9 thoughts on “Occupy protest against Davos WEF


    You may not think that you’ve heard a lot from the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement lately, but you have.

    That’s because the OWS campaign, although truncheoned and pepper sprayed out of its encampments, has profoundly influenced the presidential campaign this year.

    For the past several weeks, the Obama campaign (despite progressive setbacks like the signing of the “indefinite detention” military authorization bill) has rhetorically – and in some important actions – steered toward the issue of income inequality. The White House has also taken on many of the Republican myths about the economy.

    The State of the Union Address, last night, was a testament to how far Obama has come in recognizing that the 99 percent can only be fooled by the 1 percent for so long.

    For decades, corporate media and a lobbyist-run federal government have created a false image of the US and its problems, leading to “solutions” that only worsen our economy (just think of the GOP notion that “tax cuts” solve every national financial ill). This, according to Noam Chomsky, is what is called a “democracy” of “manufactured consent.”

    Despite indisputable, factual evidence that Reagan raised taxes numerous times to keep the nation out of a deep recession, the Republicans continue to claim that his tax cutting was the high watermark in American prosperity. “Trickle down” economics became so engrained in the false narrative of “manufactured consent” that even many Democrats – too beholden to corporate lobbyists and wealthy contributors – perpetuated the myth.

    The OWS movement, however, drove a truck right through that fiction – among others – and forced the media to put income inequality back into the news. Polls showed increasing opposition to tax breaks for the wealthy (although most Americans already were against them) – and increasing support for rebuilding the manufacturing base. Wall Street firms and global corporations that didn’t even pay taxes in the US started to be exposed in the mass media, not just on the Internet.

    As a result, even the opportunistic, high-octane egomaniac, Newt Gingrich, embraced millions of dollars of third-party (Citizens United permitted) ads that trashed Romney as a plutocratic, heartless job cutter. Those ads (ironically financed by $5 million from one of the richest men in America, Sheldon Adelson) propelled Gingrich – along with Romney’s cold-hearted response that working class and poor people just “envied” him – to a decisive victory among Tea Partiers and evangelicals in South Carolina (SC). There were, of course, other issues at work, including Newt’s use of racist code words, but the anti-1 percent message played a decisive role in Gingrich’s SC win (even though he himself is in the top 1 percent financially).

    Obama’s State of the Union address didn’t hit every progressive note – not by a long shot – but it went a long way toward reshaping the political narrative. Ultimately, this impacts the voter who starts to see issues through a new “frame.”

    All of this political rhetoric is a work in progress, but thus far, the influence of OWS can be felt far and wide. It’s a volatile moment – as the American empire contracts and a portion of the white population fights the inevitability of a diversified population and power structure.

    But finally, we are starting to hear the rumblings of an alternative narrative, and it sounds a bit like democracy instead of corporate governance.

    Mark Karlin,
    Editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout

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