Why most Americans dislike OWS?

America has a very long history of protests that meet with excessive or violent response, most vividly recorded in the second half of the 20th century.

It is a common fantasy among people born in the years since the great protests movements — and even some not so great ones — that they would have stood on the bold side of history had they been alive at the time and been called to make a choice.

But the truth is that American protest movements in real time — and especially in their early days — often appear controversial, politically difficult, out-of-the-mainstream, and dangerous. And they are met with fear.

An excellent essay in The Atlantic.

10 thoughts on “Why most Americans dislike OWS?

  1. Hmmm. Do most Americans dislike OWS? Have we seen the opinion polls? This snippet doesn’t even really answer the question why, just suggests that disliking protest movements is correlated with some unobservable without ever explaining what that unobservable might be.

  2. I sort of dislike them because they frustrate me. Beyond all the 99%-1% rhetoric, what do they want? What are they trying to accomplish? I have no idea- and neither do they. Sorry, but that’s lame.

  3. Wikipedia: “during the late 20th and early 21st century, the Atlantic has primarily functioned as a moderate to politically conservative counterweight to the more liberal New Yorker magazine, and has relocated from its traditional home in Boston to Washington, D.C.”

    That’s your first answer. Smear.

    Here’s my second answer: Probably because the ABC/NBC/FOX Mainstream news cycle is threatened by any group of unruly young people threatening the center of American business, and run potshot stories claiming that this group of *sigh* hippies (really? we’re using that term in 2011? Okay guys…) is a disorganized pack of homeless drug addicts. Make no mistake: there is actually an OWS message. It’s Pro-Democratic. This is the ‘other shoe dropping’ from the Michael Moore 2009 movie “Capitalism” where he suggests at the end of the movie that DEMOCRACY is the answer to the problems with Capitalism/Corruption (read: Blue Dog Democrats).

    In other words, if “most Americans dislike OWS” (according to the Atlantic) is because they’re being told to OWS. Who gives a BLEEP what the ‘average’ mouth breathers on the couch think. The country is teetering on at verge of 3rd world status. Let’s get our Democracy back.

  4. Hmmm. Well, the support rate for OWS is generally around 35-40%. Those with unfavorable opinions are about equal in number. However, independent of its popularity, OWS has definitely had an impact on national discourse over taxation and income distribution. That impact has been a very positive one.

  5. Imagine if every single person in the US quit their entire, established lives and began camping out in public places. What would happen? Society would collapse in a matter of weeks. The perception is that the occupiers want power without responsibility. So, the occupiers can do what they are doing safe in the knowledge that the rest of us won’t and that there will be a functioning society waiting for the occupiers after the occupation movement has ended. This functioning society will be carried on by the rest of us, non-occupiers, and with no thanks from the occupiers.

    So, the occupiers are privileged. What is privilege? It is nothing more complicated than you haveing access to something I do not. And that something, for the occupiers is power.

    What is power? It is nothing more than the ability to affect. Have the occupiers affected the political landscape? Almost certainly. Is there a mechanism to hold them responsible for the effects of their actions? Probably not, ergo power without responsibility.

    The emotion is not fear. It is a disdain for children who want to stay up late on school nights to eat a gallon of ice cream.

  6. I wouldn’t exactly compare staying up late on school nights to eat a gallon of ice cream to camping out in the cold and working full time to change political discourse. OWSers are probably more akin to those who gave up their time to volunteer for a political campaign. Were those who fought for decolonization against the British children who want to sleep outside? Moreover, to the degree that those involved are children of relatively affluent parents, they are unlikely to be direct beneficiaries of their actions. However, I think Asher’s comments do reflect the opinions of a certain swathe of American society. As for me, I admire those who have put so much time and energy towards trying to change the direction of our country, which increasingly benefits the very wealthy at the expense of the rest.

  7. Give up their time? What other activities would they be using that time to do? I have a wife and two kids, so I can’t give up my time, because it isn’t my time to give, in the first place. Back in college, where I worked a full-time job and lived with my parents until graduation, I knew the types who would be interested in protesting. Most were interest in endless social status gameplaying, such as finding the most obscure indie band.

    These are mostly just urban hipsters who are finding the next way to “out cool” their peers.

    Also, you’re not addressing my points about power without responsibility and the privileged status of the occupiers.

    Personally, I’d like to see a significant change of direction in American politics, but the changes that really need to take place are so far outside the current consciousness that they are not going to be on the horizon.

    Privilege.

    Power without responsibility.

    Answer that.