Rethinking Occupy Wall Street

I suppose I’ve come to disagree with the part of this post where I expressed some disappointment or skepticism about Occupy Wall Street because I couldn’t predict if the protestors will get involved in more “valuable” ways regarding public policy. Bob Somerby has a post about this subject and he comes down solidly on the side that the lack of a central message is not a bad thing. In fact, it might even be a good thing:

We’ll discuss the coverage of this movement all next week. But the best thing this movement has done is this: It has redefined our political math.

Over the past dozen years, our standard political math has all turned on 50/50. We’re a 50/50, tribal nation—half red and half blue.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has pushed an important new math—99/1, not 50/50. “We are the 99 percent,” they keep saying. Through that accurate reckoning, many people, across all tribal lines, are being told, completely correctly, that they are part of this movement too—that they’re getting ripped off by the one percent, just like everyone else is.

We think it’s smart to stress this instruction, in both the history and the math. As soon as specific proposals are made, tribal walls will start rising again. The plutocrats will use long-established scripts to peel one tribe from the other.

This movement should keep giving people that history. People don’t know how we got to this place. Very few people have taken the time to tell them in a simple clear manner.

That makes sense to me. I think his point about keeping messaging simple is a good one, too. As I mentioned before in my thoughts on the Warren-Brown fracas, I think the narrative that Somerby mentions, and the one that Warren can utilize, has immense potential. It’s one of the few ways to reduce the power that moneyed interests have accumulated over the past thirty years.

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2 thoughts on “Rethinking Occupy Wall Street

  1. No point throwing in a lot of factional boundaries and fragmented initiatives. That will come soon enough after a broad base is firmly in place. Keeping it simple is an anti-alienation tool in this instance.

    • Yeah, I’ve definitely come around to thinking that way. I guess I didn’t, or wasn’t so sure, after I attended the protest, but given the way that the ‘press’ coverage is trying to marginalize the issue, I feel more strongly about its importance now.

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