Occupy Providence Releases Mission Statement
Dear People of Rhode Island,
We the people of the Occupy Providence movement respectfully convey our intent to gather in Burnside Park on Saturday, October 15th at 5:00 pm and remain there for howsoever long it takes to build a society by, for, and of the people. Occupy Providence is a completely non-violent movement that seeks to give voice to the 99% of Rhode Islanders who have been disenfranchised as the economy and governance of our country has been increasingly ceded to powerful corporate interests.
The “occupation” of Burnside Park is an act of free speech which we feel compelled to resort to in order to have our voices heard. Occupy Providence will act with all due respect for the people and the property of the City of Providence and the State of Rhode Island, and we intend to leave Burnside Park in better condition than we found it. Occupy Providence is inclusive for all people and families of all ages: drugs, alcohol, discrimination, harassment, and violent behavior are NOT WELCOME.
We welcome your support in our efforts to come to a consensus on how best to challenge corporate greed, which places profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality.
I’ve tried not to be cynical about this, really. (Yes, even if I poked a little fun). In fact, I’ve been impressed at how the Occupy Providence movement as been able to leverage a (purposeful?) vagueness about their ultimate goals into news coverage as everyone asked, “So what’s it about?”
Well, now they’re finally telling us (and I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting what I take to be their core points, above). As many of us have suspected all along, this really seems like nothing more than a new marketing campaign for the same class-warfare, anti-business screed that has been characteristic of the liberal/progressive left since…forever. They’re just hoping to tap into the current economic frustration and–by being a little vague about what they’re after–maybe catch a few new people up in their nets. That’s why some have insisted that the protest is “the thing” more than any goals. It’s an actual exercise in frustration. It’s all meta, man!
Perhaps they’ll come out with a few workable ideas–after they string everyone along for a while anyway–but I’m guessing most of their “new” ideas will involve the old progressive standby’s of taxation, redistribution and more regulation. Though it’s nice to think that, as both Patrick and Don Roach have suggested, the Occupy and Tea Party movement will find some common ground to join together on–after all, both groups have a distaste for the nexus where Big business and Big government meet–the plain fact is that each group blames an opposite half of the “Big” duo more than the other for our current problems. That fundamental difference is a big hurdle to jump before landing on common ground.
ADDENDUM: Ian Donnis calls attention to the “introductory request” made by Occupy Providence in their press release announcing the above Mission Statement (I got it from WPRO, so I didn’t get the actual press release nor was I aware of the request). Here it is:
This is the first version of this document. As a document drafted by consensus, it is obviously less polished than many would like, but as a group we are enthusiastic and proud to have reached this point in our communion together as members of the movement. Please DO NOT quote in part from this document. We ask respectfully that this document either be posted in full, or merely referenced by your media. We humbly ask this out of respect for those who have met for days helping us consolidate our message.
Good thing I posted in full or else….anyway, this is interesting and illustrative. It has come from days of meetings whereby they have produced something that “consolidate[s]” their message. If that is the case, it looks like they’ve turned away from potential “common ground” sharing.