With no clear goals, agenda or leader, Occupy Nashville was a murky movement with a mushy message that probably would have fizzled.
|Occupy Oakland on General Strike today|
moving to shut down the Port of Oakland
But Kerr is also misleading. Occupy Nashville has been transparent about their goals and agenda. First they intend to occupy public space to the end of supporting Occupy Wall Street in New York City. Wall Street is the center of American power, so it makes sense. They also intend to hold General Assemblies to involve anyone not plugged into the 1%'s power grid in an alternative political process. They are exercising open-ended democracy for people without money or power.
Occupy Wall Street has, as of this writing, issued no bullet-pointed list of demands. It has set forth no litmus test for would-be members. And that seems to be part of the point: tolerating contradictions, keeping the conversation open-ended and welcoming all comers.
In the process, they are developing other goals. They have been clear that their protests intend to express organic opposition to banks; nationally, Occupy has won victories that no newspaper columnist has, like changing the media discussion from the deficit to joblessness and motivating banks to drop debit card fees.
Finally, if the movement has no clear leaders they also do not have figureheads who, like some corporate newspaper columnists, can fall prey to temptations of political influence and wealth on various issues unoccupied by ordinary people.
It is a shame that it took Bill Haslam's stumblebum crackdown on freedom of assembly for Gail Kerr to attend to the OWS movement, but this protest extends beyond easy constitutional problems that beg editorial grandstanding. It is a movement focused on authentic democracy and an economic revolution that probably makes embedded journos like Kerr nervous when they're not writing PR for the rich and famous.