There’s been so much coverage of the Occupy Wall St (OWS) Movement over the last few months – in the left, mainstream, and right-wing media – that it’s hard to know what new I can add to the dialogue. And yet it’s too powerful to ignore… Most progressives agree (with the possible exception of a cranky Barney Frank but more on that in a moment) on how significant it has been, how dramatically it’s changed the conversation, how for the first time in a long, long while it has provided a laser guided focus on what’s wrong in America and the world. Not since the depression and the explosion of the union movement have so many people unified over the issue of income inequality and how it affects every aspect of our lives.
The mainstream media has not been able to ignore the movement and the news of the spreading occupations from city to city appears almost daily. Even the American Public Radio broadcast, Marketplace (the most popular business program on the air) has featured regular reporting about the OWS movement, surprisingly without a particular conservative Wall St. bias. Last night they interviewed former Labor Secretary and political science professor Robert Reich who has been a strong advocate and excellent communicator on the goals and significance of OWS movement. You can listen to his commentary, “Income Disparity Matters” at http://marketplace.publicradio.org/RSS/reich.xml
Fox and the rest of the right-wing media is having apoplexy. They are following the Tea Party Republicans lead (e.g., Eric Cantor) in frantically trying to reduce the OWS movement to merely the rantings of the radical left fringe (who have been involved and made their presence felt) while ignoring the large numbers of workers, students, and average, disgruntled Americans. I hesitate to even mention his name in the same paragraph as the Tea Party, but even Barney Frank had an odd almost jealous reaction to the attention being paid to the growing OWS movement… rather than welcome the support he focused on the lack of leadership, some of the flakier elements, and pouted about not getting attention for his efforts in Congress. Barney, get over it.
While not among the hard-core Occupiers we did make it down to Liberty Square for an afternoon to get a first-hand view of what’s going on (slide show below)… There were hundreds of handmade signs with personal messages (e.g., “Laissez- Not Fair”), people engaged in discussion, food and cleanup crews, child-care areas, interactions with the media, spontaneous music and drums. OK, there were a fair number of flakes too and I had a hard time with that stupid human megaphone thing. But with the economy in a tail spin, lots of folks out of work, and record disparities in income distribution people are beginning to say, Enough already!…The concept of We Are the 99ers is powerful, unifying, and hopefully will move the Democratic party back to its core principles in the same way the Tea Party pushed the political climate meter considerably to the right.
Photos by pdk. Place cursor on photo to pause or move forwards or backwards