#Occupy: Beyond Left vs. Right

Posted by Henry Taksier, October 23, 2011

Above: Duane Schwingel, a neatly dressed copywriter and father of two, identifies as a pro-life Christian conservative. He also writes defiant songs about the struggle to “tear down wall street” and restore democracy. If not for Schwingel, “Occupy Gainesville” may never have made international headlines Oct. 14, the night Bo Diddley’s son was arrested.

The “Occupy” movement, which began with general assemblies in New York, spread into a global “Day of Rage” Oct. 15, with demonstrations in more than 80 countries. Eight days before, Congressional Republicans made it clear they were feeling threatened:

“We have to be careful not to allow this to get any legitimacy,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Oct. 7 on a conservative talk show. “I’m old enough to remember what happened in the 1960s when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy.”

When the “Occupy” movement spread to Gainesville, Fla., City Manager Russ Blackburn granted protesters a one-night permit to occupy downtown Wednesday night with a stipulation that the occupation would end the next day. On Oct. 13, the temporary permit expired. After the sun went down, 50 protesters lined the sidewalk surrounding Bo Diddley Plaza. Ellas Anthony McDaniel, 56, son of the late rhythm and blues musician Bo Diddley, decided to join them.

Duane Schwingel, a local occupier who knew Bo Diddley personally, said McDaniel’s father would have been proud. Schwingel, 53, a neatly dressed copywriter and father of two, made it clear that he doesn’t like labels. Nonetheless, he identifies as a pro-life Christian conservative. He’s been a Republican most of his life, though now he leans toward libertarianism.

“Bo Diddley may have thought this was a silly left-wing event if he had only listened to the sound bites,” he said. “But I think he would have supported the movement, like anyone else would, if he had actually checked it out.”

Continued via The Fine Print: #Occupy: Beyond Left vs. Right