These "Occupy" protesters sure do look familiar

The elevator dispute says much about the new movement’s troubled ascent. The Occupy Wall Street protests tapped the left’s pent-up populism and anger at corporate excess. But here in Washington, progressive activists attempting to duplicate the phenomenon have so far had difficulty broadening their ranks beyond the usual suspects from antiwar demonstrations.

I don’t say this with satisfaction: A revived populist movement could be a crucial counterweight to the Tea Party, restoring some balance to a political system that has tilted heavily to the right. But while the Occupy movement in the capital has invigorated left-wing groups — Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, Common Dreams, Peace Action, DC Vote, Community Council for the Homeless and a score of other labor and progressive organizations are represented on Freedom Plaza — it has not ignited anything resembling a populist rebellion. To swell their ranks, protesters recruited the homeless to camp with them…

But where are the people? As the McPherson Square activists began to emerge from their sleeping bags during the Tuesday morning rush hour, commuters examined their display of protest signs. “Time to wake up,” announced one hand-lettered sign. Yet few here have awakened.

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