Thursday, October 13, 2011

OWS and It's Cheerleaders

The Occupy Movement continues to resist making any real demands. This is in contrast with their vow that they will keep protesting "as long as it takes". How will they know when they have accomplished their goals if they don't have any? Actually, there are some strong indications of what they want. They have settled on the "99%" message, that the system only benefits the 1% richest. The implication is that the government should confiscate the 1%'s ill-gotten gains and distribute them to the other 99% in the form of government jobs and forgiveness of student loans.

To sum it up, they see the problem as corrupt government and the solution as more government. Obviously that will not work and the organizers know it. So what they really want goes deeper.

Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation, explains their problem this way:

The protesters in the nascent movement have been criticized for being too decentralized and lacking a clear list of demands. But they are bearing witness to the corruption of our politics; if they made demands to those in power, it would suggest those in power could do something about it. This contradicts what is, perhaps, their most compelling point: that our institutions and politicians serve the top 1 percent, not the other 99.

Pretty strong words - there is no point in making demands because the system is too corrupt to be reformed. Others have been saying similar things. A few pundits have suggested that OWS is the progressive answer to the Tea Party but more have compared it to the Arab Spring. Keep in mind that the Arab Spring is not a reform movement, it is a revolutionary one. Thomas Friedman is sure that some sort of major world-wide shift is happening, he just isn't sure if it is threat-based or opportunity-based. Either way, he sees the current system as broken.

OWS has always had a revolutionary element. Its organizers include organizations devoted to socialism or communism and it has always been a movement against capitalism. Before its numbers swelled, it was hard to photograph them without getting a "socialism now" or "kill the rich" sign in the picture. More recently, some affiliated protests have begun calling for violent revolution.

So, OWS is calling for revolution and many pundits are cheering it on.

What these cheerleaders don't seem to understand is that they are part of the 1%. Membership starts somewhere around $400,000/year which includes all of the news anchors and every actor you have heard of. Michael Moore is supposed to be worth $50 million. Keith Olbermann signed a multi-million dollar contract with Al Gore's Current TV. Nancy Pelosi has endorsed the movement which is doubly strange since she is independently wealthy and a leader in the corrupt system that they want fixed.

I don't for a moment believe that OWS will be able to foment an actual revolution and before they contemplate it they should remember that our armed forces now have ten years experience in suppressing an insurgency.

OWS may turn into a movement like the 1960s and early 1970s. The hippies didn't bring about world peace but the civil rights protestors did make some real progress.

The Democrats shouldn't be too excited about a push for financial reform. In 2008 they got more Wall Street money than the Republicans got. The Obama strategy for reviving the economy has consisted mainly of pushing money at Wall Street in the hopes that it would trickle down to the rest of us. They don't call it that but that's what the TARP, the quantitative easings, and the other programs were set up to do. This cheap money isn't effective. It allows bankers to take loans at 1% and use the money to buy treasury bonds which pay 3%.

Even modest reform will hurt one of the Democrats' bases and will be a repudiation of the Obama administration's financial policies.

So, why is the left cheering this movement on?

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