What's behind the scorn for the Wall Street protests?
By Glenn Greenwald | Wednesday, September 28, 2011
A few hundred demonstrators protesting against corporationsmarch from nearby Zucotti park to Wall Street, Tuesday, Sept.20, 2011, in the Manhattan borough of New York.
It's unsurprising that establishment media outlets have beencondescending,dismissiveandscornfulof the ongoing protests on
Wall Street.Any entity that declares itself an adversary of prevailing institutional power is going to be viewed with hostility by establishmentserving institutions and their loyalists.That's justthe nature of protests that take place outside approved channels, aninevitable byproduct of disruptive dissent: those who are most vested in safeguarding and legitimizing establishment prerogatives(which, by definition, includes establishment media outlets) aregoing to be hostile to those challenges.As the virtually universaldisdain in these same circlesfor WikiLeaks(and, before that, for theIraq War protests) demonstrated:the more effectively adversarial itis, the more establishment hostility it's going to provoke.Nor is it surprising that much of the most vocal criticisms of the Wall Street protests has come from some selfidentified progressives, who one might think would be instinctively sympathetic to the substantive message of theprotesters.Inan excellent analysisentitled "Why Establishment Media & the Power Elite Loathe Occupy Wall Street,"Kevin Gosztola chronicles how much of the most scornful criticisms have come from Democratic partisans who likethe politicians to whom they devote their fealty feign populist opposition to Wall Street for political gain.Some of this antiprotest posturing is just the alltoofamiliar
ish eagerness to prove one's own Seriousness by castigating anyone to the left of, say, Dianne Feinstein or JohnKerry; for such individuals, multiterm, proIraqWarDemocratic Senatorplutocrats define the outermost leftwinglimit of respectability.Also at play is the jingoistic notion thatstreet protests are valid in Those Bad Countries but not in free,democratic America. A siginificant aspect of this progressive disdain is grounded inthe belief that the only valid form of political activism is supportfor Democratic Party candidates, and a corresponding desire toundermine anything that distracts from that goal.Indeed, theloyalists of both parties have an interest in marginalizing anything that might serve as a vehicle for activism outside of fealty to one of the two parties(
' firing of Glenn Beck was almost certainly motivated by hisfrequentdeviation from the GOP partyline orthodoxy which Fox exists to foster).The very idea that one can effectively battle Wall Street's corruption and control by working for the Democratic Party is absurd on its face:Wall Street'sfavorite candidate in 2008 was BarackObama, whose administration led by a Wall
StreetWhite House Chief of Staff and WallStreetsubservient Treasury Secretary and filled to the brim with Goldman
Sachs officials is now working hard to protect bankers from meaningful accountability (and though he's behind WallStreet's own Mitt Romney in the Wall Street cash sweepstakes this year,Obama is still doing well); one of Wall Street'smost faithful servantsis Chuck Schumer, the money man of the Democratic Party; and the secondranking SenateDemocrat acknowledged when Democrats controlled the Congress that theowners of Congress arebankers.There are individuals who impressively rail against the crony capitalism and corporatism that sustains WallStreet's power, but they're no match for the party apparatus that remains fully owned and controlled by it.But much of this progressive criticism consists of relatively (ostensibly)wellintentionedtactical and organizationalcritiquesof the protests:there wasn't a clear unified message; it lacked a coherent media strategy; the neohippieparticipants were too offputting to Middle America; the resulting police brutality overwhelmed the message, etc.etc.That's the highminded form which most progressive scorn for the protests took:
it's just not professionallyorganized or effective.
Some of these critiques are ludicrous. Does anyone really not know what the basic message is of this protest: that WallStreet is oozing corruption and criminality and its unrestrained political power in the form of crony capitalism and