At Huffington Post Canada, Daniel Alexander Portoraro explains the many problems that are preventing Occupy Wall Street from reaching a more mainstream audience:
Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has finally broken out of the ivory computer towers of social media users, and spilled over into mainstream media. I say spilled over, because with the way things are currently going, there is no tsunami yet. The dam has not been broken, as the protesters would have hoped. There are several good reasons for this.
First, the media is not taking this seriously, and why should they? Frankly, the organization of OWS has been pitiful; a rally in Chicago, a rally in DC, a rally in NYC are all useless unless they can explain what it is they actually want. So far, this is not a movement; this is an emotion: anger. No political movement can survive on emotion alone. However, if this anger were harnessed and used to promote a specific agenda, OWS will undoubtedly be more successful in what it hopes to achieve.
Second, this lack of specificity has been something OWS detractors have been harping on, and they ought to. The general enemy is something called “corporate greed,” a term so vague, an enemy so general, that I can almost hear Orwell groan from six feet under. But after this “greed,” the protests are also aimed at topics such as fighting wars the United States shouldn’t be fighting, the ravaging of our environment, and the list goes on. I suspect if one asks five protesters what they’re protesting against, one will walk away with five different enemies. If Napoleon was unable to win a two-front war, Brooklynites have no chance.
Saul Alinsky argues that “True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within.” With jobs being hard to come by, OWS protesters might have a hard time following Alinsky’s word to the core. However, they can at the very least try not to look like homeless people. It may sound superficial, and it essentially is, but aesthetics cannot be ignored in protests.
When one goes for a job interview, it doesn’t matter if at home he wears sweatpants and Bob Marley t-shirts, when he walks into the office, he wears a suit and tie; he plays according to the office’s rules so he can get what he wants. If a CEO won’t hire someone with no shoes on, why on earth would he ever listen to him when he’s screaming outside on the street? I’m not suggesting everyone at OWS gets Brooks Brothered, but I am suggesting they break the stereotype that all protesters are sandal-footed, long-haired, bongo-loving, bong-smoking bums. Protesters must clean themselves up, or otherwise, act as mere fodder for the right-wing media cannons of Fox News, or people like P.J. O’Rourke, and not be taken seriously by the greater public. Clearly, these people do not represent everybody involved with OWS, but with the type of media coverage the protests have been receiving, there is no room for error.