Skip to main content

Have the efforts of the Occupy Wall Street protesters reached a turning point?  Author Michael Chorost, says yes.  In an article published two days ago in Psychology Today, Chorost says the moral courage that was displayed by the OCW Davis students - while being pepper sprayed by campus police - demonstrated a moment of moral clarity that has created a turning point in the fight against government corruption.

This event is powerfully symbolic. It is about contempt from those in power and the wanton use of force against the powerless.

We have seen similar things over and over again in the past few years. We have seen it in banks lobbying for public handouts and then denying relief to millions of exploited homeowners. We have seen it in tax breaks and bonuses for the rich while millions of Americans are out of work. We have seen it in church and university officers abusing children and then covering it up. We have seen it in the censorship of climate science performed in the public interest. We have seen it in the absurd declaration that corporations are "people" and entitled to spend billions of dollars to elect representatives that they will then own. We have seen it everywhere we turn.

The police officer is Congress. Our banks. Our clerics.

The students are us.

If I had to sum up the attitude of America's governing classes in one word, I would say: contempt.

We are seeing the beginning of a worldwide movement to fight for dignity and intelligent, collective governance. It is remarkable, the parallels between what we see in Tunisia, in Cairo, in Rome, in Zucotti Park, in Oakland, California, and now at UC Davis.

A growing number of authors are using the term "moral" to describe the efforts of the protesters, which is a stark contrast to the memes that have been presented by FOX News and other right wing outlets.

Occupy Wall Street’s Moral Ground

Much of the Occupy movement’s power comes from a simple moral message: It’s wrong to wreck the world. It’s wrong to wreck the health and hopes of others.  
by Kathleen Moore

Yes Magazine

The Occupy Wall Street Movements are connecting the dots on a map of dysfunction and injustice. Climate change. Toxic neighborhoods. Financial recklessness. Jobs despair. Concentrated wealth. Pointless war. The dots all connect to one central social pathology, which is funding (one might say, buying and selling) of elections (and of the elected) by powerful centers of wealth—mostly corporations, mostly destructive and extractive corporations. Our erstwhile democracy has now developed a futures market in politicians. This has created a situation where the government is fundamentally controlled by those who would risk or wreck the (name your favorite: economy, environment, children’s futures) for their own short-term gain.

The consequence is, of course, that the destructive few now control the regulatory agencies and potential regulations that might have limited their recklessness and greed. They have the consequent power to close off options for resolving the environmental and economic emergencies. They have the power to block federal actions that might prevent injustices. They have the power to bulldoze the natural systems that sustain our lives.

Along the straining fault lines of our civilization, we feel the forces building for justice, sanity, and lasting ecological and cultural thriving.

This is what demonstrators' homemade signs are saying: Get the money out of politics (and politicians' pockets), so we can be a democracy again, so we can enact the measures that will save us from personal and global catastrophe. Self-created environmental catastrophe has taken down many civilizations before ours. But this time, the self-inflicted catastrophe of climate change will take down also the hydrological cycles and relative climate stability that have allowed the evolution of the world as we know and love it. We can draw down atmospheric carbon dioxide to livable levels. But not until we draw down the power of those who are enriched by destroying the conditions of human and ecological thriving.

We are all in this together. The lines that connect climate change to jobs to the environment to education to health to justice are strong and undeniable. The time has passed for an environmental movement. The time has passed for a climate change movement. The time has passed for isolated grassroots movements. We stand on ground that trembles with tectonic movement. Along the straining fault lines of our civilization, we feel the forces building for justice, sanity, and lasting ecological and cultural thriving. This, finally, is The Big One—the coming together of all of us who care about the future and do not want to gamble it away. The Big One will shake the world.

Compare that to the derogatory comments written by By Eli Saslow and Colum Lynch in the November 15th issue of the Washington Post:

Is this an occupation or an infestation?
Democracy has rarely looked so messy.

The dinosaurs in the mainstream media seem terribly out of touch with the warm wind that is sweeping our nation: the entire world.  In an article that was published in the Guardian UK, Henry Porter makes the claim that 2011 is a year of rebirth

Odd as it may seem, 2011 is proving to be a year of rebirth

Something deep and impressive is going on in the new generation who have an innate sense of justice and fairness

The Age of Downfalls, inaugurated when the 74-year-old President Ben Ali of Tunisia flew into exile and a coma, has claimed a surprising number of his generation. And it's not just the toppling of tyrants such as Ben Ali, the 83-year-old former President Mubarak of Egypt, or the 69-year-old Muammar Gaddafi, but also the demise of such men as Silvio Berlusconi (75), the former head of the IMF Dominique Strauss Khan (62) and the variety of threats faced by many Middle Eastern leaders, Rupert Murdoch (80) and the president of Fifa, Sepp Blatter (75).

Obviously, the same forces are not responsible for each man's troubles, but a year ago each of them seemed bombproof. We had no inkling that the world was about to be remade in such astonishingly short order; that history would decide, for whatever reason, that these men have had their time and the pathetic fiction of the dictator's hair dye would no longer work. If neutrinos can travel the length of Italy faster than the speed of light, calling into question our most fundamental assumptions about the universe, just about anything can happen.

That is the vital point: millions are calling not just for fairness and justice, but a reform of the institutions that will guard against the crimes and corruption of the few against the many. This is an amazingly important step for humanity and it is one of the reasons that despite the sense of impending crisis, I take heart from the Age of Downfalls.

I think the winds of change are sweeping our nation.

10:20 AM PT: This is interesting:

CNN's Howard Kurtz is calling for New York City and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to apologize for the way the media was censored, roughed up and arrested during the recent eviction of Occupy Wall Street activists in Zuccotti Park.

"New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered a post-midnight raid to clear the protesters from a lower Manhattan park," Kurtz explained Sunday. "Some reporters were pushed away and barred from covering the confrontation. About two dozen journalists from outlets such as the AP and The New York Daily News were arrested. Bloomberg says the city was trying to -- quote -- 'prevent a situation from getting worse and protect members of the press.' Except police later shoved and roughed up a number of reporters and photographers."

"This is quite simply an outrage, that police haul off journalists trying to do their jobs and push the press corps away from a legitimate news event," Kurtz declared. "That is nothing less than censorship and the city owes these journalist and the rest of us an apology."

Maybe we've reached a turning point for the press.

11:36 AM PT: I think the breaking news of the resignation of the military government in Egypt supports Henry Porter's claim that 2011 is a year of rebirth:

Egypt's state television says the Cabinet has submitted its resignation to the ruling military council but will stay on to run the nation's day-to-day affairs until a decision is made.

The resignation of the Cabinet on Monday came amid widening protests against the ruling military. Protesters are demanding that the military quickly announce a date for the handover of power to a civilian government. At least 24 protesters have been killed in the past three days.

1:54 PM PT: Susie Madrak of Crooks and Liars is reporting that 170 economists have signed a statement supporting Occupy Wall Street:

We are economists who oppose ideological cleansing in the economics profession. Equally we oppose political cleansing in the vital debate over the causes and consequences of our current economic crisis.

We support the efforts of the Occupy Wall Street movement across the country and across the globe to liberate the economy from the short-term greed of the rich and powerful “one percent”.

Originally posted to praenomen on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 09:53 AM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Protest Music.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Persist. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    praenomen, PeterHug, Cory Bantic

    Ordinary political process is dead. The Supreme Court killed it. In Chambers. With a gavel.

    by Publius2008 on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 10:08:38 AM PST

  •  Howard Kurtz? (8+ / 0-)

    Gee, if Kurtz gets this, then two things about the coverage of Occupy must be true.

    1)  It's really easy to understand the demands, and some writers do.

    2) Many of the writers who do are being ordered by their editors not to (and that's for you, Washington Post.  It's also pretty much for you too, David Carr).

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 10:26:31 AM PST

    •  I spend a lot of time each morning reading a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caddis Fly, Floande, Pluto

      large cross section of news outlets and blogs, and what stood out today was the change in tone of the media.  I really think we are just beginning to see the change that is sweeping the world.

      •  Could you elaborate? I don't really.... (0+ / 0-)

        keep up with many news outlets.  Do you  think you're seeing a change on more conservative/center (same thing) outlets?

        •  I'm seeing a sudden shift in favor of the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          protesters, especially on the world stage.  I think the breaking announcement that the resignations of the members of the military government in Egypt supports what Henry Porter was saying.

          The Guardian UK is a good source of information about OWS, even though they are a British outlet.

          I had a lot of other examples that I wanted to include in this piece, but it was getting too long, so I limited it to just these few examples.

          •  Unfortunately, Mil govt did not resign, merely... (0+ / 0-)

            their appointed civilian cabinet.


            "CAIRO — Egypt's civilian cabinet offered to resign Monday after three days of violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Tahrir Square, but the action failed to satisfy protesters deeply frustrated with the new military rulers...."

            There's no such thing as a free market!

            by Albanius on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 11:42:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  What does Kurtz "get"? (0+ / 0-)

      Other than his kind of people are getting pushed around. Doesn't mean he objects ofour kinds of people getting pushed around, let alone "getting" the core OWS message.

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 01:57:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess you never watched Kurtz's sunday show (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Which means I need to explain how monumentally stupid I think he is, and how eager he was while he worked as the media critic for the Washington Post and for CNN to parrot whatever the conventional wisdom was.  He was especially good at inventing false equivalencies.  Kurtz has always stuck me as a very, very dim member of the corporate media complex, and that's why I was so surprised to read the part of this diary that had his comments in it.

        See?  I didn't try to insult your intelligence with this reply.

        All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

        by Dave in Northridge on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 02:40:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are right I rarely watch him (0+ / 0-)

          His show competes with Christiane Amanpour who I do try to tune in to with some regularity. So I'll take your word for it he's monumentally stupid.

          Of course it's a good thing if he is parroting a conventional wisdom that says it's a bad idea to arrest reporters and prevent journalists from covering events. Wouldn't it be nice if conventional wisdom also incldued that it's a bad idea to assault peaceful protesters, and other such concepts.

          And as to your last sentence, sorry - I must have missed something.

          from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

          by Catte Nappe on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 02:56:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Let us hope... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    author Michael Chorost is correct in his analysis. It is certainly true that things cannot stay as they are.

    Diaries are funny things Sam. Type one letter and you never know where you might end up. My apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien.

    by Caddis Fly on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 10:36:13 AM PST

  •  When you look at where the money is going (4+ / 0-)

    and how hard the oligarchs are wanting to bleed their country and their countrymen for just another buck, the wonder isn't that some strongmen got toppled but that whole countries haven't turned out in support of said toppling.

    But toppling appears to be the easy part. Coming up with a new ball game is a lot tougher. And it is exactly that upon which I support the occupy movement. It isn't just in spotlighting wrongs, but the harder game plan of figuring out a right path.

    As MoT says, lets start having conversations. Maybe the universities themselves would host such conversations. As well as all the teachings some of their professors are giving us.

    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain

    by glitterscale on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 10:41:27 AM PST

  •  Very good news! Thanks for this overview! nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  In looking at the Psychology Today article (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cory Bantic, praenomen, Pluto

    the author didn't mention and may not have seen the wonderful video of students shooing the cops away and how the cops left with tails between their legs and fear. And the Chancellor was fearful of these non-violent demonstrators. The fear they showed was the fear that they have tried to instill in others, this time without success. Maybe this is what a bully looks like if someone finally stands up to them.

    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain

    by glitterscale on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 10:56:14 AM PST

  •  And I don't pretend to know one way or another (0+ / 0-)

    but you may have more of the Yes Mags column than is allowed under fail use.

    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain

    by glitterscale on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 10:57:51 AM PST

  •  This is what is meant by History with a capital H. (4+ / 0-)

    A mysterious and profound flow that arises from the currents of all life, beneath the threshold of immediate human awareness but manifesting in social change.  It is a hurricane that destroys and creates.

  •  We have : No to the needs, Yes! to the greeds (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We are not standing for or accepting this formulation any more. From anybody  in charge, or who aspires to rule us. This isn't at all a variant of American exceptionalism, this is a world wide movement of humanity.

    The tents are a sign, and the marches are leading the way.

    What we have foisted upon us, and the varied excuses why it cannot change is deconstructed and dismissed in a steady stream ever since the mass movements began many months ago.

    We are just now  finding out how deep and far and wide this goes.

    Being a member of the 1% or their first line of defense was never as challenging as it is now . It has become the central question of our time.

    If you think that you and a bunch of other people can just show up on Wall St, camp out and have any effect whatsoever, you're dreaming. *YUP!* h/t Hamden Rice

    by BeeDeeS on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 12:03:06 PM PST

  •  I like this diary and article but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am quite conflicted using the term "moral."
    YES, government corruption is IM-moral.
    YES, the 1% sucking the life out of the 99% is IM-moral.
    YES, the GOP Presidential candidates have various MORAL problems.
    YES, the contempt of the police at UC Davis was a "moral moment."

    I agree with and accept ALL of this.
    Just don't try to use the term MORAL out loud.

    Because despite Webster and numerous sacred texts and ethical writings, the POPULAR meaning and understanding in the US of MORAL is exactly one and ONLY one thing: sex.

    That's it. Sex.

    I remember the generations talking past each other in the '60s over Vietnam. The war protesters said (rightly, correctly) that the War is "immoral."
    And what did their parents, the Pentagon, the government and those in power hear?
    A bunch of oddly dressed, oddly coiffed people saying the Vietnam War had something to do with SEX/marriage/SEX/engagements/SEX/(orgasms....shhh!)/SEX.

    And, since the Vietnam War had absolutely NOTHING to do with SEX, (no public SEX was happening in Vietnam! If it were Walter Cronkite would have shown it to us on the news (after first warning us to send the children out of the room)) the powers-that-were immediately concluded the protesters did not know anything about SEX or MORALITY (which is just another word for SEX) and therefore were not rational. Their protests could be dismissed as mentally/logically UNSOUND.

    I don't think much of anything has PUBLICLY changed.

    OWS is gaining ground, changing the national, even international, conversation, groping its way toward accountability of the financial and media criminals, hope for the downtrodden, re-ordering the entire global concept of debt. Move your Money Day was a MORAL moment. Recalling some Wisconsin state senators and (soon) the fascistic governor are MORAL acts. Bringing down all things connected to Rupert Murdoch is a MORAL act. All of these are good things and they are intensely MORAL things.

    But please, if you want to keep gaining ground, just don't call them MORAL out loud, or again you will be dismissed and ignored.



    "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

    by WineRev on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 12:13:49 PM PST

  •  This line resonated with me: (0+ / 0-)
    If neutrinos can travel the length of Italy faster than the speed of light, calling into question our most fundamental assumptions about the universe, just about anything can happen.

    From somewhere out in the "knowing," Einstein is playing dice with us.

  •  Freedom of the Press? (0+ / 0-)

    Dozens of reporters have been pepper sprayed, tear gassed and arrested at protests all across the country over the last ten years. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was arrested in St. Paul during the Republican National Convention.

    I have often wondered why the news agencies haven't made that a story and sued police departments for violations of the First Amendment. It looks like the NYPD and the city have done it again by not allowing journalists to cover the eviction of protesters from Zucotti Park.

    Shame on you, Mayor Bloomberg! You are operating like a petty dictator. Thanks to the news folks for finally standing up to these acts of repression. It's bad enough that we only have a few independent journalists covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The rest of the war correspondents are "embedded" and are therefore biased.

    Now we have the same strategy being applied to domestic protests. Because the press might express "independent" views, they are prohibited from witnessing historic events. General Westmoreland did not want reporters to cover military campaigns in the field because he claimed they might "misinterpret" what they witnessed.

    Has this now become the attitude of Bloomberg and the NYPD?

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site