Reuters mythmaking about Occupy Wall Street
I was going to write about the grandiose plans of OWS organizers to "surround" the New York Stock Exchange building.
But then I read this Reuters piece and my jaw dropped:
Occupy Wall Street marks its first anniversary on Monday, and, in a bid to rejuvenate a movement that has failed to sustain momentum after sparking a national conversation about economic inequality last fall, activists plan once again to descend on New York's financial district.
The group, which popularized the phrase "We are the 99 percent," will attempt to surround the New York Stock Exchange and disrupt morning rush hour in the financial district, according to a movement spokeswoman.
Monday's protests will cap a weekend of Occupy Wall Street seminars, music and demonstrations in New York, said Linnea Paton, 24, an OWS spokeswoman. Demonstrations are also planned in other U.S. cities, other OWS organizers said.
The grassroots movement caught the world by surprise last fall with a spontaneous encampment in lower Manhattan that soon spread to cities across North America and Europe.
Occupy Wall Street briefly revived a long-dormant spirit of U.S. social activism, and drew enduring attention to economic injustice.
What "sparked" national conversation about economic inequality was the press exaggerating the impact of a couple of hundred protestors and turning them into a "mass movement."Even on beautiful days in the fall, protests never exceeded a couple of thousand demonstrators. Their outisize influence was the result of a press campaign and was never based on reality.
This became evident when the protests died out. "Mass movements" don't die out 3 months after they've begun. OWS was a media creation from the beginning - as we'll no doubt see on Monday.
The "long doormant spirit of US social activism" is an idiotic statement. "Social activism" is doormant because a liberal is in the White House. The several hundred thousand demonstrators at the 2004 GOP convention in New York would seem to give the lie to the idea of a "doormant" social activism movement. There were also several large demonstrations in Washington as late as 2007.
Then there's this bit of nonsense from Reuters:
But the movement's colorful cast of theatrical demonstrators struggled through last winter to sustain the momentum that first drew attention to its patchwork of economic grievances - including corporate malfeasance on Wall Street, crippling student debt and aggressive bank foreclosures on American homes.
Whose fault is student debt? I guess kids were forced at gunpoint to take out loans to pay for overpriced college tuition. And "aggressive" bank foreclosures? When somebody doesn't pay their mortgage for 6 months -- many of them not because they're broke but because their house is worth less than what they are paying -- how "aggressive" should banks be? A very small percentage of mortgages in arrears were 60 days or less behind. The average was 6 months and some banks took no action for a year. Robo signings of foreclosure papers should be illegal. But someone squatting in a home they have no intention of paying for needs to be "aggressively" dealt with.
OWS is a media creation, not a mass movement. Reuters mythmaking notwithstanding, the movement never achieved anything except headlines for crime ridden encampments and violent destruction of property.
No doubt they will prove that point tomorrow.