Can OWS be harnessed by the Democratic Party for 2012?
Glenn Greenwald asks also: “Would it not be a bit odd for a protest movement to 'Occupy Wall Street' while simultaneously devot(e)itself to keeping Wall Street’s most lavishly funded politician in power?” And after documenting the usual mounds of evidence of Wall St. ties to Obama and the Democratic Party, Greenwald sarcastically concludes:
“So best of luck to CAP and the DCCC in their efforts to exploit these protests into some re-branded Obama 2012 crusade and to convince the protesters to engage in civil disobedience and get arrested all to make themselves the 2012 street version of OFA. I think they’re going to need it.”
OWS should obviously be commended for being able to shift the public discourse back onto Wall St., growing inequalities, and the runaway corporate plutocracy that has taken over the political realm. Greenwald here thus refers to Naomi Klein who on DemocracyNow! claimed that the protestors, in Greenwald's words, “are out on the street rather than working for the DNC or OFA...precisely because they concluded that electoral politics or working for either party will not address the issues motivating them; part of what they’re protesting is the Democratic Party.” Which is all probably true. Charlie Rangel was booed away. And so was Geraldo Rivera. But having attended OWS rallies in NYC, I can tell you unequivocally that there is virtually no noise being made about 2012. Little or no clamoring is being made about getting sold out by any particular political figure or political party. There is also virtually little or no “third-party” presence there either. Thus, barring some future development,the OWS protestors may end up turning out to vote for Obama and the Democrats anyway! Though they certainly feel betrayed by the two-parties and “the system” more generally, (and rightfully so!) it remains unclear whether they will at some point actually begin the process of organizing positively for a political alternative, either as a popular electoral base for a challenger to Obama within the Democratic party during the primaries, or for someone even further to the left.
From a good piece by Kevin Gosztola, “Why Establishment Media & The Power Elite Loathe Occupy Wall St,” comes this passage from Howard Zinn.
“What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future.
The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”