October 10, 2011
The key word is “harness,” as in what a horse wears when bridled.

Day 21 Occupy Wall Street October 6 2011 Shankbone 42

As participants continue to speak for themselves while pundits try to get a fix on its “message,” compare these two views of what Occupy Wall Street must be.

From Jason Fitzgerald’s post in the Huffington Posts’ citizen journalism section, Off The Bus.

Occupy Wall Street, in other words, is not occupying anything. It is pointing toward and pointing away. It is pointing toward corporate power, through corporate power’s most transparent metonym, the short seven blocks north of Exchange Place that connect Broadway and the East River. And Occupy Wall Street is pointing away from Washington D.C., from the Senate, from the House of Representatives, from Barack Obama, from Rick Perry and Chris Christie, from filibusters, from debt ceilings, from “supercongresses,” from election polls, from Americans for Prosperity, from Karl Rove, from George Soros, from campaign ads, from everything that “the media”—particularly the socially engaged media like CNN, Fox, and MSNBC—understands to be “politics.” Occupy Wall Street turns away from these items and says: That is sideshow.

What is real? The flow of capital, the source of money and the direction in which it travels, who is paying for what, and how they are getting their money in the first place. Equally real are the consequences of these conditions on the lived experiences of the world’s citizens. No matter what the individual protestors’ “interests” and “demands” might be—and I insist that it is not to the occupation’s discredit that many protestors could not honestly and coherently answer “Why are you here?”—the occupation’s message could not be simpler: LOOK!

ABC News, “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” roundtable discussion with Jessie Lagreca, a participant in Occupy Wall Street, and George Will, Washington Post columnist and pundit. 

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you, some of your, you know, most vociferous supporters, like our colleague, Paul Krugman, has spoken quite glowingly about this populist movement. And you’ve even heard people around this table saying that it should be harnessed, but also saying that it’s the moment now to perhaps try to translate that into some kind of political question, political demand. Is there something that you can make this about?

LAGRECA: I think the entire movement is about economic justice. I mean, to me — and I’m not speaking on behalf of Occupy Wall Street, I’m just giving my personal opinion — I think it’s a matter of economic rights and I think it’s a matter of social rights and social justice. And to the people who would take offense to the word “social” being placed before justice, I’d invite them to re-read the Constitution.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask George Will, who wanted to ask you a quick question.

WILL: Mr. LaGreca, I hear a certain dissonance in your message. Your message is, Washington is corrupt, Washington is the handmaiden of the powerful. A lot of conservatives agree with that. But then you say this corrupt Washington that’s the handmaiden of the powerful should be much more powerful in regulating our lives. Why do you want a corrupt government bigger in our lives?

Photo by David Shankbone, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

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