Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Turkey, Occupy Everywhere are all grounded in the hopes that the people’s voice will be heard leading to a reduction of social and economic inequality. Unfortunately, all these movements start and end the same way.
Here’s how the events unfold:
- Outrageous behavior from a government or corporations reaches a tipping point.
- A resilient few decide to stand up for what is right.
- The movement spreads like wildfire via social media.
- Peaceful protests ensue.
- CNN comes up with a not so clever nickname, Occupy Porta-Potties
- The government/corporations get impatient.
- The police attempt to clear the area without using force.
- Nothing happens.
- Tear gas follows.
- Rubber bullets are fired.
- The police apologizes.
- An internal investigation on police protocol is launched.
- More peaceful protests.
- More irritation from corporations/government.
- More intervention.
- More tension!
- Crowd disbursement.
- Nothing changes.
Now we have Occupy Central in Hong Kong better known as the Umbrella Revolution, where protesters arm themselves with umbrellas to ward of the riot police’s crowd disbursement tactics. The reason for the protest is simple; Hong Kong people want to have democratic elections and China is refusing. Presently, Hong Kong operates under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle meaning that Hong Kong can decide how it governs itself, so long as China says it’s OK. To preserve this rule, China wants to approve the list of candidates that run for the office of chief executive in 2017. This would ensure that China would have a Beijing sympathizer running Hong Kong, preventing a possible secession of Hong Kong from mainland China in the future.
Now the perfect storm for an occupy revolution has arrived. It is the weekend in Hong Kong following a national holiday. The number of protesters have grown as have their demands. Protesters are demanding that the current chief executive Leung Chun-ying step down, something he has refused to do while China is calling the protests illegal.
The protesters believe that relieving Leung of his duties paves the way for democratic reform. How many times have we seen this end worse than when it started? From China’s perspective, if Leung steps down, this would appease the protesters in the short run. But will this resolution only quell their anger for the time being, emboldening them to become more defiant in the future?
Here’s what will happen:
Leung may stay, Leung may go. In the end, it doesn’t matter. While China may superficially give into the protesters demand for open elections, come 2017, it will still have a heavy hand in who becomes the next leader of Hong Kong. China’s best strategy going forward is straightforward: It should incrementally grant marginal powers to Hong Kong’s government to prevent further demonstrations then stay the course until 2047 when Hong Kong loses its status as a Special Administrative Region and comes completely under China’s control.
China need only to stay out of the spotlight so come Monday morning, whether it be this week or next, the streets are devoid of protesters, the markets opened, and the umbrellas tossed.
For all it hopes to do and despite its laudable intent, the Occupy Movement will continue to go nowhere until the people go nowhere.