Christine Neulieb on Wall Street's new occupants

Banksters-croppedCommonweal's editorial assistant, Christine Neulieb, recently went downtown to see what all the fuss is about. Is Occupy Wall Street really the beginning of a new political movement, an ephemeral sign of a lasting discontent, or Woodstock without the music? The answer seems to be: hopefully, possibly (alas), and no -- despite the incense, the sleeping bags, and the relaxed hygiene. Christine writes:

In the past, major protest movements have arisen to counter obvious, visible injustices: institutionalized racism sparked the civil rights movement; the horror of unjust war sparked Vietnam-era demonstrations. Occupy Wall Street has arisen in response to, among other things, a Supreme Court decision regarding a complicated point of campaign finance policy. Its not the sort of thing one would expect a mob of scruffy youth to understand, let alone be outraged by. Yet they are. In fact it seems to be one of the things that outrages them the most. Many of the signs I saw during Wednesdays march addressed this issue: Corporation$ Are Not People!; Money talks too much!; Im not allowed to use a blow horn... Why are the corporations protected under the First Amendment & not me? The protesters have come together because they think strength in numbers and nonviolent civil disobedience is the only way to get their message heardthey dont have deep coffers to pay for lobbying on Capitol Hill and time on the airwaves. I find it hard to disagree.

You can read the rest here.

Matthew Boudway is senior editor of Commonweal.

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