Monday, October 10, 2011

On The Meaning Of "Occupy Wall Street"

I want to make it clear that those occupying Wall Street have my full support, sympathy and admiration. Glenn Greenwald describes the ridicule these protesters have received in What's behind the scorn for the Wall Street protests? This paragraph summarizes my own view.

Personally, I think there's substantial value even in those protests that lack "exit goals" and "messaging strategies" and the rest of the platitudes from Power Point presentations by mid-level functionaries at corporate conferences. Some injustices simply need anger and dissent expressed for its own sake, to make clear that there are citizens who are aware of [the status quo] and do not accept it.

This is a large part of what DOTE is all about, to make it abundantly clear that there are citizens—citizens, not consumers—who are fully aware that America sucks and do not accept it. Doing something about it is a different story, as I shall explain below.

Now, I could ramble on about how the mainstream media has largely ignored the protests, how NPR was dragged reluctantly into reporting on them. (They finally relented.) I could mention that the Comedy Channel has had only one, short segment on the protests. It was on the Colbert Report, back on September 21st, and that humorous "report" was extraordinarily lame.

What's wrong, Stephen? Cat got your tongue? How about it, Jon? You control the editorial content. Do young people occupying Wall Street make you nervous? It's not like taking easy swipes at mean & stupid people on Fox News or in the Congress, is it? This isn't an easy partisan issue inside the box, is it? That's your specialty. Your advertisers would become completely unhinged if you took those young people seriously, wouldn't they?

And I could ramble on about how your right to freedom of assembly hardly exists anymore. I could talk about the Police Riot we've seen lately in lower Manhattan, how the people who went there to say loudly to anyone who would listen "America Sucks! Sucks Big Time!" were kettled, maced, beaten over the head and otherwise abused. (At least I learned a new word, and it wasn't "maced".) I could show you lots videos of this Police Riot. I could ramble on about Fascism.

Instead, I want to focus on what I see as the most important meaning of occupying Wall Street. more