The national press makes a fatuous comparison between the Occupy movement and the Tea Party movement, suggesting they are similar demonstrations by opposing groups. They are confounded by the fact that the Occupy movement does not have a set agenda that it coheres around. That should lead the interpreters of the movements to explore the differences and to a recognition that the Occupy movement is about something quite different than an attempt to exercise influence and power within the existing political structure.
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As occupy camps are being moved out by police, the protests are beginning to change from passive to active. The Occupy demonstrations contain people and factions with divergent, often opposing, viewpoints, and they have also been beset by some elements who see the passive demeanor as opportunity for thievery and other predations. The press cannot relinquish its easy and irrelevant comparisons with the Tea Party. The Occupy movement is spontaneous, driven, like the Arab Spring, by cell phone and laptop social applications. The Tea Party was highly staged and coordinated with corporate dollars aimed at a single message of shrinking the federal government by limiting spending. The significance of the Occupy movement is in its dissimilarity to the Tea Party. It has gained momentum from a totally different driving force.
If there is a single factor involved in the Occupy movement it is the recognition that America has become a plutocracy in which the resources of the country have come under the control of one percent of the population which is systematically eliminating the other 99 percent from any equity or opportunity in the economy. Some in the movement vaguely hope that the spreading protests will translate into political action which restores opportunity for the middle class. More radical elements think that American democracy has been broken by a corporate-driven agenda and has, in fact, failed. That faction contends that under the guise of globalization, America has abandoned restraints on corporations and, therefore, allowed a massive selling out of American working people. There is no chance, they say, to compete with China when the managing class has abandoned its American workers for the cheap labor of China and other Pacific Rim countries. And, they contend, there is no way that American workers can be restored to affluence. Under the global system, they are headed for poverty and the conditions of compliance with the managing class that will allow them any subsistence at all. Only a revolution and total dismantling of the the system can provide opportunity to the occupiers of the middle working class.
A government study ordered by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee shows that the Occupy protesters are right. Data and charts from the Congressional Budget Office portray the conversion of the U.S. into a plutocracy. Here are a couple of the charts that show the shift of money and power away from the people into small concentration of the managing class.
See all the charts at Talking Point Memo.
Read The Washington Post story on the report here.
And in The New York Times.