He finds it curious that Occupy Oakland chose the Port of Oakland as the prime focus for its general strike, since neither the port nor the shipping industry had figured previously as an Occupy villain. Why didn't they go after some big bank, say, or some other financial target? Schiavone believes the choice is proof of organized labor's increasing involvement in and support of the movement. Unions who support OWS now include the UAW, the SEIU, the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters.
Since Occupy's encampments are only one manifestation of the movement's strength, he doesn't see the loss of them—whether to police actions or winter and weather-related abandonment—as relevant. "It's sustainable without the encampments," he said. What's more significant, he thinks, is the growing number of people involved in the movement online around the world. "Physical encampments, it's true, may be shrinking. But the 'online' encampment, you could say, is growing dramatically."
The most surprising prediction may belong to John Friedman, a senior columnist for Dow Jones' MarketWatch, who sees ad agencies, marketing companies, and other stalwarts of mainstream U.S. business figuring out ways to make money off the very protesters now vowing to pull down the establishment. "It wouldn't surprise me," Friedman says, "to see some shrewd marketing professional on Madison Avenue hungrily eyeing the commercial potential of the rallies."
Farfetched? Not at all, he argues, pointing to how advertisers managed in the early '70s to co-opt the symbols, dress and music of '60s counter-culture radicals. In what he calls a "grotesque premonition," he imagines a future where "breathless New York City tour guides will lead groups to visit the demonstrators.
Remember when tourists flocked in the 1960s to the hippie Haight-Ashbury to 'see the freaks'?"
ABC News' Mark Crudele and Alyssa Newcomb contributed to this report.