Confronting the malefactors

Paul Krugman writes: There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people.

When the Occupy Wall Street protests began three weeks ago, most news organizations were derisive if they deigned to mention the events at all. For example, nine days into the protests, National Public Radio had provided no coverage whatsoever.

It is, therefore, a testament to the passion of those involved that the protests not only continued but grew, eventually becoming too big to ignore. With unions and a growing number of Democrats now expressing at least qualified support for the protesters, Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.

What can we say about the protests? First things first: The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right.

A weary cynicism, a belief that justice will never get served, has taken over much of our political debate — and, yes, I myself have sometimes succumbed. In the process, it has been easy to forget just how outrageous the story of our economic woes really is. So, in case you’ve forgotten, it was a play in three acts.

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3 thoughts on “Confronting the malefactors

  1. Robert Consoli

    Damn it, I’m posting this again. Fergawdsakes someone respond! Attacking Wall Street is the wrong target; they won’t change no matter what you do. It’s your CONGRESS that’s sold you out:


    I spit in your faces.

    Big bad protestors. Occupying the smallest square in New York, the way I’ve heard it. An organized kitchen and nursery? Yay! And with your quaint call and response chants! Oy! Tell me. When one policeman’s club goes ‘bonk’ against your skulls do 100 people shout ‘Bonk!’?

    How are you going to achieve your ends? What are your ends, fergawdsake! What are you threatening to do? Cut up the button tree into buttons? You’re pathetic! You think you can bring down the largest and most powerful malefactors in this country with LGBT theater? The big CEOs can barely conceal their laughter long enough to down their scotch without choking. Why is it, do you think, that their response is to send out their cheapest clowns to deal with you? Don’t you know that they are certain (and they are right) that when the cold comes you’ll all go home. They think it because, since you don’t really stand for anything, you will go home.

    If you want to effect change then you have to DEMAND something! These people move billions of dollars every day to various nefarious destinations. Do you think they care because one of you may have belonged to a Union in Wisconsin?


    They don’t.

    You have to DEMAND something. Just gathering in the street won’t change anything except your arrest status.

    But Bobby, you say, we’re just a bunch of out of work doofuses. We don’t know what to ask for (whine, snivvle). It’s not our fault that we’re stupid; it’s because we’re morally superior.

    I’ll tell you what to ask for.

    You tell the powers that be that you’re not going anywhere until Congress passes and our chicken-shit president signs the following legislation:

    “Resolved that (a) any person or organization who offers any inducement, monetary or otherwise to someone running for Federal office shall be guilty of a Class A felony and subject to a fine of 100 times the amount offered and a prison sentence of at least 5 and no more than 15 years to be served in a Federal penitentiary.

    (b) any person or organization who solicits any monetary or other good for the purpose of conducting a political campaign for Federal office shall be guilty of a Class A felony and subject to a fine of 100 times the amount solicited and a prison sentence of at least 5 and no more than 15 years to be served in a Federal penitentiary.”

    There are a lot more laws like this which should be passed but that will do for a start. The reaction of the Powers that Be will be furious; not just ‘no’ but ‘FUCK NO!’ They’ll try to scare you with fairy tales that only rich men will be able to run for office, that it won’t keep the money out of politics, that the Roberts Court will overturn it, that campaign contributions are something Americans have done for hundreds of years (like slavery), etc. etc.

    Don’t believe them. If #OCCUPYWALLSTREET makes this one issue visible then you will have put a real cockroach into the belly of our occupying capitalist shit class. Because campaign bribes ARE the heart of American corruption; all else follows from it. It is through campaign bribes that corporations have converted a free republic into an aristocracy that would have shamed the ancien regime.

    Oh, and here’s your slogan: ‘IT’S THE BRIBES, STUPID!’

    They’ll put up obstacles because most legislators, as far as I can see, only go into politics to get rich. But let them; let them scream and shout about the unfairness of it all; perhaps the American people through your efforts will finally wonder what Congress and the President are really doing with all those bribes and why the Roberts court is so corrupt.

    It’s not a magic solution (magical thinking is your forte, not mine) but it will affect a very broad range of issues for the better. More than that needs to be done but this will be a great start. I’m sure you have some idiot lawyer among you who can make my proposed language suitable for legislative action.

    You’re welcome.


  2. BillVZ

    “It’s your CONGRESS that’s sold you out”
    That is a given- Campaign bribes ARE the heart of American corruption; Congress is controlled by corporate lobbyist money and AIPAC and is indeed worthy ‘target’..
    But as Glenn Greenwald recently pointed out;
    For those who believe that protests are only worthwhile if they translate into quantifiable impact with identifiable goals and objectives: the lack of organizational sophistication or messaging efficacy on the part of the Wall Street protest is a reason to support it and get involved in it. Some injustices simply need anger and dissent expressed for its own sake, to make clear that there are citizens who are aware of it and do not accept it.
    “Personally, I think there’s substantial value even in those protests that lack “exit goals” and “messaging strategies” and the rest of the rants that come from some self-identified progressives posturing in eagerness to prove one’s own seriousness.”
    Robert, by your eagerly posting this rant again you have indicated your own seriousness.
    The people who form the occupiers of Wall Street and in other cities Nationwide express their seriousness, anger and dissent by living it. I applaud and support them wholeheartedly.

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