The Incoherence of the 'Occupy Wall Street' Movement

Irony abounds on Wall Street.

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My brother lives near the Stock Exchange and ground zero of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. He sends along this note about today’s “day of action”:

Irony abounds today as the “occupiers” try to “shut down” Wall Street. Two signs, side by side, sum up the ignorance and incoherence on display. The first reads “All Private Industry is Theft”. Presumably its owner favors state owned industry,  also known as Communism,  over private enterprise.  The second, “Tear Down This Wall (St)”. An apparent play on words referencing  President Reagan’s famous demand that Mr. Gorbachev liberate East Germany from Communist oppression by  removing its most infamous symbol. Which is it guys? Later today the “occupiers” plan to storm the NY subway system presumably because that’s where greedy billionaire bankers like to hang out and spend their ill gotten bonuses. I would call this a circus but even circuses are more than just a collection of clowns.

To be clear my brother is no more of a conservative than I am. The “Occupy” movement draws attention to some important issues, like the very real and growing problem of income inequality, and it gives progressive voice to the anger people feel about the wealthy and powerful helping the wealthy and powerful while Main Street struggles.

[ Check out political cartoons about the "Occupy" movement.]

But the thing about protesting against 1 percent of the population is that mass actions end up have deleterious effects on the 99 percent. In the case of lower Manhattan, it’s having a negative effect on a neighborhood still trying to recover from 9/11.

As Susan Milligan notes, getting tossed out of Zuccotti Park is a good thing for the movement. It’s time they become more organized, focused, and politically active, stop occupying locations and start occupying the ballot box.