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occupy wall street – will it have sticking power?

2011 02 26 - Save the American Dream Rally (Ol...

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There’s a great deal more I would like to learn about this movement called Occupy Wall Street.  

It’s gaining momentum and gaining protestors in other parts of the country, especially at universities.

It is making the uber wealthy of America nervous even if they are loath to admit it.

Poster for Occupy Wall Street - The movement that is gaining momentum

People are talking about it, some are laughing about it, as if it’s just a passing fancy.  Others are taking it seriously.

It’s a movement, and it has a lot of people excited.  Others, nervous.  Very nervous.

Occupy Wall Street, to hit the banks where it hurts, are calling for a Buy Nothing Day in November, usually reserved as Black Friday.  In December, Occupy Wall-street is calling for a Buy Nothing Christmas.  If it works, there could be no better way to kick consumerism in the groin.


Could this movement be the beginning of something important?

The GOP refuses to accept what’s happening.  In my opinion, the wealthy and the GOP simply prefer that people stay complacent somnambulists, as if drugged to never wake up.

The Academics are supporting Occupy Wall Street.  According to Will Oremus, writing for Slate, Princeton Professor Cornel West is applauding the protestors because they are raging against “the greed of Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who squeeze the democratic juices out of this country.”

And, the Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, writes Will Oremus, surprised protestors by appearing with them in support of what they are trying to do.   Stiglitz told the protestors:

You are right to be indignant. The fact is the system is not working right. It is not right that we have so many people without jobs when we have so many needs that we have to fulfill. It’s not right that we are throwing people out of their houses when we have so many homeless people.

Our financial markets have an important role to play. They’re supposed to allocate capital, manage risks. But they misallocated capital, and they created risk. We are bearing the cost of their misdeeds. There’s a system where we’ve socialized losses and privatized gains. That’s not capitalism; that’s not a market economy. That’s a distorted economy, and if we continue with that, we won’t succeed in growing, and we won’t succeed in creating a just society.

And then Lawerence Lessig, of Harvard University, joined the protestors and urged them to continue to move forward.   He said:

The arrest of hundreds of tired and unwashed kids, denied the freedom of a bullhorn, and the right to protest on public streets, may well be the first real green-shoots of this, the American spring. And if nurtured right, it could well begin real change.

Will the American people, who have been so complacent for the last half century, rise up and demand change?   People are desperate.  No jobs, no money, no home, no food.  Poverty is everywhere.  And yet, a GOP presidential hopeful is calling it “Class warfare.”  Jonathon Alter, in a recent column in Bloomberg Business Week, writes that Mitt Romney, when asked about the movement, had this to say:  “I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare.”
Jonathon Alter goes on to write about the movement to say:

With the help of unions and social networking, the movement has at least some chance of re-energizing Democrats in 2012 and pushing back against the phenomenal progress Republicans have made in suppressing voter turnout in several states.

Why? Because the tectonic plates of U.S. politics are shifting in ways we don’t yet fully understand. We don’t know whether Occupy Wall Street is a carnival party — a piece of left-wing street theater that gets old fast — or a nascent political party that revives a long-dormant tradition of class- based politics.

It’s possible that these demonstrations, which have now spread to about 150 cities and campuses, will be hijacked by extremists or dissipated by obnoxiousness; the American left has practice in committing suicide. The whole thing could fade as young people find a better way of hanging out offline.

Will this movement be the magic potion for real change in America?   What do you think?

Reference article:  Academics Help Wall Street Protests Gain Credibility. by Will Oremus.  The Slatest, Oct. 5, 2011
Reference article:  Why Occupy Wall Street Should Scare Republicans: Jonathan Alter by Jonathan Alter, writing for Bloomberg Business Week, Oct. 6, 2011
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