By Zaid Jilani
Today, over a thousand demonstrators began protests as a part of a campaign they are calling “Occupy Wall Street.” The protesters intend to engage in long-term civil disobedience to draw attention to Wall Street’s misdeeds and call for structural economic reforms.
As demonstrators converged on Wall Street — with police blocking them from reaching the New York Stock Exchange — much of the news media paid little attention to the protests. Meanwhile, much of the conservative punditry has taken to mocking the demonstrations, with conservative Twitter users lambasting the “hippies” in New York City. CNN contributor and RedState blogger Erick Erickson labeled the protesters as “profoundly dumb.”
Certainly, debates about the tactics and strategy behind an anti-Wall Street campaign are warranted. But in a country where much of the populist energy has been absorbed by a movement that compared expanding access to private insurance to “death panels,” it’s worth reviewing why Americans and others should be protesting against Wall Street.