Back in the 1990s, while I lived in post-war Croatia, I was on the edges of a proto-environmental, social justice movement that first blossomed in the anti-globalization protests in 2000 and now with Occupy Wall Street. I am far from that life now (well, not if you consider pushing paternity leave a radical politics), but am fascinated by the change in tone in the mainstream press since OWS. What seemed unthinkable in the 1990s and especially during the credit boom, which I covered as a newspaper reporter outside NYC, is not commonplace – open talk of socialism and the radical failure of market captialism.
Really? Sometimes it becomes so clear what a bubble we inhabit in Sweden – a bubble of the good kind.
Capitalism versus the climate: Naomi Klein goes to a conservative conference and confirms all their fears. Yes, to save the world we will need to drastically reject everything they stand for. We will need to restructure the way the world works. And the climate must go before all else. Our survival depends on it.
Is This the End of Market Democracy?: This is notable because it appears in the New York Times, though on the campaign blog, which suggests to me that it got smuggled in somehow. A Columbia journalism professor examines all the very respectable and mainstream economic figures who argue we need a major change, that the current system is more or less doomed. Jeffrey Sachs invokes the success of “northern Europe” and its social democracy as a model. It ends like this: “At an undetermined point in the not too distant future, however, as the “gale of creative destruction” blows through the heartland, the debate will become inescapable.”
What Future for Occupy Wall Street?: A look in the New York Review of Books at where OWS has come and where it is going. Bascially, the story is not uplifting. Police intimidation is working. The lack of concrete demands and the insistence on radical consensus makes the movement hard to build. But you have to admire that the core group is about more than moderately changing the status quo, it is about a moral call for a new kind of society. And with a huge chunk of Americans under 30 in favor of “socialism,” who knows where it will go?
Bill Clinton: Someone We Can All Agree On: And for the counterpoint, we have Bill Clinton, the ultimate believer in working the system to make it all work. This is the standard view – and one that is very compelling.: we have to focus on what is achievable, we have to look at what Obama actually got done, we have to find people real, concrete jobs, not worry about all this hippie stuff on the edges, that you have to be realistic about the American culture, that the country is center-right, and so on. I get it, I really do, Bill. But is that reality or just the 1990s calling?