The Smell of Pepper Spray in the Morning

As usual, Naomi Wolfe has the number on the OWS crackdown:

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.

The mainstream media was declaring continually “OWS has no message”. Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online “What is it you want?” answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

It’s not just that the OWS movement is getting all up in the face of Wallstreet and thus bringing the ire of their lapdogs in Washington. OWS is now threatening the income of our blessedly corrupt leaders. And thus, the DHS is coaching our militarized police on how to crack skulls.

Much has been made out of the now Internet-famous cop who casually pepper sprayed seated protesters. But what did you expect? You give a cop pepper spray and a baton he’s going to go looking for an excuse to use it. It now appears that excuse came from Homeland Security and with the blessings of our ruling class. OWS is a little more than 2 months old and so far, has been surprisingly peaceful (at least on their side). It will take a miracle for that to last because if history has taught us anything, it’s that those who make peaceful progress impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

Over at Gawker there’s a piece on the Democratic Party’s reaction (or lack thereof) to Occupy Wall Street:

There are several drawbacks to engaging with Occupy Wall Street, the Democratic sources said. One is the movement could blow up in everyone’s face, embarrassing all involved. Another is it fades as quickly and mostly mysteriously as it appeared, making it little more than several cable news cycles in the long run.

“I was thinking about this this morning-the local Fox affiliate had some guy from the ‘movement’ on to talk about it,” one operative said, “and his rhetoric was strongly reminiscent of the tea party, to my ear. Different goals, obviously, and the rhetoric was less, um, violent and vitriolic. But the same dissatisfaction with the current ‘system’ is there.”

“[So] this could end up being good for Dems the way the tea party was good for Republicans,” the operative said. “Or it could end up scaring the crap out of folks.”

And this is the problem with Democrats (says a life long Democrat). They’re so afraid of offending Republicans and the mythical Moderate Swing Voter that they’ve adopted this middle of the road, lukewarm porridge philosophy that is completely uninspiring. The GOP is not afraid to handle a few snakes in order to show that at least they stand for something (even if that something is racism, bigotry, greed and class warfare). What do the Democrats stand for? Tepid hedged bets, capitulation to extremism on the right and an inability to grow a pair and get in a shouting match with some lunatics.

The point of contention seems to rest n the fact that everyone in the media keeps comparing the OWS movement to the Tea Baggers. The problem with this comparison is that it’s absolutely false. The Tea Baggers are now and always have been a GOP Astroturf outfit. They’re funded buy the fucking Koch Bros. and organized from the top down by FreedomWorks, the conservative action group led by Dick Armey, a former Republican Representative form Texas. Meanwhile the OWS movement isn’t funded. By anyone. It’s actually what the Tea Party claimed to be in the early days: a grassroots movement created by citizens fed up with the current failed system.

What the Democrats should do is embrace Occupy Wall Street. Start a few shouting matches on capitol hill (calling John Bohner a dick would be nice but let’s not hold our breath). Anything that shows they actually give a fuck about this country and the direction it’s going in. Otherwise, they’ll be remembered as the party sitting in the passenger seat as the GOP drove the country off a cliff, refusing to grab the steering wheel and make a last ditch effort to steer us clear of disaster for fear of being impolite.