While very supportive of the cause of Occupying Wall Street-I share most of their agenda- as I explained in a few earlier posts I had a few misgivings about it as did Debra over at The Political Circus Around Us(please check her out, you will be glad you did). http://strangerinapicture.us/
Part of the trouble is the way some enthusiastic friends who are very gung ho about OWS characterized it. For them it's all about destroying the banks, ending greed, taking out the investor class. Ironically I find that what for them makes the idea so attractive for me kind of made me step back and say, wait a minute, how is this gonna help me or anyone else exactly?
I mean I can understand a desire to destroy the banks out of kind of moral outrage but it's far from a policy goal. As Rick Yeselon over at Ezra Klein's WonkBlog noted anger alone can't sustain action, what is required to sustain it is "There’s a better chance they will keep showing up if they think that the movement connects directly to their everyday lives, that if it succeeds, those lives will be changed in an obvious and better way."
For me what gets me interested is something that will actually bring about the reforms and changes we need to save our economy and way of life. The American Dream was once reality but it has eroded and has disappeared the last 10 years-I would place the start of its death with the passage of Bush's tax cuts. That liquidated it once and for all.
As someone who has struggled with unemployment I find that I don't have much patience for dramatic symbolic statements fueled by anger with little analysis. For example someone was telling me about "Call in Sick Day" which is supposed to register a protest against American business. To me I don't get it. How exactly is that going to do anything to get me and countless others back to work? Those who have decent jobs are going to deliberately not work out of solidarity with those of us who don't?
If I asked someone who was participating in this if they would give me their day's pay I'm sure they'd demur. But why are you willing to basically throw your $100 or $200 dollars down the drain but not give it to someone who could really use it? I just don't get it.
What has gotten me more siked about the protests is some pieces by Paul Krugman and Ezra Klein. While I'm not entirely sure about protest movements-I recognize their importance and achievement just don't personally know if I wholly like the form they take, the "optics" of it seem to be a repudiation of individuals in favor of collective action-I found that Klein's piece was more a clarion call for me than those friends who never tire of demanding that we destroy the banks and Wall Street.
"The left does have something important however: a coterie of several thousand intellectuals, academics, writers, and engaged professionals who articulate liberal public policy, generate empirical and analytical expertise through the Internet, the media, and universities, and staff the offices of advocacy groups and progressive politicians on the local and national level."
"This is, as I said, important, but, up to now, some people have imagined that the byplay between smart bloggers and tweeters, or even the charged pen of brilliantly argumentative and intellectually courageous Nobel Prize winners, in economics actually represent a vast swell of citizens demanding substantive change. But to paraphrase a guy who understood real political power: How many troops does Paul Krugman have?"
"But when a movement does arise, it needs an articulate exposition, and the brainy liberal left infrastructure’s time has come. Edmund Wilson put down his Proust long enough to report from the bloody coal mines of Eastern Kentucky. College professors all over the country held public “teach-ins” to educate their students and others about the history of the Vietnam War and American interventionism.
So there’s a big job out to do explaining and defending the Wall Street demonstrators to curious Americans. Krugman’s Army may be on its way."
So the "brainly liberal left" is needed for articulate exposition in "explaining and defending the Wall Street demonstrators to curious Americans. Krugman's Army may be on its way." That is an appealing call to arms for me much more so that simply blowing up Wall Street-by itself that won't create one job.
I look forward to talking to my co-host and web manager who attended an Occupy Wall Street rally today in Nevada tomorrow on the radio show. http://planamerica.org/index.jsp