Reply to Dennis Lund’s “OWS: Influencers of the Influential Over the Influenced” [Benicia Herald 12-3-11,] –Robert M. Shelby, 12-6-11.

After an interestingly informative piece, Dennis ends with:

“Those coming of age in this era of Occupy’s Obamavilles are not asking for an opportunity, nor do they demonstrate the price they are willing to pay or the sacrifices they will make. Instead, they are demanding it, and if they cannot earn it because of obstacles more self-perceived than real, they are going to take it.”

Dennis seems to assume OWS participants are all youngsters. What we’ve seen is age-inclusiveness. He seems also to assume the obstacles to good employment are merely perceived, not systemic. Also, his backwardite viewpoint demands that he project OWS participants as lazy beggars invalidly aggrieved.

“They do not feel a living is earned; they believe it to be a right. They do not see the government as the entity that ensures fairness of opportunity; they see it as the provider of opportunity. And they see the state as the entity that determines how big a piece of the pie everyone deserves — a division not based on contribution but on ‘fairness.’” / “Most crucially, they feel they are best suited to” [define fairness.]

Dennis avoids seeing that the OWS movement is making appeal less to government than voicing disgust with corporatism and the wealthiest bank-culture of grabbing everything in sight at any opportunity. Still more generally, he wants to paint the movement in conspiratorial colors as produced by some Occupy Boston leaders who gave a platform to Marxist speeches. Ah, well. Poor fellow, we must discount his fearful defensiveness of the sacred few. He feels he’s one of them, and this prevents him from seeing that OWS is much more a grassroots phenomenon than one “led by the nose” by conspirators. It shows he lacks broad understanding, both, of our society and of conspiracy. It is easy to paint a “community of interest” as “conspiratorial.” But, Dennis likes easy rhetoric more than honest analysis. OWS begins in North Africa and the state of Wisconsin, and spreads via social media, cellphone and news reports. It doesn’t require any “slimy cadre of half-secret manipulators” as did the Tea Party’s “astroturf manufacturers.”

By the way, Dennis, does enduring cold outdoor temperatures night after night, then getting punched around, shot with rubber bullets, tazers, tear-gas canisters, pepper spray, thrown down in cuffs and jailed for constitutionally allowed actions, qualify as “paying a price” or offering no personal “sacrifice?” Also, Dennis, it seems notable that for one so lacking empathy as yourself, you can divine the feelings, attitudes and beliefs of all those OWS participants across our country as readily as if you had taken your views from a cookie cutter. You would be a fine voice for justice if you could find any within yourself! Try to critique things in this country that really deserve it.

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