As Chris Hedges has pointed out, if the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow and attract attention, and if it begins to exert genuine influence (or if anything similar does), the measures by those in power to suppress it will become more and more draconian, and ultimately brutal.

Paul Krugman addresses three important points here, points that substantiate Chris Hedges’.

  • First, the fact that there’s such a strong negative reaction from the mainstream power structure to the Occupy Wall Street movement indicates its importance.
  • Second, the plutocrats wish to avoid scrutiny because their position is ultimately indefensible.
  • Third, the real radicals are the plutocrats themselves (or as FDR called them: “economic royalists”).

Let’s hope the movement becomes powerful enough to withstand the firestorm of oppression it will surely evince — and even moreso that it leads to the kind of positive social change we so desperately need.

Panic of the Plutocrats

by Paul Krugman

It remains to be seen whether the Occupy Wall Street protests will change America’s direction. Yet the protests have already elicited a remarkably hysterical reaction from Wall Street, the super-rich in general, and politicians and pundits who reliably serve the interests of the wealthiest hundredth of a percent.

And this reaction tells you something important — namely, that the extremists threatening American values are what F.D.R. called “economic royalists,” not the people camping in Zuccotti Park.

Consider first how Republican politicians have portrayed the modest-sized if growing demonstrations, which have involved some confrontations with the police — confrontations that seem to have involved a lot of police overreaction — but nothing one could call a riot. And there has in fact been nothing so far to match the behavior of Tea Party crowds in the summer of 2009.

Nonetheless, Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, has denounced “mobs” and “the pitting of Americans against Americans.” The G.O.P. presidential candidates have weighed in, with Mitt Romney accusing the protesters of waging “class warfare,” while Herman Cain calls them “anti-American.” My favorite, however, is Senator Rand Paul, who for some reason worries that the protesters will start seizing iPads, because they believe rich people don’t deserve to have them.

Michael Bloomberg, New York’s mayor and a financial-industry titan in his own right, was a bit more moderate, but still accused the protesters of trying to “take the jobs away from people working in this city,” a statement that bears no resemblance to the movement’s actual goals.

And if you were listening to talking heads on CNBC, you learned that the protesters “let their freak flags fly,” and are “aligned with Lenin.”

The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.

Last year, you may recall, a number of financial-industry barons went wild over very mild criticism from President Obama. They denounced Mr. Obama as being almost a socialist for endorsing the so-called Volcker rule, which would simply prohibit banks backed by federal guarantees from engaging in risky speculation. And as for their reaction to proposals to close a loophole that lets some of them pay remarkably low taxes — well, Stephen Schwarzman, chairman of the Blackstone Group, compared it to Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

And then there’s the campaign of character assassination against Elizabeth Warren, the financial reformer now running for the Senate in Massachusetts. Not long ago a YouTube video of Ms. Warren making an eloquent, down-to-earth case for taxes on the rich went viral. Nothing about what she said was radical — it was no more than a modern riff on Oliver Wendell Holmes’s famous dictum that “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.”

But listening to the reliable defenders of the wealthy, you’d think that Ms. Warren was the second coming of Leon Trotsky. George Will declared that she has a “collectivist agenda,” that she believes that “individualism is a chimera.” And Rush Limbaugh called her “a parasite who hates her host. Willing to destroy the host while she sucks the life out of it.”

What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.

Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.

This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage. In fact, the more reasonable and moderate a critic sounds, the more urgently he or she must be demonized, hence the frantic sliming of Elizabeth Warren.

So who’s really being un-American here? Not the protesters, who are simply trying to get their voices heard. No, the real extremists here are America’s oligarchs, who want to suppress any criticism of the sources of their wealth.

Original post on nytimes.com

40 Responses to “The Real Radicals”

  1. irlicutt shanly says:

    got some crooked cops, for The citizens have dealt with their shady actions for decades, and it improved what so ever.

  2. mclenworsc says:

    USA Today

    Hispanics skip work to protest Alabama immigration law
    ILW.com
    Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the US District …
    Federal civil rights lawyer asks Alabama immigrants to any problems …Washington Post
    DOJ seeks complaints against Ala. lawPolitico
    all 769 news articles »

  3. Because the producers, who are charged with making money for the show, are cravenly greedy and need to create a controversy in order to get viewers to the program to sell them products during commercial breaks. They have no other function than to make money. These people give a damn about America, our Constitution (except their own 1st Amendment rights as a tv station), or h

  4. darriege posta says:

    John Rizzo, Thank for fighting for disability rights, human rights, equality, and an excellent education for all 99% at OSF, OOakland, OSac!

  5. otthiborou herrowskie says:

    And police officers are often people who have the desire to dominate others, which is criminal behavior, in my book. There are plenty of jobs out there that need to be done, like planting trees, cleaning the streets, installing clean energy sources, building homes in Haiti, housing the homeless, taking care of the mentally ill, taking care of the physically ill, taking care of homeless animals…the list is endless.

  6. riksey castoderth says:

    I don’t know what people were expecting from the top levels of government. Did you really expect them to say Occupy Wallstreet has it all wrong? You can’t alienate American protesters. Regardless of no president would say that. Obama focused on saying that he understands their frustrations. He didn’t say “I everything they’re doing”.

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  8. kowsky vera says:

    4.Why do you think in USA they used for century ‘communism’ card( as they use it now an ‘Islamic terrorism’ card) – to create an ugly enemy , a godless bolshevism versus free society of ‘nation under God’ ? The USA nation was brainwashed by this ideology which made possible the bombing of Hiroshima/Nag., Vietnam, Yugoslavia, etc, etc, now Iraq,libya, soon iran etc

  9. Probably, but the only solution then is to take people as individuals as much as possible and disregard collectivist labels.

  10. farre rardin says:

    Answer. Yes I live in Manhattan and it’s hard to get away from the protests. Like you, these people don’t understand the problem or what they’re protesting. Some of them have been dealt a worse hand than others, but what they all have in common is that they’re responding by blaming everything on the wealthy instead of persevering. I’m all for ending crony capitalism, not capitalism itself. But these people are bloodsuckers with an overactive sense of entitlement.

  11. I don’t think this film should make anyone feel bad. It should, however, help us to learn from our mistakes so that those same mistakes aren’t repeated. You can’t help but feel bad for people like that…no matter what color they are. No one is born racist; it’s a learned behavior. I’ve seen dozens of film clips of white southerners from that time, and they look so possessed with hatred. Those people are merely a sad product of their environment.

  12. “You may be happy to know that the Ku Klux Klan was happy to offer their endorsement for him: so did Civil Rights Activist David Duke, he even features a section of his site dedicated to Paul:

  13. < Eric Schmidt: We Don't Talk About >a “/a< In The Valley Because We Don't Have Those Problems >a >a “/a

  14. “Plus, if we have to rely on lawsuits and “after the fact” shunning of the guilty polluter, the damage is already done. Also lawsuits take years, cost large amounts of money, and when buying stuff at no one cares who pollutes or not. We need the federal level EPA. If there are problems with the EPA, they can be fixed, but the EPA itself is crucial.”

  15. yaden pala says:

    Ron Paul was against the Civil Rights Bill being passed or the Government ending segregation we call that consistent –

  16. kohoad ban says:

    Such an amazing speech. got what it takes to be the next Roosevelt, Lincoln, etc. Obama 2008! Help save America!

  17. ris packe says:

    dr duke just letting you know im a 17year old boy soon to become a cop and i have more then 12 of my mates that love to watch your videos and we all follow you and never stop talking about you and teach people your ways this is coming from australia

  18. a lot of anti-media talk in the comments. You should, in no way, stop watching the news. You should expose yourself to as many different view points of the news. The news is made by people and if you know anything about scientific reliability; getting as many different sources as possible dramatically increases reliability, reducing the effect of an anomylae.

    In other words, educate yourself and listen to facts. Form your own opinions based on fact. That way, you be controled.

  19. imah dauders says:

    NCCU to honor civil rights protest: DURHAM A section of the FW & Co. lunch counter that was the site…

  20. In life, there are followers and then there are leaders. 95% of the people out there are followers. Only 5% get far in life. She is a follower.

  21. crett barns says:

    Honest question: Were civil rights marchers accused of “provoking” police attack dogs and firehoses back in the day? –

  22. taiba tuula says:

    This is the problem, some of us think that we need others! Until we face the reality that each one needs one, we will continue to be doomed! The Bible teach us to turn our backs on our neighbors, and yet reading some of these comments ….I wonder how many are truly christians?

  23. Reed Hastings was sitting in a hot tub in Santa Cruz with a friend when he told him about his idea for Qwikster, the doomed spin-off of Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service. His friend thought it was an awful idea. This anecdote comes from William D. Cohan’s Vanity Fair account of Netflix’s stock crash in the second half of 2011, and it was originally published in the New York Times. Cohan writes: But Hastings “ignored the warning, believing that chief executives should generally discount what their friends say.” Now he admitted that he had been “guilty of overconfidence and of ‘moving too quickly,’” and “hubris,” even. The harsh reaction from his customers was due to the “angry mood of the country,” he said, citing both the Tea and Occupy Wall Street political movements. He again clarified that he did what had to be done. “We still need to move quickly in streaming,” he said. Please follow SAI: Media on Twitter and Facebook. Join the conversation about this story » See Also: Uh Oh!…

  24. Google “Are Evangelical Christians Warmongers” by Pastor Chuck Baldwin for an eye-opener on the war stance of Perry, Bachmann, Cain and Romney

    I sent MONEY to Ron campaign! — a Christian and truly anti-war.

  25. cass szolden says:

    Today is a big day for the fight for equality in Omaha. No one should be permitted to fire someone based on LGBT status.

  26. hane tsuko says:

    Mark, these are not technically Israel’s “deep cover” operatives, but Jewish tribalists whose personal identity has been so threatened by Atzmon’s exposure of the phenomenon (which has been out there in plain sight like the naked emperor) that all they know how to do is thrash out and try to silence him, not realizing that by so doing, they are proving that what he says and writes about them to be correct. I have been dealing with some these folks for the past year who, BTW, do not like so much focus on “The Lobby,” repeating the old and convenient canard that Zionism was and is nothing more than a tool of first British, then US imperialism. It does have a nice feel to it, but it ain’t so.

  27. RT “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” –Mussolini

    #nerdland

  28. Before we can have the legality and equality we need first to have acceptance from other LGBT as well

  29. I’m not one to think equality means 50/50 representation, it means if they want it its a possibility – whoever they are.

  30. eements jountzer says:

    You Have the Right to Remain Silent: NLG Guide to Law Enforcement Encounters:

    Occupy Wall Street is a no… http://t.co/ZJAsJAVj

  31. cars kenbaudett says:

    Homeland Security has wanted Occupy Wall Street Protests to turn violent, to provide a rationale for more money from the Feds.

  32. ask me to enforce something that violates civil rights is ludicrous & absolutely something I am not willing to do.”

  33. testley off says:

    Occupy Wall Street, Year Two:
    Every Monday for the past six weeks, a crowd of activists has piled into a crampe… http://t.co/qRg933Qf

  34. sportin nar says:

    Paylaşım için çok teşekkürler. Ruelle’in ‘The Mathematician’s Brain’ kitabında da Grothendieck ile ilgili yerler vardır, vakti zamanında üşenmeyip not etmiştim:

  35. Seahorses are all for equality between the sexes. They reproduce in an unusual way: the male is the one that becomes pregnant.

  36. bransou ang says:

    Forex Technical Update
    Previous: GBP/USD Completing an ABC Correction (9/26)
    GBP/USD 1H 9/27/ 2012 8:15AM EDT

    After ABC correction: The GBP/USD indeed rallied following the completion of an ABC correction, with pretty much wave wave equality, as seen in the 1H There was even a bullish divergence with the 1H RSI before the rally that is now pushing above 1.62 as we enter the 9/27 US session. The 1H shows the GBP/USD at a key juncture from which we can get clues for its direction in the Bearish scenario: As you can see the 1.6220-1.6225 area consists of the 200-hour SMA and a declining trendline from last week.  Also note the RSI reading at 60. If the market is to remain bearish in the the GBP/USD should hold under 1.6225 and the RSI should stay under 60, or come right back below 60 if there is a brief violation. In this bearish continuation scenario, the next key will be the rising

  37. If wall street was closed for two days for hurricane sandy….what happened to the occupy wall street group during that time?

  38. we need to hassle our SOSs to get the election process right so our votes count. It’s a huge ‘civil righ …

  39. Resource Equality and Social Policies. Blog linked to the …. A related time consistency problem can explain why transfer programs, such as social insurance, education and job training are in kind. If a rational …

  40. US States Pass Legislation to Censor Free Speech on the Internet: Occupy Corporatism- by Susanne Posel The Ill… … –

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