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Occupy will succeed to unknown ends

Published: Monday, January 30, 2012

Updated: Monday, January 30, 2012 11:01

 

Occupy USF joined hundreds of protesters outside last week's NBC Republican Presidential Candidates Debate, and while the success of the presidential primary candidates won't be decided before Tuesday's primary, it's not too soon to pick a winner — the Occupy protesters.

While Occupy USF is small, the Occupy movement at large has united 2,849 international communities, according to meetup.com, and has become the largest socio-political exhibition of civil disobedience since the end of the Vietnam War. Every time an Occupy encampment gets five minutes of media coverage, it further ensures the movement's growing brand recognition worldwide. This sort of public image the movement has cultivated for itself won't go away any sooner than Coke or Pepsi.

In addition, the Occupiers themselves are not likely to go away anytime soon. According to statisticbrain.com, 80 percent of Occupy Wall Street protesters are under 45 years old, and 60.7 percent are college-educated.

While it's certainly too soon to consider Occupy victorious in its goal to topple corporate interests' influence on politics, it is not too soon to forecast that Occupy will succeed at something, and that something may or may not align with Occupy's present goals.

Occupy could evolve to resemble something of a political party — seeking the reforms it desires through the election process — but there is no way to tell, due in part to Occupy's lack of central leadership. It already has a great enough reach to support such a metamorphosis, but is this what the majority of Occupy wants? Does it matter?

A lack of leadership isn't a bad thing, but it makes plotting where Occupy's success will land more difficult than if they were led by a single vision.

Occupy's success could come somewhere closer to Hollywood. Films are bound to develop — according to actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" involves themes related to the Occupy movement. Yet if Occupy become s more merchandise than messages, then today's Occupy protesters will likely be less than pleased.

One could argue Occupy's leader would not allow such a conclusion, but Occupy has no central leadership. This movement is already too great and too influential to not succeed in change, and without any single

person or entity steering the ship, the movement could still go in every direction.

But lack of leadership isn't a punchline; it's ultimately pragmatic and allows for the slow distillation of thousands of voices. The glary-eyed and left-of-center ne'er-do-well Occupy protester sometimes depicted in the media as a archetype doesn't do well to depict the power wielded by thousands gathering together by a united cause.

There is no rush for the Occupy movement to find itself. It cannot discern a list of demands because its pathos goes too deep to allow for the reduction of a disenfranchised youth into a single goal-oriented plan or procedure.

Even if Occupy goes on to fail at every goal it has set for itself, the cultural mark has been left. At worst, Occupy evolves into a cultural footnote — canonized in media, depicted in movies and television and dissected by scholars. 

Jessica Velez is a senior majoring in mass communications.

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