Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dream On, Ruth Rosen

I dunno, it may be spending too much time hangin' with her homies at the Center for Right-Wing Studies at UC Berkeley, but if Ruth Rosen thinks that the occupiers have "changed the national conversation", then she's left her crap detector home in the gun rack.  Rosen says:

[L]arge numbers of Americans no longer seem to fear allegations that they are card-carrying card members of a revolutionary sect. At encampments and during marches, which I saw at the Oakland Occupation, small businesses demonstrate their support with the sign, “We are the 99%.” Unions, nurses and teachers proudly march with banners emblazoned with “We are the 99%.” Local and national websites for the Occupy movements inform activists of approaching marches and rallies. Fueled by social media, visible everywhere--- in physical encampments, marches and rallies--- the Occupy movement is hard to ignore.
You hear that?  Small businesses, we got small businesses--not just the "unions, nurses and teachers" (which I think translates into "public employees").  Well, yes, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the dispossessed  proprietor of a beleaguered medical marijuana clinic has some issues with Obama administration's crackdown on their streetfront marketing (cue chorus of "God bless the grass/That grows through the crack...").    But is is the best she can do?

Actually, yes, it pretty much  is the best she can do.  Just paragraphs later, she is saying:
Politicians cannot ignore so many voices.... The New York Times quoted Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, as saying “We are changing the debate and the public is with us.” ...  Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, aware of the movement’s anger at the failure of Democrats to protect the 99%, nevertheless says that "the movement's key issues like addressing income inequality are still wildly popular and Democrats will benefit from that."
Let's revise that.  Of course they can ignore so many voices.  They've been ignoring them for years.  Schumer (tops among donees of Wall Street campaign funds) is a past master a saying "which way are my people going so I can get out in front and lead them?  Pelosi (ninth wealthiest member of Congress) wants us to believe that "Democrats will benefit from" anger over issues at which (as Rosen says) Democrats have already failed..

I don't mean to trivialize the problem here.   I join the multitude who think were almost totally f%ck$d: I think there are way too many rich in this country, way too many poor.  I think we've got a banking system that has turned into a --what's the phrase?- Oh yes, "giant vampire squid."    I think we're acting more and more like a police state (and yes, I'm talking to you, little Barack Obama)--although ironically for the moment, that seems a bit more like a side issue.

But I think I'm also imbued with at least the rudiments of realism about how hard it is to do anything about it--saying nothing of just figuring out what it is that we want to do (for starters, see, e.g., link).  I don't want to sound despairing (although I suppose I do sound despairing).  I'd like to think I'm just being realistic--recognizing that making progress on this suckah is going to take all the skill and determination and resilience we can muster.  And warmed-over 60s nostalgia will  not help.    

1 comment:

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

Everything you say is true. And yet . . .

Andrew Cuomo is a perfect Rubin Democrat. He's great on gay rights, and a good friend of the oligarchy. (No snark on gay rights intended--he did a magnificent job of bulling the marriage bill through New York's extremely dysfunctional legislature.)

The centerpiece of his pro-oligarchy program was cutting taxes on the ultra-wealthy. After OWS, he had to reduce his tax cut. IIRC, the ultra-wealthy still got a tax cut, but it was smaller. And the merely wealthy had to pay more.

OWS is far from any big victories. But it is also better than ineffectual. And it might get better.