[COMM-ORG] Wall Street action: Labor, Community and Wall Street Activists Unite

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Thu Oct 13 11:46:32 CDT 2011


From: Peter Dreier <dreier at oxy.edu>


Friends and Colleagues:

Much of the recent commentary about the Occupy Wall Street movement
focuses on whether or not this radical movement will be "co-opted" by
the unions, or the Democratic Party, or other liberal forces. This seems
to be the concern of many academic lefties and activists, who are quick
to warn the Occupy Wall Street activists to avoid "co-optation" at all
costs. I just posted this short piece on Huffington Post, "Will Occupy
Wall Street Be Co-opted?" My short answer is "yes" and "that's good."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/occupy-wall-street_b_1005708.html
Here’s one of the articles concerned about the danger of co-optation:
Steven Horn, “MoveOn.Org and Friends Attempt to Co-Opt Occupy Wall
Street Movement” Truthout,
http://www.truth-out.org/moveonorg-and-friends-attempt-co-opt-occupy-wall-street-movement/1318259708
This article in the New York Times by Eric Lichtblau, “Democrats Try
Wary Embrace of the Protests,” describes how some Democrats are trying
to find a way to work with the protesters and use it to help reshape the
political climate:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/us/politics/wall-street-protests-gain-support-from-leading-democrats.html?pagewanted=all
Watch Sen. Bernie Sanders grilling Fed Chair Ben Bernanke and getting
the Fed Chair to acknowledge that the Occupy Wall Street protesters have
legitimate grievances. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BwA9GnFbhY. This
is why we need progressive Democrats in Congress!!
In his new Washington Post column, Harold Meyerson offers a very
specific strategy for progressives and Democrats to draw on the energy
of Occupy Wall Street: “How politicians can kick the Wall Street habit”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-politicians-can-kick-the-wall-street-habit/2011/10/11/gIQAVbhddL_print.html



In a great segment on Monday (October 10) called “Conservatives in
panicked hysteria over Occupy Wall Street” Rachel Maddow exposed how the
Republicans and conservative media are trying to demonize the nrew
protest movement. In particular, watch Glenn Beck go off the deep end.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908



Before Occupy Wall Street was born, SEIU organizer Stephen Lerner wrote
a provocative article in New Labor Forum outlining a very similar
strategy for re-energizing the labor movement and the left: “A New
Insurgency Can Only Arise Outside the Progressive and Labor
Establishment” http://newlaborforum.cuny.edu/Current/2011/Fall/Article2.aspx

The news media ignored Occupy Wall Street at first, but has been giving
it increasingly respectful coverage in the past week. The first stories
were about the “spectacle” of the protests and the characteristics of
the protesters. But it is hard to ignore the reality that in the past
week, the mainstream media have been writing more and more articles,
columns, and blogs about the “richest 1%,” the growing concentration of
income and wealth, and the outrageous political influence of Wall Street
banks and corporate America. (Like this article in Saturday’s New York
Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/nyregion/wall-street-protest-spurs-online-conversation.html.
Occupy Wall Street has – at least for the time being – forced America to
pay attention to the widening economic divide. (The best summary of
these economic and political forces is Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson’s
2010 book, Winner-Take-All Politics).
As I wrote a few days ago in “Victory! Transforming Occupy Wall Street


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