If the recent May Day protests are any indication, the Occupy movement is alive and well. As a voice against economic inequality, it remains a vital part of democracy, but some of its offshoots seem to support violent approaches rather than peaceful ones. Nevertheless, if the movement wishes to consider itself a valid voice in the stream of political dialogue, it must make every attempt to disassociate itself from violent offshoots.
In an attempt to merge its goals with the labor movement, Occupiers called for a General Strike for May 1st. However, rioters using black bloc tactics to incite violence and the destruction of property overran some of the protests, particularly those in Seattle. In addition to apologizing for any of the violence incurred—whether or not condoned—the movement should attempt to prevent such actions from occurring proactively. After all, violence weakens the voice of the peaceful activist.
If the Occupy movement wants to regain what was lost of its credibility, it needs to make every attempt to dissociate itself from any further violence perpetrated under its banner. While peaceful protest remains a vital and constitutionally granted part of the American political system, violence is not.