Wednesday, September 28, 2011

OccupyWallStreet: Why are the New York Times and Mayor Bloomberg Dissing OWS? In a Word: Fear.

All we have to fear is fear itself (none visible here).

[Sep 28, updated through Oct 2.] Let's begin with a paragraph from the front page of today's New York Times: "As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge around the Globe":
    MADRID — Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries.
It's gone global. New York Times front page .
OK, so it's happening, all of it triggered by the immolation last December of Mohammed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street fruit vendor whom history will one day remember as the Rosa Parks of the Arab Spring of 2011. As a fine CBS 60 Minutes segment showed last February, it was Bouazizi's death (and life) that triggered the Arab Spring. And now, the Arab Spring is a Global Spring, as Peter Coy foresaw in his BloombergBusinessweek cover story of last February. 

But. Wonder of wonders. Even as the Times covers the Arab Spring in its global aspect, it belittles the occurrence of this phenomenon in its own back yard. Times coverage to date has consisted of dismissive stories like this and this, "Gunning for Wall Street with Faulty Aim" (9/23), by Gina Bellafonte, whose interviews with a few occupiers convince her that the "cause [of the occupation] . . . in specific terms, was virtually impossible to decipher."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

OccupyWallStreet: American Tahrir Square?

September 17.  The New York Times writes that 1,000 people today converged on Wall Street. [9/19 ABC News and The Guardian of England put the number at 5,000.] The corporate-critical publication Adbusters, which spearheaded this action, had called for 20,000 people to occupy Wall Street not for a day but for a period of months, emulating the occupation of Cairo's Tahrir Square that forced the ouster last February of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
"Ragingly ignorant anti-capitalists"?

How credible is OccupyWallStreet? What do occupiers want? What impact might they have if they follow through on their pledge of a two-month occupation? And who are they: "ragingly ignorant anti-capitalists", as a TownHall commentator Erika Johnsen writes, or angry youth "united in the spirit of the Tahrir Square revolutionaries", as MarketWatch's Paul Farrell asserts?