Outside my office, the Occupy Oakland tent city is back.
Efforts to forcibly evict protesters from Frank Ogawa Plaza created a public relations debacle for Oakland’s mayor and police when a protesting Iraq vet was tear gassed and critically injured by some sort of projectile from police.
As I noted in a post last week, the Occupy Oakland movement is a mixed bag. There are protesters with serious ideas and serious grievances. And there are others with goofy ideas and flaky politics.
Many of the protesters seem unable or unwilling to understand that John Boehner’s crowd controls the U.S. House. If the Congress was full of Rachel Maddows, Michael Moores and Keith Olbermanns, the story would be very different.
This week the protesters hope for a November 2 mass strike and plan a march on the Port of Oakland. A communique from the movement threatened corporations that do not shut down, noting that “we will march on you”.
Here’s an assessment of their efforts and the challenges the movement faces in a piece by Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle, ” Big Challenges for Occupy Movement”:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c … &tsp=1
As it was with the Tea Party’s surge in 2010, whether these efforts will attract long-term mainstream support or whether they will fizzle is unclear.
But what about the underlying grievances?
Comparing various categories, how in the U.S. doing with social justice?
Not so well.
Here is a link to a study of how various countries stack up in overall poverty rates, child poverty, senior citizen poverty, primary education expenses, income equality, and healthcare. I invite you to look at the chart, which was noted by Charles Blow in a recent New York Times op-ed piece:
http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/ … ef=opinion
If measured by whether they are proposing workable solutions, the Occupy movement is a failure. But to the extent that the Occupy movement is raising awareness of problems in our country, they are performing a service to our system.
It’s hard to maintain belief in “American exceptionalism” if we are exceptionally bad in so many key categories.
Category: Political developments