by Jeremy Leaming
Some cable news carnival barkers and some right-wing activists have spent plenty of time tarring Occupy Wall Street as a scrambled movement of brain-addled youth with no agenda and more recently as socialist tools demanding more government largesse.
But, as Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick writes, OWS protestors really shouldn’t and likely don’t give a flip about the know-nothings of some cable news programs.
“Occupy Wall Street is not a movement without a message,” Lithwick writes. “It’s a movement that has wisely shunned the one-note, pre-chewed, simple-minded messaging required for cable television as it now exists. It’s a movement that feels no need to explain anything to the powers that be, although it is deftly changing the way we explain ourselves to one another.”
For the past several years, while the mainstream media was dutifully reporting on all things Kardashian or (more recently) a wholly manufactured debt-ceiling crisis, ordinary people were losing their health care, their homes, their jobs, and their savings. Those people have taken that narrative to Facebook and Twitter—just as citizens took to those alternative forms of media throughout the Middle East as part of the Arab Spring. And just to be clear: They aren’t holding up signs that say “I want Bill O’Reilly’s stuff.” They aren’t holding up signs that say “I am animated by toxic levels of envy and entitlement.” They are holding up signs that are perfectly and intrinsically clear: They want accountability for the banks that took their money, they want to end corporate control of government. They want their jobs back. They would like to feed their children. They want -- wait, no, we want -- to be heard by a media that has devoted four mind-numbing years to channeling and interpreting every word uttered by a member of the Palin family while ignoring the voices of everyone else.
As noted numerous times on this blog, a growing chorus of economists has tracked the enormous redistribution of wealth that has flowed to the country’s top 1 percent. As Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, noted earlier this month, our economic system, “even when it is working, has been rigged to redistribute the income to the rich.”