#OccupyWallStreet – Oct. 5


The most authentic and thoughtful article I’ve seen on what’s occurring at Liberty Park is by Matt Stoller at Naked Capitalism.

This dynamic is why it’s so hard for the traditional political operators to understand #OccupyWallStreet. It must be an angry group of hippies. Or slackers. Or it’s a revolution. It’s a left-wing tea party. The ignorance is embedded in the questions. One of the most constant complaints one hears in DC about #OccupyWallStreet is that the group has no demands. Its message isn’t tight. It has no leaders. It has no policy agenda. Just what does “it” want, anyway? On the other side of the aisle, one hears a sort of sneering “get a job” line, an angry reaction to a phenomenon no one in power really understands. The gnashing of teeth veers quickly from condescension to irritation and back. Many liberal groups want to “help” by offering a more mainstream version, by explaining it to the press, by cheering how great the occupation is while carefully ensuring that wiser and more experienced hands eventually take over. These impulses are guiding by the received assumptions about how power works in modern America. Power must flow through narrow media channels, it must be packaged and financed by corporations, unions, or foundations, it must be turned into revenue flows that can then be securitized. It must scale so leaders can channel it efficiently into the preset creek bed of modern capitalism. True public spaces like this one are complete mysteries to these people; left, right, center in America are used to shopping mall politics.

8 responses to “#OccupyWallStreet – Oct. 5

  1. This protest (movement?) is competely organic. I see echoes of the very early days of the Tea Party which didn’t last long, as PACs took them over pretty quickly. But the left is traditionally more disorganized than the right, and maybe that will protect the grass roots nature of the movement. Wasn’t it Mark Twian who said “I don’t belong to any organized political party; I’m a Democrat”.

    Stoller is a pretty smart guy and I’ve trusted his observations over the years; he tends to be right! Given that, it may be that this Wall St thing much more resembles Tahir Square – not in the overthrow the govt way of course – but in that there is no organizing ideology so that we’re seeing every kind of interest group down there – but the one thing they share is certain knowledge that they are being screwed and that the investment banks are indeed the enemy of middle class aspirations – and the enemy of a stable just society.

    And one more thing about Tea Party/Wall St – as ideologically different as they are, both spring from knowing that something just isn’t right.


  2. Ms. Holland,

    ” This protest (movement?) is competely organic. ”

    What do you mean by that ? Outside of science, I am not familiar with it .


  3. Ms. Holland,

    ” Springs up on its own. No organizing hand, no ‘fertilizer’. Spontaneous, not planned. ”

    In my area we still have a few farms. In the spring the farmers gather all of the manure that has accumulated in their barns over the winter. They spread that manure on their fields before they do the plowing . The people from the cities who have moved here hold their noses, because it can really reek .

    The idea that these protest movements were not planned is as organic as that manure and stinks just as much .


  4. Well I think organic is a good term. The organisation is pretty loose. No party or union is in charge, and no single person has come to the fore as yet. There is no single issue that truely unites them, just a raw viseral moral sense that the system has failed the majority whilst serving a tiny 1% and needs reset. Clearly they do not believe either the Democrats or the Republican parties answer their need to do the necessary reforming. It is simply not credible that any organisation (that I am aware of at any rate) could have franchises in 260 cities on five continents inside a week. The movement answers a deep ache that if there is any manure about then we are all being dumped on by the manure of the system.


  5. I tend to think this movement will either be coopted or break up if it isn’t.


    • bruce – I agree that if they are to survive and have a real impact, some kind of leadership has to emerge. And a focus.

      David – whatever the future of the movement, if it gets people to pay attention to declining wages and the failure to make anyone in the fianncial industry accountable, I’ll count it as a success.


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