Saturday, October 15, 2011
After "Arab Spring," liberal groups say it's time for "American Autumn"
By Stephanie Condon
October 4, 2011
A coalition of liberal organizations are planning to push for a liberal agenda and recruit progressive politicians at every level of government -- with or without President Obama.
Taking hold of the momentum generated by the "Occupy Wall Street" protests occurring across the country, the liberal leaders have drafted plans to implement what they call an "American Autumn" -- a realignment of American politics inspired by the pro-democracy protests in the Middle East dubbed the "Arab Spring."
The plan will culminate with demonstrations on November 17 -- just ahead of the deadline for the so-called congressional "super committee" to come up with recommendations for finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings.
Justin Ruben of MoveOn.org said the November 17 events will be the "exclamation point on the cry for jobs."
The organizers said they want to see action like those recommendations Mr. Obama has put forward in his $447 billion "American Jobs Act." At this point, Republicans are opposed to passing the bill in its entirety, but they've left the door open for compromise on some of its elements.
While liberal leaders say their movement is independent of the president, not all the activists at this week's conference are convinced. Conference attendee Zelda Bronstein said she saw the conference as "too much of a rally" without enough concrete action. She chided liberal leaders for cheering on the president and lambasted Mr. Obama's health care reforms as a "sell out" piece of legislation.
Occupy Wall Street: A U.S. version of the Arab Spring?
By The Week's Editorial Staff
Oct 3, 2011
"Ever since the Arab Spring, many people here have been pining for an American Autumn," says Charles Blow in The New York Times. Well, "the closest we've gotten so far is Occupy Wall Street." Largely ignored for its first two weeks, the Arab Spring-inspired encampment in Lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park actually "reminded me a bit of Tahrir Square in Cairo," says Nicholas Kristof, also in The Times. And now, with the New York Police Department's headline-grabbing arrest of 700 marchers on the Brooklyn Bridge this weekend, and similar protests popping up nationwide, the question seems inevitable: Is this leaderless crusade against the powers that be the start of America's own Arab Spring?
This comparison insults the Arab revolutionaries: "There's a lot of frustration out there, much of it legitimate," says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. But apart from one obvious similarity — the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street both involve "frustrated youth loosely organized using social media" — "it's simply insulting to compare the two." The small bands of U.S. "hippies and hipsters" aren't at risk of being gunned down by brutal despots — at worst they'll be "detained for a few hours and issued a misdemeanor citation for disturbing the peace or impeding traffic. "
Occupy Wall Street Not Our Arab Awakening
October 2, 2011
Mob rule is a poor substitute for democracy. A few hundred–or even a few thousand–angry people in the streets is not representative of 310 million people. The last thing we need in America is to increase the level of rancor and noise.