Behold this Yahoo! News headline: “One month in, protests yet to topple capitalism,” albeit linking to an article on right-wing The Daily Caller: “Conservatives and Republicans have ranged from skeptical to dismissive, calling the demonstrators’ anti-capitalist message unrealistic.”
Many have described the protest as anti-capitalism. Granted, there may be some (well, a lot of) sincere anti-capitalists out there protesting (the usual suspects that have showed up to many protests in the past decade or so), but I’ll bet you dollars-to-doughnuts the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters generally support capitalism. If they were protesting capitalism they would have still been out there when unemployment was 6%. They are angry because someone has hijacked the American capitalist economy, crashed it, received a bailout, and ducked all consequences. They are angry because they feel the death of the American dream in their own lives. Study hard, play by the rules, stay out of trouble and you’ll get a “good job.” That’s the promise of the American Dream. In the name of greater profits the “good jobs” are vanishing.
They know America has always had a capitalist system. They know it used to work better. They want to help American capitalism function again, not turn it into some Soviet nightmare.
To those protesting capitalism, I’m going to have to smack your hand. You see, capitalism used to work just fine for almost all of us. We had real hope that we could build better lives and evidence that the system honored merit. Not anymore. Capitalism works, but right now it is ill. Now a powerful few are going too far and are able to do so because of the modern finance system (including rules (or lack thereof) and technology).
The mainstream media and right-wing elite are frequently labeling the Occupy Wall Street protests as anti-capitalist, intentionally or not keeping the working class conservatives on the sidelines. They tell the lie that the movement is about destroying capitalism when it really is about restoring it. They know that if the tea party activists (well, the real grassroots among the astroturf) join Occupy Wall Street, it is game over for the 1 percent. It would be like when Darth Vader finally decided to take Luke’s side, the emperor couldn’t really put up much of a fight. (I think I’ll have to write a different post about the redemption of Darth Vader and the tea party.) Occupy Wall Street may lead to an awakening and a uniting of the 99%. You can see why those with the power to influence the mass media would want to prevent that.
Some in the media have been catching on to the idea that the protests are not primarily anti-capitalist. One search turned up a piece in Forbes:
I want to note that there’s something profoundly anti-capitalist about the critics of OWS. It’s a movement about which capitalists, real capitalists who work hard and smart, have nothing to fear. Oligarchs, on the other hand, should be afraid, very afraid. Entrepreneurs and corporate leaders will find a way to make money and allocate capital so that jobs are created even in a workable financial system. Sure, breaking-up the incestuous relationship between Wall Street and K Street will change the rules of the game, but it won’t end the game. Maybe wealth disparity will shrink, maybe CEOs will make slightly less relative to average workers. But the entrepreneurial spirit will still triumph. Who knows, just like Steve Jobs emerged from the ethos of 1960s radicalism and spiritual-seeking, perhaps the 21st century’s next great industrialist will emerge from the Zuccotti Park tripod tarps and all-inclusive General Assembly in which everyone has a say.
Even someone at WorldNetDaily gets it:
The Occupy Wall Street protests are no more an attack on capitalism than the tea party is an attempt to restore the Confederacy, because there is nothing capitalist about Wall Street. Wall Street is actually an outdated throw-back to the pre-capitalist period; it is a variant of the royal mercantile system in which profits were not dependent upon superior competition, but upon the monopolies granted by the thrones of France and England.
Neither Occupy Wall Street nor the tea party are going to achieve their self-contradictory objectives. Their ideological incoherence renders that impossible. But the mass anger and frustration they represent are real, their grievances are legitimate, and the inept, short-sighted, arrogant governance by the bifactional ruling party makes it likely that eventually, the two popular sides will come together to fight their real enemy: the unholy alliance of the politicians of Washington with the bankers of Wall Street.
So everyone remember American capitalism is just ill; it has a virus. However, it does not have a virus like the zombies in “The Walking Dead;” you don’t have to put a bullet in capitalism’s brain. It can be cured. Occupy Wall Street is just another March for a Cure.