It may be easier to identify their political allies, or at least the politicians who are attempting to co-opt the movement. “I support the message to the establishment,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “The protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works,” said President Obama. Robert Mook of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has sent out a fundraising email titled “I Stand with #OccupyWallStreet,” asking people to “let billionaires, big oil and big bankers know that we’re not going to let the richest 1% force draconian economic policies and massive cuts to crucial programs on Main Street Americans.” Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) also expressed solidarity with the movement, noting that they “share the anger and frustration of so many Americans who have seen the enormous toll that an unchecked Wall Street has taken on the overwhelming majority of Americans while benefitting the super wealthy.”
Unions are also in on the act. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) released a statement in support of the movement. “Wall Street CEOs not only crashed our economy and demanded billions in taxpayer-bailouts–they destroyed the jobs and livelihoods and took the homes of millions of Americans. It’s time to force Wall Street to pay for the jobs our country desperately needs,” it read in part. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka went to Wall Street to talk with protesters, and Lee Saunders, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), attended protests in Washington. The Teamsters have officially endorsed the movement as well.
And then there’s ACORN. Judicial Watch has discovered that the corrupt leftist organization with political ties to the president has re-organized and re-branded itself as New England United 4 Justice. It has been directly involved in the Take Back Boston part of the Occupy movement, attacking banks for pushing “bad loans on people of color and the poor.”
On Sunday the President Obama spoke at the dedication of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. Part of that speech indirectly addressed the Occupy Wall Street movement. “If [Martin Luther King] were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there,” he said. It is worth remembering that the president himself has demonized bankers as “fat cats,” even as it has been revealed that he took more money from Wall Street than any other politician in the last 20 years.
Yet more importantly, while people can challenge Wall Street excess without demonizing those who work there, that’s not what is happening at all. Demonization is the essence of the OWS movement. Demonization is precisely why the continued use of the phrase “99 percent versus 1 percent”–an utter lie whose percentages wouldn’t align with even the most slanted survey of Americans–becomes critically necessary.
An “enemy” comprised of the richest one percent of the population–minus “certain” one percenters such as leftist billionaires George Soros and Warren Buffett, leftist Hollywood millionaires, and other assorted wealthy progressives–purportedly making life miserable for the other 99 percent eliminates the necessity of dealing with the reality that economics is far more complex and intertwined than the OWS movement would like it to be. What it does do however is align itself perfectly with radical organizer Saul Alinsky’s Rule Number 13: “Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.”
Mindless polarization is a far easier concept to get behind than inconvenient truth, such as the reality that for every “evil” banker who sold a “predatory” mortgage, there was someone willing to buy more house than he could possibly afford. Or the fact that many unions have been more than willing to allow thousands of their own members lose jobs in order to secure raises and better benefits for the remaining workers.
Neither of those particular realities, along with countless others, fit the OWS narrative, nor are they ever likely to. While some of the OWS demands may yet be amorphous, the parts of heroes and villains have been created and cast. The eventual outcome is pre-determined as well. Despite all protests to the contrary, there is only one economic system that can bring the world from the brink of economic Armageddon back to prosperity: free-market capitalism, in all in unequal glory. A movement that seeks to kill the proverbial golden goose–under the banner of social justice no less–cannot sustain itself indefinitely. Even urban campers need someone to make their tents.
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