Well, well, well. A resounding ‘victory’ for Occupy Wall Street? Not so much. Protest organizers managed to foil efforts by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg to disperse the protesters in order to clean up Zuccotti Park, the area in the financial district of lower Manhattan where they’ve been since September 17th. Protesters declared their continued stay in the park as a resounding victory.
A victory by what standard? That they’re able to continue their ineffectual protests against the biggest employer in New York City? That these protesters, with no specific agenda or policy prescriptions, other than just continue to vent, are able to stay put to demonstrate their rage? Intellectually and emotionally, I’m with the protesters. The financialization of this country has gone on for too long, and to the detriment of the productive economy. The emphasis on financial manipulation as a mechanism for ‘growth’ is a myth. Much of the financial industry consists of managers reorganizing piles of money into different piles, with no actual growth taking place, and they’ve been accorded a special status in the US, conferred upon them by a compliant US Congress.
But demonstrating for the sake of demonstrating is pointless. Unless they can translate that anger into constructive policy prescriptions, their efforts will paint them as angry children. And in this, they have much in common with their counterparts on the other end of the political spectrum, the Tea Party. They may not like hearing that, but that’s the honest to God truth. That it hurts should propel them to do something constructive. Don’t just rant. Translate the anger into intelligent policies. Demonstrations, in and of themselves, are meaningless. Make the jump into policy. Otherwise, their efforts will be for naught.