The recent clash between Occupy participants and Boston police that resulted in 141 arrests on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway was unfortunate, but, as those things go, was relatively well-handled by both sides — certainly when compared to the arrests in New York of 700 on the Brooklyn Bridge.
PHOTOS: "Boston Police arrest Occupy Boston protesters," by Derek Kouyoumjian
There is an irony at work here that the Occupy movement would do well to recognize. The protests and demonstrations are taking place at the local level. Municipalities have been almost as badly screwed as the working class and the poor. This is not to say that finding common ground will be easy, but Occupy and Boston City Hall have a common enemy (Washington Republicans) and some common interests (jobs, health care, mass transit, libraries, and schools).
If Occupy Boston continues to gain traction, space for participants will become an even more acute problem than it is now. The tent city at Dewey Square by South Station is at full capacity. It was an attempt to expand without permission that led to the Greenway arrests.
A potential problem here is that Occupy's decentralized, horizontal style of mass decision-making may not prove conducive to horse trading City Hall–style. And if Mayor Thomas Menino, a savvy and wily pol who is a master at calculating downside risk, is not brought onboard, he at least need not be alienated.
Occupy Boston and its allied movements are not in and of themselves a solution to the political rot that is killing the economy. But they represent a start. Before Washington can be jolted into action, America must wake up to the fact that corporate greed and political corruption is punishing the many for the gain of a few. Anyone who denies that this is class war should have their head examined.
REPUBLICANS MOUTH OFF
Under the expert orchestration of PBS's Charlie Rose — assisted by skilled reporters from Bloomberg News and the Washington Post — the eight right-wing reactionaries vying for the Republican presidential nomination staged their most impressive performance to date this week.
The problem was that, to swallow any of the Gang of Eight's well-rehearsed pabulum, you had to forget that the nation is in the worst economic crisis of our lifetime, and that the slump/recession/depression — call it what you will — could get worse, and will, if any one of this crowd is elected in 2012. What was incomprehensible was that, to a person, they even ignored a video clip of their oracle, Ronald Reagan, and are committed to rolling back the clock and re-instating the economic policies of George W. Bush, the genius who unleashed our current economic ruin.