While I will readily confess I find it odd as something of a Burkean that I am sympathetic to these protesters, they are not looking to trot out the guillotines, in the main (although I did spot a "Behead the Fed" sign!), but rather, they have smelled the radicalism of the blows dealt the integrity of a representative democratic system poised by the almost unfettered oligarch-like behavior among too many elites wholly disconnected from, yes, the 99% they speak of. They are acting to secure conservative aims of re-balancing a society that is becoming dangerously unmoored and increasingly bent asunder. They want accountability and dignity and prospects. Their leaders have failed them. So they have taken to the street to lead themselves. It will not be easy in the months ahead (the encroachments of winter alone will prove a big test), but they have started something that has real potential, and should be lauded for it, and indeed urged to carry on. If so, they may accomplish something, even possibly something historic. In this goal, in my view, they should not immediately fall prey to pressure that they must issue some long laundry list of ‘demands’ that might risk ideologically ring-fencing them some and/or stealing the spontaneity of their movement, while resisting too close associations with old-line standard-bearers of the left like the unions. They have created something quite new on the American political scene, and should stoke it during these early days in a manner strictly of their choosing.In other news, they're apparently attempting to occupy the Senate Hart building today. Huzzah!
Oct 11, 2011
Occupy DC: some additional thoughts
I think my piece here is still pretty good, in that the Occupy DC folks had a ways to go last week, but I just want to second Matt Stoller (if you can translate humanities major-speak) and Gregory Djerejian in saying that there's no need for the protesters to have a poll-tested laundry list of complaints by the end of the week. My issue with the protest on Thursday was that the stage and performers gave the appearance that the leadership wasn't really connected to the Wall Street issue, something we know to be untrue. All in all, I think especially the New York branch of this movement is doing a fine job so far. Here's Greg: