Taibbi: Occupy Wall Street is Bigger Than Left vs. Right

At Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi on right-wing efforts (yeah, including Breitbart) to turn the "Occupy Wall Street" movement into a liberal-left conspiracy. "Don't fall for it," he writes. (via Dan Gillmor)


  1. There’s no issue that mainstream politicians and media can’t spin as a “Left vs. Right” debate, even in matters of purely objective and verifiable fact. For that matter I’m not even sure there’s any issue that they can depict as anything other than “Left vs. Right.”

    1. It’s in the mainstream interest to foment opposition in that way in order to dissuade one side from finding commonality with the other. It’s a form of political sabotage designed to undercut those opposed to the third party (those in power). Turning classes against each other is a tried and true divide-and-conquer strategy.

      1. “Political movements with single charismatic leaders are also more suitable and efficient for television. When a movement has no leader or focus, television needs to create one… The one is easier than the many.  The personality. or the symbol is easier than the philosophy.”
        — Jerry Mander, in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1977).

        1. That’s not a phenomenon unique to television. I’m pretty sure the Buddha, Martin Luther, Jefferson Davis, Karl Marx, etc. etc. didn’t get much face time on CNN in their day.

    2. Should be able to agree on the Pledge, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights.  Created equal, with liberty, and equal justice for all … certain inalienable rights. Wow, even the pursuit of happiness … for all! 

  2. Everything is bigger than left versus right.  The only people who want us to believe otherwise are the left and the right.

  3. Can Atlas just shrug already so the rich assholes move on and leave us alone? Go hide in Gstaad or whatever and let us start over. Week after week of this is stomach churning.

  4. Hold up a second.  Conspiracy is a stupid word, but isn’t this a basically left-liberal protest?  Could you not get a cheer by saying “why won’t Obama stand up for the things he promised us!” and a boo for “what do you think of that Sarah Palin?”

    I mean, boing boing is a pretty liberal media institution, and have been firmly cheerleading the protests.  I haven’t read a single article here that would suggest any kind of broad political consensus.

    “We are the 99%”  is a pretty good slogan, but it’s hardly the result of a well conducted poll.

    1. But being disappointed in Obama and thinking Sarah Palin is an idiot are NOT left-wing viewpoints.  They are completely mainstream.

    2. Conspiracy is a stupid word, but isn’t this a basically left-liberal protest?

      It’s a protest against things that people on the right claim to care about too. The rank-and-file voters of both political parties are disgusted by the idea of irresponsible corporations getting huge taxpayer-funded bailouts, for example. If you poll ordinary conservatives (not elected-office holding Republicans but actual citizens) you’ll find that a clear majority support increased taxes on the rich, too.

  5. I read some boneheaded comment from Eric Cantor (which is probably a tautology) the other day to the effect that the Occupy Wall Street protests are designed as a distraction from the failures of the Obama Administration.

    My immediate response was to wonder why anyone would attempt to distract from the failures of the Obama Administration by calling attention to them.

  6. Pretty much what happened to the Tea Party. If it looks like you’ve got a real Movement all the kooks show up (American Nazi Party just announced their support for Occupy Wall Street, against the ‘JEW BANKERS’) and start pushing their agendas and the big evil types (Koch Bros, Prison Guard unions) take control behind the scenes. Not sure what you can do about it other than try to stay real.

  7. You’re never going to wrap your head around this thing while you still think of the Democratic Party as “the Left” and the Republican Party as “the Right”.  It’s like Coke vs. Pepsi. Neither can pass for nutrition. But they’ve got the market cornered between them.
    There’s one, just one, issue that defines the left-to-right scale. That’s distribution of wealth. On the far right end of the scale, one man owns the World. We’re almost there.
    The ninety-nine percent stand to gain from a more even distribution of wealth. Anyone in his right mind stands to the Left of what we’re getting.

  8. Wah?  The linked article is talking about the political make up of OWS.

    There are some talking points that left and right can agree on, but that doesn’t make this a broad consensus movement.  And yes, left and right is a tricky spectrum, especially when it becomes entwined with social issues.  But how many people there would identify as left-liberal vs right-conservative.  Straw poll the protesters and I’d wager you five english pounds that they’d support more stringent regulation, higher taxation levels and more publicly provided goods.  They would be skeptical of the profit motive as a useful force in society, and of the ability of markets to organise society.  Unless you just want to abandon left and right completely, that’s a left wing set of views.

    I just don’t really understand why this is an issue at all.  Lefty anti corporate protestors communicate with news media of similar mindset shock.

    1. Straw poll the protesters and I’d wager you five english pounds that they’d support more stringent regulation, higher taxation levels and more publicly provided goods. 

      And then what? What’s your point, establishing a category error?

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