The Occupy Wall Street protests seem to be growing and getting more attention. The protests and their ideas certainly do deserve more attention. However, I’m still skeptical about what they can actually accomplish. Monday’s corporate zombie march was a fun idea that makes for great video, but I doubt your corporate opponents noticed. The Occupy Wall Street protesters seem unfocused. That is especially not going to produce any capitulation from the corporate types. You can sense how they are shrugging it all off by reading some of their favorite mouthpieces.
I understand the Occupy Wall Street protest is inspired by the Arab spring protests in the Middle East that brought down some dictatorial regimes. I think there is a big difference between getting some tinpot dictator to abdicate and getting multinational corporations and banks to yield. The human dictators obviously had in the back of their minds that the protests could turn violent and result in death of the dictator and his family.
Corporations do not have such fear. They are not human. They do not fear death because they do not have a life-preservation instinct built into their being. By law, they can only “care” about one thing: profit. This single-minded focus is one of the greatest strengths of the corporate form, but it also might be its greatest weakness. Protesters are strictly denied access to the NYSE trading floor, but consumers are welcomed with open arms into many corporate-owned locations.
I’d like to suggest a new form of protest that will get the attention of the profit-hounds: the buy-mob. Corporations pay more attention to consumer activity than citizen activity. In an era when money equals speech, it’s only a matter of time before shopping becomes a form of protest.