And they were.
The problem was that after the shouting was beaten down there was nothing left.
Bob Reich has a decent post-mortem of the Occupy movement that sums up what went wrong:
"Occupy put the issue of the nation’s savage inequality on the front pages, and focused America’s attention on what that inequality was doing to our democracy. To that extent, it was a stirring success.That's too bad, because the political reality is that there were, and are, natural allies of Occupy all around us. The Occupiers were too impressed with their own purity to look around and find them.
But Occupy eschewed political organization, discipline, and strategy. It wanted to remain outside politics, and outside any hierarchical structure that might begin to replicate the hierarchies of American society it was opposing.
So when mayors, other public officials, and university administrators cleared the Occupy encampments by force — encampments that had become the symbol of the movement — nothing seemed to remain behind. Some Occupiers made plans for further actions, but a movement without structure, discipline, and strategy proved incapable of sustaining itself."
Two years later and the 1% is 1-percentier-than-ever. The United States looks increasingly like a nation that is headed towards an unbridgeable divide between the Haves and the Have-nots. Between the bought-and-paid-for influence that the American wealthy have in both main political parties and the complete and utter anti-government insanity of the Right - seeing as the only potential counterweight for large private organizations such as businesses is the power of large public taxation, regulatory, and legal enforcement free of the influence of those organizations - there appears to me no potential for changing this direction.
I think we will look back on this failure to recognize that the real enemies of "our freedoms" are not sitting in a cave in the tribal areas of Pakistan or in some beige cubicle in a federal office building but in boardrooms and lobbying congresscritters as the great tragic failure of our age.
Because if we do not or cannot act we are looking at our oligarchic masters and the political structures they have co-opted for the rest of our lives. Reich sums it up: "Occupy served an important purpose, but lacking these essentials it couldn’t do more. Inequality is worse now than it was then, and our democracy in as much if not more peril. So what’s the next step?"
What's frustrating is that this should be simple. Both the remnants of the actual Left as well as the Tea Party Right should agree that corporatism - the unholy alliance of government and big business - is bad for those of us not in two-yacht families. The tragedy seems to be that while the Left is willing to at least give things like resurrecting Glass-Stegall and breaking up the "too big to fail" banks and retooling tax and tariff policies to favor wages over "investments" and actually creating jobs instead of creating tax shelters and calling that "job-creation" the Right won't touch this stuff. It's "more government", see, and government is Bad.
Mind you, I can't find a movement Conservative answer for this "Return to the Gilded Age" that doesn't depend on magical ponies and sparkle fairy dust. But...government is Bad, so...FREEDOM!
So I hate to keep banging this drum but...if those of us lacking a key to the executive bathroom can't or won't find a way to agree on figuring out a way to change our direction we will find ourselves, we petty men, walking under the huge legs of the Wall Street Bull and peeping about to find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings.