“I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.”
To suggest that “just go speak at the ballot box” will do the job of proper representation is to dismiss the effects of money buying influence. To change a “way of life” such as that which has been developed in the lobby culture of Washington requires more dramatic, confrontive forms of speech. And even here, the system will come up with all sorts of reasons to deny those forms (ie “public safety, sanitation, etc.”). Occupy has often employed “sit in” type tactics in public places (a public of which they themselves are a part), and to there create a literal public square to enable the conversations that need to be had, and draw the attention of those who will inform the public about why we gather. And it is here where the system also interferes and attempts to stay out of the real conversation staking place and present characterizations that will sell in the marketplace (ala Fox News and various “Tea Party communications”). It’s very ironic that the “Tea Party” folks, when asked about the Occupy movment, often complain that they are “lawless”, when the ACTUAL Tea Party broke the laws (and destroyed property and product– the very name of that product was the name of their protest). The “Tea Party” is more like a “counter demonstration” devised to fight back against reform; they are “status quo” in that they claim to “protest big government”, but started AFTER the demise of the massive growth of the biggest government expansions under George W. Bush. And in their economic naievete, they disdain the spending required to temporarily prop up a failed economic system, which failed because of the massive government cooperation via Wall Street lobbying interests whose money persuaded Clinton and Bush W. to look the other way (ie. resist regulations that would curb the shady and deceptive trading and loan practices– and allowed the construction of financial instruments that enabled people to profit from defaulted loans, hoisted upon trusting home buyers).
We’ll see what the Obama administration ACTUALLY does with Obama’s SOTU promise to create an investigation unit to seek out the wrong doers in the Wall Street shenanigans. Word is that settlement talks with the Banks shielding them from prosecution are coming close to completion. Not quite the kind of news that’s good to hear after the kind of talk in which Obama was engaging. And it still irks me that he made no mention of Occupy Wall Street. That is not going to help his cause at all.