But these are fluid times. Leaders do not so much lead as dance to the unexpected tunes of others. Record numbers of Americans are pessimistic about their economic future and say their political system is broken. They seem to have developed an accordingly higher tolerance than normal for the politics of street protest.
That also adds to the volatility. A few months ago it looked like the 2012 debate would pivot around which candidate could show the least unpalatable path to fiscal discipline. That dimension remains. But others are being added. Take Mitt Romney, a trusty barometer of public opinion, and the least unlikely Republican nominee. Mr Romney initially dismissed the Wall Street protesters as “dangerous”. Then he changed his emphasis: “I worry about the 99 per cent,” he said. “I understand how those people feel.”
The protesters have already rebalanced the national conversation. Brace for a grand debate in 2012 in which both the Tea Partiers and the Occupy crowd are likely to be setting the pace.
Is it not amazing that street protest gains popular legitimacy as the economic crisis endures? No, it isn’t!
- Bad news: 73% of Occupy Wall Street protesters disapprove of Obama’s job performance (hotair.com)
- Going off-the-cuff, Romney does himself few favors (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Many cities leaving Wall Street protesters alone (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- Occupy Wall Street: Oakland Protesters Are Back | Lauren Lipsay | Rolling Stone (policyabcs.wordpress.com)
A recent news report (also see this) reveals the New York City Police Department has begun to direct a “contingent of lawbreakers and lowlifes” found in New York City’s public parks to take their party to Zuccotti Park! Divide et impera! By creating a status distinction within the occupied space, this handy tactic forces the Occupy Wall Street group to police its space, suffer drug sales and other crimes, secure its individual and collective possessions, restrict the food it supplies, etc. Worst of all, it might also create a social condition which New York City’s government can use to remove the Occupation.
That said, let us appreciate how quickly the city’s government and the NYPD abandoned broken windows policing when doing so suited its purposes! Indeed, if we assume that the lawful exercise of an American’s free speech rights is not at all disorderly and that the Occupy Wall Street group has not broken a legally rational law, it follows that the Bloomberg administration and the Police Department have generated the urban disorder one can find around the Occupation!
- Occupy Wall Street Erects A Tent City In Zuccotti Park, With Little Reaction From NYPD (huffingtonpost.com)
- Cops Threaten to Sue Nonexistent Violent Protesters [Occupy Wall Street] (gawker.com)
- If the plutocrats in Washington think that Occupy Groups will back off, they are wrong. (iflizwerequeen.com)
- Scott Olsen’s example for the Occupy movement | Michelle Gross (guardian.co.uk)
- FDNY And NYPD Remove Occupy Wall Street Generators; Protesters Charge Political Motivation (huffingtonpost.com)
- Occupy Wall Street on the Move by Ralph Nader (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Cops Blame Occupy Wall Street for Surge in Shootings But City Wastes Money Policing Nonviolent Protesters (alternet.org)
- Right-wing Agent Provocateur Admits Role in Occupy Washington Protest (stevebeckow.com)
While Fox News promotes the belief that some cities have treated the Occupy Wall Street activists better than they treated their Tea Party protesters, we have had numerous incidents like this (h/t Eclair) falsify such propaganda:
- Richmond Tea Party Says Occupy Protesters Getting Special Treatment, Demands $10,000 Back From City (mediaite.com)
- Reliable Sources Panel Defend Firing of NPR Host and Attack MSNBC’s Ratigan for Support of #OWS (crooksandliars.com)
- Can You Look at 20 Photos Of People Holding Signs And Guess If They’re OWS Or Tea Party Protesters? (mediaite.com)
- Tea party refutes comparison to Occupy forces (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Video: Fox reporter threatened with stabbing by OWS protester; Update:NYPD, FDNY seize OWS generators as “fire hazards” (hotair.com)
- Let Freedom Ring, Not Silence It (thevalleyvoice.org)
- Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Occupy Wall Street Wins Google War (dailykos.com)
- Occupy Wall Street vs. The Tea Party (blacknright.wordpress.com)
- Don’t trade on me – Obama likens ‘Occupy’ to tea party (politico.com)
- The American Autumn: Children of the Lost Decade Revolt (athomesense.wordpress.com)
In the Arab Spring of Cairo, Egypt earlier this year, it was said that a million people in Tahrir Square lost their fear of the dictatorship. It can be said that in this “American Autumn,” some 150,000 people have discovered their power and rejected apathy. They have come far in so little time because the soil for their pushback is so fertile, nourished by the revulsion of millions of their countrypersons moving toward standing up and showing up themselves.
I agree. Americans surely are now surpassing the collective denial which characterized the Reagan Revolution. They are learning that the United States is not what they recently believed it to be. An insistent and changing world has exposed the Reagan Revolution for what it is and what it was when first announced: A kind of class war occluded by myth. Therefore, I would not say that the Occupy Wall Street movement is more able than other recent social movements in the United States, and has succeeded where others have failed because of its abilities. Rather, Occupy Wall Street is, in part, a mirror reflecting the emerging — dare I say it?!? — class consciousness in the United States, a conscious experience of the essence of wage labor under capitalism by members of the popular classes.
- Occupy Wall Street roundup for Friday, Oct. 28 (boingboing.net)
- Robert Scheer: Thirty Years of Unleashed Greed (huffingtonpost.com)
- Poll: 43% Agree with Occupy Wall Street (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Occupy Wall Street’s Got Beef with Big Food (thedailymeal.com)
- VIDEO: Harold Ford to Obama: Ignore Occupy Wall Street (theroot.com)
- VIDEO: 5 questions on Occupy Wall Street (cbc.ca)
- Tahrir Square protesters send message of solidarity to Occupy Wall Street (guardian.co.uk)
- Occupy Wall Street: Who Is Donating to Keep it Afloat? [STATS] (mashable.com)
The Guardian reported that:
The canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Reverend Giles Fraser, spoke on Thursday about his reasons for resigning over the cathedral’s stance towards the protest camp which has been established over the past two weeks.
“I cannot support using violence to ask people to clear off the land,” Fraser told the Guardian. “It is not about my sympathies or what I believe about the camp. I support the right to protest and in a perfect world we could have negotiated. But our legal advice was that this would have implied consent.”
Fraser said he decided to resign on Wednesday when he realised he could not reconcile his conscience with the possibility of the church and the Corporation of London combining to evict the protesters from the land outside the cathedral, some of which is jointly owned with the City.
The article concluded with these Fraser quotes:
“Ironically the church is a church of the incarnation. That means it has to address things to do with everyday life, including money….
“What the camp does is challlenge the church with the problem of the incarnation — that you have God who is grand and almighty, who gets born in a stable. St Paul was a tent maker. If you tried to recreate where Jesus would have been born, for me I could imagine Jesus being born in the camp.”
- Occupy London: Chancellor Giles Fraser Resigns from St. Paul’s Cathedral Staff (my.firedoglake.com)
- ST PAUL’S CHANCELLOR: I Could Imagine Jesus Being Born In The Occupy London Camp (businessinsider.com)
- London cathedral to reopen after Occupy protest closure (cnn.com)
- Cleric quits as St Paul’s reopens (independent.co.uk)
- You: Canon of St Paul’s ‘unable to reconcile conscience with evicting protest camp’ (guardian.co.uk)
- London cathedral official quits over protest camp (seattlepi.com)
- Top Priest Quits Amid London Protests (online.wsj.com)
- St Paul’s Cathedral to Reopen, But Protest Standoff Goes On (foxnews.com)
- St. Paul’s Cathedral to reopen Friday (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
The larger reason for the condemnation:
The Oakland Police Department (OPD) flagrantly violated its own Crowd Management and Crowd Control Policy and foundational principles of international human rights law during its dispersal on Tuesday morning of peacefully assembled citizens at Occupy Oakland.
The precipitating cause: The OPD distinguished itself during a recent skirmish with Occupy Oakland activists when it critically wounded an Iraq War Veteran, Scott Olsen, by hitting him with a rubber bullet and then attacking those protesters while they were helping the stricken Olsen.
- Occupy Oakland – police under scrutiny live updates (guardian.co.uk)
- Is This Video Conclusive Evidence That The Oakland Police Department Used Stun Grenades On Protesters? (businessinsider.com)
- Occupy Oakland: Officials shift into damage control (mercurynews.com)
- The Oakland Police Department Is Tear-Gassing Occupy Oakland (slog.thestranger.com)
- Oakland Police Raid on Occupy Oakland Raises Serious Questions (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
- Scott Olsen, Iraq Veteran, Critically Injured at Occupy Oakland [Video] (inquisitr.com)
- Occupy Oakland Clashes With OPD- War Veteran Has Skull Fractured From Being Hit by Tear Gas Canister. Sign the Petition to Jean Quan for Justice!! (bayareabetty.wordpress.com)
- Scott Olsen (occupyblogosphere.wordpress.com)
- The Oakland police and #OccupyOakland. (emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com)
- Oakland Police Raid on Occupy Oakland Raises Serious Questions (yubanet.com)
Paul Krugman, once again:
Financial markets are cheering the deal that emerged from Brussels early Thursday morning. Indeed, relative to what could have happened — an acrimonious failure to agree on anything — the fact that European leaders agreed on something, however vague the details and however inadequate it may prove, is a positive development.
But it’s worth stepping back to look at the larger picture, namely the abject failure of an economic doctrine — a doctrine that has inflicted huge damage both in Europe and in the United States.
The doctrine in question amounts to the assertion that, in the aftermath of a financial crisis, banks must be bailed out but the general public must pay the price. So a crisis brought on by deregulation becomes a reason to move even further to the right; a time of mass unemployment, instead of spurring public efforts to create jobs, becomes an era of austerity, in which government spending and social programs are slashed.
This doctrine was sold both with claims that there was no alternative — that both bailouts and spending cuts were necessary to satisfy financial markets — and with claims that fiscal austerity would actually create jobs. The idea was that spending cuts would make consumers and businesses more confident. And this confidence would supposedly stimulate private spending, more than offsetting the depressing effects of government cutbacks.
- Paul Krugman: The Path Not Taken (economistsview.typepad.com)
- Op-Ed Columnist: The Path Not Taken (nytimes.com)
- Is Paul Krugman Believe In:  My – Upcoming Theory on Paul Krugman and the Real Consiparcy Behind Whay Paul Got the Nobel Prize – Stay Tuned  Is Paul Krugman Believe in Helping Peoples? – - Answer – He Is Liberal – So Next Is Paul Krugman – Give Me (rwguide.wordpress.com)
- Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Occupy Wall Street Wins Google War (dailykos.com)
- My challenge to Paul Krugman (cafehayek.com)
- This Sure is a Spooky Time for the Economy: Paul Krugman (antoniopinon.wordpress.com)
- DAVID FRUM: It’s Time We Republicans Finally Admitted That Paul Krugman Has Been Right (businessinsider.com)
- The Austerity Class and the Deficit (rortybomb.wordpress.com)
- Quote of the Day: October 21, 2011 (delong.typepad.com)
- Was Keynes wrong (wiki.answers.com)