Oh, how I envy his knack for explaining complicated things without oversimplifying them. His note on the video:
By the way when I say some news media people are “ringers,” I don’t necessarily mean that they deliberately obfuscate, or get orders from some shadowy figure to do so. I think they’ll often just have a personal investment in the system and status quo that’s being critiqued/threatened, so they’ll naturally–without any need to conspire–have their perception skewed by an instinct to protect the status quo they’re invested in. So though it’s quite possibly not their intention to play the ringer, it’s the function they wind up serving nonetheless.
Pay particular attention to his comment at the end of the video about being co-opted. The Occupy movement is about fundamental change in many things: how and for whom our financial system works, political influence in this country, the basic relationship between the public and everything tagged with their name: public service and public property being the foremost. It is, at heart, a radical movement.
There is a very real danger of this message being drowned out. There are plenty of people for whom the system was working just fine until it didn’t. You can see the extreme examples of the 53%-ers who take some kind of comfort in not being “those people,” but there are more subtle examples as well. Our financial and political systems got to be the way they are by exploitation of a class war that has been going on for a very long time–middle class versus the lower class.
Now, though, the system isn’t working for the middle class either, so they’re joining the protests. This is good, in that they provide numbers. They’ve been fetishized to the point where they provide moral legitimacy to the protests. They carry the message to people who won’t talk to the lower classes or those who are doing their best to undermine or sidestep the class system altogether.
It is not so good in that they have been largely responsible for the legitimization of the corrupt system up to this point. It has worked for them to be able to say, “NOT lower class. NOT classless.” It has given them identity and purpose in a world they didn’t control. It is the tiny prize they’ve been offered in a system that requires risk to change. It’s not surprising that they went that route. It’s not even particularly a judgment. Those tiny prizes are often all it takes.
However, their presence now can’t be allowed to make these protests less radical. They need to learn, to understand in ways that most of them don’t already, that cosmetic changes that make life and politics slightly better for them in the short term aren’t going to solve the big problems. They need to know that the first politician who comes along offering them a jobs bill can’t be allowed to take their time and attention away from those radical changes that are actually needed.
Without the radical changes, that jobs bill will be gone when the next Wall Street politician comes along, and they’ll have to start over. If this movement is allowed to become less radical, if it is co-opted, we’ll all be back in the same place in five years, starting over. This movement is good. It’s doing good things. Let’s not let that fail.