Occupy v. Netroots

Occupy Providence is planning to "occupy the sidewalk" outside the coming Netroots Nation conference, June 7-10. The action is not meant as a protest against the event, but as a protest against economic injustice; indeed, the Occupyers and the lefty bloggers who populate the netroots are largely simpatico on this and other issues.

But in a way, the two represent the poles of progressive actvism in this country circa 2012. Occupy, after all, is about rejecting mainstream politics and creating alternatives; there aren't many Occupyers knocking on doors for President Obama this year.

Netroots, by contrast, is heavily focused on electoral politics. Indeed, the list of panels at Netroots Nation reads like a sort of how-to guide to political activism: "Data-Driven Design for Progressive Organizations," "Taking the Offense in State Elections," and "Victory in Ohio: How Senate Bill 5 Was Defeated," to name a few.

That doesn't mean Netroots Nation is uninterested in Occupy. Far from it. One panel aims to draw lessons from the attention-grabbing movement for progressives. It's a tricky synthesis. But if it can be pulled off, it could be potent. 


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