Response to “Occupy Wall Street: How Should it be Covered Now“.
To: Arthur S. Brisbane
Public Editor of the New York Times
I find it amazing that these pundits, looking at a crowd of people carrying signs, come away scratching their heads asking, “what specifically do OWS demonstrators want?”
The conspiratorial questions about “who is the leader, who is really behind it” also show how far out of touch, and indeed, clueless, these members of the chattering classes truly are.
Let me tackle the first part of Tim Kelly’s list:
Who are the protesters?
A few groups are here.
1. Old New Leftists, now part of the establishment, going once more unto the breach.
2. First-time protesters, most idealistic young people.
3. Ideological extremists (a small, but visible minority).
4. War veterans, now home and un- or under-employed.
Who are the leaders?
The internet is the leader. There is no person who can be described as leading the movement. Intellectually, the movement is led by Noam Chomsky, probably more than any one other living figure.
Who’s really behind all this?
Adbusters started it. I think it amazed them and has long since left their control.
Who’s going to pay for the cleanup?
Presumably this will fall primarily to municipalities.
What do they hope to accomplish?
Reducing wealth and income inequality.
Enhancing civil rights.
Holding the richest and most powerful to account.
What can citizens do to take part in the protests, or avoid them?
Really? A former newspaper editor has no idea how to Google about “occupy wall street” plus (name of town) and either go there or not go there?
What is happening inside the camps?
I have been to the Boston settlement twice and I have found it peaceful, clean and orderly, with many thought-provoking discussions, books, tracts, and signs.
This degree of confusion and inability to observe the plainly obvious makes me think that, as in the story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, that these wealthy pundits and apologists for the plutocratic class quoted above, see only that which they wish to see and nothing more.
Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy
David Brooks of the New York Times and the Occupy Wall Street movement
Mr. Brooks, in “The Milquetoast Radicals” errs in describing the “core theme” of the Occupy Wall Street protests as “If there is a core theme to the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is that the virtuous 99 percent of society is being cheated by the richest and greediest 1 percent.”
As proof, he offers a link to a pdf file allegedly from a 2004 issue of a Canadian left-wing magazine.
This is a straw man argument. It is so shallow because only Mr. Brooks is making this argument, falsely attributing it to Occupy Wall Street by guilt by association in order to make a facile refutation.
Then Mr. Brooks goes on to make a very deceptive and misleading analysis of proposals to tax the rich by considering only those individuals making one to ten million dollars per year and downplaying the supposed impact of increasing taxes on these individuals by ignoring all individuals making more than ten million dollars per year and by comparing the revenue gained not to the balancing effect on the yearly budget but rather to the total, historic, US debt. Mr. Brooks also ignores any discussion of the desirability and effectiveness of increasing corporate taxes and closing corporate loopholes.
Then while castigating the protestors as too extreme, he also attacks them as a “milquetoast” group whose “members’ ideas are less radical than those you might hear at your average Rotary Club”
Mr. Brooks apparently has an axe to grind with the protesters; well and good. His dissent is welcome. But he should not engage in guilt by association or what appear to be outright falsehoods in making his case.
Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy