For a movement that professes to be protesting the dismissal state of the economy, including the lack of jobs, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) appears to believe that hampering the mechanisms of capitalism is a smart move. Yesterday, members of Occupy Portland shut down the Port of Portland, preventing any trade from proceeding. The Port of Portland is the fifth largest port (by tonnage) in the United States and is thus responsible for an enormous amount of trade and jobs, both at the port and in markets that rely upon the trade.
Why the Occupy movement thinks that stopping economic flows is an intelligent tactic is beyond comprehension. Not only would it seemingly undermine any potential support they could garner from those who do not sit on the far-left of American politics, but such strategies undermine attempts to improve the economy. It is nonsensical to prevent people from working and interrupt economic activity in this economic climate.
OWS has had pernicious effects on small businesses, particularly those located in the vicinity of the protests. Shops, for instance, have been forced to close as protesters have driven away paying customers. Other businesses have had to lay-off employees in order to stay afloat. And many banks have been forced to close their doors for fears of potential violence. None of this helps the economy or the newly minted unemployed.
But the follies of OWS do end there. There have been reports, admittedly isolated for the time being, of Occupy protesters attacking banks, stores, and other institutions of "capitalism." While not yet the mainstream of the movement, which has largely been peaceful, such violent trends are worrisome. The last thing this country needs is to descend into further turmoil.