There is a familiar saying associated with politics which I would argue is also applicable to socioeconomic movements:
TIMING IS EVERYTHING!As a Time Lord, no one knows this to be true more than me.
But to the point of the matter, in order for a socioeconomic movement like OWS (is/was) to be a success a number of factors both social and political have to come together at the same time. Join me after the jump /\ where I explain why I think this is just such a time.
When the first Occupy movement was in full swing not only in New York but in cities and towns across the country, I remember thinking, where are the politicians? President Obama and the Dems. should have jumped on the Inequality Bandwagon and supported the OWS movement. But instead they remained rather silent, partly out of fear of being accused by the right as supporters of "Class Warfare" and in league with a bunch of lazy, new age hippies. Also, OWS prided itself as being a "people-based", apolitical movement, refusing to support any particular candidate or party (which I think was a mistake).
Anyway, since the social people-powered OWS never melded with the political realm at that time, the movement (unfortunately) made only minimal progress toward its worthy goal of tackling Wall Street greed and the ever increasing economic inequality between the top 1% and the rest of us. Since then the inequality has only become more severe and continues to increase.
But something is now happening where a number of factors required for a successful movement against rising inequality appear to be coming together.
It started (best as I can tell) with the new Pope earlier this year. His speeches and writings refocused the church on its mission to provide aid and comfort to the poor, and openly condemned the Wall Street tycoons and CEOs for their immoral greed and callousness towards the poor and middle class. He has put the issue of severe economic inequality on the center of the world stage, speaking out against the false theory of "trickle-down" economics. He is putting significant pressure on politicians and the ruling class to reverse the trend and take actions to reduce economic inequality. He has obviously touched a nerve in the Republican elite and their media mouthpieces who have felt it necessary to call the Pope a "socialist and a Marxist"! Pretty over-the-line, don't you think.
Soon after the Pope began speaking out, President Obama started making similar statements in interviews and public appearances regarding the growing economic inequality. Following the Pope's lead he has expressed the problem in moral terms, driving home the message that "Greed is NOT good"! He has even gone as far as saying that tackling the economic inequality which is destroying the middle class and killing the poor should be the number one task on the 2014 political agenda, ahead of the Republicans treasured issues of austerity and cutting government. Also, there is every indication that the President's 2014 State of the Union speech will focus on the issue of economic inequality and include a number of legislative proposals to both reign in greedy corporations and provide financial support to uplift the middle class and the poor. A number of Democratic politicians in Congress are making similar statements and have indicated a willingness to push forward a legislative agenda that helps the poor and middle class.
But just as the first people-powered OWS movement was not able to achieve much success without political backing, the converse is also true, that politicians and religious leaders (e.g., the Pope) cannot succeed without the backing of the people. Case in point, the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Where President Johnson was said to have told Dr. King, "you need to make me do this" ("this" being civil rights legislation). Translation, I need the people to cry out for civil rights to provide the political energy needed to pass the bill into law.
So I ask, is now the time for OWS II?
And I answer with a resounding, YES!
Unlike last time, we already have a number of politicians (and a certain religious leader) focusing on the issue of economic inequality. Now, come this Spring, the OWS movement needs to once again OCCUPY WALL STREET and the other streets across the country to keep the politicians and medias' attention on the issue. And for the New York City OWS crowd, you have an added advantage you did not have the first time around. Instead of Wall Street hugging Mayor Bloomberg continually telling you to "get off his lawn", we will have progressive Mayor Deblasio who is not only unlikely to harass "Occupants" like his predecessor, he will probably join in.
Anyway, if we want to truly do something about the grotesque economic disparity in this country, we need a civil rights style movement which unites politicians and people at the same moment in time to make sure the issue of income inequality is THE issue of 2014! And it cannot stop there. The movement must be translated into some specific legislative actions to start to deal with issue in a concrete way!
Last time the people in their Wall Street ivory towers sipped wine and laughed at the OWS folks in the streets. Now with religious and certain political leaders on our side, I assure they will not laugh at us this time.
Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 9:40 AM PT: UPDATE: A quick thank you to the old Rescue Rangers who posted this diary on the Community Spotlight. It seems that it got a discussion going which was my goal. Thank You to all who participated.
Your humble Time Lord!