In a firmly worded editorial, center-left magazine The New Republic came out strongly against the Occupy Wall Street protest movement. The stance, especially since the magazine has offered less than praiseworthy coverage of the protests, isn't surprising (Glenn Greenwald noted the sentiment over a week ago). But the editorial is notable for making the case that liberals shouldn't support the protesters, even though on "first blush, it would be difficult not to cheer" them. These are the reasons TNR editors seem troubled by Occupy Wall Street:
- The protestors seem overly dismissive of capitalism. "One of the core differences between liberals and radicals is that liberals are capitalists. They believe in a capitalism that is democratically regulated—that seeks to level an unfair economic playing field so that all citizens have the freedom to make what they want of their lives. But these are not the principles we are hearing from the protesters."
- And they need to get over their utopianism. Highlighting Occupy Atlanta's decision not to let Rep. John Lewis speak at their rally, the editors then contend: "The protests have made a big deal of the fact that they arrive at their decisions through a deliberative process. But all their talk of 'general assemblies' and 'communiqués' and 'consensus' has an air of group-think about it that is, or should be, troubling to liberals."
- Plus, they may make liberals look bad. "These are not just substantive complaints. They also beg the strategic question of whether the protesters will help or hurt the cause of liberalism. ... we are hard-pressed to believe that most Americans will look at these protests, with their extreme anti-capitalist rhetoric, and conclude that the fate of the Dodd-Frank legislation—currently the best liberal hope for improving democratically regulated capitalism—is more crucial than they had previously thought."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.