The most frequent charge leveled at the Occupy movement is that it is “incoherent”. Leaving aside for the moment the idea that we journalists are supposed to be making sense of mass movements, rather than sniffily suggesting that they mean nothing, it becomes increasingly clear that there is nothing incoherent about this one.
Already #occupy has stimulated a much-needed change in public discourse. The roles of the police, of the academy, of religious authorities and of the press in protecting the people and bringing their concerns into public view: all these are under a strong light now.
Most of all, the movement is a public demonstration of ethics. It is making a new class of people with whom we can identify politically: one that offers sympathy rather than scorn to those who are suffering in this economic climate; that castigates the culture of greed, rather than championing it; that vilifies rather than admires those who want to grab everything that isn’t nailed down; that demands that wealth be shared fairly; that seeks to give everyone a voice, rather than trying to persuade us that there are important people who are to be listened to, as opposed to the many, who don’t count.
The movement clearly demonstrates that the price of engagement should be only awareness, intelligence and interest, and that it is both contemptible and destructive to the common good to calculate the worth of an idea or a person according to how much money or power is involved.