E. J. Dionne: “Occupy Our Consciences”

In his recent column “Occupy Our Consciences” – Washington Post writer, southeast Massachusetts native E. J. Dionne sees the “Occupy” movement as ready to move on to a new phase. He urges the movement not to let conservatives  drive a wedge between working-class voters and the occupiers as Nixon did back in the 1960s – rather seize an opportunity and based on its slogan – “We are the 99 percent” – move forward.

Dionne notes how the local Massachusetts GOP is doing its part for the Karl Rove types:

That’s the theme of an outrageous advertisement assailing Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren by Crossroads GPS, the group associated with Karl Rove. It accuses Warren, a Democrat, of siding with occupiers who “attack police, do drugs and trash public parks.”

Notice that this is an effort to bury the movement’s apt criticisms of the financial system beneath a pile of stereotypes. The Massachusetts Republican Party is reinforcing the message with regular “Occupy Wall Street Incident Reports” about anything bad that happens at demonstrations around the country. They run under a logo casting Warren as the “Matriarch of Mayhem,” in honor of her statement that she had created “much of the intellectual foundation” for the new movement.

To her credit, Warren has not backed off her support for the movement’s core ideas or goals. She has, however, emphasized that the demonstrators should obey the law.

He ends his piece:

“The occupations have done their work. Now it’s time to occupy the majority.”

Read the full article here at washingtonpost.com.

6 Responses to E. J. Dionne: “Occupy Our Consciences”

  1. Publius says:

    A couple of observations:

    The Rove ads are holding Warren accountable for what she has said. When did it become wrong for quoting someone accurately?

    If the Occupy movement is so great why won’t she support Occupy Harvard? Is it because she doesn’t want these people in her own yard? Is she actually an NIMBY person?

    Her exhortation that Occupy people obey the law is completely fake. The occupation of Dewey Square is in itself breaking the law. This reminds me of Martha Coakley saying “it is not illegal to be an illegal”. Maybe this noncritical thinking by members of the law profession, is why the profession held in such disrepute.

  2. Andrew says:

    I fail to see how the ads are holding Warren accountable. Her work on income inequality, home foreclosures, and other similar topics provides a large amount of the academic basis for the critiques offered by the Occupy Movement. So what’s the criticism? She shouldn’t have pointed out the rise in income inequality because she should have foreseen that her work would in some small way play a role in a protest movement years later?

    Occupy Harvard is a tricky subject. It is extraordinarily controversial among undergraduates (the ones most affected by the increased security in Harvard Yard). It would appear that many of my classmates prefer saving 30 seconds on their walk to class over increased transparency from the Harvard Management Company. In addition, the politically-conscious left wing of campus has for the most part been unwilling to join the protesters or even defend them too loudly. Because of this, this is no occupation of Massachusetts Hall; Occupy Harvard is effectively irrelevant and will achieve nothing. Beyond this, Warren has already been attacked for the fact that she teaches at the second best law school in the country. Why this is a bad thing escapes me. But it is understandable why she wouldn’t want to bring up Occupy Harvard regardless of how she feels about it. As for NIMBY concerns, they’re in the Yard, not the HLS Quad. She doesn’t have to look at them or interact with them in any way. (I should note that I’ve only scratched the surface of the arguments surrounding Occupy Harvard. While I’d be more than willing to write 20 pages worth of text on it, no one will want to read it. I’ve touched on what I think are the most relevant points).

    Your commentary on her statement about obeying the law shows a remarkable lack of understanding. Occupy is at its heart a movement of civil disobedience aimed at creating a public space for political discourse. Everyone knows this. By definition a movement of civil disobedience is breaking the law; that’s the whole point. Her comment was obviously an exhortation to protesters to not devolve into violence.

  3. Christopher says:

    Publius, the real question is when did it become wrong to quote someone out of context, to which the answer of course should be that it is ALWAYS wrong! Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Wasn’t it illegal for African-Americans to sit at white-only lunch counters and expect to be served? Wasn’t it illegal for Rosa Parks to plunk herself down toward the front of the bus and then insist on staying put when a white passenger demanded that she surrender her seat? Technically, yes to both, but that doesn’t make it right.

  4. Michael Luciano says:

    @ Publius: “The occupation of Dewey Square is in itself breaking the law.”

    It would be illegal only if Dewey Square were in North Korea.

  5. Shawn says:

    If its not illegal, then I should be able to pull up in a pickup truck full of lumber and a concrete truck to build a foundation and “occupy” it myself for the next 50 years.. by building a comfortable shelter.

    permits? who needs permits?