“I think a good deal of the bankers should be in jail.”
That is what Andrew Cole, an unemployed 24-year-old graduate of Bucknell University, told me Monday morning in Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Mr. Cole, an articulate young man dressed in jeans, a sweatshirt and with a blue wool beanie on his head, had just arrived by bus from Madison, Wis., where he recently lost his job.
There was nothing particularly menacing or dangerous about Mr. Cole. He said he had come to participate in Occupy Wall Street because he believed in its “anticapitalist” message. “I see Wall Street as responsible for the mess we’re in.”
I had gone down to Zuccotti Park to see the activist movement firsthand after getting a call from the chief executive of a major bank last week, before nearly 700 people were arrested over the weekend during a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge.
“Is this Occupy Wall Street thing a big deal?” the C.E.O. asked me. I didn’t have an answer. “We’re trying to figure out how much we should be worried about all of this,” he continued, clearly concerned. “Is this going to turn into a personal safety problem?”
As I wandered around the park, it was clear to me that most bankers probably don’t have to worry about being in imminent personal danger. This didn’t seem like a brutal group — at least not yet.
Well, I do wish the protest will not turn into a personal safety problem for this Bankster or for any other Bankster. After all, illegal killing is wrong when a mob commits the act or when a President authorizes the act.
That said, my strongest wish has the #OccupyWallStreet protest creating the conditions under which the Banksters will eventually confront a serious legal-political problem, one specific to their situation. This problem would include prison-time for those Banksters found guilty of crimes by legally rational courts. Although it should not need to be said but I shall say it anyway that wanting jail time for those Banksters guilty of crimes is a much different wish than wanting them guillotined or sent to reeducation camps, as suggested by Roseanne Barr, a celebrity given to hyperbole whom Sorkin quoted in order to focus attention on and thus to enhance the physically menacing features present in any protest movement seeking justice for institutional crimes. Thus does a ‘responsible journalist’ (“lapdog to bankers,” Yves Smith) recklessly impute criminal motives and a capacity for violence to a protest action that has been peaceful till now and remains committed to seeing justice done. Sorkin furtively sought to achieve this transformation by a sleight-of-hand trick: It’s the uppity unemployed, not the Banksters, who are dangerous. Well…. No!
“Lapdog to the Bankers” — it’s good work if you can get it.
Cross posted to All Tied Up and Nowhere to Go
Thanks to the Administrator who added Sorkin’s photo!
Masaccio posted a similar article on the front page.
Glenn Greenwald also discussed Sorkin’s article.