On a balmy autumn afternoon, a stroll along lower Manhattan to Liberty Plaza, or another American city or even in squares and plazas around the world, is likely to take you to an encampment of mostly-young, mostly cheerful, determined citizens who've come together for the long haul to challenge and oppose a list of anti-social deeds, from government support of venal businessmen to excessive CO2 emissions. Under the banner of "Occupy Wall Street," a local-turned-global protest movement strives to bring your attention to injustice.
The panoply of complaints, seen by some observers as a childish litany, is cited by others as an important renovation: Cornel West, a fiery academic activist who advised President Obama’s 2008 campaign, says, "It’s impossible to translate the issue of the greed of Wall Street into one demand, or two demands. We’re talking about a democratic awakening."
The visible protest is by and large a data point on a historic timeline of young people confronting a tired old regime; in that sense, it's a periodic renaissance, the refreshment that society needs to move from one epoch to another.
In the present instance, however, there's an undercurrent moving in the opposite direction, a careful manipulation of participants by a deeply non-democratic band. Behind the current Occupy Wall Street protests is a "red army" of radicals seeking no less than to provoke a new, definitive economic crisis, with their goal being the full collapse of the U.S. financial system, with the ensuing chaos to be rebuilt into a utopian socialist vision.
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