I went by the Occupy San Francisco camp outside the Federal Reserve building at 101 Market Street yesterday. This thing is really going strong. Although it was late at night, there were maybe 30-40 people camped there, many sleeping, some sitting around talking, etc. Lots of signs, fliers, books, materials, free food that supporters have dropped off, etc.
One flier I picked up was of particular interest. Headed “OCCUPY San Francisco” and listing the websites www.OccupySF.com and Facebook site www.Facebook.com/OccupySF, it was probably about as “official” a handbill as one would be likely to find at such an event.
Under the title described above, the 5.5″ by 8.5″ flier was mainly composed of a “tag cloud” under the heading, “I asked 200 people from OccupySF and this is what they said (Size of text reflects the frequency of the response)”.
I’ve copied here the terms listed in that tag cloud, grouping them by font size/color (a few of the larger terms were in red ink, the rest in black), putting a (+) beside the terms that seem likely to reflect a pro-freedom concern, and a (-) next to those that seem likely to reflect an anti-freedom concern (many terms like “love”, “economics”, “education”, etc., I did not mark as either pro-freedom or anti-freedom):
1st biggest type size (red ink)
(+) end the federal reserve
2nd biggest type size (red ink)
(+) end corporate personhood
(+) police brutality
2nd biggest type size (black ink)
(-) economic inequality
(+) end the drug war
(+) gold standard
(-) social security
3rd biggest type size (black ink)
(-) 1% lies
(+) anti monopoly
(+) bart police
(-) class warfare
(+) fractional reserve banking
keep it leaderless
(+) medical marijuana
(+) stop the war in afghanistan
(-) tax the rich
(+) we are anonymous
4th biggest type size (black ink)
(+) arab spring
(+) end tax slavery
(+) military industrial complex
nipples [evidently someone being funny!]
(-) redistribution of wealth
restore the commons
(+) true freedom
Of course there’s no way of knowing how representative these responses are of all Occupy protests taking place in cities across the country and in Canada (and elsewhere?), but I believe this constitutes is strong evidence that this is not just a left-wing movement, but one with a significant libertarian streak.
Even assuming that the terms “social security” and “medicare” reflect statist concerns (not necessarily the case, especially with the former), the terms that suggest a pro-libertarian perspective outnumber those that suggest an anti-libertarian perspective by more than two to one.
This would seem to suggest an overlap of common ground between the Freedom movement and the Occupy movement that’s about as significant as the overlap between the Freedom movement and the TEA Party. Libertarians would do well to work with both groups.