Last month, the police foiled an Occupy bomb plot in Cleveland, Ohio. Today, the last of the Occupiers quietly left McPherson Square in Washington, D.C. To the poetically literate members of the movement, T. S. Eliot’s 1925 prediction that the world would end “not with a bang but a whimper” must seem apposite.
After all of their rhetoric and the repeated promise of a spring return, the vanguard of the revolution looks to have disappeared into thin air. (Or, at least, moved to Wisconsin.) According to the Washington Examiner:
Occupy DC’s base camp in McPherson Square morphed over the past nine months from a few dozen protesters in sleeping bags to a virtual tent city. But over the past few weeks, one of the most enduring encampments of the national anti-Wall Street movement has all but disappeared.
A library tent and a few tarps are all that remain of the ongoing vigil, and Occupiers who once spent their days in McPherson Square at the corner of 15th and K streets are mostly gone. Many of those who remain now meet in the offices that a labor union, the Service Employees International Union, rented for them a few blocks away.
”There’s a lot more drunks that hang out there,” protester Travis Schoff said of the McPherson campsite. “We don’t really go there, especially at night.”
Occupy was fatally flawed from the start. Despite the confidence of its philosophical allies, it never managed to turn a disparate group of disaffected progressives into anything cohesive, nor effectively to channel its angst into the traditional political process. One just hopes that, having been thwarted in their initial attempts and kept on the outside of the mainstream, the movement doesn’t turn a propensity for localized violence into something more sinister for, as a rule, whimpers are better than bangs.