Occupy Rose Parade: OWS Risks Fumbling Its Legitimacy at Rose Bowl


Pasadena’s yearly Rose Parade 2012 festival has been Occupied.

On Monday, the parade — which kicks off the college football Rose Bowl event — was joined by protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, holding a 70-by-40-foot float made of recyclable material called the “Occupy Octopus,” representing corporate greed. The OWS activists were flanked by the movement’s own security team who ensured that the activists remained peaceful.

As OWS now occupies a family event which has almost nothing to do with the wider anti-big banks mantra the movement was founded on, the OWS brand is risking its potency. We now see OWS fringe groups try to occupy, literally, everything. OWS, as a broad organization, with many groups, should reevaluate their tactics and strategy to ensure that their message of political and economic change doesn’t turn into an unwanted sideshow.

As the original OWS core has virtually faded out after crackdowns by police and the onset of winter weather, the movement has been lacking strong media-worthy protests. Gone are the camps in national cities, replaced now by circus-like events similar to the Occupy Rose Parade demonstration. Dozens were arrested last week during Occupy the Iowa Caucuses demonstrations, in which protesters refused to leave Democratic and Republican campaign headquarters. There wasn’t any apparent link to big banks or Wall Street in the Occupy Iowa Caucuses event, but at least that protest was political in nature.

Occupy the Rose Parade, though, is devoid of any activism-worthy themes whatsoever. More so, the protest was led and organized by a questionable leader who had been connected with the 9/11 Truther movement, and was even criticized by members of the Occupy Pasadena movement, which refused to endorse what it described as a fringe political event.

In other words, this protest was really unnecessary. This should be a wake-up call to OWS leaders to better manage their national brand and strategies. At the very least, Occupy the Rose Parade could have been a smart statement about the state of college football, in which BCS “non-profit” organizations like the Rose Bowl rake in millions of dollars while providing little in charitable initiatives. The OWS brain trust could have easily tied in their demands for better student education and tuition relief with college football, especially during the marquee Oregon-Wisconsin BCS game.

Alas, OWS seems to have missed this “duh” moment, opting instead for a pointless protest.

As winter deepens and OWS groups get more and more bored, they would be wise to avoid spending their hard-earned political clout on useless protests and campaigns which do nothing more than diminish their brand name.

Photo CreditMattBritt00

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Chris Miles

Chris has worked for media outlets including the Associated Press and Stars and Stripes. He worked with the Clinton Foundation, the United Nations, and with the Kentucky state legislature. He holds a master's degree in political science from the University of Louisville, and a BA in journalism and political science from the University of Kentucky. He is originally from Lexington, Ky. Kentucky basketball occupies a majority of his free time.

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