Earlier this week, the Pew Research Center released a new report that showed a strong increase of americans acutely aware of class conflict. While it explicitly mentions the Occupy Wall Street movement in its report, the report did not speak directly to the origins of the increased awareness (which is generally impossible to determine anyway). Yet, I think this is patently obvious evidence of the success of the Occupy Wall Street movement long after its principal operation in New York was shut down.
While the movement was still center stage in the news it received a great deal of criticism, most of which was asinine. Most of the nonsensical criticism was directed towards social movements in general, rather than this one. That is, it wasn’t clear what the protesters wanted, the people themselves were a little loopy (or smelly/unclean), or that the protesters should get jobs. What social movement is not directed towards problems rather than solutions? What social movement doesn’t have participants who are a little off (or a lot “off”)? The statement about jobs is the most ridiculous of all.
My earlier post on this subject talked about how the GOP’s criticism of this movement made it very hard to take them serious as philosophically coherent legislators. But that’s not what this post is about.
The very real criticism of Occupy was whether their efforts would result in anything. This is a problem that the Tea Party quickly quashed after they managed to dominate elections across the country. Occupy’s impact is less tangible, but not less important, than the Tea Party’s impact. This Pew study one of several polls/studies that support the notion that the Occupy movement put income inequality into the forefront of american consciousness. I think this is why we see Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC going after Romney with an ad that takes, what the a Romney ad (quoting the Wall Street Journal) called, the “Obama line.” It is almost confusing as to why Newt’s Super PAC is going after Romney’s corporate experience, calling him the “king of Bain.” But the attacks against Romney’s conservative bonafides have not worked and South Carolina is Newt’s only chance to get back into the race. The usage of this ad is a clear admission by a Republican presidential candidate’s organization that concern for income inequality and all the issues surrounding it are real sentiments now held by americans.
Whether its envy or its a real critical concern about crony capitalism, it’s there.
Edit: Gallup has a seemingly conflicting poll.