October 7, 2011

Here's to the Crazy Ones

Judging from the blog posts I've come across today, practical, policy-focused liberals are coming to this conclusion: Yes, Occupy Wall Street looks sort of crazy and disorganized. But maybe it's time we got behind it anyway.

This was my favorite quote from this morning, talking about Occupy Wall Street, Steve Jobs, and the Crazy Ones:

The pragmatic progressives like me didn't start this movement. We thought about the long-term impact for the left and the short-term electoral optics for Democrats. When the economy collapsed, we were quiet, the tea party spoke up, and the rage the country felt was directed toward government, not Wall Street. In short, we were afraid.

Thankfully, the crazy ones weren't.


Perhaps it's a natural evolution, but it also seems likely that the movement is changing because the seasoned organizers and pragmatists are working alongside the radical idealists who were there from the start.

The only reason those pragmatists are there is because the crazy ones took the first steps.

Ok, maybe I object to the word crazy. For a variety of reasons, including that there's nothing sane about our current economic system, so anyone who's actively working against it, even if they're dressed in funny clothes or not quite on-message, looks pretty damn sane to me.

But it's not just progressive writers like the ones at Mother Jones who are starting to wrap their head around OWS. Paul Krugman wrote about it today in the New York Times. Here's my favorite bits:

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.


Given this history, how can you not applaud the protesters for finally taking a stand?

Now, it’s true that some of the protesters are oddly dressed or have silly-sounding slogans, which is inevitable given the open character of the events. But so what? I, at least, am a lot more offended by the sight of exquisitely tailored plutocrats, who owe their continued wealth to government guarantees, whining that President Obama has said mean things about them than I am by the sight of ragtag young people denouncing consumerism.

Kevin Drum responded to Krugman by suggesting that no matter how off-beat some of the leaders of Occupy Wall Street look, the average liberal observer needs to remember whose side they're on - and if you're not with the protestors, then you're siding with the banks. (And again, I'm annoyed that they're not taking the anarchists/socialists/whatever who organized this so impressively seriously except as a jumping off point for some sort of standard policy ideas, but whatever.) Think Progress has a lovely roundup of what's wrong with our banking system.

And finally, Occupy DC had a busy day yesterday.. I wish I was there!

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