OWS “day of disruption” OR the bizarre calculus of the Occupy movement
posted at 12:04 pm on November 17, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
Far be it from me to criticize anti-Wall Street protesters for the impoverishment of their thinking. After all, the majority of them are liberals, which as any liberal can tell you makes them intellectually superior to conservatives.
Yet on this, their “national day of disruption,” the demonstrators are acting in a manner that betrays a troubling lack of purpose. “The protesters are calling for a massive event aimed at disrupting major parts of the city,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson told the New York Post early Thursday, adding “we will be prepared.”
And the city was prepared. A group of protesters attempted to storm the New York Stock Exchange before the opening bell but was turned away by police in riot gear. The Occupiers failed in their mission—but what was their mission? If it was to increase New York’s already crippling deficit, they succeeded. The NYPD this morning added an extra thousand officers per shift in the Wall Street area. The cost of NYPD overtime—absorbed by taxpayers—was $2 million on October 7, so one can easily imagine a bill twice that amount and climbing at this juncture.
When asked, many members of the Occupy movement will tell you that their efforts to shut down the city are related to income disparity. Yet, the people most affected by their actions are among the so-called 99%, whose backs the protesters purport to have. Businesses in the vicinity of Zuccotti Park are showing losses totaling half a million dollars since the sit-in began.
The most compelling evidence of a disconnect between the actions and self-professed goals of the Occupy movement comes out of Occupy Harvard, which is open only to those with a Harvard ID. The Atlantic Wire writes:
With the acceptance rate having dropped to a record low of 6.2 percent this year, Harvard College is already a problematic place to represent the interests of the 99 Percent. This is not to say that all Harvard students are wealthy sons and daughters of the 1 percent. In fact, Harvard also holds the record for the most financial aid offered to students and has been aggressively promoting socioeconomic diversity on campus since Harvard president Larry Summers introduced the initiative in 2004. But Harvard’s generosity wouldn’t be possible without the help of the hedge fund-loving Harvard Corporation, who boosted the university’s endowment 21 percent in the past year. It now totals $32 billion, making Harvard the second wealthiest nonprofit institution in the world, right behind the Catholic church.
And to think that Harvard can lay claim to nurturing some of the brightest minds within all of liberaldom. Makes some sort of perverse sense, doesn’t it?
The Occupy movement’s enablers in the press will tell you that demonstrators have accomplished what they set out to do. One of them, Harold Myerson, writes at The American Prospect that “Occupy Wall Street has already been a stunning success in changing the nation’s public discourse.” As evidence, he cites a graph of a Nexis search that shows a dramatic rise in the number of stories that include the term income inequality. What Myerson doesn’t do is explain why this disparity is necessarily evil in a system of free entreprise or offer a remedy to the “problem.” Then again, the obvious solution is one that makes liberals so uncomfortable that even its staunchest advocate denies supporting it.
- Wall Street-area restaurant threatened, harassed by OWS
- The high price of ‘Occupation’
- Occupy Wall Street becomes Burn Down Wall Street
- Poll: 73% of OWS disapprove of Obama’s job; 36% plan to vote for him
- You think liberals are smarter than conservatives? Prove it
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