Who is the George Washington of 2011?

As the Occupy Wall Street Movement continues, the local paper included a very interesting article about the Movement coming to Harrisburg, PA.  For those of you unaware of Occupy Wall Street, they are a loosely affiliated group whose one general principal is that  “We are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.” The gist is that the money controls the politicians and the politicians control the money. And about 99% of us are forgotten about.  I’m with you brother.  It is time for a revolution.  Actually, in my opinion, a total revolution is the only thing that could possibly change the current situation.  Didn’t anyone see “Wall Street:  Money Talks”?  Not a great movie but scarier than Amityville Horror.  An account for those of us who don’t read the Wall Street Journal about how the banks failed.  How rich people got richer by leveraging the welfare of the 99% and how the government probably knew and assisted.  I know its fiction but I don’t think it is far off the mark.

The biggest issue for the proliferation of this movement appears to be that they have no leader.  This isn’t were I am looking for a George Washington.  This is where I am looking for a Sam Adams. No, not a cold beer but a grassroots guy to topple the applecart.  For those of you who aren’t history buffs (and I count myself among you).  Sam Adams at times was maligned for his tactics prior to the Revolutionary War.  He was more apt to spread propaganda and promote mob violence – remember the real Tea Party – than negotiate with his adversaries. I read part of that in the paper and did a little more research.  A funny connection here is that Sam Adams’ original hatred of the English came because of the power of English banks.

Anyway, Adams and some of his Colonial buddies, in order to further the movement, solicited the assistance of George Washington.  What this movement needs is a George Washington.  Someone with stature; someone who can consolidate the ideas and make a statement.  Anarchy will get peoples minds working but it won’t get us to the next step. As Seth Godin has said, we have to Ship It.  If we ship from 75 different places, the final product is going to need put together.  What this movement needs is a single shipment.  Maybe a Continental Congress of sorts.  Everyone bring their ideas together and allow them to coalesce into one list of demands.  And then a shipper.  A George Washington!

If this is going to be the United States’ version of the Arab Spring or the Spanish 15-M movement or maybe the 21st Century version of the “real” Tea Party, it needs a George Washington. Who?  I don’t know but I am sure that if the pressure on Wall Street is kept up, the right leader will arise.


3 thoughts on “Who is the George Washington of 2011?

  1. I’m guessing we’re not at the point of a 99% revolution yet. Probably numerous stumbles on the way, so perhaps we have some time to find our General.

    I can’t think of any “known” person who could be that leader of the masses. Perhaps it will be an unknown, hidden personality.


  2. It’s true that one of the major flaws of Occupy was their aversion to the idea of leadership (as well as their overall lack of strategy and understanding of power and how to build it), but I’d also say that the a successful movement of the 99% needs more than 1 leader. At the end of Martin Luther King’s life he had turned toward building the Poor People’s Campaign which would’ve gone beyond civil rights to fight for poor and working people’s across racial boundaries. However, because he was such a strong and singular leader there was a big void in continuing that work when he was assassinated–for that reason, organizers trying to build that movement today say we need “many Martins,” or to relate it to your example, many Washingtons!


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