Mercer's Poems
Political Espionage and the Art of Activism

Last night witnessed one of the biggest, and most amazing nights ever for Occupy Wall Street. As thousands took to the streets to protest against corporate greed and wealth inequality not even the previously reticent mainstream media organisations could ignore it. 
But, there are problems with this. This movement has been going on for two months, and yet on one day a vast hoard of people can suddenly show up? Who are they, why were they there? Who organised them? What is more, with mainstream media interest they will start to wheel out their own ‘spokespeople’ rather than rely on the guys on the ground. Where, after all, is the legitimacy of an interview with a hooded, cold individual on the street; someone who has been part of the movement since its inception and knows all about it, when they can easily wheel their own mouthpiece into the warmth of some studio lights and get soundbites that suit their agenda?  

This movement is all inclusive, that much is true, but it is also completely independent. It is not partisan to any political agenda because it is its own political agenda, that anyone can believe in regardless of who they voted for, or intend to vote for. There are individuals from all walks of life represented in the core of the movement. But they should be wary of being too trusting, and allowing a force of numbers of bodies on streets overwhelm them, without checking whether those bodies are there for the spirit of the movement, or for the spirit of something else entirely.

A lot of word from the street last night spoke of an organisation known as UnitedNY organising things. Who are these people? Why did they feel the need to take on the role of organisers, and de facto police if some reports were to be believed? Ask the questions. What is their agenda? Were they there in the name of Occupy Wall Street, and the freedoms, transparency, equality and democracy for which it stands? It would seem not, given that they with no disguising of their elitism were trying to call the shots as the ‘authority’ behind last night’s events. So ask who were they there for? Who do they represent? Who runs them? Where does their funding come from? It is these questions, and the transparency that arises from their answers that Occupy Wall Street is all about.

There is a danger with activism that an individual can get so caught up in the moment. They can become so infused with the spirit and the passion of bodies on the street. They can become so wrapped up in what they are doing, and what they stand for that they lose the cynicism and the mistrust from which their movement was born. Anyone questioning the motivations or intentions of people who show support to them instantly become targets of hate - Suspicion ends up aimed at the suspicious while, potentially obvious co-option slips under the radar via medium of misplaced trust and an almost cult-like fanaticism to the beliefs of the movement.

Do not lose sight of your objectivism. It has been what has gotten the movement so far, and protected the movement from harmful influence. Most activists are aware of how to spot an undercover police officer, but how do you spot an undercover agenda? Particularly when you are told looking for it questions the very fabric of the movement? But, a transparent movement is the one glass house in which it would be wise to throw stones.