There's been a lot of coverage lately of the Occupy Wall Street protests, and writers from The Nation Institute have been responsible for much of it. From the second issue of The Occupied Wall Street Journal, which featured on its front page a speech by Institute Fellow Naomi Klein as well as an editorial by Nation Books author and Senior Fellow Chris Hedges to the writers supporting the movement in other ways, our book authors, fellows, investigative journalists, and even our staff have been in the thick of this one-month-old protest.
"My favourite sign here says 'I care about you.' In a culture that trains people to avoid each other's gaze, to say, 'Let them die,' that is a deeply radical statement," says Klein in her speech, which can be found in full here. Two weeks ago Nation Books staffer Marissa Colon-Margolies trudged down to Zuccotti Park with boxes of books to donate to The People's Library. On TomDispatch, Andy Kroll detailed why the 99% has had enough:
In 2010, the average middle-class family took home $49,445, a drop of $3,719 or 7%, in yearly earnings from 10 years earlier. In other words, that family now earns the same amount as in 1996. After peaking in 1999, middle-class income dwindled through the early years of the George W. Bush presidency, climbing briefly during the housing boom, then nosediving in its aftermath.
In this lost decade, according to economist Jared Bernstein, poor families watched their income shrivel by 12%, falling from $13,538 to $11,904. Even families in the 90th percentile of earners suffered a 1% percent hit, dropping on average from $141,032 to $138,923. Only among the staggeringly wealthy was this not a lost decade: the top 1% of earners enjoyed 65% of all income growth in America for much of the decade, one hell of a run, only briefly interrupted by the financial meltdown of 2008 and now, by the look of things, back on track.
OWS has also sparked essays by Rebecca Solnit and Steve Fraser on TomDispatch. In Institute Fellow Tom Engelhardt's thoughtful introduction to Solnit's piece, he notes that one thing that marks this movement as different from every other protest he has ever attended is the lack of a single counter-demonstration. No one is standing opposite Zuccotti Park championing the privileges of the 1%. "This, believe me, is not normal for protests," he writes. "Talk about expressing the will of the 99%!"
Nation Books author John Nichols weighed in. Nation Books author and Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel was interviewed on Democracy Now! and has been commenting regularly in her columns. Kai Wright was interviewed on Democracy Now! on the viability of OWS as a movement. Institute Fellow Eric Alterman analyzed media coverage of OWS for his column at Center for American Progress. (So did Jon Stewart, in a hilarious episode from October 5, but sadly, we cannot claim him.) Institute Fellow and Nation Books author Max Blumenthal was interviewed by OWS. Blumenthal said he was waiting for the people of the United States to rise up the way they have in Bahrain and Yemen and around the world. Hedges has been interviewed about OWS several times, including by the protesters themselves, but it's his exchange with CBC pundit Kevin O'Leary that went viral, forcing the Canadian firm to issue a written apology to Hedges after complaints poured in from viewers. Watch the video below:
Tags: andy kroll, ari berman, barbara ehrenreich, ben ehrenreich, bill mckibben, braden goyette, cara buckley, chris hedges, christopher ketcham, eric alterman, esther kaplan, jeff sharlet, jeremy scahill, john nichols, jonathan schell, kai wright, katha pollitt, kathryn joyce, katrina vanden heuvel, kiera feldman, max blumenthal, michael tracey, miriam markowitz, naomi klein, nathan schneider, occupied wall street journal, occupy wall street, occupy writers, ows, paul reyes, peter rothberg, rebecca solnit, richard kim, rick perlstein, rose styron, ryan devereaux, sarah jaffe, siddhartha deb, steve fraser, the nation institute, tom engelhardt, tomdispatch