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Occupy San Francisco Takes the Fight to Local Banks in Ambitious Next Step for Movement

After a brief hibernation, a refocused movement takes aim at corporate America--specifically, Wells Fargo and Bank of America on "Wall Street West."

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Based on Friday’s actions – which I only saw part of — Occupy’s new approach seems to have three components.

First, it has become more of a big-tent movement, welcoming outside groups like labor unions. Second, it is taking deliberate, loud, public aim at specific corporate targets, like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America. Perhaps most important, as David Solnit pointed out, it is reinventing itself as a grass roots organization – reaching out to ordinary people who may not know much about the Occupy movement, but whose lives have been devastated by anonymous corporate decisions.

It’s an ambitious, multi-faceted reset, and there’s no way of knowing how effective it will be. Simply camping out and saying “We are the 99 percent” has the downside of being vague, but for that very reason it has an abstract, jarring purity. More specific, targeted protests are more substantive and show the movement is serious, but also make it more conventional. Still, as long as the movement attracts followers as committed, intelligent and impressive as the people I talked to, it will remain a force to be reckoned with. It seems certain to play a role in the national discourse not just during this election season, but for a long time.

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