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With the eyes of the world on Occupy Wall Street, the time has come for the protesters to translate their frustration into a coherent political movement. Leonard Pitts Jr. writes in his new column, “Next Move Crucial For ‘Occupy’ Movement”:

While the Occupy movement has spread broadly, there is as yet little evidence of its ability to seize political power and use it to execute the movement’s agenda. Say what you will about the tea party — a straight line if ever there was one — but give it credit for moving quickly to translate its angst into political capital with which it impacted the 2010 midterms and presidential politics to this very day.

The Occupy movement, by contrast, remains what several people have called it: a primal scream.

Primal screams have their purpose. They command attention. But they do not, of themselves, bring change.

Yes, that criticism is premature. The Occupy movement is only a little over a month old. It is a new colt, still wobbly on its legs, yet some of us want it to already be Seabiscuit.

It is, however, difficult to escape a certain impatience when you consider that the corporate greed and exploitation the movement exists to oppose have gone unquestioned and unchallenged for an unconscionably long time. There is something grotesque about the idea that 1 percent of the nation controls more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. There is something pitiful about the idea that the bottom 90 has endured economic exploitation in silence for years.

 

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A scene from "Squid Game" on Netflix

Reprinted with permission from Responsible Statecraft

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In New York City, a statue of Thomas Jefferson has graced the City Council chamber for 100 years. This week, the Public Design Commission voted unanimously to remove it. "Jefferson embodies some of the most shameful parts of our country's history," explained Adrienne Adams, a councilwoman from Queens. Assemblyman Charles Barron went even further. Responding to a question about where the statue should go next, he was contemptuous: "I don't think it should go anywhere. I don't think it should exist."

When iconoclasts topple Jefferson, they seem to validate the argument advanced by defenders of Confederate monuments that there is no escape from the slippery slope. "First, they come for Nathan Bedford Forrest and then for Robert E. Lee. Where does it end? Is Jefferson next? Is George Washington?"

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