Ketcham Points Protesters Toward the Populists
Christopher Ketcham’s essay “The Reign of the One Percenters,” which we linked to a few weeks ago, shows how long-standing American individual and group behavior visible nationwide is profoundly determined by inequitable consumer capitalism. With the occupation of Wall Street gaining momentum, Ketcham revisits the subject to offer protesters some historical perspective.
He writes that activists should be familiar with the Populists — a movement that targeted predatory corporate elitists who “had captured government and established monopoly power over the political economy” more than a century ago.
For its clear and sensitive presentation of the social conditions that continue to rally thousands at New York City’s Liberty Plaza, Ketcham’s original essay provides a necessary frame for understanding what is happening around Wall Street. –ARK
WAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
Christopher Ketcham at The Orion Blog:
In the midst of this our Second Gilded Age, the Occupiers need to remember that the Populists also formed a political party—the People’s Party—and they ran candidates who won office, and they formed real-world cooperatives between business and labor to challenge the hegemony of corporate capitalism. Theirs was not a platform of quixotic revolution, but one of radical reform that took decades of hard labor to bear fruit.
In the meantime: the politics of radical protest; the politics of turmoil and disruption; the politics of ridicule and shaming; the politics of the rhetorical rotten egg smashed in the eyes of the criminal banking class—these are the orders of the day. The protest in Liberty Square, the protest of the Ninety-nine Percenters, is currently driven by no mere platform of demands, nor should it be. It is driven by moral outrage, as a challenge to the authority of an immoral economic system.
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.