Watch CBS News

Keller @ Large: 'Occupy Boston' - Declare Victory And Clear Out

BOSTON (CBS) - I give the following advice knowing that absolutely none of the people for whom it's intended could care less about my opinion, nor is there the slightest chance they will listen.

Listen to Jon's commentary:


But that's never stopped me before, so here goes - it's time for the folks at the Occupy Boston encampment in Dewey Square to declare victory and clear out.

Notice I didn't say "stop protesting."

It should be clear to all but the most hardcore reactionary that anger about the economic mess our political and financial elites have left us in is widespread, far beyond the boundaries of the Occupy camps.

That won't ease up until the core problems -- failure of the economy to produce jobs and inspire confidence, economic dislocation from globalization and technology, inept, arrogant mismanagement by the ruling classes -- start to clear up, and if you think that's happening soon, you are quite the optimist.

If the Occupy movement is to truly earn that adjective, it will have to do so over the course of years, decades and more.

Think of the African-American civil rights movement here, a process of protest, rebellion, organization, legal action, social change, and legislation that spanned centuries.

Consider the landmark Montgomery Bus boycott, where local civil rights activists waited for a good test case to pursue, found Rosa Parks, then led a year-long boycott to highlight the importance of their legal challenge to Jim Crow.

Occupy Boston and its cousins around the country have made news and successfully focused public discussion in ways that may well lead to those same sorts of breakthroughs.

But as the encampments themselves become increasingly plagued by crime, public health problems, and the confusion of their unclear message, they will lose credibility and impact.

Held over too long, they will become a cross between a public plague and a public joke, threatening to undo the gains they've made.

It takes guts to stage a protest.

It takes brains to know when to move on.

We're about to find out if Occupy Boston has both.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.