The boosters of the #Occupy movement would like you to believe that they have massive support and are turning out really big numbers of people who agree with them. This is a classic “fake it till you can make it” strategy that tries to build a bigger crowd by pretending that there’s already some sort of big crowd. Let’s examine some of those claims, shall we?
One method the #OWS cheerleaders are using is to call the long-standing, ongoing protests that have been going on in Europe for months now part of the “occupy protests”. Statistic twister Nate Silver did it this morning in the New York Times…
The nascent movement known as Occupy Wall Street had its largest single day of protests on Saturday. And a funny thing happened: most of the action was far from Wall Street itself.
No, I don’t mean at Zuccotti Park — which is not, technically, on Wall Street. Nor do I mean Times Square — all of 19 minutes away from Wall Street on the ‘C’ train — where large crowds of protesters gathered on Saturday.
Instead I mean Europe, where crowds in cities like Rome, Barcelona and Madrid were estimated at 200,000 to 500,000 per city (more, probably, than the protests in the United States combined).
And BuzzFeed did it a few days ago. The headline was “#OccupyWallStreet Protests In Madrid” complete with a pretty picture showing a huge crowd.
It sure looks like they were inspired by #Occupy but a quick Google search reveals the truth in about 10 seconds. Correlation does not equal causation. The protests in Europe would have happened #Occupy or no #Occupy. If anything, the Occupy protests have piggybacked onto what is happening in Europe, not vice versa.
Look what happened back in July – before Occupy started.
And before that, there were big protests in May and before. In Spain, unemployment is 21%+ That’s big. And they have a 47% tax rate. (Don’t worry, the U.S. still has higher corporate taxes than anyone.) Those protests are part of the general economic trouble Europe is having. Nice try, #Occupy.
So let’s look at another way of figuring out the numbers. Back here in The United States, we know that the number of people who are ‘tourists’ – who show up to march or on a weekend and then go home to a nice comfy capitalist bed – are MUCH bigger than the hardcore people who are camping out.
How can we measure support, especially compared to other political movements? One metric we can try is people signed up for Meetups. Of course, there’s a BIG difference between signing up and SHOWING up. But let’s look – Occupy is featured on Meetup.com – and they have 16,000 or so people signed up in 2000 cities. (That’s like 8 people a city average, which is interesting, right?)
But how to judge those numbers? Let’s compare it to the Tea Party, which is older and also featured on Meetup> They have a lot more members – 92,000 – in less cities – about 650.
The business and wealth hating class war agenda is a tough sell in America, it seems.