Carol Howard Merritt: Where Is Occupy?


A lot of people talk about how the Occupy Movement was a flash-in-the-pan media stunt by a bunch of youngin's who had no organization skills, no leader, and no clear message. And they would be wrong.

  • No clear message? Can you hear "99%" without thinking about Occupy? For many of us, it's seared into our brains and will always be a number that stands for injustice and inequality.
  • No organizational skills? The movement swelled from the ground mobilizing thousands of people around the world within a couple of weeks.
  • No leader? There was no one leader. But I invite you consider that a shift in organizing style rather than a big problem.
  • Not enduring? Of course there are no people in the parks. They were pepper-sprayed, arrested and harassed. Law enforcement regularly infiltrated the groups and tried to entrap them. So they have been using different strategies.

Do we say that the Civil Rights movement ended with the March on Selma? Or the March on Washington? Did the feminist movement stop after the 1968 Miss America Pageant? No, there was still much to do (and there still is). There were public demonstrations and quiet phone calls, but movements still persist after the marches are over. Activists still work long after the talking heads decide that Miley Cyrus and her twerking are bigger news.

Likewise, even though some of the large Occupy demonstrators have pulled up their tent pegs, many are still working to help Americans get out of overwhelming medical debt or fight against foreclosures. Occupy our Homes and Strike Debt are just two things that are happening around here. I  know many people are trying to get minimum wage increases.

As Christians, I think that we should be wary about criticizing movements that are proclaiming the same dream that Mary did in her Magnificat. We could do a lot to help people right now. But unless we're in the middle of the struggle, we ought to be careful about criticizing a movement that's working hard.

Taken with permission from Carol's blog "Tribal Church" at