© D. Seaton
"An inch ahead lies darkness"
Japanese proverb

Many people are making facile comparisons between today's OWS movement and the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era. A major difference between what happened then and what is happening today is that the 60's anti-war movement occurred in the context of great prosperity and full employment, was led by middle class students anxious to avoid the draft, was not seconded by labor and in the context of a foreign war was often opposed by the "silent majority" on patriotic grounds.

None of this applies today. Now we are seeing students, organized labor and even war veterans arm in arm lined up against the "one percent" and it is also significant that they are ignoring Washington and concentrating their actions directly on the economic powers themselves, occupying Wall Street and now paralyzing America's most important sea port, Oakland California.

In other places and other eras, both these actions would have been considered pre-revolutionary.
Thousands of anti-corporate greed demonstrators have closed one of America's busiest ports. The authorities at the Port of Oakland in California said maritime operations had effectively halted. The shutdown capped a day in which hundreds of city workers, including teachers, joined the call for a strike.The crowds also stopped traffic at a junction where a military veteran was seriously injured last week as protesters clashed with police. (...) That incident catapulted Oakland, which is on San Francisco Bay, to the centre of the national Occupy Wall Street movement and has spurred fresh demonstrations across the US.(...) The demonstration, which included students, families with young children and union members, began with a rally outside city hall. One large protest banner read: "Occupy Everything, death to capitalism." - BBC
Karl Marx oversold socialism, but he was right in claiming that globalization, unfettered financial capitalism, and redistribution of income and wealth from labor to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruct. As he argued, unregulated capitalism can lead to regular bouts of over-capacity, under-consumption, and the recurrence of destructive financial crises, fueled by credit bubbles and asset-price booms and busts.(...) Any economic model that does not properly address inequality will eventually face a crisis of legitimacy. Unless the relative economic roles of the market and the state are rebalanced, the protests of 2011 will become more severe, with social and political instability eventually harming long-term economic growth and welfare. Nouriel Roubini
54 percent of Americans support OWS, with only 23 percent opposed - but because the system is corrupted beyond repair. This slowly dawning realization is both invigorating - an invitation to engage in the kind of bold, blue-sky strategic thinking that leftists have not entertained for decades - and disturbing, a harbinger of just how nasty the future may get. Gordon Lafer - The Nation

The one place the protestors are not occupying is Washington D.C., they have given Washington up as useless. The idea being that Washington's political class only represents the rich and powerful and not the people who are asked to vote for them. In short they are merely the punks, lapdogs, errand boys, (lackeys? running dogs? :^)) of those entrenched and manipulative economic powers. this is a strategy that might be expressed as "kill the head and you kill the snake".

Certainly from a classic left wing point of view, what is happening spontaneously today is much more interesting then what happened in the 1960s. However, the right's classic answer to this level of domestic unrest and system questioning is to start a foreign war to create a spirit of national unity as an answer to fear...

And what do you know, right on schedule, as Wall Street is being occupied by angry American citizens, we are hearing rumors that Bibi Netanyahu, to the apparent horror of Israel's general staff, the intelligence establishment, and a majority of his country's already angry citizens, is preparing to start a war with Iran. This is something that would probably put oil at an unimaginable price and trigger a worldwide depression, but certainly would take peoples minds off of OWS, cottage cheese and the Palestinians bid to join the UN. Who knows who might be egging him on in this, the candidates are too numerous.

Certainly the Japanese proverb, "an inch ahead lies darkness" is especially appropriate nowadays. DS