Talk to opponents of Occupy Wall Street and the same point of contention always comes up: "What do they even want?!"
Thanks to a recent increase in surprise public appearances, there are new opportunities to learn the answer.
Take this October 25th New York City Department of Education meeting for example. A group of parents and teachers used the Occupy Wall Street-inspired human microphone to express their grievances directly to local education officials at the Panel for Education Policy. They were tired of the education board ignoring them. So they forced them to listen:
Or Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's breakfast speech at the Chicago Union League Club on November 3. Union activists interrupted his appearance with another OWS-style "mic check". They stated their desires loud and clear:
"Governor Walker has vilified unions and insulted the 99% who depend on living wages and adequate benefits to support their families, while on the payroll of the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers... It is not so different from our state (Illinois) where corporations and bought-off politicians clamor to find ways to grant a $100 million tax break to the Mercantile Exchange, one of the most profitable companies in the state, while social services are being slashed, while workers' pensions are threatened, and homelessness, poverty, and joblessness continue to rise."
And yesterday they give us new proclamations during a speech by Michele Bachmann. This one is a bit less effective because attendees decide to counter-interrupt. But still, at least they tried to answer the popular question:
Democracy itself (along with other kind-of-American notions such as good jobs, equality and fairness, and education) are what the "occupiers" want. So these unexpected appearances are not only their way of telling you that, but their attempt to reclaim it. And when democratic desires are unattainable, due to a government and its policies that can be bought instead of voted for, it's helpful to make that reality known.
Brett Brownell (@brettbrownell) is a video and web producer for Up with Chris Hayes.