Thursday, November 3, 2011

Andrew Leonard and Bill Moyers on the Occupy Movement

And finally this morning, two inspiring reflections about the potential of the Occupy Wall Street movement to shift the paradigm of American politics: 

At Salon, Andrew Leonard argues that yes we can.  We can make a difference as "ordinary" citizens.  Though both of the major political parties of the U.S. have sold their souls to Wall Street and the banks, we citizens have the potential to occupy more and more spaces that the corporate oligarchy imagines only it and its power mavens have the capability of occupying.

A case in point: the media.  Leonard notes how the rise of the internet and online social networks has had game-changing influence over the media.  In the past, the mainstream media have played a gatekeeping function that served the needs of the corporate oligarchy and its beltway political servants.  

But "ordinary" citizens have, in recent years, come to occupy a new frontier of online communication, which has the power to change dramatically what counts as news, and the flow of information.  Leonard writes,

The ascendance of the Internet, combined with the rise of social networks and the ubiquity of smartphones, has opened up a new frontier where the old rules of Washington and Wall Street don’t necessarily apply. Our present challenge is to figure out how to occupy this new frontier, to stop looking to Washington for answers, and start learning what we can do on our own.
We’ve seen this coming for a long time. The Internet fundamentally disrupted the mainstream media’s gatekeeping influence over news and information. The ease with which data can be copied and distributed drastically upended long-standing entertainment industry models. 

And at Huffington Post, Bill Moyers maintains that the reason the Occupy movement continues to spread and to gain the support of more and more "everyday" citizens is that the America people have finally had enough--enough of watching our politicians of both parties function as "money launderers in the trafficking of power and policy":

Let's name this for what it is: Democratic deviancy defined further downward. Our politicians are little more than money launderers in the trafficking of power and policy - fewer than six degrees of separation from the spirit and tactics of Tony Soprano. 
Why New York's Zuccotti Park is filled with people is no mystery. Reporters keep scratching their heads and asking: "Why are you here?" But it's clear they are occupying Wall Street because Wall Street has occupied the country. And that's why in public places across the country workaday Americans are standing up in solidarity. Did you see the sign a woman was carrying at a fraternal march in Iowa the other day? It read: "I can't afford to buy a politician so I bought this sign."

Moyers links the Occupy movement in the U.S. to movements over the course of American history in which the majority of American citizens have successfully wrested control of the political process from economic and social elites that sought to dominate that process.  He sees hope in these historical precedents, hope that is presently being incarnated anew in the growing Occupy movement.

And I for one hope he's right.

The graphic for the posting was the 29 Oct. image of the day posting at the Prose Before Hos network magazine site.

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