(1) Great Press for OWSJ and #OWS: In addition to the above photo featuring my #OWS protest comrade Amy Offner (former D&S book editor), the WSJ‘s blog Metropolis had a relatively positive piece on its namesake, the Occupied Wall Street Journal. And David Carr, business columnist for the New York Times (focusing on media) devoted his column to the OWSJ today.
This is on top of this surprisingly positive NYT editorial and this surprisingly positive cartoon, also from yesterday’s NYT. I am sure that the NYT wants to water down the movement’s agenda, hence its point that the grown-ups will figure out the policy details…
(2) D&S-sponsored Teach-Ins at #OccupyBoston: we have organized an #OccupyBoston Economics Forum, intended as a series of teach-ins on bread-and-butter issues from radical economics. The first one is today at 4pm: Arjun Jayadev of UMass Boston on why austerity is crazy in a recession. Tomorrow at 3pm: Bryan Snyder of Bentley University on financialization. Tomorrow at 4pm: John Miller of Wheaton College, with a live version of his D&S column, “Up Against the Wall Street Journal,” in which he’ll talk to people about how to respond to right-wing myths about the economy. More speakers to come–we’re probably going to have one a day for a while.
(3) Slavoj Zizek Speaks at #OWS: A great speech by Zizek. The bit at the end about red ink is vintage Zizek. The feature article on Egypt we’ll be running in our Nov/Dec issue starts out with a quotation from Zizek about the problematic direction the Egyptian revolution is going. It’s from this piece in the London Review of Books. It’s interesting to read this alongside his #OWS speech.
(4) Jane Mayer on Art Pope and the Takeover of North Carolina: I don’t get depressed about politics (or economics) very easily, but this article in the current New Yorker got me down. It’s about how one multimillionaire has had enormous influence in pushing North Carolina’s politics to the far right. It underlines the importance of electoral reform.
Mayer’s article also made me think more about a couple of remarks David Graeber made in the DailyKos interview with him I posted a few days ago; I’ve been repeating them to people. Graeber responds to the critics who don’t like the fact that #OWS doesn’t have any demands by pointing out that making demands of Wall Street or the U.S. government would in a sense lend them legitimacy, but the protesters’ point is that they are corrupt and illegitimate; this helps explain the “prefigurative” aspects of the protest–that the occupiers are trying, in small ways, to set up alternatives to the corrupt and illegitimate economic and political systems. Another point he made that I think of as an example of this is that if protesters were to demand, e.g., higher marginal tax rates on the wealthy, or a transaction tax (these are two demands I’ve been inclined to call for), that is no help if the revenue raised by those taxes then went to a government that is still controlled by the superrich and by Wall Street (which it is, right? not entirely, but largely, right?). Anyhow, the Jane Mayer article really underlines this problem. But, to be optimistic, it is better to know what you are up against, so you can tailor your response accordingly.
(5) “End the Fed?” Here’s a nice piece we ran a few years ago that I hope will be a counterpoint to the Ron Paul fans at #OB and #OWS and their un-nuanced view of the Fed.
That’s all for now–off to Dewey Square.