Barbara O’Brien of the Mahablog¹ wrote:
Now, the Occupy Wall Street activists are on the edge of building a movement centered on economic populist issues that polls say most Americans support. And the slogan “we are the 99 percent” could be very effective IF most Americans come to understand it in the context of kitchen-table economic issues.
A broad swatch of Americans feel Washington pays no attention to their problems and caters instead to the rich and Wall Street. Big nationwide marches filled with middle-class, working people could actually get the attention of politicians in Washington. This would be a good thing.
But most of that broad swatch will not join in if they whiff a bunch of leftish issues they are not ready to embrace, and I suspect unmanned drones on foreign soil is one of those issues. And if the “movement” never goes beyond the usual vocational protesters, it’s pissing in the wind.
Miss O’Brien’s complaint is that the far-left fringe groups have been hijacking what she sees as legitimate liberal rallies, and, in doing so, they alienate large numbers of people who might be more sympathetic to the main cause of the rally, because they are so far-left-whacko.
This is exactly the kind of crap that prevents the Left from building any kind of effective movement to accomplish anything. Since several of you don’t seem to understand what I’m complaining about, let’s go back to September 2005.
There were huge antiwar rallies September 24 in Washington and other cities. I went to the Washington DC march around the White House. It was one of the better ones, really big, with people of all ages and ethnicities joining in.
As usual, Code Pink tried to steal the show by holding a separate rally and march a few blocks away. I remember reading that some of them were arrested. In any event, none of the pinksters came anywhere close to the advertised rally and march.
Also meanwhile, as most people marched around the White House, International A.N.S.W.E.R. — one of the sponsors — held its own event on the Ellipse, covered by CSPAN. After the march I got back to my hotel, logged on the Web, and read Steve Gilliard’s review –
You know, it’s time for the campus radicals to go home and take ANSWER with them.
I watched an hour or so of the rally and I wanted to smash my screen.
Why can’t they have adults who can speak in words, not slogans.
There’s much more at the link, but even though it was Mr Gilliard who made the specific complaint that these rallies don’t have — but need to have — the adults in charge, Miss O’Brien never added anything to her article which disassociated herself from Mr Gilliard’s characterization; I assume, therefore, that she agrees.
I guess that it isn’t too surprising. While Miss O’Brien’s site biography does not tell us her age, it does state that she earned her Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1973. Assuming that she was not a child prodigy, and was not graduated from college at age 16 or something like that, she’d be about sixty years old now. No wonder she has some difficulty in identifying with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, as characterized by the liberal New York Times.
Miss O’Brien lamented that there wasn’t a middle class face to the Overly Wet Snuggies protests, something to give their grand cause some credibility among American middle class adults. But there’s a very simple problem with that: the vast majority of middle class Americans are working Americans, and they can’t just take off weekdays to go protest in Manhattan. Moreover, though unemployment is certainly a serious problem at its current level of 9.1%, that means that 90.9% of the workforce is employed, and, in not-very-good economic times like today, about the last thing that they want to do is rock the boat; they might be the ones to fall overboard!
The lovely blonde lady to the right in the picture is holding a sign which tells us that “A Job Is A Right.” It is? A job normally entails actually producing something, and if current economic demand is already being met with less than 100% employment, just what job does the young lady — and, I presume, her compatriots — believe she should have? Should we employ people to produce nothing, to meet no economic demand? And if we do so, just where do we get the money . . . and how soon does it run out?
And one of the biggest problems for the Overly Wet Snuggies protesters, the ones who tell us that they want jobs, is that, looking at them, in a time when employers have the luxury of being rather selective in who they do hire and retain, my first thought is: who would want to hire them? I’d be willing to bet a case of Mountain Dew that a lot of the middle class Americans watching the OWS protests on the evening news have that same thought occur to them; Miss O’Brien might even be one of them.
There is a significant amount of talk linking the OWS protests to the TEA Party rallies of last year, but I think that’s kind of strained. The TEA Partiers were generally older and more responsible, and they sure cleaned up after themselves a lot better. More importantly, they translated their protests during the summer into votes in the fall. I have some real doubts that the OWSers will be able to do that.
¹ – I have been banned on the Mahablog, and Miss O’Brien, after commenting here and my banning on her site was pointed out to her, wrote, “Sorry, I block lots of people. Didn’t realize you were one of them. However, my readers tell me they appreciate being spared right-wing groupthink, since they get saturated with it everywhere else.” I am still blocked there.