While I’ve been too busy to follow the Wall Street occupation very closely, let alone participate in any but the most vicarious ways, I’m encouraged by the persistence of its participants. Isn’t it time Americans started saying basta! to government of the lobbyists, by the politicians, and for the corporations?
Here’s a collection of links I’ve found useful:
The Occupy Wall Street blog
Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber interviewed by the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein
Graeber is cited a number of times on Mike Konczal’s (Rortybomb’s) useful discussion of anarchist (non-hierarchical, anti-authoritatian) versus traditional left organizing tactics
Glenn Greenwald’s analysis of the response to the protests is worth reading. Addressing some observers’ criticism that the protestors don’t have a clear message, Greenwald writes:
Some of these critiques are ludicrous. Does anyone really not know what the basic message is of this protest: that Wall Street is oozing corruption and criminality and its unrestrained political power — in the form of crony capitalism and ownership of political institutions — is destroying financial security for everyone else?
And then there are the more-or-less sympathetic observers like Nick Kristof who, despite the obligatory critiques, manage to come up with a few useful suggestions for concrete demands, e.g., impose a financial transactions (“Tobin”) tax, close the huge corporate tax loopholes, etc.
(To such suggestions I would add: Unpave Wall Street and reforest it! But then I’d be added to those whose loony demands make the movement less credible. Ah well…)
Peter Catapano, at the Times’ Opinionator, also has a good collection of quotes and comments here. Catapano cites Michael Jackman’s argument:
Might news organizations’ reluctance [to cover the protests] stem from the fact that most of them are owned by the large corporations that are publicly traded on Wall Street? It’s hard to explain otherwise. After all, polls show that many Americans would be interested in the marchers’ arguments. A Pew Research Center poll shows that “nearly half of Americans — 47 percent — say Wall Street hurts the nation’s economy more than it helps.” According to a Bloomberg poll, a whopping “70 percent of Americans say big bonuses should be banned this year at Wall Street firms that took taxpayer bailouts.” In another poll conducted by Lake Research Partners, 77 percent of respondents approved of tougher rules for Wall Street. Seems like viewers and news readers would enjoy having a look at these protests.
What the movement lacks in comparison to the Tea Party, according to Eric Bohlert, is a cable news outlet to promote its agenda. (Where is MSNBC now? And The Current?) But the larger point is that the cable news outlet has to be powerful and supported by the economic interests and lobbyists who filter and skew what becomes news in this country — but by definition no such outlet could become a mouthpiece for a movement that sought to overturn that very power.
Democracy Now is as close to a network as we get.
Finally, there is the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City. Here’s a piece of it:
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.