Last month I wrote about the growing failings of the Occupy Seattle movement and the Occupy movement in general.
I said Occupy is a failed effort that lacks, among other things, organization, unified messages and overall purpose. Aside from taking up space, demanding attention and stroking each other's misguided interpretation of revolution, Occupy, especially in Seattle, isn't actually doing much to create the change it claims to want so desperately.
A month later, the same observations ring true. Things have only gotten worse.
A few weeks ago Occupy Seattle voted to move from Westlake Park to Seattle Central Community College on Capitol Hill. The college responded by immediately notifying organizers their presence was not welcome and strongly discouraged them from setting up camp.
The effort failed, in part because the community college offers a legal loophole (camping on the school grounds is not illegal). College and countless Capitol Hill residents voiced their opposition to the encampment, but Occupy Seattle wouldn't change their minds.
Promising to be the best neighbors ever, Occupy Seattle moved to Seattle Central. This has resulted in a public relations nightmare for the group, which didn't have the best public image to begin with. SSCC says Occupy costs the school a whopping $20,000 a day in extra security, cleanup crews and repairs to school property. SCCC couldn't have a better reason to throw those protesters off their lawn.
But the school can't toss them out and could face legal ramifications if it tried. The college must endure this forced occupation, picking up all the costs that come with it, even given the state's revenue shortfalls and its impact on higher education.
When I delved into Occupy last month, I received a lot of virtual high fives from people who agreed with me. I also received a lot of boos from those who not only didn't agree, but didn't feel I was qualified to speak on the subject. One reader emailed me and said by my age alone I'm not qualified to speak on social justice, and that I should respect Occupy movements because their organizers have been fighting the good fight longer than I've been alive -- which doesn't account for the quality of fighting.
By definition, I am a part of the 99 percent. This movement, and those protesters who claim their efforts are on my behalf, have a responsibility to listen to those who do not agree with them. Instead of shouting them down or insulting their intelligence (or age) Occupy activists should make a good faith effort to listen and make changes as needed. The ongoing refusal to do at least as much is why Occupy Seattle will continue to lose. Occupy Seattle has become a small, controlling group eager to shun and marginalize anyone who doesn't blindly follow their leaderless road-to-nowhere.
Leaving Westlake Park wasn't enough. It's time to pack up the tents and go home altogether.