Egyptian Protesters March in Support of Occupy Oakland

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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16 Responses

  1. Avatar James K
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    says:

    I feel similarly. It’s not that people have no reason to be unhappy, I just don’t think it’s very likely that anything good will come of it.Report

  2. Avatar ktward
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    says:

    E.D. and James K., you both largely echo my own officially tempered position among [cough] “adults”.

    But I have kids in college. Grad & undergrad. My kids and their friends mostly ignore me while paradoxically appreciating me– the quirky evolution of relationships between kids and parents is fascinating enough from the outside, from within it’s a serious mind trip.

    Anyhoo, to these 19-26 yo youngsters I’ve no such tentative inclinations. No PC qualifications. I’m like, “get your ass out there!” and, channeling Maddow, “protests aren’t designed to be convenient!”

    And so I’m wondering, E.D.: If you weren’t speaking to Forbes readers and the Boys Club that is the League (not a criticism, simply an observation), might your take on OWS be less guarded?Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to ktward
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      says:

      ktward – well a lot changes in a decade. When Afghanistan and Iraq were going down, I was all about protests and the indignation and anger of the times. War is hell and all that jazz.

      And a part of me wants to be as fired up as these OWS folk are, but another part of me is more cautious. I write at Forbes and The League partly because these are simply the right settings for me. I can’t jump on the proper bandwagons to get all bent out of shape about this or that for long (unless it’s a structural critique, you know.)

      So no, if I wrote anywhere else I’d be just as cautious and just as prone to bouts of enthusiasm. I am pendulumesque in this sense, swinging hither and thither between enthusiasm and pessimism. This applies to many things, not just OWS.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to ktward
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      says:

      I’m 29, so I’m only a little older than those kids myself, though those few extra years gave me time to settle into a job before the midden hit the windmill. Mind you, I’m also naturally far more cold-blooded than most people.

      My issue has never been with the protesters’ sense of grievance. There is an important distinction between what you want, and how you get it. If an action will not assist you in getting what you want then you should not take that action, the strength of your desire is besides the point.

      The economy is a dynamic self-interactive system of unfathomable complexity. Geniuses have spent their lives trying to work out how to improve small parts of it. Most of them fail. The government isn’t holding out on some magic plan to fix the economy. They have no idea how to get us out of this, and neither does anyone else.

      The only well-known solution for dealing with recessions is to wait for it to come right by itself. The government can do some things to ease the pain in the short term but they can’t bring the jobs back any more than King Canute could keep the tide from coming in.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to James K
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        says:

        A good bit of the displeasure a lot of us feel is not that the Gov hasn’t miraculously fixed the economy. Its that our Gov isn’t, for a variety of reasons, providing even much of a decent safety net nor can many people get things like health care where the Gov is going to be involved in some way. The isn’t only not easing the short term pain but one of the parties doesn’t even want it. We don’t need Canute to rage at the waves, just a part of the Gov to help people when a storm comes.

        Is “midden hit the windmill” an actual New Zealandism or just your own creation?Report

        • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to greginak
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          says:

          Very good point, greginak. The safety net is hugely mangled in this country.Report

        • Avatar James K in reply to greginak
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          says:

          Is “midden hit the windmill” an actual New Zealandism or just your own creation?

          Neither, it’s Terry Pratchett.

          Its that our Gov isn’t, for a variety of reasons, providing even much of a decent safety net nor can many people get things like health care where the Gov is going to be involved in some way.

          OK, that is something amenable to policy intervention and if you can get your government to make changes there some good may indeed come from this.

          Unfortunately the problem isn’t so much that your government doesn’t have a welfare system, it’s that your welfare system is severely mistargeted (focused on transferring money from young to old instead of from rich to poor). And since your government doesn’t have enough income to simply add to the existing system, the trick will be getting the Baby Boomers to release their death grip on the public purse.

          As for healthcare, well I posted my thoughts on that recently. Unfortunately the ACA has only made this worse. A system where everyone has to buy comprehensive “insurance” and everyone pays the same price for it is a system that benefits the old at the expense of the young.Report

  3. Avatar MFarmer
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    says:

    What really amazes me about OWS is the pervasive lack of historical perspective and the concomitant disconnect between cause and effect re: the problems they’ve highlighted.Report

  4. Avatar Tom Van Dyke
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    says:

    The photos from Egypt don’t look right, the angles of the pro-OWS signs—all the same size cardboard and written in red and black marker—not necessarily a significant part of the larger march.

    I’m not sure there’s a credible story here.

    Besides, until Egyptians clean their own house—27 Coptic Christians were just murdered during a peaceful protest on October 9

    http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2011/10/cardinal-schonborn-protests-against.html

    what the “Egyptian street” thinks of a non-fatal incident in Oakland is of zero importance.

    Thousands of Egyptian Americans representing oppressed and persecuted Coptic Christians streamed down Washington, DC’s Pennsylvania Avenue Wednesday, October 19, 2011. Their demonstration had begun in front of the White House. It ended with a rally at the U.S. Capitol.

    Thousands? More than all the #Occupy combined? Did you hear about this? I didn’t. Something’s really wrong here, gentlemen.Report

  5. Avatar pete.mack
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    says:

    I’ve been going to the local OWS (Seattle) protests fairly often and have an order for cheap bivvy sacks at amazon so I can sleep downtown. Say what you will about the ahistoricity of the protesters: the notion that any protest is an “illegal assembly is profoundly Un-American. And yet that is the rationale behind crackdowns in Denver, Oakland and elsewhere.
    From this perspective the original Boston Tea Party would still be an arrestable offence. We know how that worked out the first time.

    I work at Microsoft and I am well paid. Yet still Jamie Dimon makes in one day what I make in a year. And Dimon’s company makes no products whatsoever. It’s surely a sign of something profoundly wrong.Report

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