How will Occupy Wall Street be remembered? It ought to be to the advantage of OWS that some of the world’s best writers are supporters of “the 99 percent.” A number of staffers from the journals n+1 and Dissent, among them Keith Gessen, Kathleen Ross, and Sarah Leonard, were arrested along with dozens of other protesters on Thursday (which marks two full months for the movement)—The Day of Action.
Yet progressives are often disillusioned by their own causes—in hindsight. Give them enough time and their unwillingness to be delusional sometimes works against them in this age of maximal American confidence. In the beginning of the book The Sixties, author and activist leader Todd Gitlin (who’s on the board of Dissent) tells his readers that the question he’s most often asked is what that decade has accomplished, besides giving us tie-dye shirts. Through more than 400 pages, Gitlin, now a journalism and sociology professor at Columbia University, shows us that the years were filled with “wrong turns and missed opportunities.” “The riptide of the Revolution went out with the same force it has surged in with, the ferocious undertow proportionate to the onetime hopes,” he writes—not exactly a ringing endorsement. And those were the days of the civil-rights breakthroughs and the antiwar movement!
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