ADVISORY: Expert source on Occupy Wall Street
Movement will be co-opted, predicts Pace University political scientist Christopher Malone
“The Occupy Wall Street movement will be co-opted and achieve victories, just like the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and the environmental movement.”
So predicts Christopher Malone, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the political science department on Pace University’s downtown Manhattan campus, five blocks from Zuccotti Park. Malone is a regular source for local and national media, and was identified by the Washington Post as one of the nation’s most innovative professors.
“Political movements and the political ‘system’ eye each other warily but need each other to bring about the change both those in the streets and inside the halls of power want.
“Political movements preach independence and declare autonomy. Those inside the system see an opportunity to move their agendas on the back of a movement’s strength. Movements demand as much as they can while avoiding irrelevance; the system seeks to co-opt as much as it can without being seen as embracing the extremes.
“We have yet to see a full-blown co-optation of OWS by Democrats. OWS is much less willing to be co-opted by them than the Tea Party was by the Republicans. But the outlines are there, from calls to have Governor Cuomo extend the personal income tax surcharge — the “millionaire’s tax” — to proposals at the national level to pay for programs by levying a tax on America’s millionaires.
“It hasn’t been much noticed, but the right-wing, Tea Party populism of recent decades embodies the harsh 19th century social Darwinism of William Graham Sumner, who argued that government should stand back and permit only the ‘survival of the fittest.’ To make the most progress, the left-wing populism of OWS protestors will have to connect with the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe that government should solve big problems.”
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