Many times over the past year I’ve written about and posted photos of Occupy Wall Street (and Occupy San Francisco and Occupy DC), including most recently the dismaying designation of the occupy protesters as terrorists by the NYPD.
Occupy is a stunning development in our politics, and I want to see the movement stay energized, dynamic and provocative. I wholeheartedly concur with Glenn Greenwald’s analysis from last November:
Here’s how former IMF Chief Economist Simon Johnson put it in The Atlantic* when equating the contemporary United States to the corrupted “emerging market” oligarchies which caused past financial crises on which he worked:
Squeezing the oligarchs, though, is seldom the strategy of choice among emerging-market governments. Quite the contrary: at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or—here’s a classic Kremlin bailout technique—the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk—at least until the riots grow too large.
That last phrase is the essence of why I hope OWS, at least for now, remains a movement that refuses to reduce itself into garden-variety electoral politics. What is missing from America is a healthy fear in the hearts and minds of the most powerful political and financial factions of the consequences of their continued pilfering, corporatism, and corrupt crony capitalism, and only this sort of movement — untethered from the pacifying rules of our political and media institutions — can re-impose that healthy fear.
Indeed. And the fact that the non-violent #ows protesters have been designated terrorists by the largest police force in the country is a sign of fear.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY OCCUPY!
-Perry Street Palace
* That piece by Simon Johnson in The Atlantic is an interesting and informative read.