Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. there’ll be a labor solidarity march with OccupySTL which will be held in Kiener plaza; according to what I’ve heard, numerous progressive groups will be represented there. It should be big, so be there, as the saying goes, or be square (note: honesty compells me to admit that I will be unable to attend, hence square).
It’s not surprising that folks are rushing to join the 99% – it seems to be a movement whose time has come. After two years of listening to the Tea Party dead-enders claim the mantle of “We the people,” while providing cover to a GOP intent on gutting our hard-won American social contract, a real populist alternative is actually overdue. The Occupy movement just might be that alternative – it certainly seems to be taking off. Polls released today show that Americans favor Occupy Wall Street by a two-to-one margin. Even more revealing, only 28% of those polled have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party.
And everybody wants in. Just consider that even Pittsburg, Kansas (population ca. 20,000, located in a hard-core, hard-bitten, red zone), has its own Occupy Pittsburg demonstrators. In Missouri, there’s Occupy Joplin, Occupy Springfield. You name it, seems like somebody’s occupying it. And this in spite of the fact, as per Matt Taibbi, that it isn’t an intrinsically easy sell:
… it’s extremely difficult to explain the crimes of the modern financial elite in a simple visual. The essence of this particular sort of oligarchic power is its complexity and day-to-day invisibility: Its worst crimes, from bribery and insider trading and market manipulation, to backroom dominance of government and the usurping of the regulatory structure from within, simply can’t be seen by the public or put on TV. There just isn’t going to be an iconic “Running Girl” photo with Goldman Sachs, Citigroup or Bank of America – just 62 million Americans with zero or negative net worth, scratching their heads and wondering where the hell all their money went and why their votes seem to count less and less each and every year.
Taibbi suggests that the generalized focus on financial malfeasance and government corruption rather than on specific demands has been a good strategy that has enabled the movement “to build numbers and stay in the fight.” He adds, though, that the time will come when greater specificity will be necessary, and to that end he offers what he characterizes as an example of a “short but powerful list of demands” – read it and see what you think.
From my perspective – which loses some legitimacy since I’m not out on the streets with the demonstrators – I think Taibbi is totally correct when he suggests that the Occupy movement’s goals should be few in number, and focused on the financial malfeasance that got us in this situation – although, to my mind, his suggestions may be almost too specific, and he fails to mention the most important aspect of that malfeasance, which is the role of money in government (although he does suggest that companies that receive bailout money not be permitted to lobby politicians). As long as Wall Street and big business can purchase politicians, nothing will change.