly different take. We learned today that public support for the OWS movement is falling. It's easy to blame the media for this but I think that's simplistic. I am 65 years old and remember the the protests against the war in Vietnam. The protests of the flower children/hippies scared people even if they were opposed to the war. The majority felt threatened by those who appeared to reject everything they considered good and normal. The DFH syndrome still exists 40 years later. Initially the 99 percent movement had a great deal of support but as the camp outs became increasingly disruptive to people's lives the legitimate message was lost.
The occupation of parks in cities like New York and my town of Portland brought attention to the movement and were initially useful giving news time to the movement. The camps were made up of people who believed in the cause in the beginning. But it was predictable that the camps would become magnates for the homeless, many of which had mental health and drug issues. Of course the anarchists will join the party at some point and they did. In the area around occupy Portland crime increased by 80 percent. With the Christmas shopping season approaching the downtown Portland retailers. most of whom are part of the 99 percent, were afraid that the protest would scare away customers.
The occupation part of the 99 percent movement had served it's purpose after three weeks and should have voluntarily been ended then and less disruptive actions should have been initiated. The movement failed to recognize the lesson of the Vietnam war protests. The message was lost in filth and anarchy.