this New Yorker Talk of the Town piece by Jane Mayer. In it she discusses the campaign that led to the delay, and one hopes eventual abandonment, of the Keystone XL pipeline. At the end of the piece she has a condecending reference to the Occupy Movement:
Yet the Occupy movement could do worse than to learn from the pipeline protest. The difference between the focussed, agenda-driven campaign fought by the environmentalists and the free-form, leaderless one waged by the Occupiers, the historian Michael Kazin says, is that the environmentalists grasped the famous point made by Dr. King’s political forebear, Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”But Mayer, of whom I am generally a fan, misses a fundamental point. She notes that on November 6 12,000 people encircled the White House to protest the pipeline. The turn out exceeded expectations and was far more than participated in earlier protests at the end of August. Mayer does not explain the difference and while she rightly lauds Bill McKibben for organizing the anti-Keystone actions, she neglects to mention this: before the November protest McKibben sought the support of the Occupy Movement and that the very environmentalists leading the protest were also aligned with Occupy. (A McKibben piece on the issues appeared right here back in October.)
This is, in part, the impact of the Occupy Movement. It has awakened, energized and empowered people who are frustrated by the way in which big money has shut them out of decision making in this country and that awakening has the potential to revitalize activism in this country. Energy may need direction to have its fullest effect, but first you have to create it.