(1) "Financial crisis" reaches a relative nadir in the screwing-over of the general populace;
(2) The masses, inasmuch as America is concerned, become upset. Instead of picking up weapons and attacking those who attack them, they are guided by endless bombardment of civics class belief in democracy, nonviolent effectiveness, et cetera into approaching a "stop traffic" attempt to "call attention" to massive problems experienced in (1) above. They take a few years to get to this, first attempting to live out the free market dream;
(3) They occupy various public venues and commit some minor vandalism against the elites who have stolen incalculable sums of "money," lives, hopes and dreams from the rest of the world. Their occupation serves as a useful steam release valve: decades after civil rights marches, a new generation has proof that it can take to the streets and accomplish something;
(4) To remind the sans culottes that doing such things is risky, some domestic military force is called down upon them. This galvanizes the peons into thinking that a radical action has been taken. Military force is not used to a level sufficient to actually incite combat or serious resistance;
(5) Elite media throws events into perspective for most. Fox News rants about the occupiers being crazy anarchists. NPR rants about them possibly not having sufficient direction, being hypocritical and maybe having a few right ideas that must be taken into consideration;
(6) Months pass. After the stew has simmered long enough that everyone believes in it and has formed a stern opinion, major government formally takes notice of the protest, admits some mistakes have been made, and introduces harsh "financial reform" that will prevent the problem(s) from ever happening again. Obama* (*may be replaced by any token leader) gives great speech on curing the ills of the financial system;
(7) OWS goes home. Rich remain rich; world financial system remains unchanged. Corporate lawyers bill a few extra hours changing compliance programs at brokerage firms. Some occupiers, tired and in need of a job, claim victory. Others grunt that more was not done. A few people notice that nothing has actually changed, and are dismissed as radicals completely out of the bounds of reasonable discourse;
(8) Fox News complains that the token financial reforms are destroying the economy and are an indication of socialism. NPR heralds the reforms as a triumph of reaching across the aisle, while offering some snippets from commentators who criticize the reforms for not going far enough, and others for why they might prolong the recession. Subcommittees adjourn; life goes on.