How Will Occupy Wall Street End?

Commentators have engaged in a great deal of speculation about how they believe the Occupy Wall Street movement will evolve over time. Will it end violently like it did in Oakland? Will it become an enduring movement that forever changes America’s political landscape; or will it ultimately fade away into the dustbin of history?

I created the following poll with what I believe are several possible scenarios. I think several of them are highly likely, while I consider the remainder to be extremely improbable.

What say you?

About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Finance executive, engineer, former military officer, and science fiction and horror writer. Editor of the Weird World War III anthology.
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17 Responses to How Will Occupy Wall Street End?

  1. Scott Erb says:

    I think that the various organizers have shown they are adept at money raising and communicating across the country and world that this will morph into a global movement focused on increasing democracy (arguing power has shifted from states to big money — we hold governments accountable, but don’t have the capacity to do that with the big banks and corporations). As a movement it will last and engage in various activities, but ultimately work to be a kind of NGO voice in debates about globalization and restructuring the global economy. Political parties will attempt to co-opt this as much as possible and the movement will become a kind of mainstream political organization/interest group, but global in scope. By focusing on democracy rather than crude economic demands they’ll avoid the kind of ideological extremism that typifies anti-globalization protests.

    • Scott Erb says:

      Oh, I forgot the direct answer; as they morph into a broad NGO type movement, they’ll choose to end their protest on a particular day, calling for a global show of solidarity and a shift of emphasis to political organization. That day will have global protests, and then they’ll by choice leave the various occupy sites, though some more radical types may try to persist and create problems.

      • Interesting perspective. I’m reading on various right-leaning sites that organizers are starting to fight amongst themselves. I believe many of these reports are true, but I don’t have a real sense of whether they are one-off incidents, or a general trend. I suspect they are the former. That said, I expect more internal conflict going forward as the movement starts to coalesce around a more narrow set of principles. Whether or not it becomes a global organization or movement remains to be seen.

        Either way, it should be interesting to watch.

  2. Maximilian Reinhard says:

    I’m rather afraid that the whole point of the movement will be lost once it is hijacked by the Democrats as well as the increasingly prominent anti-establishment elements that are slowly growing within the more seedier parts of it. While I certainly don’t agree with many of the demands that individual Occupy activists have made, I think the underlying message, the call to investigate our economic policies and to see if there isn’t a way to make it more beneficial to the American nation rather than to the multinational megacorporations that reward our leniency with rampant outsourcing is outlining a very important issue that needs to be resolved in a rational, thought-out fashion rather than by the reactionary voter-catching partisan politics both parties are so guilty of.

  3. “I’m rather afraid that the whole point of the movement will be lost once it is hijacked by the Democrats as well as the increasingly prominent anti-establishment elements that are slowly growing within the more seedier parts of it.”

    I think the exact same fate befell the Tea Party. Like OWS, it was a spontaneous movement generally against Big Government (much as OWS is against Big Corporate). Very soon, fringier elements of the Republican Party co-opted it and helped mobilize the anger into a 2010 political victory. It should be interesting to see if Democrats are able to do the same thing in 2012.

  4. pino says:

    1. The Democrat party already has co-opted the movement.
    2. It will split into groups; these folks don’t want Liberty, they just want more influenece for themselves.
    3. I am already crying.

  5. Alan Scott says:

    I think the weaker anarchist-Communist and disaffected debt ridden college students will melt away. What will be left is where the remnants of ACORN will find a home. They had to go somewhere . It is like when a corporation dissolves but morphs into another corporation. OWS will be ACORN , under a new logo. Look for the same tactics.

  6. jonolan says:

    I think that the core of the OWS rabble will continue to increase their ilegal behaviors and their violence until we reach the point that police and the American people will have to use lethal force to quell them.

    At that point it’s open season on anyone who supports them and we Americans can finally purge our country of a great number of problematical domestic enemies.

    • Jonolan,

      I don’t think that anyone will use lethal force on the movement. That said, I think it is 50/50 that the movement will break out into LA-style riots. At that point, the authorities will likely crack down. But few will die by the hand of the government, but many could die at the hands of the people. The mob tends to be an irrational and implacable beast.

      • jonolan says:

        You mistake me. I neither think that the government will respond with lethal force, even after the rabble’s violence escalates, nor do I particularly advocate such a course of action – it sets a bad precedent.

        I hope that the American people will respond to the rabble’s violence with wide spread, lethal reprisals.

        • “I hope that the American people will respond to the rabble’s violence with wide spread, lethal reprisals.”

          Do you really think the American people will react to OWS by killing movement’s followers? I just don’t think the American people have that in them, no do I think they are that irrational.

        • jonolan says:

          Whether or not there’s enough spirit and patriotism left in the American people to defend their nation against its domestic enemies remains to be seen.

          That you feel that doing so would be irrational doesn’t bode well though. Of course, you could just be part of problem that needs to be dealt with. I don’t know; I don’t know you well enough to make that judgement.

        • jonolan says:

          Ahh. Now I understand your position and why you’re apparently misunderstanding mine.

          You asked how people thought that the OWS movement would play out. I believe that it will grow more violent and lawless, as its inclusion of Black Bloc in Oakland evidences.

          It’s at that point, after they’ve overstepped themselves, that I hope the American people will respond in a permanent fashion., not now when they’re still “a bunch of drunk hippies.”

          • Fair enough.

            Living in the Bay Area exposes one to more than their fair share of protests about nearly ever imaginable slight. I think the violence these folks ultimately unleash will be uncoordinated, reckless, and easily containable by the authorities. The worst case scenario is an LA-riot style conflict, in which things get out of hand for a few days (like the London riots), and then the authorities crack down once the American people become abhorred by the protestor’s violence. The only way the non-OWS American people become involved, in my view, is if the traditional power structure collapse, which I believe is remote.

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