So I had a conversation recently about Occupy WALL STREET, and it made me think. Also, as a Ravingleftatic, economic egality is one of my niches, so I've been remiss in commenting.
I'm going to divide this post in twain. The first half will be to rebutt my darling wife's comments. The second will be to offer a firm plank to the occupiers.
Some of the comments about the occupiers I heard that was that the whole movement was basically a waste of time, with little or no focus, and that people like that make people like us look ridiculous, and that this news has been front page news for three years already.
Waste of Time: Basically, the argument goes like this: they're bankers, not elected officials. Why would they care? Go occupy D.C.
Rebuttal: It's not what the banker's think so much as the amount of media attention they get. Having worked in the area, I can tell you: Zucotti Park is small. A force of 100 protestors would look like a huge crowd. That's important, small spaces make small protests look good. And success begets success. Such that Amy Goodman has now reported "thousands" of protestors, and has respawned in cities around the world. By the way, the Guardian article linked to above, provides an excellent history on the movement. D.C. on the otherhand is built for protests, wide open spaces that can swallow a thousand people with no problem. Another thing? If she thinks people in D.C. care about protestors...she's got another thing coming. I went to college there. There's always a protest. A protest about a unique group of people in a unique site, is far more inventive and news worthy, than just another protest on the mall. So the level, and length of media attention devoted to something is an important factor in deciding its effect. That I'm writing about this now, shows that this movement has staying power, in the words of E. Roger's seminal work on technological innovation, I am a laggard (Early Adopters, Late Majority, etc.). I get to the party when its ending (which doesn't say much about the occupation--but there it is). I remember when people began talking about it. I thought it was a miniscule, small movement that would die out by the next news cycle. I was wrong. So already it has had a tremendous effect. The last point I'd like to make on this is the following: Banker's aren't elected officials, but they're voters. And they're vote matters a hell of a lot more than you or I: they vote with their checkbooks. Obama received more money from Goldman Sach's than from any other group. So changing their views and their opinion matters. Will a movement of "dirty hippies" change their minds or serve to further polarize them? Well--that's a reasonable debate.