Occupy turns left
Liberals have had lots of fun mocking Tea Party activists who decry federal spending and government overreach while fiercely defending their access to Social Security and Medicare. Today, the left submits its own entrant into this exercise in political gymnastics, as Occupy Wall Street stakes its comeback bid on a general strike against capitalism.
Occupy movements across the country have scheduled May Day protests. In Boston, the protests will begin with a block party outside the Bank of America tower, and culminate in a Copley Square funeral for capitalism. The general strike urges participants not to work or attend school, and to abstain from banking and commerce.
The May Day strike is supposed to be Occupy’s coming out party, its first mass action since activists were evicted from camps last fall. But if the planned May Day actions are any indication, the Occupy movement will be emerging from the winter riddled with the same kinds of sectarian divides it was grappling with last fall.
When Occupy had physical camps to defend, it could defer questions about whether it represented a progressive reform movement or a revolutionary one. The tenor of today’s May Day protests — decrying the act of banking, parading through Copley Square carrying a coffin for capitalism — tilts in the revolutionary direction. But it’s also an absurdist action, because Occupy protesters are as enmeshed in the capitalist economy, and derive the same kinds of benefits from it, as the Tea Partiers who cash Social Security checks.
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