First, let’s think about what the movement has accomplished so far: nothing less than a reshaping of our national political discourse. Last summer, debt and deficit occupied the thoughts of the political chattering class. Would the government extend the federal borrowing limit? Would the “supercommittee” come up with enough cuts to satisfy the Tea Party wing of Congress? Would $2 trillion in cuts to basic government services somehow restore America to the greatness of our national myths?
In 2012, by comparison, the national debt is a side-issue — talk of income inequality and economic opportuity dominates our political discouse, a direct result of the Occupiers and the ruckus they were able to raise in Zucotti Square and similar encampments across the country. As Occupiers planted tents in physical spaces, their online supporters staked out social media turf and people across the country started wondering what they were actually talking about with this “99%” stuff. Google searches spiked, politicians and the media took notice of the public interest, and income inequality took over political ground ranging from President Obama’s State of the Union to the Republican presidential primary process.
So far, Mission Accomplished! But what’s next?