Why Dems can’t quit Occupy Wall Street

posted at 7:00 pm on November 13, 2011 by Karl

The “Occupy movement” has devolved into Hipsters of the Flies — dens of crime, squalor and internecine power struggles. As health and safety concerns grow, city officials around the country are moving to break up protest encampments. The movement is not popular, even with the young or the poor.

Democrats, from Pres. Obama on down, once sympathetic, may try to rhetorically distance themselves from the protest themselves as the public mood sours. However, they really cannot avoid aligning themselves with the OWSers. Ideology and the reflexive turn to class warfare in an election year are big reason for this, but the answer is both more complex and more simple than that.

It is more complex because — as noted by Kenneth Anderson, David Brooks and Walter Russell Mead among others — the Occupy protests are primarily an intramural fight among the factions of the Left. As Brooks would have it, this is a fight about Blue Inequality, not Red Inequality. But these analyses — perhaps because they are primarily intellectual pursuits — tend to gloss over the more simple aspect.

The Occupy protests are about jobs. The Occupiers are unemployed and they tend to have a certain class of college degree and cannot find a certain class of job. Anderson strikes close to the heart of the problem with Blue Inequality:

The lower tier is in a different situation and always has been. It is characterized by status-income disequilibrium, to borrow from David Brooks; it cultivates the sensibilities of the upper tier New Class, but does not have the ability to globalize its rent extraction. The helping professions, the professions of therapeutic authoritarianism (the social workers as well as the public safety workers), the virtuecrats, the regulatory class, etc., have a problem — they mostly service and manage individuals, the client-consumers of the welfare state. Their rents are not leveraged very much, certainly not globally, and are limited to what amounts to an hourly wage. The method of ramping up wages, however, is through public employee unions and their own special ability to access the public-private divide. But, as everyone understands, that model no longer works, because it has overreached and overleveraged, to the point that even the system’s most sympathetic politicians understand that it cannot pay up.

The upper tier is still doing pretty well. But the lower tier of the New Class — the machine by which universities trained young people to become minor regulators and then delivered them into white collar positions on the basis of credentials in history, political science, literature, ethnic and women’s studies — with or without the benefit of law school — has broken down. The supply is uninterrupted, but the demand has dried up. The agony of the students getting dumped at the far end of the supply chain is in large part the OWS.

The part Anderson likely gets wrong is the part about “everyone” knowing the model no longer works. As Mead wrote pre-OWS, the Blue Model was very much about selling people security within that model. And while it’s true that model has been crumbling for some time, the establishment was still selling gullible youngsters on the dream of permanent jobs, however much Matt Welch might be correct in calling them on it (the dysfunction of higher education fuels this phenomenon).

This is why Dems cannot pretend to ignore the Occupy movement, but must at least express sympathy with its general thrust. The angst of the OWSers echoes within the class that currently occupies the types of jobs the OWSers want; that class encompasses the Democrats’ core constituencies. It is the street iteration of the “emerging Democratic majority” versus the collapse of the Blue Model. If progressivism stops being a jobs racket, it loses much of its power.

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Buy Danish on November 13, 2011 at 8:59 PM

I have a theory of where all the people went when Bill Clinton reformed welfare in this country when they were dumped from the welfare rolls. Remember the 90s were the end of Big Government. I believe many of them were trained, and went into government bureaucracies.

Some ended up in the nursing profession in hospitals filling a niche. But if you look at the public sector union members make up. I bet a % of those folks have been on the dole in the past. They like their entitlements, because they have been trained from birth to expect a government entitlement in one form or another. When the housing bubble burst it hit the private sector first. A lot of these protesters Union people held onto their jobs, because of Obama passing Porkulus. The reason they intend on protesting in large numbers for what Obama calls his jobs bill is because it’s their next fix- Son of Porkulus. This not unlike the FDR era, it’s not about putting all Americans back to work, it’s about keeping “select” Americans employed, unionized workers. The ones who pay dues to unions, that fund Democrat’s political campaigns….and we are in the middle of a campaign season.

Dr Evil on November 13, 2011 at 9:14 PM

The progressive wave crested before Obamacare was ever passed.

They said the same thing about Conservatism back when Goldwater lost.

They aren’t going anywhere and neither are we (unless Alex Jones happens to be right).

In the long run, tearing into each other will only benefit the “Progressives”. The only plank they had was the old haves vs. haves not bunk, and here and there CIA shenanigans overseas. When we had good economic times, they had to pretty much shut up (especially when Reagan was in office). Now that the world economy is suffering from congestive heart failure, they represent the stability that the failing free enterprise model can no longer offer.

Why is it that we readily accept boom and bust towns, boom and bust times, boom and bust companies, but we never accept that the entire system could go bust? Reminds me of what Shaara said through General Lee’s character in The Killer Angels to the effect that we are prepared to lose some of us but are never prepared to lose all of us.

The truth is we have gone through a long period of instant gratification.

True, but what is the point of living in such a society if you can’t indeed do that? Anything in excess usually catches up to us, but if credit isn’t extended, and people don’t have a great amount of disposable income to spend, and a myriad of choices of consumer items and services, then what is the point of singing the praises of Capitalism? We wouldn’t have the jobs, banking system, finance, credit, wealth and so on we have now if we had spent frugally over the last 100 years.

Why is it now that so many of us on the Conservative side seem to long for the days of self-imposed austerity along the lines of the Quakers, Shakers and Puritans? Is there really such a tiny fraction here who have never used credit cards, taken out mortgages or vehicle loans? Never spent extravagantly? Never owed more than they made? Never counted their chickens before they hatched? Always doubted the economy would continue its upward spiral?

Pleeez.

It’s not just “them” it’s “us” as a society who have contributed to what’s going on.

Dr. ZhivBlago on November 13, 2011 at 9:19 PM

I, for one, am tired of the lawlessness and threatening nature of this occupy crap. Here is a picture of an OWS sign,captured by the Spew Crew, which seems to be a threat against some of our Supreme Court Judges.

Why is this tolerated?

bloggless on November 13, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Oh lol, now the speaker is wondering where they can camp, “just for tonight! So we can take up the bigger camping issue, moving forward?”

Occupy Portland, meet REALITY :D

cane_loader on November 13, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Democrats, from Pres. Obama on down, once sympathetic, may try to rhetorically distance themselves from the protest themselves as the public mood sours.

Too late, they OWN it!

GarandFan on November 13, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Police arrest Chapel Hill protesters who occupied vacant business
http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/11/13/1641362/activists-take-over-vacant-franklin.html

CHAPEL HILL — A police tactical team of more than 25 police officers arrested eight demonstrators Sunday afternoon and charged them with breaking and entering for occupying a vacant car dealership on Franklin Street.

“Along with facilitating citizens’ ability to exercise their constitutional rights, it is also a critical responsibility of all levels of government in a free society to respond when rights of others are being impinged upon,” Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said in a statement issued Sunday night.

More antics of Obama’s base.

Remember, he understands their frustration at not implementing their Communist revolution.

Galt2009 on November 13, 2011 at 10:35 PM

It will be the last straw.

Winebabe on November 13, 2011 at 11:36 PM

A mixture of a kindergarten and a zoo. Oh wait… That was a description of our legislature by a long time Bill of Rights organization lobbyist. They know nothing, have endless demands and throw poo when not otherwise, heh, occupied.

Caststeel on November 14, 2011 at 12:09 AM

I have a theory of where all the people went when Bill Clinton reformed welfare in this country when they were dumped from the welfare rolls.

and SSDI, especially the coveted “crazy” check.

reaganaut on November 14, 2011 at 12:17 AM

The next story will be about how that 700k that OWS has had donated to them by dumb people disappears.

Moesart on November 14, 2011 at 12:20 AM

Is there really such a tiny fraction here who have never used credit cards, taken out mortgages or vehicle loans? Never spent extravagantly? Never owed more than they made? Never counted their chickens before they hatched? Always doubted the economy would continue its upward spiral?

Frankly it is called “living within ones means” and I have been living that life for a decade or two.

The only loan I have EVER taken was for my home which was paid off in 14 years, always paid cash for vehicles and do use credit cards but they are paid off every two weeks.

If I want something I save up for it, pure and simple.

gdonovan on November 14, 2011 at 2:40 AM

Good article—well written. Dems increasingly caught between their ideological factions. Makes pay back for each harder and may cause irreparable schism eventually. Ask me if I will enjoy watching.

jeanie on November 14, 2011 at 10:00 AM

The movement is not popular, even with the young or the poor.

I like how in the article you quoted, the actual headline was:

“Occupy Wall Street Less Unpopular Than Tea Party

Here’s the quote:

By a 39 – 30 percent margin, American voters have an unfavorable opinion of the Occupy Wall Street movement, with 30 percent who don’t know enough about it for an opinion.

The Tea Party movement gets a slightly more negative 45 – 31 percent unfavorable rating, with 24 percent who don’t know enough about it for an opinion.

Wow, so. Why don’t I see any mention of that on hotair?

Just wondering!

triple on November 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM

How bad is it, even as you suggest – the OWS movement is being hit hard in the press – rapes, crimes, suicides, etc.

And you know what? It’s still more popular than the tea party.

What does that say about you guys?

triple on November 14, 2011 at 10:54 AM

And you know what? It’s still more popular than the tea party.

What does that say about you guys?

triple on November 14, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Violent, murderous movements like Fascism, Nazism, Communism also polled very well.

Center-right parties in the 1930s in Fascist Italy, Spain and Nazi Germany —polled, not so well.

You must be very proud to have a well polling, violent “movement” to drool over.

vilebody on November 14, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Godwin’d in the first reply. New record?

triple on November 14, 2011 at 1:42 PM

And for the record, OWS has no violent radical agenda.

Their agenda (more or less) is socialism.

The form of government of that super-violent murderous state, canada.

triple on November 14, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Their agenda (more or less) is socialism.

The form of government of that super-violent murderous state, canada.

triple on November 14, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Socialism being the agenda of Nazism, Fascist Italy, Fascist Salazer’s Portugal, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Mao’s China, Mugabe’s Rhodesia among many other violent maniacs.

However, you may be relieved that OWS are lazy, freaked out Leftists who do not have the will and drive of their spiritually sick for-bearers. They are waiting for their megalomaniac leader to come along.

vilebody on November 15, 2011 at 2:35 PM

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