Instead, we engaged in a mostly fruitless debate about macroeconomic principles. We had among us moderate supporters of the Democrat party, Libertarians, Anarchists, Socialists and Christians. Each of us had a different take on what an ideal world would look like. Rather than focusing primarily on the specific objectives that we as a community could accomplish, we were sucked into an airy discussion about how to landscape utopia.
Yet, it is a temptation. If we choose to go down the road of ideological purity, this whole movement will stall out. The participants of the Occupy movement come out of a variety of irreconcilable worldviews, and we are not going to harmonize these views by talking through them – much less convince everyone to adopt a party line. If we attempt to do so, the Occupy movement will disintegrate into theoretical squabbling that distracts us from the real business at hand – making concrete gains for ordinary working Americans.
I say all this as someone who has a definite ideological bent. There are certain ways that I would like to see our society run, and I hope that the Occupy movement will move our society closer to that vision. Nevertheless, I recognize that there are other perspectives within the movement, many of which are sharply at odds with my own. Despite these differences, we can work together harmoniously when we focus on concrete actions, rather than some distant, philosophical endgame. Today, we are making practical gains for justice. We can continue to do so, despite our disagreements about what utopia looks like.