Conrad Black gives the 99% some advice
The Wall Street Occupiers have some legitimate grievances, but are effectively asking redress of the grievances by their authors. The complaints against the Wall Street bailouts, in which they echo the Tea Partiers they affect to despise, are not well-founded. The taxpayers will make money on the bailouts and great misery and confusion has been avoided by them, though Henry Paulson's original Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, of the government buying distressed assets directly was nonsense. There have been design errors in the bailouts, in that so much of the payoff in the automobile industry has been to the egregious, Luddite, avaricious United Auto Workers, which was the greatest single architect of the near-death and out-of-body experiences of the once invincible U.S. auto industry. This bailout complaint by the Occupiers is also inconsistent with the succeeding complaint that organized labour is under siege from the U.S. government, which is in fact grovelling to it, completely undeservedly. (General Motors has 10 UAW pensioner/shareholders for every active autoworker.)
The Occupiers need hardly add their voices to those from time immemorial against the hardy perennials among public grievances, such as age, sex, racial and orientation discrimination. And it is not clear what they are complaining about in respect of an alleged monopoly in farming, sophistical legalities, the sale of privacy of the public (as a "commodity"), "colonialism at home and abroad," and "misinformation through control of the media."
Less challenging to comprehension are complaints about torture and murder of prisoners and unspecified foreigners, and anger that student loans are not outright gifts, about the outsourcing of jobs, the nature and size of political donations, the alleged frustration of the development of alternative energy sources and the covering up of oil spills, and general complaints about Weapons of Mass Destruction.
This is the usual, incoherent, sophomoric grab-bag of populist grumbles, and there is some legitimacy to some of them. Also as usual, the protesters, led by the Canadian organization Adbusters and professional Canadian dissident Kalle Lasn, have been witty in sending up the pomposity of the system by adapting Thomas Jefferson's Nuremberg-like indictment of poor old George III (but Jefferson's blood libel on the American Indians that accompanied it) in the Declaration of Independence. It was a little like John Kerry's anti-Vietnam protest at the Capitol in 1971, utilizing the most stilted Pentagonese jargon to describe demonstrations as "athwart hostile infiltration" of the Congress, and so forth.
Such an unfocused and scatter-gun assault is already pressing sympathetic buttons, and profiting from the usual heavy-footed public relations blundering of the municipal authorities and the straight-man impressionability of patronizing editorialists. Even New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, normally something of a fellow traveller with faddish protesters, has become quite belligerent, as he has paid for 10 years of municipal extravagance with the fiscal froth from Wall Street commissions and bonuses.
If the Occupiers and their organizers and spokespeople, including the capable Christopher Hedges (though he is now audibly verging on intoxication with the purple vapour of his own verbosity) and the unfeasibly abrasive Marxist mythmaker Naomi Klein, want to last more than a few weeks, they are going to have to do some strategic thinking and stop shouting long enough to acquire some tactical finesse.
To start, they must realize what they are opposing—there is no reason simply to excuse all student and other loans. The Occupiers don't know anything about agriculture, privacy or colonialism. They would be insane to advocate unilateral disarmament, as the U.S. has used its WMD arsenal judiciously since (and before) Nagasaki; or to climb aboard the Global Warming bandwagon now that its wheels have left its axles in all four directions.