Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Well-educated Cardiologists Don't Know Everything about the Occupy Movement

Had a debate with a well-educated cardiologist this morning who said the occupy movement is missing a political opportunity because it doesn't have a single focused message.  How many times have I heard that, and how many times have I answered that the occupy movement is not a conventional protest movement.  It's sloppy democracy in motion -  slow, jagged, uneven, a little bit here, a little bit there a month later, a tiny bit a week later, everybody talking to everybody about everything. So I argued once again that it has many messages and that he just isn't hearing those messages because of his liberal expectations of a conventional demand protest. As Naomi Klein has said, this isn't a negotiation. If he listens hard, however, this is what he might hear: it's okay to utter the word capitalism in public, and it's okay to say it's irrational and dysfunctional.  It's okay to say we need to change the economic-political system, which is undermining real democracy.  It's okay to say there's an appalling income disparity in the U.S. and Canada and that clearly the financial sector is largely responsible.  It is at "heart," I tried to tell him,  a fundamental recognition of the weaknesses of neoclassical economic theory and the ideology of neoliberalism driving governments that support it. It's simple, my dear cardiologist:  the reality of the unjustly disadvantaged  99% resonates with people. Democratic discourse and political awareness:  we have not been able to say such things for forty years. 

In the meantime, some U.S. groups are occupying a different kind of political space, pumping up the discourse by confronting the current U.S. system head on.  Check out these two videos.

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