Lack of Focus a Problem for Occupiers?

The Occupy Nashville protesters have been clear in their resolve to remain at the foot of the Tennessee Capitol, writes Chas Sisk. But what it will take to persuade them to leave is as uncertain as ever, a fact that both sympathizers of the movement and its detractors say could lead to its undoing. Nearly two months after the Occupy protests started, no one seems to know where they are going — not even the protesters themselves.
The Occupy Wall Street movement and its offshoots have raised questions about wealth distribution and the role of money in politics, but they have failed to articulate concrete solutions. Leaderless and fragmented, the movement may not even have the ability to do so.
The Occupy protests stand in stark contrast to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, which for the most part was disciplined and well coordinated. But with the rise of social media and an unsettled political environment, some observers believe the movement could still lead somewhere significant.
Two years ago, many people doubted tea party protests could exert much influence without clear goals or leadership. Yet, those protests have redirected American politics.
“(Occupy protests) are a populist impulse on the left, just as the tea parties were a populist impulse on the right,” said Gary Gerstle, a history professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in social movements. “What the two movements share is a sense of people being exploited.”

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