Why are people occupying Wall Street? The US political elite and mainstream media don’t know what to make of it. ‘Anti-capitalist and unAmerican’, says Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, echoing the sentiments of the conservative left and political right. The mainstream commentariat, when it dares to peer closer, paints an unflattering picture of disaffected, disorganized youth, milling about Liberty Square without a shower or a set of policy demands to level at the administration.
#OccupyWallSt is a new kind of political movement. A critical angle one hears is that the movement hasn’t congealed into a coherent set of political demands. Isn’t this the point of a political movement: to work together to produce a set of demands to make to government? The fact that the protesters have not levelled any political demands is significant. They are allowing the 99% to define the movement in their own way, creating a clamors of grievances that works surprisingly well to consolidate actions.