Nancy Pelosi with kind words about the occupy movement.
"The message of the protesters is a message for the establishment in every place," she told reporters in a Capitol press conference. "The message of the American people is that no longer will the recklessness of some on Wall Street cause massive joblessness on Main Street.
"God bless them for their spontaneity," Pelosi added. "It's independent people coming (together), it's young, it's spontaneous, it's focused and it's going to be effective."
There is issue activism, which the occupy movement exemplifies with direct action, and there is an electoral path, which Nancy Pelosi represents for liberal/progressive Democrats. The two are not the same, although they can at times have overlap in goals or views. Because they are not the same, I do not see cooption of the occupy movement as a serious problem, although others may differ.
For me, it helps to have multiple points of expression about the Great Class Stratification.
Only one-fifth of one percent of U.S. taxpayers would pay the surcharge proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to offset the costs of President Obama’s jobs bill.[emphasis added]
Um...to quote the president, it's just math to understand that one-fifth of one percent is not the "middle class"...it's not the middle of anything, except perhaps if you belong to a billionaire's country club.
Ocuppy gets out the word in a way different from President Obama (and part of the message is different), but when the President talks about one fifth of one percent vrs. 99.8 %, it gets media coverage and reaches a big audience.
The messages overlap on a key point, one John Edwards called the Two Americas. The Great Class Stratification. Class stratification is made visible notwithstanding the money and effort spent to mystify and hide the truth of it. Many people know, but they need to hear it also. They need to believe their own eyes and experiences.
From a diary in January 2011 that I wrote, here is a quote from Harold Meyerson:
The decade just concluded is the first in which Americans, on average, have seen their incomes decline. Median household income increased by about $4,000 per decade in the 1980s and '90s: from $42,429 in 1980 to $46,049 in 1990 to $50,557 in 2000 (in 2007 dollars). In 2009, the most recent year for which we have figures, it had declined to $49,777 - but 2009, of course, was a year of deep recession. If we go back to the peak year of the last decade, 2007, we find that median household income was just $50,233- roughly $300 less than it had been in 2000.
From another diary in November 2010, quoting Paul Krugman:
The best data series I could find is for Argentina. In the 1940s, the top 1 percent there controlled more than 20 percent of incomes. That was roughly double the share at that time in the United States.
Since then, we’ve reversed places. The share controlled by the top 1 percent in Argentina has fallen to a bit more than 15 percent. Meanwhile, inequality in the United States has soared to levels comparable to those in Argentina six decades ago — with 1 percent controlling 24 percent of American income in 2007.
But there is also a larger question: What kind of a country do we aspire to be? Would we really want to be the kind of plutocracy where the richest 1 percent possesses more net worth than the bottom 90 percent?
Oops! That’s already us. The top 1 percent of Americans owns 34 percent of America’s private net worth, according to figures compiled by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. The bottom 90 percent owns just 29 percent.
That also means that the top 10 percent controls more than 70 percent of Americans’ total net worth.
Occupy Wall Street has a resounding NO for an answer!
To me, this is a battle of ideas that has real consequences in people's lives. Since 1980, an extreme "free market" ideology has masked the accumulation of great wealth by a few and the impovrishment of the many. To fight the reality of this impovrishment, one must see and many people need to see clearly and understand what they feel in their gut is right. VP Joe Biden said it:
“What is the core of that protest, and why is it increasing in terms of the people it’s attracting? The core is that the bargain has been breached with the American people,” Biden said at The Atlantic/Aspen Institute’s Washington Ideas Forum, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The core is that the American people do not think the system is fair or on the level.”
"In the minds of the vast majority of the American (people), the middle class has been screwed," Biden added, according to CBS News.
The 99% has been getting screwed, some more than others. It's not that complicated. The wealth disparity is the driver of the impovrishment.
So issue activism has emboldened some to articulate the truth about the Great Class Stratification and its Great Recession louder and more often than perhaps they had in the past. That's great! That's an example of some succcess.
The billionaires and their many toadies, including many in tradmed, have spent much time and money, even creating the faux grassroots "tea party," to pull the wool over working people's eyes. It's classic misdirection: don't look at what's right in front of you (Wall Street and Big Business going wild and crashing the economy), no, look over here: it's the government and defict that killed your jobs.
What Occupy, President Obama, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are all doing is opening eyes of people by telling the truth. The unions are bringing in more people to demonstrate and spreading the word.
Here's Leo Gerard, head of the Steelworkers Union on Daily Kos this morning:
Given what’s been going on in the United States since the bank bailout, it’s amazing that Occupy Wall Street didn’t precede the Arab Spring. The powers-that-be, from the rich to their coin-operated politicians, have mocked and belittled and ignored the protesters, the 99 percenters as they call themselves – everyone but the richest one percent. No matter what the critics say, these young people, with righteous outrage and new age communication, have launched the American Autumn. Unions like mine, the United Steelworkers, understand their issues and are here to support them.
This time protesters will get backing. The members of my union, the United Steelworkers, get it. Members of the unions of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win federations get it.
We’re here to support the young people of the American Autumn.
It's all good. It's a neccessary first step.
Solidarity. May American Autumn be a begining to real change toward a more decent society.