Jeff Jarvis gets it right about #Occupy Wall Street. The problem is institutional and requires institutional reform.
#OccupyWallStreet has been drawing complaints that it doesn't have a demand and a goal. But I say that is precisely its significance.#OccupyWallStreet is a hashtag revolt. As I learned with my own little #FuckYouWashingtonuprising, a hashtag has no owner, no heirarchy, no canon or credo. It is a blank slate onto which anyone may impose his or her frustrations, complaints, demands, wishes, or principles.So I will impose mine. #OccupyWallStreet, to me, is about institutional failure. And so it is appropriate that #OccupyWallStreet itself is not run as an institution.We don't trust institutions anymore. Name a bank or financial institution you can trust today. That industry was built entirely on trust -- we entrusted our money to their cloud -- and they failed us. Government? The other day, I heard a cabinet member from a prior administration call Washington "paralyzed and poisonous" -- and he's an insider. Media? Pew released a study last week saying that three-quarters of Americans don't believe journalists get their facts straight (which is their only job).Education? Built for a prior, institutional era. Religion? Various of its outlets are abusing children or espousing bigotry or encouraging violence. The #OccupyWallStreet troops are demonizing practically all of corporate America and with it, capitalism. What institutions are left? I can't name one.In a Foreign Affairs essay in 2008, Richard Haass argued that the world is moving from bi- and unipolarity (that is, the Cold War and its aftermath) to nonpolarity (i.e., no one's in charge). "We now operate in an open marketplace of influence," I wrote in my last book. "One need no longer control institutions to control agendas."Now one needs a network. #OccupyWallStreet is that network, the headless tail. Even it's not sure what it is. Indeed, I think it would have been better off not issuing a manifesto written by a committee of the whole park, going after even animal rights and ending with its own Ninth Amendment: "*These grievances are not all-inclusive." Henry Blodget mocks many of their demands. Feminisnt says they aren't specific enough. They can't win.But I think they are already winning. #OccupyWallStreet is a start and it is growing, as Micah Sifrywrote: "There's something happening here, Mr. Jones."
Read the rest at The Huffington Post, #OccupyWallStreet and the Failure of Institutions by Jeff Jarvis