Saturday, October 08, 2011

What I Saw at Occupy St. Louis

Disclaimer #1: I only spent a couple of hours there this evening. It didn't look like any tense police situations requiring solidarity and arrest were fixin' to transpire, so when I got bored and tired, I left.

Disclaimer #2: Ad Hominem means "to the person," and I don't feel like going there. I'm sure everyone involved in Occupy St. Louis honestly believes in whatever brought them out. I'm not questioning their commitment or sincerity. All of the people I met there were pretty cool.

Those things said, what I was hoping to see was the revolution ... and it wasn't there. Or at least it wasn't the center of gravity, anyway.

I did run into a few serious anarchists, and observed what looked like some libertarians and/or Ron Paul types.

But the bulk of the crowd were fairly obviously conventional Democrat voters, ranging in demeanor from earnest, well-intended "support the President on jobs and health-care" people out to express themselves to hopped-up "I want to re-create the feeling Mom and Dad described when they talked about Chicago in '68 ... and I will, minus all that icky tear gas and stuff, just as soon as I find a place to park the Prius and figure out how to punch a Beatles playlist into my iPod" types. Not evil people mind you, just naive and lacking that "walk in front of the tank at Tiananmen" fortitude.

My Scientific Wild-Ass Guess as to crowd size is 200-300, but I could be a little low. Not bad for a Friday night several days into the action, but a full order of magnitude lower than the 2009 Tea Party rallies in the same space.

Size difference notwithstanding, there's one point of similarity: It looks like the Democrats are moving just as fast to co-opt the "Occupy" movement as the GOP did to stuff its talking points into the Tea Party's mouth.

Best of luck to those hoping to parlay Occupy into real change. If St. Louis is any indication, though, I'm guessing that the thing has already peaked and will sputter along for a few more weeks at most before fading away.

Update: Read my extended take at the Center for a Stateless Society.

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