Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Occupy Nashville was never really Nashville to me

Both print press outlets, the Tennessean and SouthComm (via the City Paper), are giving generally sympathetic coverage to "Occupy Nashville" this Christmas season, in keeping with the dominant script about Occupy Wall Street.

Over at the City Paper reporter Steven Hale waxed melodramatic:

While Occupy factions around the country have continued to face harsh crackdowns, the Nashville encampment has endured. Having declared multiple victories over the state, their claim on the so-called “People’s Plaza” remains intact. And for the time being, Nashville remains occupied.

The Nashville occupiers have endured without ever taking on the machine of Metro Nashville. So, how can reporter Hale conclude that Nashville itself remains occupied? A state-owned square remains occupied in a national organizing context that may be shifting away from tent cities in municipal parks.

The Tennessean account is at least more realistic about the intentions of the occupiers in Legislative Plaza: ON is not focused on separating corporate influence on Metro at all. Instead, they are holding out for January, when the General Assembly will once again convene. Yet, the question remains, why call it Occupy "Nashville"?

If I may deviate from the media script for a second: before Occupy Nashville appeared on the scene demanding the separation of corporations and government while leveraging no observable separations, 11,000 Nashvillians organized to leverage a referendum to check Mayor Karl Dean's unilateral grab of the community planning process on the question of the Fairgrounds. The Mayor was set to make a lot of influential suitors in various industries richer at the expense of the democratic process. That was until he was turned back convincingly both by petition and by the ballot itself.

Those dissenters did not receive the sympathetic media attention Occupy Nashville has in the waning days of 2011, but they were no less grassroots, no less democratic, and no less significant than ON. I have been waiting for the Occupy movement to have an impact on Nashville remotely as large as the Fairgrounds preservationists did. I'm still waiting.


  1. The Occupy movement will end up supporting whatever the Democractic Party agenda is, despite its orignally-stated mission and the potential to appeal to a broader cross-section of citizens.

  2. occupy nashville has been in existence for a little more than 2 months. it has not endorsed democrats nor republicans as both are controlled by corporate monies. in the coming legislative session, occupy nashville/tennessee will offer legislation through any legislators willing to step up without endorsing the legislator. ON /OT will let the public know what legislators are doing and protest any legislation the group deems bad. if you feel the group has not been effective enough, come and lend your voice. it is true that we are not a well oiled political machine, but we have already changed the dialog in tennessee politics and we will continue to do so. we are dedicated to the idea that government MUST represent the people and not the special interests whose agenda more often than not harms the people.