Matt Yglesias argues today that being booted from Zuccotti park by the NYPD button men ultimately may have been a good thing for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Essentially, Yglesias argues that the protest could have ended in only one of two ways: either the cops would come in and throw everybody out, or the protests would simply fizzle as people lost interest. Yglesias suggests that having the protests simply fizzle would have been “demoralizing to everyone who’s come to look at the various Occupations as a key signal of popular discontent with rampant inequality.”
I said something similar only a few weeks ago, when I wrote that if Bloomberg were smart he’d just send the word out to the NYPD that they were to leave OWS alone unless the protesters engaged in illegal acts that substantially interfered with others’ rights. “Without conflict, I doubt the media would continue covering the story,” I suggested, and the greatest danger to OWS was “probably not co-option but incorporation. By its continuous presence it may simply become integrated into everyday life, assimilated as background noise, and ultimately disregarded as ‘just something those people do.’”
Of course, I also predicted that L’il Mikey and the rest of the 1% were unlikely to let the movement wither away by simply ignoring it; their own evident terror at possibly being called to account for their sociopathy and their narcissistic inability to see that middle-America would quickly lose interest in both the protesters and them if thing settled down would – I predicted – preclude any such outcome.
And, today, it looks like I was correct about that.
So now the Occupy movement transitions into Phase II . . . whatever that is. Yglesias argues that “by ordering the protesters to be removed the Bloomberg administration has ensured continued relevance for the issue.” I certainly hope that is the case.
I guess we’ll see.